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  B-17F-1-BO "Lulu Belle" Serial Number 41-24358  
5th AF
5th AF HQ

Former Assignments
54th TCW

43rd BG
63rd BS

PacificWrecks.comUSAAF c1943

PacificWrecks.comUSAAF Feb 28, 1943

PacificWrecks.comUSAAF October 1943

PacificWrecks.comUSAAF c1944

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Accepted by the US Army on June 11, 1942. Ferried to Australia by Captain Franklyn Green. Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 43rd Bombardment Group, 63rd Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Lulu Belle" in yellow with the nose art of a figure smoking a cigar, giving a thumbs up and wearing a white sweater.

Below the pilot's window on the left side of the nose was a scoreboard with yellow bomb markings indicating combat missions flown, white aircraft silhouettes for enemy aircraft claimed and ship icons for ships claimed and white twin engines aircraft claimed. Painted overall olive drab.

Wartime History
During 1943, this bomber flew extensive combat missions over New Guinea, operating from Mareeba Airfield in northern Queensland and 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby.

On March 3, 1943 during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea took off from Mareeba Airfield with B-17F "Ka Puhio Wela / Double Trouble" 41-24356 and another bomber on a bombing mission to attack a Japanese convoy of transports and destroyers bound for Lae.

On March 26, 1943 took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by Denault on a night bombing mission against enemy shipping in Wewak Harbor. Over the target, nothing was sighted and harbor installations were bombed instead.

On October 17, 1943 this B-17 flew its last combat mission in New Guinea and was retired from combat.

Afterwards, transferred to the 54th Troop Carrier Wing (TCW). During November 1943, converted to a staff transport at the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field near Townsville. During the modification, the bomber was stripped to bare metal finish and the gun turrets and armament was removed.

During 1944-1945, used as staff transport aircraft for 5th Air Force headquarters in New Guinea, operating from Nadzab Airfield and Hollandia Airfield. During 1945, operated from the Philippines where it was scrapped.

Pride of Seattle page 7-8
Mark Styling - Aircraft Illustration B-17 Flying Fortresses of the Pacific, page 3 by Mark Styling
Diary of the 63rd Bomb Squadron, 43rd Bomb Group
"26 March 1943 –  Departed Jackson at 0130. Target: shipping Wewak Harbor. Bomb load; 4 ships with 8 X 500# inst demo, 3 with 4X 100# inst demo.
554 Murphy didn't take off on account of engine trouble. Nothing was sighted by the remaining crews.
358, Denault, 537 O'Brien, 574 Derr dropped their bombs on harbor installations.
455 Diffenderfer, 543 Staley, 417 Trigg dropped theirs on the town and runway.
543 Staley landed at Dobodura on the way back because of lack of gas. Search party consisting of Lt Murphy and Capt Thompson's crew were organized and were about to take off when 543 landed. Squadron on readiness at 1500."

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019


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