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The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress in Foreign Service

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress in Foreign Service Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review June 2019 Title The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress in Foreign Service
Author Jan Forsgren Publisher Mushroom Model Publications
Published 2019 ISBN 9788365958211
Format 112 pages, hardbound MSRP (GBP) £20.00


By 1945, over 12,700 Boeing B-17 variants were manufactured. And aside from those provided to the UK, less than 100 “in all” saw service by “air arms across the world”.

Now in 14 picture-packed, alphabetically arranged chapters, Jan Forsgren surveys those users in The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress in Foreign Service from MMP Books:

  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Dominican republic
  • France
  • Germany
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Portugal
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan (Republic of China)
  • USSR
  • Yugoslavia

Only Israel employed B-17s for bombing and attack roles. Surprisingly designated “Dornier Do 200”, Nazi Germany’s captured examples dropped agents – not bombs. And fully armed Dominican Republic Flying Fortresses largely served as symbolic deterrents.

Lots more fascinating facts tincture text.

Did you know, for instance, that 2 November 1956 marked history’s last B-17 bombing mission – an Israeli raid on Sharm el Sheikh at the southernmost tip of Egypt’s Sinai peninsula? And did you know that, “after the USAAF/USAF, the RAF and the US Navy”, the Soviet Union was the “fourth-largest military operator of the Boeing B-17”?

Eighteen beautifully executed color plates by the ever-excellent Juanita Franzi sample the swath of international Flying Fortress livery. Three color shots further augment the account. And a “Color and Markings” section and selected bibliography complete coverage.

But according to Air Enthusiast 50 (May to July, 1993 pp. 8f), Argentina also operated two, ex-RCAF B-17Es – civil registered LV-RTP and LV-RTO. And that’s definitely a Martin 139 – not a 166 – in the top photo, page 67.

I really enjoyed this handy history. Make it your launchpad for further study of international Boeing B-17s.


With thanks to MMP for the review copy.