Swedish Fortresses: The Boeing F-17 in Civil and Military Service
Hardback, 128 Pages, 8 ½ x 11”, Plus 8 16” x 23” poster sized double sides sheets showing profile drawings in 1/48 and 1/72 scale in separate packet, labeled “not to be sold separately”
This book answers a couple of often asked questions (1) what happened to the battled damaged USAAF B-17’s and crews that diverted to Sweden rather than accepting the hospitality of the Luftwaffe?, and (2) how were these planes acquired by the Swedes and used after the war? This is a fascinating story that answers a lot of questions, but still leaves a few open, such as “Why did the Swedes use B-17’s when the B-24 and C-87’s would have been a better choice for their purposes?”
During the course of the war, a number of B-17’s, along with other types, diverted to neutral Sweden after sustaining considerable battle damage preventing their return to England. Most of these planes landed intact, and very few were destroyed by their crews. Other types included B-24’s, P-51’s, a Lockheed F-5, and a deHavilland Mosquito. In addition, three C-87 Liberator transports somehow made it to Sweden. Although the crews were eventually repatriated back to the UK after only a short internment, the planes remained. The Swedes, however, decided to use the B-17’s as the basis for their projected expansion of their national airline, pending the availability of Douglas C-54’s, which they knew would be available once the war was over. They negotiated with the US government to purchase nine of the B-17’s, and set about modifying them for airline use. The Saab Company did the conversions on seven of the aircraft, which involved removal of all military equipment and installation of passenger accommodations and windows. The other two were retained as sources of spare parts. They were redesignated “F-17” by the Swedes.
Although Swedish service was brief, it was the only time that the B-17 bomber was used in regularly scheduled airline service, which began even while the war was still in progress, flying the route between Sweden and England, carrying passengers and Swedish ball bearings for the Allied war effort. Later, Swedish “F-17’s” were flown to the USA and such places as Ethiopia. Following the end of the war, when the planes were finally taken out of service, several were sold to Denmark, and one wound up as a survey plane in France. This one was later discovered to be B-17G “Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby”, a bomber with a long combat record, and this plane was eventually retrieved and returned to the USA, where it has been restored and is now on display in the Air Force Museum at Wright Field, being one of three preserved Fortresses with a distinguished combat history.
This book, like all Mushroom publications I have read, tells a fascinating story. It contains numerous good quality photos, and a detailed individual history of each airplane. There is no color in the book, but not to worry. A supplemental packet is included with the book, containing no less than EIGHT 16” 23” double sided sheets containing photos and very highly detailed 1/72 and 1/48 scale color drawings and profiles. These are extremely well done, and should provide an excellent reference for anyone wishing to model any of these historic aircraft. If you have any interest in this chapter in aviation history, this book, along with its supplement, will be an essential addition to your library. Don’t miss out on this one. Highly recommended.
Thanks to Dr. Roger M. Wallsgrove, of Mushroom Model Publications, IPMS-USA, for the review copy.