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 43-38284

43-38284

Delivered Cheyenne 17/7/44; Kearney 26/7/44; Grenier 15/8/44; Assigned 863BS/493BG Debach 22/8/44 STRAIGHTEN UP AND FLY RIGHT; Missing in Action Merseburg 2/11/44 with Bob Prochwit, Harvey Walter, Ashley Ivey, Leon Pogue, Ersel Hall, Albt Cobb, John Atherton, Clarry Larrew (8 Returned to Duty); Dick Stones (Prisoner of War); flak, crashed Rijn Saterwoude, Hol. Missing Air Crew Report 10170. LEVEL UP AND FLY RIGHT – THE ROCK.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-8392

44-8392

Delivered Dallas 29/8/44; Langley 25/9/44; 3539 BU Langley 3/1/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Walnut Ridge 3/1/46.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-6801 / Umbriago

44-6801 / Umbriago

Delivered Hunter 14/11/44; Grenier 27/11/44; Assigned 412BS/95BG [QW-A] Horham 29/11/44; with R.C. Newman force landed B-53 AF Merville, Bel. 25/2/45; 42m, Returned to the USA Bradley 24/6/45; Sth Plains 26/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 9/12/45. UMBRIAGO.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-38131 / Bertie Lee

42-38131 / Bertie Lee

Delivered Cheyenne 22/12/43; Rosewell 2/1/44; ass 364BS/305BG Chelveston 8/2/44; MIA Cottbus-Sorau 5/4/44 Pilot: ‘; MACR 4170. (Recovered July ’71). BERTIE LEE.

B-17 #44-8532 / Kleen Sweep aka Little Sweetheart

44-8532 / Kleen Sweep aka Little Sweetheart

Delivered Lincoln 9/10/44; Grenier 23/10/44; Assigned 482BG H2X Alconbury 25/10/44; transferred 349BS/100BG [XR-G] Thorpe Abbotts 27/10/44 (npo) KLEEN SWEEP; damaged when parked and hit in taxi accident at 40ADG Stansted by 43-39042; 482BG Alconbury 20/5/45; Returned to the USA Bradley 4/6/45; Sth Plains 8/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Walnut Ridge 26/11/44; LITTLE SWEETHEART.

B-17 #42-31100 / The Gimp

42-31100 / The Gimp

Delivered Cheyenne 20/9/43; Harvard 4/10/43; Assigned 709BS/447BG Rattlesden 25/11/43; detailed mission to Dollenbergen, crashed on take off near base with Warren Beighley after #1 engine lost power 1/1/45, crew all OK; Salvaged Cat E; THE GIMP.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-39309

43-39309

Delivered Lincoln 5/2/45; Grenier 17/2/45; Assigned 561BS/388BG Knettishall 19/2/45; Returned to the USA Bradley 24/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 26/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 9/11/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-37667 / Barbara Jane

43-37667 / Barbara Jane

Delivered Cheyenne 10/5/44; Kearney 29/5/44; Grenier 17/6/44; Assigned 709BS/447BG Rattlesden 20/6/44; training mission 6/4/45 with Winston Johnson, Ray Parks, Walt Vukelic, Bob Woodbeck, Bob Schnug (5WIA), rest ?, crashed four miles W of Meltham Moor,UK; Salvaged 7/4/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-37760

43-37760

Delivered Roswell 18/5/44; 3030 BU Roswell 2/6/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Walnut Ridge 7/1/46.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-83636

44-83636

The fate of this B-17 Flying Fortress is unknown.