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 44-6447

44-6447

Delivered Kearney 8/8/44; Dow Fd 15/8/44; Assigned 486BG Sudbury, UK 16/8/44, but transferred 20BS/2BG Amendola, It 28/8/44; Salvaged 25/7/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-8391

44-8391

Delivered Dallas 29/8/44; Langley 22/9/44; Grenier 12/10/44; Assigned 774BS/463BG Celone 25/10/44; Missing in Action Innsbruck 16/11/44 with Tom Young, Co-pilot: Major Joe Compton, Bombardier: Fred Lorio, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Joe Lovoi, Radio Operator: Bob Sanford, Ball turret gunner: Tom Ligon, Waist gunner: Sid McGehee, Waist gunner: Ed Gurka, Waist gunner: Jackson (8 Prisoner of War), Navigator: Steve Kennedy (Killed in Action); flak, crashed Conegliano, It; Missing Air Crew Report 9890.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-38654

43-38654

Delivered Cheyenne 30/8/44; Lincoln 3/9/44; Grenier 12/9/44; Assigned 379BG Kimbolton 26/9/44; transferred 836BS/487BG Lavenham 22/5/45; Returned to the USA Bradley 11/7/45; 4185 BU Independence 12/7/45;RFC Kingman 21/12/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-102947 / D-Day Dottie

42-102947 / D-Day Dottie

Delivered Cheyenne 21/4/44; Kearney 2/5/44; Grenier 26/5/44; Assigned 613BS/401BG [IN-S] 27/5/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 8/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 12/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 26/11/45. D-DAY DOTTIE.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-102589

42-102589

Delivered Cheyenne 17/3/44; Gr Island 6/4/44; Dow Fd 28/4/44; Assigned: 561BS/388BG Knettishall 30/4/44; MIA Munich 11/7/44 Pilot: ‘; flak, crashed Rtrange, Fr; Salvaged. 26/2/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-107004

42-107004

Delivered Tulsa 23/1/44; Kearney 14/2/44; Assigned 525BS/379BG [FR-S] Kimbolton 23/3/44; battle damaged Frankfurt 5/11/44 with ?; Salvaged 2 SAD 7/11/44.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-102871

42-102871

Delivered Cheyenne 14/4/44; Lockbourn 26/4/44; 2114 BU Lockbourn 2/9/44; 4152 BU Lockbourn 1/10/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Walnut Ridge 7/1/46.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-39383

43-39383

Delivered Hunter 27/3/45; Grenier 16/3/45; Assigned 8AF 20/3/45; Returned to the USA Bradley 25/5/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 8/2/46.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-39147

43-39147

Delivered Hunter 15/12/44; Dow Fd 3/1/45; Assigned 527BS/379BG Kimbolton 1/2/45; Missing in Action Dresden 14/2/45 with Stan Cebuhar, Delton Reopelle, Lloyd Gates, Ray Egstrand, Lester Higginbotham, Francis Beam, John Dillon (7 Prisoner of War); Waldon Hardy, George Byers (2 Killed in Action); flak, crashed Elsenborn, Bel; Missing Air Crew Report 12338.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-6697

44-6697

Delivered Lincoln 20/10/44; Grenier 27/10/44; Assigned 429BS/2BG Amendola 8/11/44; Missing in Action Ruhland 22/3/45 with John Pierik, Co-pilot: Bob Steele, Navigator: Harry Taylor, Bombardier: John Yatsco (4 Killed in Action); Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Rich Benjamin, Radio Operator: Ray Levesque, Ball turret gunner: Vernon Burger, Waist gunner: Tony Zevenbergen, Waist gunner: Chas Redford,Tail gunner: Wilbur Jaffke (6POW, all strafed while descending but not hit); flak damage, but on way down the ship was attacked by Russian Air Force P-39s, crashed near Salzbrun, Germany; Missing Air Crew Report 13245.