Sunday, February 3, 2013

Back Page - The Flying Fortress

The Flying Fortress: The B-17

Here is a page for just the B-17 in its various models from the archives of

The aircraft made its first flight 28 July 1935 and was retired completely in 1968.
More than 12,000 were built.

At right is a restored version at an air show.


airshow B17

I found this photograph among hundreds of other modern photographs from air shows and museums. This is enhanced slightly from the original because it improves the detail a bit. The shot was apparently in a very dark hanger. I would guess at a museum.

On reverse:
was it former "Shady Lady"
of 486th Bomb Group?
Well, I don't know.

I found three B-17's in a large batch of photographs. They looked like reprints for somebody's collection. I have no way of knowing. If someone owns the original and does not want it used in any way, just let me know and it's gone. This is number one.



Nothing on reverse.
British markings.

I found three B-17's in a large batch of photographs. They looked like reprints for somebody's collection. I have no way of knowing. If someone owns the original and does not want it used in any way, just let me know and it's gone. This is number two.


Detail - underside of wing, rotated 90 degrees cc

This plane is apparently at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, CA.
It is said to have been used in the "12 O'Clock High" television series.
It was dubbed the Picadilly Lily. It was retired in 1975.

There are several pictures of it available. Here's one on Flickr

I found three B-17's in a large batch of photographs. They looked like reprints for somebody's collection. I have no way of knowing. If someone owns the original and does not want it used in any way, just let me know and it's gone. This is number two

B-17 N3713G

spotted B 17 landing

This plane has been identified as Patches II or Spotted Cow.

It was an "Assembly Ship" used for assisting in the formation of the mission bombers taking off a few at a time. It was painted white with blue dots so that it could be spotted easily by the other planes.

It is listed in the 384th Bomber Group history with additional pictures on THIS PAGE.

This is part of a group of some 300 negatives apparently taken at and around Bassingbourn Base, in England, during the winter of 1944-45. Several more follow.

B17 Landing
B17 Landing

B17 waiting Take Off
B-17G-95-BO serial #43-38761 from the 322nd Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group.
B17 waiting Take Off

This is a B-17G, serial number 42-31515, of the 324th Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group, Eighth Air Force. The ship was named 'The Wild Hare', and also served with the 91st's 401st Bombardment Squadron.

She entered service in the ETO in January 1944 and was lost on November 26th, 1944 during a mission to Bremen. MACR (Missing Air Crew Report) #10836

You can see two photos of this ship, its nose art, and two different crews, HERE and HERE. -Hawk419 on Flickr

B17 landing

Squadron Planes Taking off on Mission 70 01

B-17G "Ack Ack Annie" of the 322nd BS, 91st BG. This plane has an impressive scoreboard of missions on the nose. "Ack Ack Annie" ended up flying a total of 143 missions. -D. Sheley on Flickr.

This is a great photo. The aircraft nosing into the frame on the right is pretty special: Ack-Ack Annie was 42-32095, one of the early uncamouflaged aircraft, and she survived the war with a total of 143 missions. Nelson Van Blarcom, her last pilot, told me that when he was assigned to Ack-Ack Annie, "our crew felt the percentages were against us, but after four or five missions we all fell in love with her . . . you cannot live with something this close without getting emotionally involved . . . we felt there was nothing that could stop the old girl . . . I still feel this way". - Steve Birdsall

From Madzaxx on Flickr: My grandfather Louis G. Starks was a pilot on Ack-Ack Annie 095 for one mission on 14th October 1944. He flew 35 mission for the 322nd. this was the last B-17 he flew over Germany.

The other B-17 in the photo, #790 is Oh Happy Day. It was in the 322nd.

Squadron Planes Taking off on Mission 70 00

Squadron Planes Taking off on Mission 70 04

It took a lot of digging and a little guess work,but I finally figured out the name on this plane. This is B-17G-85-BO "Extra Special" from the 322nd Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group, 8th Air Force.-D. Sheley on Flickr.

I believe that the camouflaged aircraft behind Extra Special is 42-31678, Little Patches of the 401st Bomb Squadron. She survived the war. - Steve Birdsall on Flickr

B-17G-85-BO "The Biggest Bird" S/N 43-38306 of the 322nd BS, 91st BG. This plane was damaged in the raid on Pilsen April 25,1945 and made a forced landing at an emergency field on the continent. The plane was abandoned. -D. Sheley

Squadron Planes Taking off on Mission 70 02

Squadron Planes Taking off on Mission 70 03

B-17G "Rusty Dusty" of the 322nd BS, 91st BG. This ship entered service with the 91st BG on December 7th, 1944 and was written off after a taxiing accident on April 4th, 1945 at the 91st BG's home base of Bassingbourn, England.

