Locked[Archive] Re: B-17 Bomb Load

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2001/10/14 11:13:00 (permalink)

[Archive] Re: B-17 Bomb Load

> The B-17 manual states that the emergency max gross weight of the B-17 is
> 74,000 pounds. .......
> On page 317 of Martin Caiden's "THE B-17, THE FLYING FORTS" there is this
> remarkable statement:
> "When necessary, the B-17F could drag a staggering load of bombs into the
> air. It was possible (and some bombers did so) to carry eight 1,600-pound
> bombs in the internal bomb bay, as well as one 4,000-pounder tucked up
> beneath each wing, for the overwhelming load of 20,800 pounds of bombs.

? The manual I have indicates that only six 1600-pound bombs
would fit int the bomb bay? It indicated to use stations
7,10,18,28,31,39. It only listed one bomb type, AN-MKI for the
1600lb, so perhaps there were other types of 1600lb bombs that
were smaller?

Regardless, I would assume that the plane wouldn't be able to get
up to high altitude with these large loads?

I was trying to use the various charts in the B-17 manuals to
figure out the range possible with different loads. There was a
"range" chart that was only for 6000lb and 10,000lb bomb loads,
and it didn't include climbing to altitude, so I tried using some of
the other charts that gave fuel consumpion for climbing and
cruising, etc.
Basically, I wasn't able to figure it out. From what I was reading on
the charts, it didn't even look possible for the plane to get up to
altitude (ie 25,000') with a 6,000 pound load, or even with a 5,000
pound load, that I know was commonly taken up to these altitudes,
and the fuel consumption curves didn't seem to have entries for
cruising with these loads.
Could you help with some suggestions as to how to estimate
range at different altitudes and bomb loads from the charts in the
My main reason was in trying to explain why my father's
squadron would have run out of fuel on a mission which would have
seemed to have been a relatively short mission (Bremmen). The
unusual thing which happened on this mission was that due to
heavy clouds at takeoff, they had to climb to over 20,000' for
assembly, instead of assembling at 8-10,000' as planned.
From reading the charts, I'm guessing that a fully loaded B-17
could only get up to 25,000' after it had lost some weight due to
using fuel, and that climbing up to 20,000 for assembly would have
used a LOT more fuel than normal? Would this be logical?

For the 20,000lb bomb load mentioned above, would they have
perhaps cut the fuel load in half to get down to the maximum load
limits, which would reduce the range even further. The curves in the
manual show the plane being able to climb up to about 10,000' with
a load like that, but it would use nearly a third of it's fuel just
getting to altitude (assuming that they only put in about 1600gal to
reduce the gross weight), so the range would be greatly reduced,
but I'm really at a loss as to how to figure out what the range would
Anyway, I find this to be an interesting topic, and I'd really like to
figure out how to calculate how far these planes could go from the
charts and curves in the manuals, if anyone knows how.

Bill Jones N3JLQ Sweden Maine wejones@megalink.net
Main home page http://www.megalink.net/~wejones
WWII/B-17 page http://www.megalink.net/~wejones/wwii.html


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