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


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.

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.


Random B-17G from database

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-38077


Delivered Denver 3/12/43; Savannah 21/12/43; Assigned 353BS/301BG Lucera 4/1/44; {13m} Missing in Action Verona 22/3/44 with Ollie Campbell, Cockman, Linskey, Plants, Chamberlain, Diamont, Metcalf, Olson (9 Prisoner of War); Vogler (Killed in Action). Flak, exploded over target, crashed Verona, It. Missing Air Crew Report 3303.

B-17 #44-8677 / Deanna D

44-8677 / Deanna D

Delivered Cheyenne 22/11/44; Hunter 2/12/44; Grenier 4/1/45; Assigned 326BS/92BG [JW-O] Podington 5/2/45; transferred 306BG Thurleigh 7/5/45; Disney missions, Salvaged 9AF Germany 23/10/46. DEANNA D.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-106997 / Blondie

42-106997 / Blondie

Delivered Cheyenne 21/1/44; Gr Island 3/2/44; Morrison 9/3/44; Assigned 816BS/483BG Sterparone 13/3/44; transferred 348BS/99BG Tortorella 31/3/44; Missing in Action {33m} Blechhammer 7/7/44 with Hackney, Schneider, Ungar, Palmer, Portney, Grubb, Hanney, Mello, Carleton, D’Amborsi (10 Killed in Action); mid air coll with 42-32036, shearing off ‘997 tail, crashed near Manfredonia; BLONDIE.

B-17 #44-6293 / Peggy aka Sunkist Sue

44-6293 / Peggy aka Sunkist Sue

Delivered Kearney 26/6/44; Dow Fd 9/7/44; Assigned 401BS/91BG [LL-A] Bassingbourn 22/7/44 PEGGY {20+m}; Returned to the USA Bradley 12/6/45; Sth Plains 14/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 5/12/45. {2m} SUNKIST SUE.

B-17 #43-39092


Delivered Lincoln 30/11/44; Grenier 15/12/44; Assigned: 748BS/457BG [Z] Glatton 21/3/45; Returned to US: Bradley 4/6/45; 4168 BU Sth Plains 6/6/45; Scrapped: Kingman 17/12/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-83878


Delivered & Assigned US Navy Johnsville 13/7/45 as PB-1W {77241}; Norfolk 20/9/45; Assigned VPB-101 Floyd Bennett Fd 10/45; re-designated VX-4 Quonset Pt 1948; NADS Norfolk for special AN/APS-35 radar trials 10/5/49; Patuxent River 27/9/52; Litchfield Pk 3/12/53; SO 1/55.

B-17 #42-97289 / Haughty Hazy II

42-97289 / Haughty Hazy II

Delivered Cheyenne 15/2/44; Rapid City 5/3/44; Dow Fd 14/4/44; Assigned 398BG Nuthampstead 22/4/44; no ops, transferred 561BS/388BG [ -Q] Knettishall 28/4/44; (18m) on return from Merseburg 29/7/44 with Gene Peterson, Co-pilot: Victor Locke, Navigator: Bill Kimmel, Bombardier: Benone Terrano, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Joe Scuglik, Radio Operator: Carl Meyer, Ball turret gunner: Leon Devenpeck, Waist gunner: Dave Rosser,Tail gunner: Norman Jockers (9 Returned to Duty); crash landed base, Salvaged 30/7/44. HAUGHTY HAZY II.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-3509 / Crystal Ball

42-3509 / Crystal Ball

Delivered Denver 15/7/43; Redmond, Or, 15/8/43; Assigned 511BS/351BG [DS-Z] Polebrook 25/9/43; Missing in Action {12m} Brunswick 30/1/44 with Chas Robertson, Co-pilot: Bob Robbins, Navigator: Milton Kaplan, Bombardier: Earl Holmes, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Henry James, Radio Operator: Bill Delaney, Ball turret gunner: Lloyd Gabriel, Waist gunner: Norris Stewart,Tail gunner: Earl Winburn (9 Prisoner of War); Waist gunner: Emil Ambrose (KIA-chute failed); flak ko’d #4, although four P-47s turned up to escort him home, Robertson crashed near kerosene harbor, Enschede, Hol; Missing Air Crew Report 2262. CRYSTAL BALL.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-97609


Delivered Denver 5/1/44; Hendricks 21/1/44; 3501 BU Boca Raton 28/11/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 22/2/46.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-31624 / Joker

42-31624 / Joker

Delivered Denver 28/11/43; Gt Falls 1/12/43; Kearney 19/12/43; Romulus 31/12/43; Presque Is 5/1/44; Assigned: 338BS/96BG [BX-X] Snetterton 12/1/44; MIA Brunswick 23/3/44 Pilot: Herb Taylor, Co-Pilot: Bill Jennings, Navigator: Jim Craig, Bombardier: Ken Nelson, Engineer / Top Turret Gunner: Leroy Kratz, Radio Operator: Frank Delgado, Ball Turret Gunner: Bob Carlson, Waist Gunner: Elbert Jenkins, Waist Gunner: John Perry, Tail Gunner: Hyram Jameyson (10POW); flak KO’d #3 & #4 over Ruhr Valley, on return crashed Schaijk, near Oss, Hol. MACR 3427. JOKER.