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  B-17E "Calamity Jane" Serial Number 41-2440  
USAAF
13th AF
5th BG
394th BS

Former Assignments
19th BG
435th BS

Click For Enlargement
USAAF c1943

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
USAAF c1943

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2251. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2440 On December 1,  1941 departs Boeing Field piloted by Lt. Clyde B. Kelsey. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific before reaching Garbutt Field.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 19th Bombardment Group (19th BG). No known nickname or nose art.

On February 22, 1942 before midnight took off from Garbutt Field pilot Harry Speith with co-pilot Lt. Fields on a bombing mission against Rabaul. Due to poor weather and unable to find the target area, this B-17 aborted the mission and returned to Garbutt Field landing on February 23, 1942.

On March 14, 1942 transferred to the 435th Bombardment Squadron (435th BS) at Cloncurry Airfield when it formed.

On July 3, 1942 took off on a bombing mission against Salamaua. Over the target during a twenty minute air battle intercepted by A6M2 Zeros that made ten frontal attacks, five side attacks and three belly attacks. This bomber's gunners claimed two Zeros shot down south of Salamaua, and both the wast gunner and bendix turret gunner were wounded.

During November 1942, three B-17Es from the 19th Bombardment Group (19th BG) were transfered to the South Pacific (SOPAC). On November 14, 1942 assigned to the 13th Air Force (13th AF), 5th Bombardment Group (5th BG), 394th Bombardment Squadron (394th BS) including this bomber, B-17E 41-2632 and B-17E 41-2658.

Nicknamed "Calamity Jane" with a nude brunette woman with her hands behind her head and a flower in her hair. This B-17 flew missions from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal and New Caledonia until the middle of 1943. Assigned to crew chief Roy Davenport.

At some point, possibly at Tontouta Airfield on New Caledonia when being prepared to be ferried back to the United States, the woman's nipples were painted out and a white shirt with short sleeves was painted over her chest to cover the original nude nose art. Afterwards, this B-17 was ferried back to the United States arriving March 7, 1944. Declared war weary, this bomber was written off and salvaged on June 15, 1946.

References
Some references incorrectly state this B-17 ditched off Duma Point.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-2440
Wherefore the REAL 'Swamp Ghost' by Michael Claringbould
Grey Geese Calling (1981) includes a photo of this B-17
Fortress Against The Sun (2001) pages 60, 312, 384, 400, 415
Thanks to Steve Birdsall for additional information

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Last Updated
November 10, 2021

 

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B-17

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