“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 #41-9042 / The Berlin Sleeper

41-9042 / The Berlin Sleeper

303rd Bomb Group92nd Bomb Group97th Bomb Group 325th Bomb Squadron342nd Bomb Squadron359th Bomb Squadron Landing accident

Delivered ?; Assigned 342BS/97BG Polebrook 3/42 as THE BERLIN SLEEPER; with Lt George D.Burgess took part in 1st 8AF mission 17/8/42; transferred 325BS/92BG [NV-T/B] Bovingdon 9/42; force landed Hendon with Alan Hermance 16/10/42 Missing Air Crew Report 190; transferred 359BS/303BG [BN-V] Molesworth as RIDGE RUNNER; landing accident Alconbury with K.M. Bowen 10/2/43; Honington RG 22/4/43; 403 AD RG Langford Lodge 6/5/43; AFSC 26/7/43; Written off 20/5/45. THE BERLIN SLEEPER.

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