“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 41-2476


19th Bomb Group7th Bomb Group 9th Bomb Squadron Lost by enemy aircraft

Delivered McChord 24/12/41; Assigned 19BG Malang, Java 26/1/42 with Capt Walt Sparks; transferred 9BS/7BG; while on mission to Balikpapan and return to Malang AF, shot down & crashed in sea off SE Borneo 29/1/42 with Capt Walt Sparks, Co-pilot: Major Stan Robinson, Navigator: Rich Cease, Bombardier: Bill Biggs, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Gordon Drake, Obs-Lt Jack Loughlin, Ball turret gunner: Lloyd Terrell,Tail gunner: Chas Pritchard, (8 Killed in Action) Radio Operator: and crew all KIA.

B-17 #41-9043 / Peggy D aka Little Rock-ette

41-9043 / Peggy D aka Little Rock-ette

381st Bomb Group92nd Bomb Group97th Bomb Group 534th Bomb Squadron

Assigned 342BS/97BG Polebrook 3/42 PEGGY D on co-pilot’s side; with Capt Bill Musselwhite on 1st 8AF mission 17/8/42; 92BG Bovingdon /9/42; transferred 534BS/381BG [GD-A1] Ridgewell 7/43 as hack & tow target; to 2SAD 21/8/43 and ret 24/8/43 used to collect bodies from Isle of Man tragedy 25/4/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Altus 29/10/45. LITTLE ROCK-ETTE.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 41-2433


11th Bomb Group7th Bomb Group 26th Bomb Squadron

Delivered Salt Lake SAD 30/11/41; Assigned 88RS/7BG [aircraft 25] flew into Pearl Harbor during Japanese attack 7/12/41 with Harry Brandon, Lt Bob Ramsey, Avn Cdt Harry Snider, T/Sgt Jim Helton, S/Sgt Dave Barnard, S/Sgt Ralph Mouser, Sgt Wayne Johnson, Pvt Bill Sutton; 11BG Hickam 30/4/42, force landed Bellows Fd with R.D. Steppe 18/5/42; repaired & transferred 7BG and 26BS/11BG Espiritu Santo & Henderson; with Bob Smith on search mission over Guadalcanal damaged by H6K5 Mavis flying boat flown by Lt Tsuneo Hitsuji 21/11/42; Returned to the USA 1/9/44 Hendricks; Yuma 31/10/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Albuquerque 25/6/45.

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