The B-24 Liberator and the B-29 Superfortress which are HORROR stories of mismanagement, bad aircraft design, and bungled management by the AAC and private industry, are much worse than the B-17 as to their development histories.
Well... the USAAC deployed the B-29 with the Wright R-3350-22-23 series of engines which NEVER were properly fixed, that had the same explode in flight and blow the wing off potential problems. THAT is what a professional air force will do to get the job done. Risks and aircraft liabilities, that even the crazy Luftwaffe refused to accept, the USAAC did.
Note that the USAAF made do with training to work around the problems with flying horrors like the A-26? Once the USAAC figured out how to fly those pilot-killers, they passed on the lessons learned to the allies.
Your argument is that a fighter plane needs to be able to perform many different types of missions to be considered great. This is somewhat akin to the debates about fighter missions over the last thirty or so years. ( Should we buy a small and in-expensive, or a larger more versatile plane?) The results of that question so far makes your point in that the heavier and more versatile of the two/three planes under consideration is chosen. ( F-15E over the F-16XL, Eurofighter Typhoon over Rafale, etc...)
This can also be seen in WW-II in the debate between the various "Interceptors" Vs the American Heavy Weights!
Primacy of that criteria would lead to choosing the P-47 over the Spitfire 24.
So my question is, "How much weight should we put on the multi mission ability of the plane to set it's grade?"
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