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43rd BG c1943
5th AF May 4, 1944
Neville Mines 1973
Richard Leahy 1998
Justin Taylan 2003
|Pilot Lt. Robert Kennedy (survived)
Force Landed May 4, 1944 at 12:00pm
Built by Boeing at Seattle. On August 1, 1942 delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17F-25-BO Flying Fortress serial number 41-24548 and flown to Cheyenne. On September 4, 1942 took off from Hamilton Field and ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.
On September 28, 1942 assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 43rd Bombardment Group (43rd BG), 403rd Bombardment Squadron (403rd BS). Nicknamed "Little Poopsie Adele" painted on the right side of the nose. Later, this nickname was over painted. During January 1943 operated from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby until October 1943.
This B-17 had "tiger stripes" (dark green patches of painted) painted on the tail. On the outer engine cowls were girl's names on the no. 3 outer engine cowling and "Mary" on the number 4 outer engine cowling. While in service with the 43rd Bombardment Group (43rd BG) a reinforced mount for a .50 caliber machine gun was added to the center of the nose perspex for additional forward firepower.
On January 20, 1943 assigned to the 65th Bombardment Squadron (65th BS). During the first week of June 1943 transfered to the 64th Bombardment Squadron.
On July 13, 1943 took off from 7 Mile Drome on a bombing mission against Lae with B-17E 41-2408, B-17E "Queenie" 41-2464, B-17F "Dinah Might ?" 41-24355, this aircraft and a single B-24. This was the last B-17 mission flown by the 64th Bombardment Squadron before they converted to the B-24 Liberator.
On July 22, 1943 transfered to the 65th Bombardment Squadron (65th BS). On September 18, 1943 this B-17 flew its last combat mission with 65th Bombardment Squadron.
On September 24, 1943 assigned to the 63rd Bombardment Squadron.
On October 10, 1943 took off piloted by Captain Jack L. Campbell on an early morning weather reconnaissance over Rabaul. This was the last mission this B-17 flew with the squadron and was removed from squadron by the end of the month.
During early November 1943, one of twelve B-17s converted into an armed transport at the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field. During the overhaul repainted with olive drab paint. Afterwards, assigned to the 54th Troop Carrier Wing (54th TCW), 375th Troop Carrier Group (375th TCG), 57th Troop Carrier Squadron (57th TCS) and operated from Port Moresby and Nadzab Airfield. Nicknamed "Harry the Horse" with Nose number / Buzz number / Field Number 167 in yellow on both sides of the nose behind the cockpit window. On the outer side of the no. 4 engine cowl was "Betty Jo" with a heart in white. Another name was painted on the no. 3 engine cowl.
On March 1, 1944 took off from Finschafen Airfield as one of four armed transport B-17s including B-17E 41-2662, B-17F 41-24420 and another B-17 made supply runs dropping weapons, ammunition, barbed wire and blood plasma to the U.S. Army 1st Calvary Division at Momote Airfield on Los Negros Island and strafed enemy positions in the area.
On March 1, 1944, took off from Finschafen Airfield as one of four B-17 armed transports including this aircraft plus B-17E 41-2662, B-17F "'G.I. Jr." 41-24420 and another B-17 on a mission to make supply runs to drop weapons, ammunition, barbed wire and blood plasma to the U.S. Army 1st Calvary Division soldiers that landed on Los Negros Island and to strafe enemy positions at Momote Airfield.
On May 4, 1944 took off from Nadzab Airfield piloted by Lt. Robert Kennedy on a mission to drop supplies over Hollandia. Returning, the bomber ran short of fuel and attempted to land at Tadji Airfield. While landing at 12:00pm, the right wheel collapsed causing the B-17 to skid off the runway in a "wild run" that ended "within the limits of a bomb dump". During the landing, this B-17 sustained damage to the outer wing. Beyond repair, the wreckage was stripped for parts and partially disassembled from the wings and abandoned in a bone yard area.
The wing center section remains in the former American bone yard area at Tadji Airfield. Reportedly, part of the fuselage section remains in a swamp nearby.
Note, this B-17's nickname sometimes incorrectly listed as "War Horse" an some sources incorrectly state the force landing happened on May 2, 1944 or May 5, 1944, both dates are incorrect.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17F-1-BO Flying Fortress 41-24548
"24548 delivered to Cheyenne Aug 2, 1942; transferred to Hamilton Sep 4, 1942; assigned to the 43rd BG in Hawaii Sep 14, 1942; transferred to 5th Air Force, 375th Troop Carrier Group (date not recorded); crash landed at Aitape, New Guinea on May 5, 1944. Salvaged."
Flying Buccaneers page 170
Pride of Seattle page 14, 17
Fortress Against The Sun pages 357 (July 13, 1943 mission), 392 (nickname listed as "War Horse" incorrectly)
Ken's Men Against The Empire Volume 1 pages 304, 326, 328, 329, 330, 336, 396 (index Little Poopsie Adele)
Thanks to Steve Birdsall for additional information
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