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  B-17E Flying Fortress Serial Number 41-2408  
5th AF
43rd BG
65th BS

Former Assignments
7th BG
88th RS

19th BG
30th BS

374th TCG
21st TCS

64th BS

USAAF c1942

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2219. On October 29, 1941 delivered to the to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2408 at Boeing Field. Assigned to the 7th Bombardment Group (7th BG), 88th Reconnaissance Squadron (88th RS). No known nickname or nose art.

Wartime History
On December 6, 1941 took off from Hamilton Field piloted by Lt. Karl Barthelmess on an unarmed ferry flight bound for Hickam Field. On the morning of December 7, 1941 incoming Japanese aircraft detected on radar were dismissed as the expected flight of B-17s. The formation of B-17s arrived during the Japanese surprise attack against Pearl Harbor and Oahu. During the attack, this B-17 managed to safely land at Hickam Field.

Sometime after December 7, 1941, painted in Hawaiian Air Depot (HAD) three color camouflage scheme consisting of dark green, olive drab and tan upper surfaces with standard gray lower surfaces.

During the remainder of December 1942, flew reconnaissance missions from Hickam Field patrolling the Pacific Ocean area off Hawaii. In January 1942, flown on a ferry flight from Hickam Field across the Pacific to Australia.

In early February, dispersed from Garbutt Field to Mareeba Airfield, fearing a Japanese air raid against Townsville. Afterwards, flown back to Garbutt Field. On February 20, 1942 assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group (19th BG), 30th Bombardment Squadron (30th BS). No known nose art or nickname and sometime after assignment the lower turret was removed.

On February 22-23, 1942 took off from Garbutt Field piloted by Harry Brandon on a bombing mission against Rabaul and claimed one Zero shot down (none were lost).  Afterwards, landed at 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby with the left engine out from battle damage and ran out of fuel taxing on the runway.

On March 12, 1942, took off from Batchelor Field near Darwin piloted by Captain Harold Chaffin on a flight to Del Monte Airfield on Mindanao but mechanical problems caused it to arrive late.

On March 16, 1942 took off from Del Monte Airfield as one of three B-17E Flying Fortress used to evacuate General Douglas MacArthur, his family and senior staff to Batchelor Field near Darwin in Australia.

During September 1942, this B-17 was briefly assigned to the 374th Troop Carrier Group, 21st Troop Carrier Squadron (TCS) and was overhauled and modified in Australia.

On November 28, 1942 assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group (43rd BG), 64th Bombardment Squadron (64th BS) and continued to fly bombing missions operating from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby over New Guinea.

On June 9, 1943 around 11:30pm took off from 7 Mile Drome piloted by Lt. Joseph E. Hensler as one of four B-17s from the 64th BS on a night mission to bomb Lakunai Airfield near Rabaul. The formation also included seven B-17s from the 64th Bombardment Squadron (64th BS) plus a single B-17 and four B-24 Liberators from the 403rd Bombardment Squadron (403rd BS). On June 10, 1943 around 4:00am this bomber reached the target area and saw search lights on the ground and anti-aircraft fire. At 4:38am this B-17 was spotted by Japanese Navy J1N1 Irving night fighter piloted by W/O Satoru Ono and shadowed for 20 minutes and maneuvered into position for an attack from below and behind. At 5:00am as this bomber was on the bomb run and released twenty 100 pound bombs, the nightfighter opened fire and score hits on the fuselage and right wing then made a second firing pass from 2 o'clock low position. The second pass hit the no. 3 engine disabling the supercharger and sheared off 9" of one of the propeller blades and one crew member sustained minor wounds form plexiglass fragments. Damaged, the B-17 went into a dive but was able to land safely at Dobodura.

On July 13, 1943 took off from 7 Mile Drome on a bombing mission against Lae with B-17E "Queenie" 41-2464, B-17F "Dinah Might ?" 41-24355, B-17F "Little Poopsie Adele" 41-24548 and a single B-24. This was the last B-17 mission flown by the 64th Bombardment Squadron as they converted operate the B-24 Liberator.

In late July 1943 transfered to the 65th Bombardment Squadron. During September 1943 removed from the inventory as they converted operate the B-24 Liberator. Possibly, this bomber was to be converted into an armed transport by the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field but instead was scrapped at Brisbane on October 14, 1944.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-2408
"2408 was one of the planes that arrived over Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941. Used to evacuate General MacArthur from Philippines Mar 25, 1942. Salvaged in Brisbane, Australia Oct 14, 1944."
Fortress Against The Sun (2001) pages 357, 384
Ken's Men Against The Empire Volume I (2015) pages 327, 330
Aviation History Magazine July 2016 "Pacific Tramps" by Steve Birdsall page 22, 25

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Last Updated
June 14, 2023


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