“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 #41-9244 / Honi Kuu Okole

41-9244 / Honi Kuu Okole

19th Bomb Group43rd Bomb Group 64th Bomb Squadron Lost by enemy aircraft

Delivered Cheyenne 29/5/42; slated RAF but transferred 72BS/5BG Hawaii 6/8/42; transferred 19BG Australia; transferred 64BS/43BG at Seven Mile Fd, PNG; shot down by night fighter over Gazelle Peninsula, Rabual 21/5/43 with Major Paul Williams, Co-pilot: John Rippy, Navigator: Rich Aguirre,ettg-Bob Gills, Radio Operator: Ed Driscoll, Ball turret gunner: Bill Smith, Waist gunner: Bob Curry,Tail gunner: Joe Murray, pass-Lt Bob Heller (380BG) (10 Killed in Action); Bombardier: Gordon Manuel (later Returned to Duty). Missing Air Crew Report 2459. HONI KUU OKOLE. (Hawaiian for Kiss My Ass!)

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 41-9041

41-9041

Delivered Palm Beach 22/3/42; Assigned 6AF 21/4/42; Panama 14/6/42; Guatemala 6/7/42; Returned to the USA 9/8/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Altus 4/9/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 41-9243

41-9243

Delivered Cheyenne 2/6/42; Wayne 25/6/42; Houlton 11/7/42; Gander-Prestwick 12/8/42 with George Oberdorf to RAF [FL449]; 220 Sq (NR-O) Benbecula, Scot. 26/8/43; Azores 24/10/43; then 519 Sq (Z9-F) Wick, Scot. 18/12/44; (attch 51 MU 1/10/45;) Struck Off Charge 31/7/47.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 41-2486 / Lady Lou

41-2486 / Lady Lou

19th Bomb Group43rd Bomb Group 30th Bomb Squadron64th Bomb Squadron

Delivered Langley 31/12/41; Assigned 64BS/43BG Java 7/2/42 with Beck; (used in McArthur’s 1st rescue attempt-aborted); transferred 30BS/19BG RAAF Pearce, Aus. 1/3/42; then 9BS/7BG; Daly Waters, Aus 5/42; Returned to the USA Pyote, Tex 10/42; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Altus 4/10/45. LADY LOU. [aircraft m/card Project X 20/2/42; Nasal 20/5/42; Hamilton 19/11/42; Pocatello 28/11/42; Pyote 30/1/43; La Junta, Col. 1/8/43; Lockbourn 7/8/43; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Altus 4/10/45.

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