B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies B-17G


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.

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.


Random B-17G from database

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-8755


Delivered – . Became a QB-17 drone and used until at least early 1950s. Wore overall red with white trim and AIR FORCE below cockpit.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-102534


Delivered Cheyenne 11/3/44; MacDill 31/3/44; 326 BU MacDill 15/2/45; 329 BU Alexandra 3/3/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 20/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Walnut Ridge 18/12/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-38652 / Stinker Jr

43-38652 / Stinker Jr

Delivered Cheyenne 29/8/44; Hunter 10/9/44; Grenier 25/9/44; Assigned 602BS/398BG [K8-V] Nuthampstead 4/10/44; Missing in Action Pilsen 25/4/45 with Paul Colville, Co-pilot: Bob McLaughlin, Navigator: Neil Bartimus, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Vince Ferraro, Radio Operator: Norman Markel, Waist gunner: Harry Overbaugh,Tail gunner: Chas Rawlins (7 Returned to Duty); Ball turret gunner: Chas Walker (Killed in Action); Missing Air Crew Report 14220 [?14218]. flak hit in #4 and set afire. STINKER JR.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-8686


Delivered Lincoln 27/11/44; Grenier 17/12/44; Assigned 8AF 25/12/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 27/6/45; Sth Plains 31/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 10/11/45.

B-17 #42-39785 / Thru Hel’en Hiwater

42-39785 / Thru Hel’en Hiwater

Delivered Long Beach 31/8/43; Scott 18/9/43; Assigned 358BS/303BG [VK-H] Molesworth 18/10/43, 359BS [BN-B]; Missing in Action Hamm (28m) 22/4/44 with Roy Larson, Bombardier: Milton Feinman, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Tom Campbell,Tail gunner: Herman Lodge (4 Killed in Action); Co-pilot: Ron Duncan, Navigator: Herb Levy, Radio Operator: Everett Culp, Ball turret gunner: Lee Brim, Waist gunner: Art Schinker, Waist gunner: Duane Thayer (6 Prisoner of War); flak set engine on fire, exploded before crew could bale, crashed Delecke, six miles S of Soest, Ger; Missing Air Crew Report 4272. THRU HEL’EN HIWATER.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-97956 / Pard

42-97956 / Pard

Delivered Denver 13/4/44; Cheyenne 1/5/44; Hunter 14/5/44; Dow Fd 24/5/44; Assigned 323BS/91BG [OR-L] Bassingbourn 3/6/44; Missing in Action 38m Merseburg 2/11/44 with Pilot: Hanford Rustand, Bombardier: Roger Keys, Radio Operator: John Griffith, Ball Turret Gunner: John Gercovich, Waist Gunner: John Murphy, Tail Gunner: George Roach (6 Killed in Action); Co-pilot: Wyndham Peck, Navigator: Henry Schwarz, Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner: Gil Crotte (3 Prisoner of War); shot down by enemy aircraft while trying to protect damaged colleague HI-HO SILVER; crashed Libehna, Germany; Missing Air Crew Report 10148. “PARD.”

B-17 #42-38117 /Touch the Button Nell II

42-38117 /Touch the Button Nell II

Delivered Denver 18/12/43; Kearney 31/12/43; ass 535BS/381BG {MS-T] Ridgewell 26/2/44; {4+m} MIA Tours 4/7/44 Pilot: Bob Bobrof, Co-Pilot: George DeVono, Navigator: Chas Cole, Bombardier: Bernie Goodman, Engineer / Top Turret Gunner: George Dell, Ball Turret Gunner: Ed Polski, Tail Gunner: Tom Snyder (7KIA); Radio Operator: Clinton Word, Waist Gunner: Ken Hitchcock (2EVD); mech fault, crashed near Amboise, Persac, Fr; MACR 6779. TOUCH THE BUTTON NELL II. (Dug up by French archeological group in Feb. 1986 looking for Roman remains, via crop marks showing from the air, when a farmer pointed out that a US aircraft crashed in that field in WW II ).

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-97066


Delivered Cheyenne 24/1/44; Gr Island 8/2/44; Presque Is 21/1/44; Assigned 508BS/351BG [YB-D] Polebrook 26/3/44; Missing in Action {22m} Le Bourget 14/6/44 with Joe Dixey, Co-pilot: Capt Jim Lowery (2 evaded capture); Bombardier: Tom Trolinger, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Bob McCullough, Radio Operator: Don Kemohah, Ball turret gunner: Arthur Gross, Waist gunner: Joe Barnes,Tail gunner: John Offutt (6 Prisoner of War) Navigator: Bob Shafer, Waist gunner: Don Henderson (2KIA, the latter of wounds as Prisoner of War)); flak, crashed Abbeville, Fr; Missing Air Crew Report 5796.

B-17 #44-8425 / Connie

44-8425 / Connie

Delivered Lincoln 12/9/44; Hunter 16/9/44; Grenier 10/10/44; Assigned: 379BG Kimbolton 14/10/44; battle damage Desden 17/4/45 Pilot: ‘; Salvaged. 18/4/45. CONNIE.

B-17 #43-38106 / Starduster

43-38106 / Starduster

Delivered Cheyenne 26/6/44; Hunter 15/7/44; Grenier 23/7/44; Assigned 336BS/95BG [ET-E] Horham 25/7/44; with J.L. Walker force landed Paris, Fr. 5/9/44; 81m, Returned to the USA Bradley 24/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 27/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 21/11/45.