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 44-83253

44-83253

Delivered Hunter 14/1/45; Grenier 30/1/45; Assigned 8AF 8/2/45; Returned to the USA Bradley 10/7/45; Sth Plains 14/7/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 16/11/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-85780

44-85780

Delivered Dallas 8/6/45; Rome 12/7/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Altus 5/11/45.

B-17 #42-31066 / Dixie Baby aka Fools Rush In

42-31066 / Dixie Baby aka Fools Rush In

Delivered Cheyenne 14/9/43; Scott 29/9/43; Assigned 351BS/100BG [EP-H] Thorpe Abbotts 4/10/43; Missing in Action Hamburg 31/12/44 with Floyd Henderson, Co-pilot: Dick King, Bombardier: Elmer Kovach, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Jim Shepard, Radio Operator: George Robinson, Waist gunner: Fred Horcasitas (6 Killed in Action); Navigator: George Smigo, Ball turret gunner: Leo Murphy,Tail gunner: Frank Sauls (3 Prisoner of War); hit by flak on bomb run spun down and collided with 43-38124 (100BG), both going down in flames, crashed Radegast, Ger. Missing Air Crew Report 11366. DIXIE BABY aka FOOLS RUSH IN.

B-17 #43-38183 / Ice Cold Katie

43-38183 / Ice Cold Katie

Delivered Cheyenne 4/7/44; Kearney 14/7/44; Grenier 20/7/44; Assigned 332BS/94BG [XM-J] Rougham 22/7/44; transferred 379BG Kimbolton 23/7/44; 457BG Glatton 24/4/45; Returned to the USA Bradley 1/7/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 11/7/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 25/11/45. ICE COLD KATIE.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-102657 / Boss Lady

42-102657 / Boss Lady

Delivered Cheyenne 23/3/44; Gr Island 12/4/44; Dow Fd 11/5/44; Assigned 350BS/100BG [LN-Y] Thorpe Abbotts 14/5/44; Missing in Action Ruhrland 11/9/44 with Albert Trommer, Navigator: Jim Wright, Bombardier: Levi Groce, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Alvin Severson, Radio Operator: Bill Stone (5 Killed in Action); Co-pilot: Tim Bradshaw, Ball turret gunner: J.C. Klutz, Waist gunner: Tom Kentes,Tail gunner: Chas Wilson{Wounded in Action} (4 Prisoner of War); enemy aircraft, crashed on school in Schmiederberg, Ger (now Kovarska, Czech republic). Missing Air Crew Report 8820. BOSS LADY (not painted on).

B-17 #42-102500

42-102500

Delivered Cheyenne 9/3/44; Hunter 7/4/44; Grenier 20/4/44; Assigned: 546BS/384BG [BK-L] Grafton Underwood 3/5/44; battle damage Germany. lstein, Ger; 2/1/45 Pilot: ‘; AFSC, Salvaged. 18/1/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-102681

42-102681

Delivered Cheyenne 25/3/44; Assigned: 331BS/94BG [QE-T] but re-ass Drew 18/4/44; Oklahoma City 23/4/44; 327 BU Drew 25/8/44; 301 BU Drew 22/10/45; Scrapped: Altus 5/11/45.

B-17 #43-39143 / You’ve Had It

43-39143 / You’ve Had It

Delivere Lincoln 13/12/44; Dow Fd 22/12/44; Assigned: 731BS/452BG Deopham Green 4/1/45; in base landing accident Pilot: Boyd Lewis 12/5/45; Returned to US: Bradley 6/7/45; 4168 BU Sth Plains 8/7/45; Recl Comp 7/6/46.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-8502 / Always Available

44-8502 / Always Available

Delivered Lincoln 1/10/44; Grenier 14/10/44; Assigned 8AF 16/10/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 6/7/45; Sth Plains 8/7/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 26/11/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-38003

42-38003

Delivered Long Beach 11/11/43; Denver 16/11/43; Orlando 29/11/43; 241 BU Fairmont, 7/7/44; 225 BU Rapid City 28/12/44; 2114 BU Lockbourn 6/7/45; 2317 BU Hendricks 18/8/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 15/10/45.