B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies B-17G

Improvements

The B-17G was the latst production model of the “Flying Fortress” and was manufactured in the greates numbers.

B-17G mit Kinnturm // Wikipedia Commons [Public Domain]

B-17G mit Kinnturm // Wikipedia Commons [Public Domain]

In effect, the B-17G was the B-17F with the powered Bedinx chin turret fitted under the nose section. Design modifications included the Minneapolis-Honeywell electric turbo-supercharger regulators allowing manifold pressure, or boost, to be controlled by one control knob for all four engines. the pilot no longer had to worry about over-revving turbines or having to constantly tweak power controls to stop oil in regulator lines becoming sluggish. Another major difference was that the waist gunners were given anenclosure that protected them from the icy temperatures of high altitude with the position of the guns staggered to give them more room to manoeuvre. The tail gun position was also improved allowing a wider field of fire, a reflector sight, and hand held guns.

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Chenyenne-Turret // http://www.americanairmuseum.com/media/4381 // CC-BY-NC 3.0

Chenyenne-Turret // http://www.americanairmuseum.com/media/4381 // CC-BY-NC 3.0

However, the new model B-17 also experienced its own operating difficulties. When fired at maximum elevation, the chin turret guns had a tendency to crack the plexiglass nose; a problem was solved by fitting blast barrels to each gun. The oil cooler regulator often failed to operate and could result in complete engine seizure. The ability to feather the propeller blades, in event of engine failture, was lost in the B-17G because the standpipe that held back sufficient oil to work the feathering tank was sacrificed in the quest for a lighter aircraft. This was a major design error and meant that, by the winter of 1943, the lack of feathering was a major reason for bomber loss. Urgent request were made by Groups for special modifications kits but it was only in September 1944 that B-17G’s arrived with these modifications built-in.

Fatal Error

Another serious problem on the B-17G was the lack of an engine fire extinguisher system. Designers had believed that it was ineffective so had left it out of the new model. In reality, the system had worked well and it was requested by Bomber Groups that it be re-introduced as soon as possible.

B-17G im Flug // http://www.americanairmuseum.com/media/2433 // CC-BY-NC 3.0

B-17G im Flug // http://www.americanairmuseum.com/media/2433 // CC-BY-NC 3.0

The B-17G was still tail heavy with the same centre of gravity problems as earlier models. However, by May 1944, when long-range fighter esort was effective defensive protection, gunners were not as busy as before and it was decided that one waist gunner be dispensed with. The radio romm gun, the least used in action, was got also rid of and the quanity of ammunition carried reduced. All these measures brought the centre of gravity nearer th a more acceptable position. In the las month of the war, when there was little enemy fighter activity, some Combat Wings flew without waist guns, ball turrets or chin turrets. Operational reports revealed an estimated 25mph increase in airspeed with the improved streamlining. In this period of the war flak batteries were a greater hazard than fighters and unneccesary gunner armor plate was removed to be replaced with laminated steel and canvas plates called “flak curtains”.

In total, the 8th Air Force received 6,500 B-17G’s. In March 1945, it could send 2,370 of them into combat operations. At the end of the war a total 1,301 B-17G’s had been shot down or reported missing in action.

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Random B-17G from database

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-31602

42-31602

Delivered Denver 28/11/43; Cheyenne 20/12/43; Gr Island 24/12/43; Romulus 20/1/44; Grenier 29/1/44; Presque Is 5/2/44; Assigned: 364BS/305BG Chelveston 22/2/44; MIA Pas de Calais 23/3/44 Pilot: Edmund Forrest, Navigator: Bill Weeks, Bombardier: Bob Donovan, Radio Operator: Don Kosich, Ball Turret Gunner: Joe Rushing, Waist Gunner: Bill Kurtz, Waist Gunner: Bill Stoner, Tail Gunner: Earl Royer (8POW); Co-Pilot: Dick Lamie, Engineer / Top Turret Gunner: Bob Sandusky (2EVD); Enemy aircraft, crashed along Zelham-Halle road, Hol; MACR 3431.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-97292 / Bachelor’s Bride

