What to Expect When Flying the B-17 in War Thunder:
5 .50 cals hitting your tail will manage to sever 14 stringers, destroy all of the structural webbing, explode all 4 structural longerons, resulting in your tail falling off. Two or three German 20 mm cannons will manage to destroy all four large structural beams in the wing, explode two engines, set both wings on fire, kill the copilot, and kill the ball turret. One or two small caliber machine gun bullets are powerful enough to rip through 3 sections of armor plating (plus all of the structural aluminum and webbing) from behind to kill both the pilot and copilot in one go. If you're lucky, one of those small caliber bullets will instead rip off your entire elevator, by destroying not only the thick structural round beam, but also all of the structural stringers and webbing. Or, maybe it will explode one of the engines after setting your wing on fire, by travelling through inches of rubber and self-sealing foam, fuel tanks, and structural metal, to finally hit the thick steel casing of the engine supercharger, right after it passes through about a foot of steel and copper. Of course, the foam in the self sealing tanks must be imaginary, because you will always catch on fire, and never put it out. Maybe you could just use the fire extinguishers designed to put out engine fires? Nope, they just don't exist in WT.
But, remember, you also won't be up against fighters that fought the B-17 you're in. You'll be fighting all manners of jets, maybe some turboprops, and of course, planes that only existing in tiny numbers and never saw combat against the B-17.In your B-17E, you can expect to see the FW-190-A5, the Yak 9P, Seafire Mk. XVII (Mark 17), the Ki-84 ko or J5N1, the Bf-109-G-14, and possibly even the S.O.8000 Narval. By the way, the Narval was first built in 1949 as competition to jets. And your B-17E will likely face this plane, built 8 years later. Yes, that's right, a prewar bomber is up against a postwar jet competitor. What you should actually be seeing are planes such as early model Bf109s, early Japanese Zeroes, early Spitfires, and LaGGs. If we corrected the Battle Rating for historical accuracy, the B-17E would be around 2.3 (yes, 3 BR lower than it is right now). Even if you were up against your own level, the one or two rounds that it takes to kill you would easily reach you long before your gunners ever engaged.
God forbid you try to fly the B-17G, you'll be up against the FW-190-A5/U12, the Yak15, Griffon Spitfires, Ki83s, the G.56, and of course, the Me262. At least most of these ones have some validity, but you'll see why it remains ludicrous in the following section.
Let's not forget about your altitude either. You will be flying at about 1/3 the combat altitude you should be at, giving the jets and turboprops plenty of time to get high above you before you even get halfway to target. Think you can climb? Nope. Maybe you could deal with this in a combat box or with fighters escorting above, but you will have neither, because you will be one of a few B-17s, each of which takes a different route, and your fighters aren't fast enough to catch up to you.
Maybe the enemy fighters will be distracted or just not care about you, which is your best case scenario. You will make it to the target, drop everything, and destroy 75% of the base. Yep, you've got to go back and land before you take off for the target again! Of course, this time, you won't even be able to climb to 1/12th of your proper combat height, so good luck! Don't think you'll make it back to your own base, though. Usually your team sucks and get destroyed by the jets as well, leaving you to fend for yourself. See above for what happens there. Realistically, it won't even be the enemy fighters that kill you in your best case scenario. It will be the flak. You will be over target, when all of a sudden all four engines are leaking badly, and half your gunners are hurt. No, there is no way to avoid this. Most likely, the badly damaged engines which have been known to fly back home over 7 hours will instead die mid flight after about 5 minutes. You'll be left in a crippled plane, all alone, drifting back home. Then, a nice helpful enemy jet will pilot snipe you.
That, in short, is what it's like to fly the B-17 in War Thunder, and what you can expect.
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