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 44-6783

44-6783

Delivered Hunter 9/11/44; Grenier 22/11/44; Assigned 483BG Sterparone 8/12/44; Returned to the USA Morrison 4/10/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Walnut Ridge 12/12/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-39311

43-39311

Delivered Lincoln 7/2/45; Grenier 19/2/45; Assigned 8AF 20/2/45; Salvaged 9AF Germany 10/5/46.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-83620

44-83620

Delivered Patterson 17/4/45; Slated 8AF, transferred Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 3/11/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-31854 / Baby Buggy

42-31854 / Baby Buggy

Delivered Cheyenne 24/12/43; Kearney 30/1/44; Grenier 18/2/44; Assigned: 570BS/390BG [DI-L] Framlingham 26/2/44; MIA Dusseldorf 9/9/44 Pilot: Len Hilsenhoff, Ed Seefeldt, Jim Merge, Ned Higgins, Gene Tharpe, Murray Wolfe, Bill Martin (7KIA); Bill Kump, Yoraham Marcus(2POW); flak, crashed Hubbelrath, Germany. MACR 8911. BABY BUGGY.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-38434

43-38434

Delivered Cheyenne 2/8/44; Hunter 12/8/44; Grenier 2/9/44; Assigned 327BS/92BG [UX- ] Podington 13/9/44; Missing in Action {71m} Zwickau 7/10/44 with Chas Kerr, George Vogler, Leroy Draud, Bill Cummings {Ex nav}, Joe Barrett (5 Prisoner of War); Dwight Benjamin, Bob Devaney, Alby Salazar, Bill McCray, Bob Moshier (5 Killed in Action); flak, crashed Emmerich; Missing Air Crew Report 9345.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-39153

43-39153

Delivered Hunter 22/12/44; Grenier 3/1/45; Assigned 324BS/91BG [DF-H] Bassingbourn 5/2/45; Returned to the USA Bradley 30/5/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 1/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 14/12/45.

B-17 #42-32053

42-32053

Delivered Cheyenne 19/1/44; St Louis 2/2/44; MacDill 5/2/44; Morrison 9/3/44; Assigned 816BS/483BG Tortorella 14/1/44; transferred 49BS/2BG Amendola 31/3/44; Missing in Action {27m} Budapest 27/6/44 with Dick Korb, Co-pilot: Alf Larsen(chute caught fire on way out), Navigator: Casimir Blaska, Bombardier: Jim Fleming, Radio Operator: Burl Kessel, Waist gunner: Thaddeus Thomas, Waist gunner: Henry Rappe,Tail gunner: Thaddeus Krent (8 Killed in Action); Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Malcolm Treadway, Ball turret gunner: Bill Bair (2 Prisoner of War); flak & enemy aircraft, crashed Budapest, five chutes seen; Missing Air Crew Report 6428.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-6265

44-6265

Delivered Hunter 19/6/44; Grenier 28/6/44; Assigned 340BS/97BG Amendola 3/7/44; Missing in Action Blechhammer 13/9/44 with Don Reardon, Harmon, Tourhat, Hintz, Broz, Herriage, Riggleman, Trout, Shinnick, Bonds; flak, crashed Blechhammer; Missing Air Crew Report 8730.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-8233 / Miss Cellaneous

44-8233 / Miss Cellaneous

Delivered Dallas 9/7/44; Langley 4/8/44; Dow Fd 8/10/44; Assigned 483BG Sterparone 19/10/44; Salvaged 9AF Germany 10/5/46. MISS CELLANEOUS.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-6636

44-6636

Delivered Lincoln 30/9/44; Grenier 12/10/44; Assigned 347BS/99BG Tortorella 3/11/44; {46m} Returned to the USA Morrison 5/10/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Walnut Ridge 4/1/46.