I believe this a plane called "Star Dust" from the 322ns Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group. I've been digging through the dailies from the 91st BG and saw a reference to plane #901 from the 322nd BS and it would be in the right time frame for this plane. They usually refered to planes by the last three numbers of the serial. -D. Sheley

Squadron Planes Taking off on Mission 71 01

Squadron Planes Taking off on Mission 71 02

"Stinky" was a B-17G-50-DL serial #44-6308 from the 322nd BS, 91st BG. -D. Sheley

Steve Birdsall adds: I believe the aircraft tucked in behind Stinky is 43-37707, named Madame Shoo Shoo. Madame Shoo Shoo displayed the letters LG-M on her fuselage, and was flown by Lt. Gerland G. Kranch on the March 18 Berlin mission. Here's a link to a photo of Madame Shoo Shoo with another crew.

B-17G of the 322nd Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group. This plane survived the war and returned to the US,was scrapped at Kingman AAD on July 1,1946. -D. Sheley

Squadron Planes Taking off on Mission 71 04

Planes lined up for mission 69 01
B17s lite haze over sun 02

B-17s of the 91st Bombardment Group.

The ship in the foreground, a Lockheed/Vega-built B-17G, serial number 44-8588, was assigned to the 324th BS, 91st BG, but had been previously assigned to the 381st BG, denoted by the over-painted 'L' inside the triangle on the tail. The 91st's 'A' has yet to be added.

This is a 'Mickey Ship'... a pathfinder equipped with H2X radar for blind-bombing through overcast. The belly turret has been replaced by the H2X radome. More info about how the term 'Mickey' came to be used for the H2X can be found HERE...

The Fort behind the Mickey ship is a Boeing-built B-17G, serial number 43-38379, named 'Margie'. This ship was assigned to the 323rd BS, and a photo of the nose art can be seen HERE. (Scroll up just a bit, it's on the left.)

Looking at the other photos from this series, it appears that the ship on the right may also have been an-ex 381st BG aircraft re-assigned to the 91st BG. -Hawk419 on Flickr

The name of the B-17G 44-8588 is Klette's Wild Hares. It was named for Lt Col Immanuel J. Klette, commander of the 91st Bomb Group's 324th Bomb Squadron, which had evolved into a pathfinder unit. According to historian Roger Freeman, Klette "was probably the most knowledgeable combat pilot in the whole 8th Air Force".

There's a photo of Klette and the artwork on this aircraft HERE
courtesy of Steve Birdsall

A view of "Klette's Wild Hares" leading the 91st at Bassingbourn; the ship trailing (center) is also a Micky-equipped bird. They were most easily identifiable from a distance by their 'naked' 1st Air Division triangle (no group letter), as these ships were periodically assigned to lead other groups within the Division. -G.Asher

Planes lined up for mission 69 02

B17s lite haze over sun 01
Planes lined up for mission 69 03

Eighth Air Force bombers carried tail marks to identify their group. This consisted of a letter inside either a triangle, circle or square. The A inside a triangle marks these B-17's as belonging to the 91st Bomb Group. During their time in England they were stationed at RAF Basingbourn, three miles north of Royston in Hertfordshire. -johnwilkerson on FLickr

This is "Hikin' for Home" from the 322nd Bomb Squadron. -D. Sheley

B17 waiting Take Off

Squadron Planes Taking off on Mission 71 03
B17 passing in flite alt 1000 feet 4 100 green filter xx 61 01

B-17G, serial number 42-31909, named 'Nine-O-Nine', of the 323rd Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group.

'Nine-O-Nine' completed 140 missions without one crew fatality, and I believe there were no injuries either. She survived the war and was scrapped at the great bone-yard in Kingman, Arizona.

A restored B-17 operated by the Collings Foundation carries this ship's markings...

Is it possible that the debris in the foreground of this picture of the Nine O Nine is the same debris as in the background of this picture?

B17 backlight hazy sun snow 02

Crashed A35 (as labeled in the negative file)

Thanks to everyone for the research and insight contributed to the photographs on this page.

Steve Birdsall added a few links for additional information:
Here are some links to photos of most of these B-17s in the National Archives collection. These clearly show the artwork on the noses, most if not all of it painted by the gifted and prolific Tony Starcer. They also show some of the young men who flew these B-17s, and some may even be in them as they rolled past the camera at Bassingbourn . . .

Ack-Ack Annie early career with the Ledkte crew and then
Ack-Ack Annie LATER.
Extra Special with Lt H. D. Johnson's crew,
Incendiary Blonde and the Snipe crew.
Little Patches on May 10, 1944 with Lt Bill Major's 324th Squadron crew,(the tall fellow is M/Sgt George W. Parks, flight engineer and one of the founding members of the 91st Bomb Group Memorial Association),
Little Patches with the Buchanan crew after her transfer to the 401st Squadron.
Oh Happy Day with the Smoley crew
Rusty Dusty and the Reichert crew.
Star Dust with the Reinhart crew
Star Dust again but later,
Stinky with the Ernst crew.

Or maybe you'd prefer just a list of all (well, most) of the categories and subjects and album pages in LOST GALLERY! Here it is!

