“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 41-9011


43rd Bomb Group Lost by enemy aircraft

Delivered Minneapolis 11/3/42; Assigned 19BG Hawaii; transferred 64BS/43BG; detailed attack Rapopo Fd but damaged by Japanese night fighter, crashed near Duvira, St Georges Channel, New Britain 21/5/43 with Capt Joe Geddes, Co-pilot: Leon King, Navigator: Bill Bujold, Bombardier: Leslie Neuman*, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Bill Moore, Lt Saul Albert, Emil Gentry, Ernie Burnside*, John Mulligan*, John Honold, Bob George*. (11KIA – all bailed but * later executed); Written off 22/5/43.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 41-9032 / My Gal Sal

41-9032 / My Gal Sal

97th Bomb Group Crashlanding

Assigned 414BS/97BG Presque Is; from Goose Bay, force landed Bluie West One, Greenland en route UK 26/6/42, with 2Lt.Ralph H.Stinson, Co-pilot: 2Lt. Wilson N. McGough, Lt Kenneth Bright, TSgt John R. Patrick, Radio Operator: SSgt Tomas K. Laskowski, Radio Operator: Cpl Wayne S. Heckhendorn, G-Chas Chapman, Gunner -Steven K. Brening, Gunner -Harvey Gordon, pass-Capt Wendell Freeman, (10 Returned to Duty); Salvaged. MY GAL SAL. Remains were brought out in 1995, to USC, Cincinnati, Ohio, for a static restoration. Formerly at Ultimate Sacrifice Memorial, Blue Ash Airport, Cincinnati. On January 1, 2017, on static display at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA. MY GAL SAL.

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