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 44-85563

44-85563

Delivered Louisville 15/3/45; Topeka 26/3/45; Sth Plains 15/4/45; 2140 BU Smyrna 31/1/46; 342 BU Smyrna 10/4/46; 594 BU Topeka 18/6/46; 342 BU Smyrna 16/8/46.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-8897 / Bugs Bunny

44-8897 / Bugs Bunny

Delivered Lincoln 29/1/45; Grenier 12/2/45; Assigned: 748BS/457BG [O] Glatton 21/3/45; Transferred: 547BS/384BG Grafton Underwood 9/5/45; Salvaged. 9AF Germany. any 11/5/46. BUGS BUNNY.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-102475

42-102475

Delivered Cheyenne 7/3/44; Hunter 9/4/44; Dow Fd 29/4/44; Assigned 338BS/96BG [BX-J ] Snetterton 1/5/44; Missing in Action Karlsruhe 27/5/44 with Wilbur Brean, Navigator: Bob Egan, Bombardier: John Ellender, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Albt Fancea, Radio Operator: Glen Galbreath, Ball turret gunner: Marion Mangum,Tail gunner: Gene Fava (7 Killed in Action); Co-pilot: Bill Hill, Waist gunner: Bill Brinley, Waist gunner: Jack Dark (3 Prisoner of War); mid air coll with 42-102561 (96BG), broke in half; crashed a mile N of Stein, near Pforzheim, Ger. Missing Air Crew Report 5162.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-97307 / Flak Shak

42-97307 / Flak Shak

Delivered Cheyenne 17/2/44; Rapid City 5/3/44; Dow Fd 28/4/44; Assigned 398BG Nuthampstead 3/5/44; no ops, transferred 548BS/385BG [GX- ] Gt Ashfield 4/5/44; battle damaged Bohlen 12/9/44 with Pilot: Charles Lundsberg, Co-pilot: J.M. Ellzey, Navigator: Bob Smallman, Bombardier: John Wise, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Cosmo Robasco, Radio Operator: Forrest Sampson, Ball turret gunner: Bill Sizer, Waist gunner: Jack Walker,Tail gunner: Ed Morgan (9 Returned to Duty); force landed Brussels; Salvaged 3/1/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-8202

44-8202

Delivered Dallas 8/7/44; Langley 8/8/44; Grenier 9/9/44; Assigned 570BS/390BG Framlingham 22/9/44; RetUS, Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Walnut Ridge 3/11/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-8190

44-8190

Delivered Dallas 6/7/44; Langley 30/7/44; Dow Fd 18/9/44; Assigned 483BG PFF Sterparone 26/9/44; Salvaged 9AF Germany 10/5/46.

B-17 #42-31585 / Mount N‘ Ride

42-31585 / Mount N‘ Ride

Delivered Cheyenne 26/11/43; Paine 28/11/43; Gt Falls 5/12/32; Cheyenne 7/12/43; Kearney 16/12/43; Oklahoma City 7/1/44; Kearney 12/1/44; Romulus 17/1/44; Grenier 18/1/44; Assigned 323BS/91BG [OR-B] Bassingbourne 1/2/44; Missing in Action Augsburg 16/3/44 with Doye Bradford, Co-pilot: Bob Mersereau, Navigator: Alby Trendell, Bombardier: Jack Athearn, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Hobart Peterson, Radio Operator: Norman Bunin, Ball turret gunner: Bob Modell, Waist gunner: Lucian Wright, Waist gunner: Nick Merletti,Tail gunner: Malcolm Bradt (10INT); flak KO’d #2 & #3, dropped behind and, force landed Dubendorf, Switz; Missing Air Crew Report 3221. Ret Burtonwood, UK. Salvaged 8/10/45. MOUNT ‘N RIDE.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-83680

44-83680

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

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-102819

42-102819

Delivered Cheyenne 7/4/44; 488BG MacDill 21/4/44; 327 BU Drew 23/2/45; 6110 BU Eglin 15/12/45; Salvaged Eglin 29/1/46.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-32021

42-32021

Delivered Cheyenne 16/1/44; St Joseph 1/2/44; MacDill 5/2/44; Morrison 9/3/44; Assigned 840BS/483BG Tortorella 13/3/44; transferred 346BS/99BG Tortorella 31/3/44; {30m} crash landed 21/6/44; Salvaged.