“Big Tail”

The first of the “Big Ass” B-17’s arrived England to equip the US 8th Air Force in July 1942. All the planes had been modified with enlarged gun windows and 0.50-calibre guns on either side of the nose. Further modifications were made to them after they were operational including work on the radio, bomb rack, lighting, oxygen, extinguisher and survival systems. By the time the B-17E had been shipped across the Atlantic, newer models were already coming off the Boeing production line. In fact, the B-17E was only on full combat status for just over two weeks before the appearance of the B-17F’s

The B-17E was not used in great numbers for combat because the F model was so different in performance that it made joint operations, using both planes unlikely. The B-17E took a back seat and was eventually esed as a trainer, a transport and a target-tower. With its armaments removed it could give better handling and speed.

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Random B-17s of this version and their fates

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 41-9210


Delivered Minneapolis 21/5/42; Wright for avionics work 30/6/42; Minneapolis 11/10/42; Wright 5/3/43; Midland 21/6/43; 1454 BU Minneapolis 21/9/43; 4000 BU Wright 30/5/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Minneapolis 29/10/45. Canada CF-1CB (Civil 9920N/5842N); Bolivia CP-753 at La Paz for freight haulage 23/7/64; Returned to the USA as N8WJ to Fort Lauderdale for restoration in 1990. Currently with Flying Heritage Collection, Arlington, Va., for a possible flying restoration project.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 41-9030 / Big Punk

41-9030 / Big Punk

305th Bomb Group92nd Bomb Group97th Bomb Group 414th Bomb Squadron

Assigned 414BS/97BG MacDill, FL, force landed base with Joe Bernhardt 27/3/42; Grenier, NH with Bill Saunders force landed Buhl, ID 15/6/42; Polebrook 3/42; with Lt. William P. Saunders took part in 8AF 1st raid 17/8/42; transferred 92BG Bovingdon 4/12/42; 310FySqd then 305BG Chelveston /11/43; 27 ATG; 3 SAD Watton, Written off 25/5/45. BIG PUNK.

B-17 #41-9020 / Phyllis aka Tugboat Annie

41-9020 / Phyllis aka Tugboat Annie

303rd Bomb Group Salvaged

Assigned 340BS/97BG Polebrook 3/42 as PHYLLIS; col with 41-9051, rep; 92BG Bovingdon 8/42; 303BG Molesworth 1/5/43 and was painted in bright colours as a formation ship; 2SAD Lt Staughton 19/7/44; on cross country trip from Molesworth to Kings Cliffe 23/7/44, with Major Louis Shulstad, Co-pilot: Capt Harry McDaniel, but pilot raised u/c in error in landing (2 Returned to Duty); Salvaged n/battle damaged 27/7/45. PHYLLIS aka TUGBOAT ANNIE (Used as hack by Gp HQ.)

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