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 44-6837

44-6837

Delivered Hunter 25/11/44; Grenier 9/12/44; Assigned 571BS/390BG [FC-G] Framlingham 12/12/44 as pathfinder; transferred 418BS/100BG [LD-Z] Thorpe Abbotts 5/45; RetUS, Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Walnut Ridge 13/12/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-97300

42-97300

Delivered Cheyenne 16/2/44; Memphis 6/3/44; Grenier 7/4/44; Assigned 339BS/96BG [QJ-X] Snetterton 9/4/44; suffered battle damaged over Magdeburg 20/6/44 with Ray Stanton, Co-pilot: / ,n- / , Bombardier: / ,ettg-Neal Keith, Ball turret gunner: Clayton Stroman, Waist gunner: Henry McKahan, Waist gunner: Newell Thompson,Tail gunner: ? ,(9RTD-4wia); Radio Operator: Ted Rutherford (Killed in Action); Salvaged 21/6/44.

B-17 #42-102724

42-102724

Delivered MacDill 31/3/44; 325 BU Avon Park 9/12/44; with John Girard force landed FL 28/1/45; Recl Comp 9/2/45.

B-17 #42-97785

42-97785

Delivered Cheyenne 25/2/44; Denver 6/3/44; Alexandra 21/3/45; 215 BU Pueblo 27/8/44; 221 BU Alexandra 8/11/44; 329 BU Alexandra 1/3/45; 326 BU MacDill 8/6/45; 324 BU Chatham 16/6/45; 326 BU MacDill 28/6/45; 327 BU Drew 3/7/45; 326 BU MacDill 9/7/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Altus 19/10/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-97815

42-97815

Delivered Denver 5/3/44; Hunter 5/4/44; Dow Fd 21/4/44; Assigned: 710BS/447BG Rattlesden 22/4/44; MIA Berlin 12/5/44 Pilot: Capt Harry Van Every, Co-Pilot: Oran Richardson, Navigator: Leon Jankes, Bombardier: Nick Scholtz, Engineer / Top Turret Gunner: Tony Rakiewicz, Radio Operator: Ralph Hough, Ball Turret Gunner: Chas Eyer, Waist Gunner: Bill Finch, Waist Gunner: Chas Hathaway, Tail Gunner: Bob Jackson (10POW); Enemy aircraft KOd #4, then wing set on fire, crashed Stockheim, near Frieberg, 20 miles E of Frankfurt, Germany. MACR 4770.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-37823

42-37823

Delivered Long Beach 9/9/43; Gr Island 6/10/43; ass 569BS/390BG [CC-D] Framlingham 26/10/43; MIA (2m) Emden 11/12/43 Pilot: George Fish, Co-Pilot: Ed Ledford, Navigator: Bill Karpetska, Bombardier: Sam Lewis, Engineer / Top Turret Gunner: Loren Roberts, Radio Operator: Roland Fowler, Waist Gunner: Joe McKinney, Tail Gunner: Hugo Wanke (8KIA); Ball Turret Gunner: John Samsel, Waist Gunner: Mike Kulakowski (2POW); flak & Enemy aircraft, crashed Leesdorf, in Norden, N of Emden, Germany. MACR 1726.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-97580

42-97580

Delivered Cheyenne 28/12/43; Oklahoma City 12/1/44; Homestead 24/1/44; Slated 390BG, then 381BG, but transferred 353BS/301BG Lucera 3/2/44; Missing in Action {28m} Wollersdorf 29/5/44 with Francis DeDomizio, Hinds, Bertuzzi, Adam, Patterson, Swenson, O’Leary (7 Prisoner of War); Lessera, Cohen, Wesley (3 evaded capture & ret.); mech fault, crashed Kimmith; Missing Air Crew Report 5444.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-6369

44-6369

Delivered Hunter 17/7/44; Dow Fd 4/8/44; Assigned 49BS/2BG Amendola 11/8/44; Missing in Action Moravska Ostrova 29/8/44 with Duane Seaman, Co-pilot: Ben Patorino, Navigator: Bob Mickadeit, Bombardier: Don Hausler, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: John Nigborowicz, Radio Operator: Bill Devlin, Ball turret gunner: Tim Reidy, Waist gunner: Bob Pittard, Waist gunner: Howard Ware{broke ankle in landing},Tail gunner: M.L. Childress (10 Prisoner of War); enemy aircraft, crashed Settini; Missing Air Crew Report 8084.

B-17 #44-8314 / Pair-a-Dice Kids

44-8314 / Pair-a-Dice Kids

Delivered Hunter 8/8/44; Grenier 2/9/44; Assigned 863BS/493BG Debach 4/9/44; battle damaged Derben, Ger 14/1/45 with Ralph Terry, Bob Preis, Russell Hoth, John Merrill, Paul Butler, Dan Love, Fernado Acosta, Dale Sheetz, Russ Cogan (9INT); mech fault, force landed Bulltofta, Sweden; Missing Air Crew Report 11800; repaired & returned to group 30/6/45; Returned to the USA Bradley 1/8/45; Independence 3/8/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 22/12/45. PAIR-A-DICE KIDS.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-38129

42-38129

Delivered Denver 21/12/43; Kearney 12/1/44; Assigned 369BS/306BG [WW-L] Thurleigh 25/2/44; 100+ missions then transferred to 29 TAC 14/5/45; then 398BG Nuthampstead 24/5/45; no ops then to RAF Valley, Wales, to Returned to the USA Bradley 2/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 12/9/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 28/12/45. SKIPPY.