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  B-17F-10-BO "Aztec's Curse" Serial Number 41-24457  
13th AF
5th BG
31st BS

11th BG
26th BS

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11th BG October 5, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 3142. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17F-10-BO Flying Fortress serial number 41-24457.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 11th Bombardment Group, 27th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Aztec's Curse" and flew combat missions in the Solomon Islands.

On September 29, 1942 took off from Espiritu Santo piloted by Lt. Kinney flying via Henderson Field on Gaudalcanal for a bombing mission against Tonolei Harbor off southern Bougainville. One of eleven bombers led by B-17E 41-2611 piloted by Major Sewart forming a mixed formation from the 11th BG's 26th BS, 98th BS and 431st BS plus B-17s from the 5th BG, 72nd BS. Over the target was thick fog and the formation dove down to make their bombing run and were attacked by fifteen A6M Zeros. The formation was unable to locate the target due to bad weather and instead patrolled the western coast of Bougainville before spotting a Japanese cruiser and the formation bombed from 5,500' with all bombs missing the ship. During the bomb run, this B-17's bomb release mechanism failed and made a second bomb run with B-17E "Blue Goose" 41-2616 (MIA) hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed into the sea. Returning, this B-17 landed safely at Henderson Field around 3:30pm.

On October 5, 1942 this B-17 was photographed after a bombing mission over Gizo on Ghizo Island. Afterwards, this photograph was highly reproduced.

On October 15, 1942 took off from Bomber 1 on Espiritu Santo piloted by Captain Chambers armed with four 500 pound bombs as one of nine B-17s flying in three plane elements on a bombing mission against five Japanese transports off Guadalcanal. Over the target, the first element bombed the ships and missed. The second element claimed one transport hit. The third element led by this B-17 bombed and Chambers claimed three direct hits on another transport, setting it on fire. Following the bomb run, the formation was intercepted by roughly twenty Zeros that made aggressive attacks. Although each B-17 in the formation sustained some damage, all returned safely.

Later, assigned to the 5th Bombardment Group, 31st Bombardment Squadron.

Mission History
On April 23, 1943, this B-17 ground looped piloted by Captain Leon Rockwell. Ultimate fate unknown likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17F Flying Fortress 41-24457
"24457 (5th BG, 31st BS, "The Azte's Curse") crash landed due to brake failure Apr 23, 1943 and w/o."
Fortress Against The Sun pages 259 (September 29, 1942), 276-277 (October 15, 1942), 391

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019


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