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 #43-37598 / Toggle Tessie

43-37598 / Toggle Tessie

Delivered Cheyenne 3/5/44; Hunter 16/5/44; Grenier 26/5/44; Assigned 323BS/306BG [RD-X] Thurleigh 9/6/44; transferred 381BG Ridgewell 5/45; Returned to the USA Bradley 10/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 15/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 6/12/45. TOGGLE TESSY.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-102410


Cheyenne 1/3/44; Ardmore 20/3/44; with Albt Flynn force landed base 9/7/44; with Jim Wilsey crashed five miles SW of 222 BU Ardmore 23/9/44; W/O 24/9/44.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-83544


Delivered Topeka 31/3/45; Slated 15AF, transferred Sth Plains 15/4/45; Patterson 25/5/45; Bolling 3/8/45; 1 BAS Bolling 13/6/46 prepared as CB-17 for Gen Sutherland in Manila, PI; 4104 BU Rome 1/8/46; Recl Comp 24/7/47.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-37688


Delivered 488BG Avon Park 12/5/44; 325 BU Avon Park 13/8/45; 2114 BU Lockbourn 17/8/45; 4152 BU Lockbourn 19/11/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Walnut Ridge 6/1/46.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-85705


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

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-102907


Delivered Cheyenne 16/4/44; Lockbourn 29/4/44; 602 BU Stewart 24/8/45; 2114 BU Lockbourn 26/8/45; with Lester Morris force landed Stout Fd, IN 22/9/45; 4102 BU Newark 8/11/45; 814 BU Stout 9/1/46; Recl Comp 9/4/46.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-31509 / Twinkel Toes

42-31509 / Twinkel Toes

Delivered Denver 16/11/43; Spokane 19/11/43; Gt Falls 25/11/43; Kearney 14/12/43; Romulus 19/12/43; Grenier 22/12/43; Presque Is 31/12/43; Assigned 508BS/351BG [YB-V] Polebrook 14/1/44; transferred 510BS [TU-V]; Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Vernon Schnuelle (KIA-entered bomb bay to release hung up bombs, but lack of space prevented him wearing his chute, fell out when bombs were released, pilot was Chas Walby 3/2/44; Missing in Action 44m Brandenburg 6/8/44 with Bill Petty, Co-pilot: Jim Coman, Navigator: Floyd Buzzi, Bombardier: Don Becker, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Tom Dimbro, Radio Operator: Larry Prater, Ball turret gunner: Vince Doyle, Waist gunner: Ed Leikam,Tail gunner: Parry Boogard (9INT); severe flak damage, force landed Sovde, Sweden; Missing Air Crew Report 7589; Ret UK 15/6/45, Returned to the USA 121 BU Bradley 20/7/45; 4185 BU Independence 30/11/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 21/12/45. TWINKLE TOES.

B-17 #44-85510


Delivered Louisville 3/3/45; Hunter 16/3/45; Grenier 28/3/45; Assigned 8AF 29/3/45; Returned to the USA Bradley 22/5/45; Sth Plains 24/5/45; 247 BU Smoky Hill 17/2/46; 15 TSK Clovis 10/3/46; 234 BU Clovis 20/3/46; with Warder Skaggs force landed base 16/5/46; 401 BU Hamilton 6/8/46; Recl Comp 30/10/46.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-8226 / Jumbo

44-8226 / Jumbo

Delivered Dallas 14/7/44; Langley 17/8/44; Grenier 14/9/44; Assigned 95BG PFF Horham 25/9/44; 1m, transferred 350BS/100BG [LN-B] Thorpe Abbotts 26/9/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 2/7/45; with Rich Voight to Tulsa, OK, 5/7/45; Independence 24/8/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 21/12/45. JUMBO.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-39137


Delivered Lincoln 10/12/44; Dow Fd 18/12/44; Assigned 600BS/398BG [N8-H] Nuthampstead 29/1/45; landed in field Gt Chishill, Essex in night operation with Allan Ferguson 5/2/45; rep. by 2 SAD Abbotts Ripton & ret. Group 25/4/45; RAF Valley 2/6/45; Returned to the USA Bradley 7/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 10/6/45; 613 BU Phillips, Aberdeen, Ma 6/3/46.