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 42-31718

42-31718

Delivered Denver 10/12/43; Kearney 24/12/43; Assigned: 337BS/96BG [AW-T] Snetterton 9/1/44; MIA Brux 12/5/44 Pilot: Jerry Musser, Co-Pilot: Ken Simpson, Bombardier: Addison Tice, Engineer / Top Turret Gunner: Finis Gibbs, Ball Turret Gunner: Lou Fliegelman, Waist Gunner: Glen Lewis, Waist Gunner: Alf Reeves, Tail Gunner: Bob Pearson (8POW); Navigator: Dick Moore, Radio Operator: Paul Humphrey (2KIA); Enemy aircraft, crashed Hartmannshein, near Grebenheim, 26 miles SE of Giessen, Germany. MACR 4857.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-8675

44-8675

Delivered Cheyenne 22/11/44; Hunter 10/12/44; Grenier 21/12/44; Assigned 8AF 31/12/44; RetUS, Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Walnut Ridge 13/12/45.

B-17 #42-37843 / Dry Run

42-37843 / Dry Run

Delivered Long Beach 19/9/43; Gt Falls 25/9/43; Assigned 615BS/401BG [IY-H] Deenethorpe 2/11/43; Missing in Action French A/flds 14/6/44 with Russell Schroeder (Killed in Action); Co-pilot: Bill Mountain, Navigator: Erroll Rice, Bombardier: Gene Crawley, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Bill Bryant, Radio Operator: Chas Davis, Ball turret gunner: Joe Owens, Waist gunner: Don Grimble, Waist gunner: Dick Nyberg,Tail gunner: Chas Avery (9 evaded capture); heavy enemy aircraft attack KOd right horiz. stab., crashed Germigny-sous-Coulombs, 11 miles W of Chateau-Thierry, Fr; Missing Air Crew Report 5801. DRY RUN.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-38024

43-38024

Delivered Cheyenne 16/6/44; Kearney 27/6/44; Grenier 9/7/44; Assigned PFF 490BG Eye 12/7/44; battle damaged Frankfurt 9/3/45 with ?; force landed continent; Salvaged 24/3/45.

B-17 #44-85778 / Miss Angela

44-85778 / Miss Angela

Delivered Dallas 6/6/45; Sth Plains 9/6/45; Assigned 48 SRGp and 24 Comp Gp as TB-17G crew trainer in Caribbean Air Command; a trainer in Brazilian Air Command 1948 as VB-17G; ret US 1100 OpGp Bolling 1954; stored at Davis Monthan 1956; (Civil N3509G) restored to military configeration at Santa Monica, Cal 10/1991; wearing colours of 34BG Mendlesham, Sfk, UK. Now at Palm Springs Air Museum, CA, as potentially airworthy MISS ANGELA.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-8524 / Memorial

44-8524 / Memorial

Delivered Lincoln 5/10/44; Grenier 28/10/44; Assigned 487BG Lavenham 20/2/45; RetUS, Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 29/12/45.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-97490

42-97490

Delivered Cheyenne 30/12/43; Kearney 20/12/43; Witchita 1/1/44; Morrison 10/1/44; Assigned 429BS/2BG Amendola 3/2/44; Missing in Action Blechhammer 13/9/44 with Daryle Stuckey, Navigator: Herbert Traurig, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Bob Caryl, Radio Operator: Bill McKibbin, Ball turret gunner: George Gasparik,Tail gunner: Tom Cima (6 Prisoner of War); Co-pilot: Henry Tennyson, Bombardier: Bill Spruce, Waist gunner: Paul Reinhart, Waist gunner: Bob Hare (4 evaded capture); mech problems caused 3 engines to quit ship and turned back one hour from target; crashed but did not burn at Verebely, near Budapest, Missing Air Crew Report 8363.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-39383

43-39383

Delivered Hunter 27/3/45; Grenier 16/3/45; Assigned 8AF 20/3/45; Returned to the USA Bradley 25/5/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 8/2/46.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-31420

42-31420

Delivered Cheyenne 2/11/43; Kearney 16/11/43; left Gander, Nfld, Assigned 8AF Prestwick, Scot. 3/12/43, with Rich Walsh, Co-pilot: Bill Orim, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Moss Mendosa, Radio Operator: Bob Smith, g-Wilf Vincent, g-Emil Drake, g-Carl Williamson (7 Returned to Duty); Navigator: Bill Wallace, Bombardier: Rich Fox,Tail gunner: Adam Latecki (3 Killed in Service); crashed Truskmore Mt, Co Sligo, Eire 9/12/43.

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-31177 / Lonesome Polecat

42-31177 / Lonesome Polecat

Delivered Denver 28/9/43; Gr Island 18/10/43; Memphis 24/10/43; Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-L] Molesworth 18/11/43; Missing in Action Brux 12/9/44, with Dick Clemensen, Bombardier: Frank Stafford, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Gene McCrory, Waist gunner: Nick Kriss (4 Killed in Action); Co-pilot: George Burson, Navigator: Jim Crooke, Radio Operator: Kurt Schubach, Ball turret gunner: Lloyd Albern,Tail gunner: John Jauernig (5 Prisoner of War); enemy aircraft, crashed Bergsdorf, E of Neuruppin, Ger. Missing Air Crew Report 8823. LONESOME POLECAT.