42-97292 / Bachelor’s Bride

Delivered Cheyenne 16/2/44; Gr Island 2/3/44; Grenier 22/3/44; Assigned 322BS/91BG [LG-C] Bassingbourn 7/4/44; Missing in Action 3+m Toulouse 25/6/44 with Farrall Goodrich, Co-pilot: Stan Spencer, Navigator: John Smith, Bombardier: Harry Kurras, ttg-Bill Zura, Radio Operator: Jesse CragheadWounded in Action, Ball turret gunner: Bill FannWounded in Action, Waist gunner: Edwin Braun,Tail gunner: John Callaghan (9INT); flak KO’d #4 before enemy aircraft hit #2 & #3, force landed uphill in Spanish meadow, La Campa de Erandio, Sondico, ten miles NE of Bilbao, Spain; Missing Air Crew Report 6545. BACHELOR’S BRIDE.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-8969

44-8969

Delivered Cheyenne 24/2/45; Dorval 4/3/45; To RAF [KL 836]; 223 Sq 6G-Z Oulton, Nfk.; Struck Off Charge 11/3/47.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-8232 / Lil Doll

44-8232 / Lil Doll

Delivered Dallas 14/7/44; Langley 22/8/44; Dow Fd 5/10/44; Assigned 49BS/2BG PFF Amendola 10/10/44; {11m} transferred 352BS/301BG Lucera 13/12/44; Salvaged 9AF Germany 10/5/46.

B-17 #42-97385 / Shady Lady

42-97385 / Shady Lady

Delivered Cheyenne 24/2/44; Sheridan 12/3/44; Grenier 14/4/44; Assigned 601BS/398BG [3O-X] Nuthampstead 4/5/44; (49m) Missing in Action Ludwigshafen 8/9/44 with Warren Wade, Ball turret gunner: Wilbert Burns,Tail gunner: Gene Gamba (3KIA, shot in an escape attempt); Co-pilot: Theo Prevost, Navigator: Burt BreamWounded in Action, Radio Operator: John Rex, Waist gunner: Harrison Brooks (4 Prisoner of War); Bombardier: Bill Howell, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Bob Ritter (2 evaded capture); mech fault, #1 & #2 feathered, crashed Prunier, SW of Dieuze, E of Nancy, Fr; Salvaged 5 SAD Merville, Fr, 29/3/45. Missing Air Crew Report 8605. SHADY LADY.

B-17 #42-37894 / Pegasus IV

42-37894 / Pegasus IV

Delivered Denver 29/9/43; Gr Island 23/10/43; Assigned 334BS/95BG [BG-L] Horham 11/11/43; with C.E. Cyrik force landed RAF base, all OK 12/5/44; on return from mission, with engine out and other problems (42m) 10/6/44 with Vernon Sherwood, Co-pilot: Willis Homes, Navigator: Gerald Dubors, Bombardier: Dick Teeple, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Don Moore, Radio Operator: Carl Parks, Ball turret gunner: Ferdi Weaver, Waist gunner: Bill Ohl, Waist gunner: Socrates Troumpoles,Tail gunner: Larry Hereford (10 Returned to Duty); crash landed Bovingdon AF, UK, off the end of runway, through an orchard and several hedges, but no injuries; salvaged 12/6/44. PEGASUS IV.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-85588

44-85588

Delivered Louisville 28/3/45; Sth Plains 4/4/45; Nashville 3/7/45; 4000 BU Wright 19/2/46; re-ass 31/3/47; Recl Comp 17/4/47.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-102828

42-102828

Delivered Cheyenne 8/4/44; 488BG MacDill 23/4/44; 326 BU MacDill, with Jack Walker crashed 30 miles N of Key West, FL 7/8/44; W/O 9/8/44.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-83467

44-83467

Delivered Tulsa 13/3/45; Sth Plains 28/4/45; 200 BU Peterson 29/10/45; with Harry Staley force landed Perterson 31/7/46; 326 BU MacDill 31/12/46; 233 BU Fort Worth 16/1/47; re-ass 31/3/47; 39 BU Fort Worth 5/5/47; 4121 BU Kelly 7/5/47; 4136 BU Tinker 1/4/48; Recl Comp 23/3/49.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-37991

43-37991

Delivered Cheyenne 13/6/44; Kearney 25/6/44; Dow Fd 9/7/44; Assigned 487BG Lavenham 8/7/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 11/7/45; 4185 BU Independence 12/7/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 15/1/46.