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Boeing B-17G (AN/APS-4), Radar equipped B-17 over Sinai


yoyolast
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Do you want this aircraft to be added to the Israeli tech tree?  

47 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you want this aircraft to be added to the Israeli tech tree?

    • Yes
      42
    • No
      5
  2. 2. What aircraft type should it be?

    • Researchable
      36
    • Premium
      3
    • Event
      2
    • Squadron
      1
    • I voted no
      5


  • Suggestion Moderator

Israeli_Air_Force_-_Coat_of_arms_svg.png 627244259_Screenshot2022-10-27234432.jpg

 

Introduction

The B-17G is one of the most recognizable bomber aircraft of the WW2 era, and in Israel it had served as it's only heavy bomber. Despite the Israeli B-17Gs going through a plethora of modifications since 1948 to bring them up to the American B-17G standard the efforts for further improvement and utilization didn't end there, and one such fairly unique modification, which is the one being suggested here, even found it's way into a war that would mark the final use of B-17s in their intended role as bombers in the world.

 

20221028_010827.jpg.56ac43e88ce7cdb692ae  - Side view of B-17G 1623 showing it's AN/APS-4 radar pod mounted instead of the standard chin turret

 

History + the 1956 Suez Crisis

The history of Israel's B-17s past the 1948 war was covered very briefly in my suggestion to add the Israeli B-17s in their configuration from the 1948 war, but in short: The B-17s went through a series of upgrades throughout the early 50's eventually bringing them up to the standard of fully fledged B-17Gs with all of the turrets and American bomb armament included. In 1953 the B-17s were grounded due to a lack of parts and their squadron, the 69th AKA the Hammers, was essentially grounded as a whole and were eventually given the order to be disbanded, however this ended up being a temporary decision. The squadron remained inactive for over 2 years until in April of 1956  the order came in to reactivate the squadron due to rising tensions in the Middle East. Following the reactivation the B-17s had a change in their serial numbers (the specific reason for why this was done is unknown) with 1601 becoming 1621 (this is the B-17 we have represented in the game), 1602 becoming 1622 and 1603 becoming 1623 (this is the aircraft relevant to this suggestion). Despite this reactivation the B-17s ended up effectively remaining in storage in a state that would allow full reactivation in just 48 hours and it was in this state that the modification of this suggestion occurred. In October of 1956 an order came in to install an AN/APS-4 radar on B-17G 1623 to be used in trials. The specific reasoning behind this is once again unknown especially since the aircraft remained inactive at the time, however it is possible that it was linked to a previous modification conducted in 1953 to B-17G 1622 (then 1602) which had it installed with a unique mount for an AN/APS-3 radar and used unarmed as a maritime patrol aircraft. It is possible that the Israeli Air Force leadership intended to have B-17G 1623 to be used in a similar role, however it didn't end up being the case.

 

20221028_011130.jpg.7a5a65fc092994e1a366  - B-17G 1623 in the 1956 Suez crisis. Note the four IMI G.P 250 kg bombs hung below the root of the wing in a quad bomb rack as well as the black and yellow war stripes of the Suez crisis used by Israel, Britain and France.

 

The Sinai war of 1956 broke out on the 29th of October and initially didn't see any use of the B-17s. It was decided that propeller aircraft would not be used until air superiority would be achieved by the jet aircraft (other than the phone cable cutting conducted by P-51s at the start of the conflict). After 2 days of war the B-17Gs were finally reactivated and joined the war with B-17 number 1623 being used in 4 sorties. The first 2 combat sorties were conducted in the city of Rafah in support of ground troops, however in both cases the B-17s didn't drop the bombs because of trouble identifying targets and technical issues in the operation of the plane, which was no surprise since the unit that operated the B-17s was comprised of poorly trained reservists. The next sortie was conducted on the morning of November 2nd aiming to destroy Egyptian targets on the road to Gaza city, however plans were changed mid-flight due to the rapid IDF advance in Rafah. Instead the B-17s were ordered to attack Gaza city itself and ended up dropping bombs on the northern and southern parts of the city. The final sortie B-17 1623 took part in was a bombing run on barracks in Sharm el Sheikh in south Sinai. In the bombing run B-17 1623 and a second B-17 approached the target from different directions to confuse AA fire, however B-17 1623 ended being hit and suffered a severe fuel leak. The aircraft managed to make it back to Ramat David air base on fumes, however this marked the last sortie this aircraft conducted with the rest of the sorties in the war carried out by the other 2 B-17s. Despite it's earlier retirement B-17G number 1623 cemented it's legacy by being one of the last B-17s in the world to be used as a bomber in war.

