Soviet Use of the B-17

Although the Soviet utilization of the Boeing B-29 as the basis for development of its postwar long-range bomber force is well known, this was not the first attempt by Stalin to procure a Boeing bomber to use as a template for his own forces. The B-17 Flying Fortress had been sought by the Russians from early on, and although formal supply of the type was denied, even after the war began, a substantial number of force-landed B-17s were eventually recovered by Soviet forces, and many of these were made airworthy again.

Although by that time obsolete and far from the intercontinental range bomber that Stalin desired to counter his ostensible allies and soon to be adversaries across the Iron Curtain, the B-17 did give Soviet airmen experience with an American style heavy bomber, something that would prove useful in a few years as Tu-4 copies of the B-29 began entering service. U.S. Aircraft in the Soviet Union & Russia provides six photos of Soviet Forts, and two color profiles of "acquired" G-models wearing the Red Star.

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