A to C

Advance to the Rear The Rear View
Aircraft – Biplanes
Aircraft – Connie, the Lockheed Constellation
Aliens and Mystery – Area Fifty-One and a Half
Animals – Gone to the Chickens
Animals – The Pets by themselves
Animals – Posing on a Pony
Area Fifty-One and a Half – Don’t Look Now
Automobiles – Car Bumpers
Automobiles – Car Running Boards
Baby Buggy
Beach – Itinerant Beach Photographer (page 01)
Beach – Itinerant Beach Photographer (page 02)
Beach – The Old Days
Beach – The Slide Show
Beach – The Girlfriend
Boys in Dresses
Bumpers – Car Bumpers
Cabinet Cards
Camera – Photographs containing a camera
C'est la Guerre – Photographs about the wars
Chain Chain Chain – People doing the same things
Chair, Fringed
Chair, One Armed
Chickens - Gone to the Chickens
Children – Boys in Dresses
Children – A Child on the Front Steps
Children - Girls and their Dolls
Children – Kid in a Tub
Children – Mobile Toys
Children - On Running Boards
Children – Slide Show
Children – Trios - In groups of Three
Christmas – in found photographs
Cities – Unknown Street Scenes
Class Pictures – School Days!
Clothing – Bows
Clothing – Costumes
Clothing – Cowboy Outfits
Clothing – Boys in Dresses
Clothing – Furs – The Dead Animal Society
Clothing – Grass Skirts
Clothing – Hats
Clothing – Jodhpurs
Clothing – Saddle Shoes
Clothing – Sailor Tailored Fashion
Clothing – Swimwear – At the Beach
Clothing – Uniforms – Girl & her Guy in Uniform
Clothing – Uniforms - Our Man at the Front
Connie, the Lockheed Constellation
Couples – A Girl and her Guy in Uniform
Fake Fight

C to P

Fringed Chair
Furniture and Props – One Armed Chair
Furniture and Props – Props and Backdrops
Furniture and Props – The Fringed Chair
Furniture and Props – Wicker
Girl in a Boat
Girlfriend and the Car
Girlfriend at the beach
Goat Cart
Gone to the Chickens – Snaps including a chicken
Grass Skirt Gallery
Groups – Chain Chain Chain – People lined up
Groups – Class Pictures
Hats – Where everyone is wearing a hat
Hats – Really Big hats
Homes – We Call it Home
House – Our House
Itinerant Street Photographer
Itinerant Photographer With PONY!
Laundry – People and Clothes Lines
Music – Trombones
Music Makers
Novelty Photo Booth – Collection
Novelty Photo Booth – Examination
The Office Typewriters and business
On a Bumper
On a Car
On a Rock
On a Running Board
One-Armed Chair
Parade – Parties, Parades and Picnics
Parties – Parties, Parades and Picnics
People Stacks
Personal Pinups – the best girl. (Page One)
Personal Pinups – the best girl. (Page Two)
Personal Pinups – Girlfriend at the beach
Pets – The animals by themselves
Photo Mask
PhotoBombing – Pranks to ruin a photo
Photography – Photographs containing a camera
Photography – The Photo Mask
Photography – Tinted Photograph
Photography – Polaroids
Photography Errors – Blocked Lens
Photography Errors – Double Exposure
Photography Errors – Lurker
Photography Errors – photographer's Shadow
Photography Errors – Unauthorized Photographs
Picnics – Parties, Parades and Picnics
Places to Go - More about where than who.
Places – Our House - With people in front
Places – We Call it Home - More houses
Pony – Posing on a Pony

P to W

Poses – Advance to the Rear!
Poses - Belly Down, Heads Up! (A really odd pose.)
Poses – Cheesecake
Poses – Fake Fight
Poses – Girl in a Boat
Poses – In a Tree
Poses – Kid in a Tub
Poses – On a Bumper
Poses – On a Car
Poses – On a Pony
Poses – On a Running Board
Poses – Out Sitting on a Rock
Poses – People with Signs.
Poses – Personal Pinup
Poses – The Rear View
Poses – Sleeping people
Poses – Stacks of People People on People
Props and Backdrops
Rock – People out sitting on a rock
Running Boards - Automobiles
Running Boards with Children
Saddle Shoes
Sailor Tailored Clothing
Signs – People posing with signs.
Sleeping People
Sneaky Snaps–People not posing at all
Telephone - About telephones and operators
Things – Typewriter – A Modern Antique
Things – Telephones
Things – Watermelon in the picture
Tinted Photograph
Toys – Children and their Mobile Toys
Toys - Girls and their Dolls
Transportation – Aircraft
Transportation – Automobile Bumpers
Transportation – Automobile Running Boards
Transportation – Baby Buggy
Transportation – Biplanes
Transportation – Lockheed Constellation
Transportation – Wheelbarrow
Tree Thing
Types of Photographs – Cabinet Cards
Types of Photographs – CDV (Carte-de Viste)
Types of Photographs – Photobooth
Types of Photographs – Polaroids
Types of Photographs – Tintypes
Typewriter – A Modern Antique
Unauthorized Photographs – Sneaky snaps
Uniformed Man – Our Man at the Front
Vehicles – Biplane
Vehicles – Lockheed Constellation
Vehicles – Wheelbarrow
Washday Blues – Of Love and Laundry
Wicker Chairs
Wicker Furniture
World War One

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