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  B-17F-1-BO "Tojo's Nite Mare/Blonde Bomber/The Super Chief" Serial Number 41-24357  
5th AF
54th TCW
317th TCG
41st TCS

Former Assignments
19th BG

43rd BG
63th BS
65th BS
43rd BG January 1943
Rohde c1943

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 3042. On June 11, 1942 delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17F-1-BO Flying Fortress serial number 41-24357.

Wartime History
On July 28, 1942 took off from Hamilton Field piloted by Captain Edward W. Scott, Jr. for Hickam Field then across the Pacific via Christmas Island Airfield, Canton Airfield, Fiji and New Caledonia before arriving at Brisbane on August 6, 1942. This ferry flight of new B-17Fs including B-17F 41-24355, this aircraft, B-17F 41-24381 and B-17F 41-24384.

Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 19th Bombardment Group (19th BG) at Charleville Airfield briefly for crew training. On August 12, 1942 assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group (43rd BG), 63rd Bombardment Squadron (63rd BS). Nicknamed "Tojo's Nite Mare" and "Moma Maxie". Assigned to pilot Captain Edward W. Scott, Jr. and later Captain Harry A. Staley. Crew chief was Carl W. Rohde. This B-17 operated from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby flying bombing missions in New Guinea.

Steve Birdsall adds:
"I think that [pilot] Harry Staley flew this one a lot, but I'd have to go back and check. The spelling 'Tojo's Nite Mare' was another variation on a theme. The first aircraft named 'Tojo's Nightmare' was B-17E 41-2497."

On October 25, 1942 at 12:30am took off from 7 Mile Drome pilot by Lt. Anderson as one of seven B-17s on a bombing mission against Japanese shipping in Simpson Harbor off Rabaul. Over the target, made a bombing run on a "cruiser" but the bomb bay doors failed. Making a second bomb run, this bomber salvoed all bombs with one reportedly hitting a 15,000 ton cargo ship that exploded and caught fire. This B-17 sustained some minor damage but returned safely.

On January 10, 1943 at 3:35am took off from 7 Mile Drome piloted by Captain Harry A. Staley as one of three B-17s on a mission against the Japanese convoy returning from Lae bound for Rabaul. Inbound, the bomber formation experienced bad weather over the Solomon Sea but was unable to locate the convoy in St. George's Channel where they were last reported. Instead, the B-17s returned via the southern coast of New Britain and spotted them off Jacquinot Bay and attempted to make a bomb run but encountered more bad weather and anti-aircraft fire. Damaged in a propeller, this B-17 returned safely.

On January 20, 1943 at Mareeba Airfield while taxiing before take off on a flight bound for 7 Mile Drome, damaged in a collision with B-17F "Fightin Swede" 41-24520. Afterwards, transfered to a service squadron for repairs.

During April 1943 assigned to the 65th Bombardment Squadron (65th BS). Nicknamed "Blonde Bomber" in a cursive font with the nose art of a nude woman between the two words.

On June 18, 1943 took off from 7 Mile Drome on a flight to Dobodura Airfield to stage for a night bombing mission against Rabaul.

On June 19, 1943 after midnight took off from Dobodura Airfield piloted by 1st Lt. Raymond W. Baldwin, Jr. with co-pilot 2nd Lt. George K. Shako, Jr. armed with 100 pound bombs and 20 pound fragmentation bombs on a night bombing mission over Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul as one of seventeen B-17s with three B-24s. Over the target, the formation encountered anti-aircraft fire, search lights and bombed starting small fires on the southeast end of the runway. While returning, this B-17 was stalked by a Japanese J1N1 Irving night fighter from 5 o'clock low and opened fire hitting their tail with 20mm shells and wounded the tail gunner. Afterwards, the same night fighter or another made three more passes and gunfire damaged the no. 1 engine but managed to escape. While returning, they discovered a bomb in the bomb bay and opened the bomb bay doors to jettison the bomb and the damaged propeller ran away and could not be feathered but managed to land safely at Dobodura Airfield.

That same day, transfered back to the 63rd Bombardment Squadron (63rd BS) and retained the nickname "Blonde Bomber".

On July 29, 1943 first combat mission after returning.

On September 10, 1943 took off from 7 Mile Drome piloted by 1st Lt. James W. Hale on a reconnaissance mission over the Solomon Sea area. Flying over the St. George's Channel the crew spotted a small ship with a destroyer escort and climbed to 6,000' for a bomb run and was targeted by anti-aircraft fire and intercepted by A6M Zeros from 253 Kokutai (253 Air Group) that made a frontal attack and a 20mm shell damaged the nose wounding bombardier Lt. Mitchell. Afterwards, other Zeros made repeated attacks but the bomber returned to 7 Mile Drome with 20mm cannon shell holes in the nose and wings plus 40-50 machine gun holes in the fuselage.

On September 20, 1943 took off off from 7 Mile Drome piloted by Lt. Col. Rousek flying with Captain Van Trigt's crew as one of six B-17s on a bombing mission against the Bogadjim Road, bombing a bridge and claiming it as demolished.

On October 21, 1943 transfered to 5th Bomber Command.

During November 1943, transfered to the 54th Troop Carrier Wing and modified at the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field near Townsville as an armed transport. Painted on the nose was Squadron Number "75". Assigned to the 317th Troop Carrier Group, 41st Troop Carrier Squadron to pilot Lt. Jack D. Hoover with crew chief T/Sgt Art Tassoni. Renamed "The Super Chief".

During September 1945 scrapped in Australia.

Larry Rohde adds:
"I am the son of Carl W. Rohde who was the crew chief of the super chief I have photos of it if you would like."

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17F-1-BO Flying Fortress 41-24357
"24357 to 63rd BS, 43rd BG, transferred to 41st TCS, 317th TCG. Salvaged Sep 1945 in Australia."
Pride of Seattle (1998) page 6
Fortress Against The Sun (2001) pages 235 (ferry flight arriving August 6, 1942), 390, 430 (footnote 29, ferry flight arriving August 6, 1942)
Ken's Men Against The Empire Volume I (2020) pages 55 (August 1942), 72 (October 25, 1942), 116 (January 10, 1943), 122 (January 20, 1943), 238 (photo Blonde Bomber), 238-240 (June 18-19, 1943), 287 (September 10, 1943), 290 (September 20, 1943), 314, 315 (photo The Super Chief at 30 Mile), 346, 347 (photo Tojo's Nite Mare), 333 (63rd BS, 41-24357), 334 (63rd BS, 41-24357), 338 (65th BS, 41-24357), 353, 396 (index Blonde Bomber), 407 (index Moma Maxie) 413 (index The Super Chief), 414 (index Tojo's Nite Mare)
Thanks to Steve Birdsall for additional information

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Last Updated
December 26, 2022


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