“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 41-2437


11th Bomb Group 98th Bomb Squadron

Delivered Salt Lake SAD 2/12/41; Assigned 98BS/11BG Hickam 25/10/42; with Lt Hughey, Co-pilot: Gilbert Erb flew from Longreach, Aus. To 7 Mile Drome, Port Moresby; eventually ret. to Aus, Written off 15/6/44. (Figured in Midway TV Documentary.)

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 41-2456


19th Bomb Group7th Bomb Group Lost by enemy aircraft

Delivered McChord 17/12/41; Assigned 19BG Java 18/1/42 with Duane Skiles; transferred 7BG, shot down at sea near Surabaya, Borneo 8/2/42 with Capt John Dufrane, R. Negley, S. Patillo, W. Burney, J. Coleman, Pfc H. Ellis, Sgt L. Keightley. Missing Air Crew Report 16154.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 41-2466


19th Bomb Group7th Bomb Group

Delivered Geiger 25/12/41; Assigned 93BS/19BG Java 21/1/42 with Preston; then 7BG, strafed Bandoeng, DEI 19/2/42; Salvaged. (?One source reveals destroyed on ground at Malang, Java 3/2/42?).

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