 

598807978_Screenshot2022-10-28000630.jpg  - Ammunition being delivered to B-17G 1623 during the Suez crisis. Note the aircraft's AN/APS-4 and that the bombs are IMI G.P bombs.

 

Technical details

As previously mentioned, the main difference in B-17G 1623 is that it was equipped with an AN/APS-4 radar pod instead of the chin turret, meaning the removal of a pair of 12.7mm Browning machineguns from it's armaments. This radar set which was also previously equipped on Israeli De-Havilland Mosquito NF Mk.30s was generally considered to be a very poor search radar barely able to locate large targets, however it still brings some additional utility to this aircraft's avionics. Additionally B-17G 1623 clearly lacked the forward windows for additional 12.7mm Browning machineguns, which means it actually lacked 4 machineguns total compared to a standard B-17G. Finally it should be noted that this aircraft carried domestic IMI G.P bombs, mainly carrying 50 kg and 250 kg bombs. The carriage was both in the main bomb bay as well as bomb racks located on the wing roots with 4 hangers per wing each being able to carry up to a 250 kg bomb, Giving this aircraft a very impressive carriage capacity.

 

1635365858_Screenshot2022-10-28000414.jp  - Gunners getting ready to board B-17G 1623. Note the roof, waist and ball turrets.

 

809257787_radarB-17.jpg.56e56abc9266160d

 

Specifications

 

 

Type:  Heavy bomber

 

Country of origin:  USA (modified in Israel)

 

Length:  22.66 meters

 

Height: 5.82 meters

 

Wingspan: 31.63 meters

 

Wing area: 131.92 sq.m

 

Powerplants:  4 x Wright R-1820-65 Cyclone engines delivering 1,200 hp each

 

Max speed: 510 km/h

 

Max altitude:  10,850 meters

 

Range: 2,900 km

 

Weight: Empty - 14,840 kg, Fully loaded - 32,660 kg

 

Armaments: 9x12.7mm M2 Browning machineguns (compared to a standard B-17G configuration it's all but the chin turret and the viewing windows in the nose), 2,700 - 5,800 kg of bombs carried both in the bomb hanger and on 8 bomb racks below the wing roots with 4 below each wing. Bomb types carried were IMI G.P bombs including 50 kg and 250 kg bombs (fully confirmed) and likely also 100 kg and 500 kg bombs (requires further confirmation).

 

Additional systems: AN/APS-4 air-to-air and air-to-ground search radar.

 

 

 

Sources

 

Edited by yoyolast
Added illustration
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  • yoyolast changed the title to Boeing B-17G (AN/APS-4), Radar equipped B-17 over Sinai
  • Suggestion Moderator

Open for discussion :)

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Personally i'll make this an researchable/selectable upgrade to the B-17G that Israel already has similar to how you can select and de-select armour packages on the BMP's

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Not sure how useful this would be in all honesty, but it gets a major +1.  Not only is it a unique modification but it would really help flesh out Israel's prop aircraft line.

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  • Suggestion Moderator
1 hour ago, Milocat said:

Not sure how useful this would be in all honesty, but it gets a major +1.  Not only is it a unique modification but it would really help flesh out Israel's prop aircraft line.

I suggested it more so for reasons of "fleshing out" rather than usefulness. Israel is currently limited to just a single heavy bomber in the game with the B-17G which makes it a lot less diverse in that regard compared to other nations. While the aircraft I suggested is also a B-17 (again, lack of choice for this nation) it brings enough differentiating qualities which could make it interesting to play over the regular B-17 and in general adds more options to the tree. It also gives the gunner crew skills in this tree an ever so slight increase in usefulness which at the moment is almost completely lacking.

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  • Senior Suggestion Moderator

Suggestion passed to the developers for consideration.

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