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 42-102681

42-102681

Delivered Cheyenne 25/3/44; Assigned: 331BS/94BG [QE-T] but re-ass Drew 18/4/44; Oklahoma City 23/4/44; 327 BU Drew 25/8/44; 301 BU Drew 22/10/45; Scrapped: Altus 5/11/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-6284

44-6284

Delivered Kearney 24/6/44; Presque Is 7/7/44; Assigned 352BS/301BG Lucera 8/7/44; Missing in Action Friedrichshafen 3/8/44 with Ed Simon, Cadena, Coil, Burton, Patterson, Pokiniewski, Haleblian, Lee, Gawel (9 Prisoner of War); Sultan (Killed in Action); flak, crashed Sterzing; Missing Air Crew Report 7316.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-39910

42-39910

Delivered Long Beach 6/10/43; Gr Island 2/11/43; slated 384BG Grafton Underwood, but transferred 535BS/381BG [MS- ] Ridgewell 20/12/43; {1m} Missing in Action Bordeaux 31/12/43 with Earl Duarte, Co-pilot: Glen McCabe, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Russ Jevons (3 evaded capture), Navigator: Cornelius Heintz, Bombardier: Harry Grimball, Radio Operator: Joseph Balesh, Ball turret gunner: Howard Norris, Waist gunner: Jim Martin, Waist gunner: Albt Smith,Tail gunner: Powell McDaniel (7 Prisoner of War); enemy aircraft, crash landed Launaguet, near Chemin Boudou, N of Toulouse, Fr. Missing Air Crew Report 1978.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-83678

44-83678

Delivered Sth Plains 3/5/45; Patterson 25/5/45; with Wilton Weeks in taxi accident with 44-83658 at Garden City Fd KS 4/3/46; 4132 BU Garden City 30/4/46; 4185 BU Independence 21/10/46; re-ass 31/3/47; 4141 BU Pyote 23/10/47; 4112 BU Olmstead 17/11/47; 605 BU Eglin 12/1/48; 1 EGM Gp Eglin 13/1/48; 3203 MSU Gp Eglin 19/7/48; with Bydie Nettles force landed four miles N of Niceville, FL 5/11/48; Recl Comp 30/11/48.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-37670

43-37670

Delivered 488BG Avon Park 10/5/44; 330 BU Greenville 25/10/44; 325 BU Avon Park 29/10/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Walnut Ridge 7/12/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-83357

44-83357

Delivered Hunter 9/2/45; Grenier 24/2/45; Assigned 8AF 27/2/45; Returned to the USA Bradley 1/7/45; Sth Plains 3/7/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 18/11/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-97484

42-97484

Delivered Denver 29/11/43; Kearney 15/12/43; Presque Is 23/12/43; Assigned: 710BS/447BG Rattlesden 4/1/44; MIA Munster 11/3/44 Pilot: Herb Overdorf, Co-Pilot: Leo Teplitz, Navigator: Chester Adams, Bombardier: Nick Pantages, Engineer / Top Turret Gunner: Woodrow Harper, Radio Operator: Dan Fasanello, Ball Turret Gunner: Ed Johnson, Waist Gunner: Chas Gessert, Waist Gunner: Darrell Lincks (9KIA-most landed on sandbank at low tide, but pleas for help to Germany. an workers and soldiers as tide came in were ignored and they all drowned. After war searches for those responsible failed); Tail Gunner: Julius Schultz (POW); flak, crashed North Sea, off Haamstede, Isle of Schouwen, Hol. MACR 3188.

B-17 #42-31505 / Miss Cue

42-31505 / Miss Cue

Delivered Denver 16/11/43; Gt Falls 25/11/43; Denver 9/12/43; Wendover 11/12/43; Grenier 19/1/44; Assigned 751BS/457BG [D] Glatton 26/1/44; Missing in Action Merseburg 30/11/44 with Frechette, crew OK, except togg-Ward Price (Killed in Action); flak, crash landed France; Missing Air Crew Report 11150 (?1). MISS CUE.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-97589

42-97589

Delivered Cheyenne 30/12/43; Kearney 12/1/44; Assigned 533BS/381BG [VP-Y] Ridgewell 8/2/44; battle damaged Cologne 26/3/45 with Archie Nicholls (Wilbur Hawley?); crash landed base, Salvaged 28/3/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-3558 / Shy Ann

42-3558 / Shy Ann

Delivered Tulsa 30/7/43; Scott 28/9/43; Assigned 571BS/390BG [FC-T] Framlingham 29/9/43; Salvaged 15/7/45. SHY ANN.