From the perspective of a Luftwaffe fighter pilot, the sight of hundreds of American Flying Fortresses in formation and heading towards them must have been magnificent and terrifying in equal measure. As the Allies pressed home their increasing aerial supremacy throughout 1944, not only would the Luftwaffe have to contend with a wall of defensive fire from the tightly packed bomber formations, they also knew that their protective fighter cover would be on them both before and after they made their almost suicidal attack run. The latest and definitive ‘G’ variant of the B-17 introduced the electrically operated Bendix chin turret, which had been developed to combat the frontal attacks preferred by Luftwaffe fighter pilots against earlier models and further increased the defensive firepower of these heavily armed bombers. Chelveston based B-17G ‘Flak Eater’ of the USAAF 364th Bombardment Squadron certainly wanted any attacking fighter to know that she was equipped with the new nose armament and sported distinctive ‘shark mouth’ artwork to act as a visual deterrent to any enemy pilot looking for a potential target. Despite the frantic nature of the European air war around the time of D-Day, the decision to apply the turret teeth was vindicated, as they helped ‘Flak Eater’ through at least 28 combat missions and to survive the war relatively unscathed. The bomber returned to the US in June 1945, where she was later scrapped at Kingman Army Airfield in Arizona, a fate which awaited the majority of aircraft which had fought so valiantly during WWII.
The "Flying Fortress" bomber built by Boeing is one of the most famous airplanes ever made. The
prototype of the B-17 first flew on July 28, 1935. Few B-17's were in service on December 7,
1941, but production quickly accelerated. The aircraft served in every WW II
combat zone, but is best known for daylight strategic bombing of German
industrial targets. Production ended in May 1945 and totaled 12,726.
Scale: 1/72, Wingspan: 17.5"
Loose Parts: (not suitable for young children)
Rotating gun turrets
Working flaps and rudder
Working bomb bay doors with bomb load
Source and Links: U.S.A.F. Museum
Liberty Foundation's Liberty Belle