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  B-17D Flying Fortress Serial Number 40-3061 Tail 40-5B
USAAF
5th AF
19th BG
14th BS

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19th BG Sept 10, 1941

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2089. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17D Flying Fortress serial number 40-3061. Assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group (19th BG), 14th Bombardment Squadron (14th BS). No known nose art or nickname. Tail 40-5B and a red and white rudder. During September 1941 ferried from the United States across the Pacific to the Philippines. The flight included 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby and Batchelor Field near Darwin on September 10, 1941. Their flight was the first time B-17s arrived in Australia.

Wartime History
On December 8, 1941 at the start of the Pacific War this B-17 was at Del Monte Airfield and was ordered to be immediately flown northward to San Marcelino Airfield on Luzon and arrived in the afternoon.

On December 10, 1941 took off from San Marcelino Airfield piloted by Major Emmett "Rosie" O'Donnell before dawn and flew to Clark Field. On the ground, the B-17 was armed with eight 600 lbs bombs and departed alone to bomb Japanese shipping off Vigan. Over target, this B-17 sighted a Japanese cruiser and destroyer but experienced bomb rack problems, and had to make five bombing runs, spending 45 minutes over the target area, experiencing anti-aircraft fire, but all eight bombs missed, then returned to Clark Field. Later, flown back to Del Monte Airfield.

On January 15, 1941 at 10:00am took off from Singosari Airfield piloted by Major Combs on a flight to Palembang Airfield on Sumatra and was refueled and armed with bombs. On January 15, 1942 at 8:00am took off from Palembang Airfield on a bombing mission against Sungei Patani Airfield in Malaya but faced severe weather. Over the target, bombed from 27,000' leaving vapor trails leading B-17D 40-3064 pilot Lt. Bohnaker and B-17D40-3074 pilot Captain Parsel. Ten bombs hung up in this bomber, so he took his flight around for a second bomb run to release his remaining ordnance but the rack failed to operated and all were salvoed. Departing, enemy fighters attempted to intercept but were unable to reach them. Returning in bad weather, the five B-17s landed at Lhoknga Airfield an emergency runway at northwest tip of Sumatra. On landing, this B-17 flew the tail wheel tire and the crew crew used a Dutch truck tire as a repair and were able to take off later that night night. On January 16, 1941 returned safely to Singosari Airfield.

On December 18, 1941 took off from Del Monte Airfield on a flight to Batchelor Field piloted by Major Birrell "Mike" Walsh, co-pilot Lt. Edwin B. Broadhurst, navigator Lt. Edward C. Tarbutton, Bombardier Carter, Engineer Heard, radio Richardson, gunners Clark and Stephens, with passengers Gauche and Wise.

On December 30, 1941 took off from Batchelor Field piloted by Major Walsh and flown to Singosari Airfield on Java.

On January 1, 1942 took off from Singosari Airfield piloted by Captain Edwin B. Broadhurts of the 30th BS to inspect Dutch airfields for potential use by American bombers. He first flew to Samarinda II Airfield. Next, flew to Kendari II Airfield, the returned to Singosari Airfield. He reported both airfields were sufficient for bomber operations and had enough fuel and bombs to support operations.

On January 8, 1942 took off from Kendari II Airfield piloted by Broadhurst as one of nine B-17s led by Major Combs on a mission to bomb Japanese ships in Davao Gulf. Inbound, the formation encountered two violent storms and was forced to abort the mission.

On January 10, 1942 took off from Kendari II Airfield on a flight to Singosari Airfield. On January 11, 1942 took off at 5:55am from Malang Airfield piloted by Broadhurst as one of seven B-17s on a mission against Japanese shipping off Tarakan. On the way to the target, the formation encountered bad weather that broke up the formation, forcing five B-17s including this bomber to abort.

On January 14, 1942 at 10:00am took off Singosari Airfield piloted by Major Combs leading seven B-17s and was flown to Palembang Airfield, and are refueled and armed with bombs.

On January 15, 1942 took off from Palembang Airfield on a mission to bomb Sungei Patani Airfield on the west coast of Malaysia. On the way to the target, two B-17s aborted. The B-17s dropped 31 of their 42 bombs, with fifteen hitting the airfield. Aboard this B-17, ten bombs hung up inside the bomb bay and Combs circled for a second bombing run, but the bombs again failed to release and had to be salvo together. Departing, Japanese fighters attempted to intercept, but were unable to reach the B-17s altitude. Landing at Palembang Airfield, the tail wheel of this B-17 blew out. Since there were no spare tires available, the crew used the inter tube from a Dutch truck tire wrapped over the hub twice. It worked, and the B-17 departed that night, and flew back to Malang Airfield.

On February 28, 1942 when Allied personnel evacuated the airfield, this B-17 was deliberately set on fire and destroyed at Singosari Airfield.

References
Note, other sources incorrectly state B-17D 40-3061 was destroyed at Malang Airfield on Java.
USAF -
December 8, 1941 (2003) pages 391, 398-399
Fortress Against The Sun (2001) pages 65, 67-68, 92, 96, 99, 102-103, 108, 121, 142, 382 (Appendix B: B-17D 40-3061 14/19 Destroyed 28 Feb 42 at evacuation of Malang), 404 (footnote 73), 406 (footnote 44), 407 (chapter 7 footnote 65, chapter 8 footnote 10)
In Alis Vicimus: On Wings We Conquer (1990) pages 172 appendix A-7, A-10 & page 174
Thanks to William Bartsch and Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
February 28, 2021

 

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