Skip to main content

Overrated? Underrated?

June 2024
1min read

Fredric Smoler must know that calling the B-17 bomber overrated is risky. He limited his opinion to the question of whether it met its design criteria. In the opinion of this B-17 pilot who flew over Germany and France and back thirty-two times, the B-17 far exceeded whatever the designers may have had in mind. As for the capability of the B-17—and its guns were a basic part, especially when massed in close formation—well, ask the German fighters. Our B-17s brought a big bunch of aircrews home, for which I am forever grateful.

Overrated? Ha! Fred, were you an envious B-24 pilot?

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.