As nations prepare for war, they must also prepare the weapons of warfare. These days, and really since airplanes became reliable enough to be used in war, manufacturers have been building better and better airplanes for war. The Wright brothers, Wilber and Orville made the first airplane, which they successfully flew in 1903. Planes were first used in war in 1911, but it was in World War I, 1914-1918, that their use became commonplace. Since then, we have seen an avalanche of progress is the types and capabilities of planes.
For me, there is no greater warplane than the B-17, but I suppose I am a bit biased because my dad served on a B-17 during World War II. That mkes me very partial to the B-17. It really was a Flying Fortress, and it was that fortress that brought my dad back home. In my book, that makes it the greatest plane ever.
During World War II, the United States had the B-17, otherwise known as the Flying Fortress…among other planes, of course. There was a plane used by Britain, that would have been the similar, to a degree to the abilities to the B-17. The Lancaster was a heavy bomber “workhorse” of a plane. When compared to the B-17, it could carry a heavier payload and fly further than the B-17. The B-17 had higher flight ceiling and better defensive firepower. Speed was about even. Those things are important, but when it came to survivability, the B-17 was the better plane in that it was far easier to bail out of than the Lancaster, meaning that the crew of a plane that was going down would really hope it was a B-17. Only 15% of shot down crewmen survived from the Lancaster, while it was around 50% for B-17s. The Lancaster bomber had only one emergency exit…at the front of the aircraft, as opposed to four (counting the bomb bays) for the B-17.
Both of these planes were amazing weapons of war. They were just developed, designed, and built by different companies, and different countries. They served somewhat different purposes, but they were both designed to end the murderous Axis of Evil nations, of which Hitler’s Third Reich and Japan’s evil empire were a huge part. These planes were different, but both were on the side of good and not evil. I think that I am just glad they were on the same side of the war.