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.

Werbung/Advertisement
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.

Werbung/Advertisement

Random B-17G from database

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-83257

44-83257

Delivered Lincoln 15/1/45; Dow Fd 12/2/45; Assigned 8AF 15/2/45; Returned to the USA Bradley 9/7/45; Sth Plains 12/7/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 23/11/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-85587

44-85587

Delivered Cheyenne 30/3/45; Sth Plains 6/4/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Walnut Ridge 5/1/46.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-6488 / The Little One

44-6488 / The Little One

Delivered Lincoln 17/8/44; Grenier 18/9/44; Assigned 816BS/483BG Sterparone 21/9/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 30/7/45; Independence 3/8/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 30/12/45. THE LITTLE ONE.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-6282

44-6282

Delivered Kearney 24/6/44; Grenier 6/7/44; Assigned 347BS/97BG Amendola 12/7/44; battle damaged Vienna 23/8/44 with Christianson, Anderson, Domangue, Parrish, Hornik, Rice, McGowan, Remas, Canty, Williamson, English; crew bailed near Zagreb, ret 29/8/44; Christianson returns on two engines; Missing Air Crew Report 7989; {42m} transferred depot 9/1/45; Returned to the USA 4100 Patterson 22/8/45; 4104 BU Rome 3/9/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Walnut Ridge 8/1/46. To USN as CB-17 in 1946.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-8614

44-8614

Delivered Hunter 2/11/44; Grenier 17/11/44; Assigned 836BS/487BG Lavenham 8/12/44; battle damaged Darmstadt, Ger 24/12/44 with ?; flak, force landed continent; Missing Air Crew Report 12207. Salvaged 28/1/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-8437

44-8437

Delivered Lincoln 18/9/44; Grenier 15/10/44; Assigned: 563BS/388BG Knettishall 12/10/44; MIA Nurnberg 17/2/45 Pilot: Capt Bob Gladstone, Bob Murphy, John Gardner, Paul Ballard, Clayton Hamilton, Chas Goldstein, John Grady, Joe Prokop, Ken Hansladen {rcm} (9KIA); Bill Pitts {tg} (POW); flak, crashed Hanau, Germany. MACR 12414.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-97339

42-97339

Delivered Cheyenne 19/2/44; Hunter 9/3/44; Dow Fd 10/4/44; Assigned 600BS/398BG [N8-Y] Nuthampstead 5/5/44; (4m) Missing in Action Berlin 19/5/44 {1st in group} with Ira O’Neil, Co-pilot: Roger Corner, Bombardier: Merritt Deuel, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Dale Schapp, Ball turret gunner: Joe Barzano, Waist gunner: Fred Cone, Waist gunner: Gerald Farren,Tail gunner: Bob Jenkins (8 Killed in Action); Navigator: Howard Baer, Radio Operator: George Graham (2 Prisoner of War); hit by flak and wreckage from aircraft above, crashed Alt-Ruednitz, near Bad Freienewalde, 10 miles NE of Berlin, Ger; Missing Air Crew Report 4937.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-6127

44-6127

Delivered Tulsa 9/5/44; Hunter 19/5/44; Grenier 29/5/44; Assigned 337BS/96BG [AW-R] Snetterton 1/6/44; on return from mission to Belgian Afds 14/6/44 with Rudolph Kostka, rest unknown (10 Returned to Duty); skidded off runway through an ammunition hut and spun round; Salvaged n/battle damaged 14/6/44.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-39002

43-39002

Delivered Lincoln 3/11/44; Grenier 12/11/44; Assigned 8AF ? 20/11/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 7/7/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 10/7/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 22/11/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-38552

43-38552

Delivered Cheyenne 16/8/44; Lincoln 26/8/44; Grenier 18/9/44; Assigned: 561BS/388BG Knettishall 20/9/44; Returned to US: Bradley 27/6/45; 4168 BU Sth Plains 2/7/45; Scrapped: Kingman 29/11/45.