B-17E Flying Fortress Attacks IJN Soryu

Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Soryu circles to avoid bomb hits from Flight 92, a Boeing (Lockheed-built) B-17E Flying Fortress composite group of the the 31st and 431st Bomb Squadrons, 38th Bomb Group, 7th Air Force; led by USAAF Lieutenant Colonel Walter C. Sweeney, Junior. The enthusiastic but unexperienced B-17E crews claimed several hits, despite attacking without coordination and splitting up their fifteen planes against three targets. While they had several near-misses they did not score any hits. Aerial reconnaissance photos like this one were critical to identifying targets for later attack missions throughout the war. Only the heavy bombers like the B-17 and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator had the range in the Pacific to make long distance flights to gather intelligence. While high hopes were placed in this B-17 attack, high level bombing against ships was shown to not be an effective method.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Library of Congress
Date Photographed: 
Thursday, June 4, 1942
20,000 Feet Over IJN Soryu
Battle of Midway