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  B-17E "Yankee Diddl'er Wouldn't It Root Ya" Serial Number 41-2458  
54th TCW
317th TCG
39th TCS

Former Assignments
43rd BG
65th BS
403rd BS

19th BG
30th BS
28th BS
93rd BS
435th BS

6th PRG
8th PRS
USAAF c1943
USAAF Sept 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2269. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2458.

Wartime History
This B-17 was flown overseas piloted by Captain Algene E. Key of the 19th Bombardment Group (19th BG), 30th Bombardment Squadron (30th BS) arriving January 30, 1942 on Java.

Next, assigned to the 28th Bombardment Squadron (28th BS). This B-17 operated from Djogjakarta Airfield on Java. Later, assigned to the 93rd Bombardment Squadron (93rd BS).

On February 19, 1942 at roughly 6:00am took off piloted by Captain Schwanbeck leading B-17E 41-2478 and B-17E 41-2452 a bombing mission against a Japanese convoy landing troops on the southern coast of Bali. Arriving over the target at 8:35am and bombing through overcast and anti-aircraft fire from 11,000' then returned to base.

At the conclusion of the Java campaign, this B-17 was evacuated to Darwin. Next, assigned to the 435th Bombardment Squadron (435th BS) "Kangaroo Squadron".

On July 31, 1942 assigned on 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group (6th PRG), 8th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron (8th PRS). Afterwards, the lower Bendix turret was removed and the bomber converted for non-combat flights.

In November 1942, assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group (43rd BG), 65th Bombardment Squadron (65th BS), but not take up into their inventory. During February 1943 transfered to the 403rd Bombardment Squadron (403rd BS) but by the end of the month returned to the 65th Bombardment Squadron (65th BS). During 1943 operated from 7 Mile Drome (Jackson) near Port Moresby. Often flown by pilot Captain George K. Shako.

Nicknamed "Yankee Diddl'er Wouldn't It Root Ya" in yellow in a cursive style with a blonde female nude reclining with her hands behind her head wearing red high heel shoes on the right side of the nose. "Yankee Diddl'er" was painted in white bold capital letters.

On February 25, 1943 this B-17 flew its first bombing mission against Rabaul.

On August 8, 1943 this B-17 a reconnaissance mission over the Bismarck Sea and Solomon Sea. This was its last bombing mission with the 65th Bombardment Squadron having flown approximately sixty bombing missions. Afterwards, transfered to 5th Bomber Command (VBC) replacement pool.

In September 1943, the nose art was modified with white frilly panties were added to the female figure. Reportedly, the panties were added during or after on September 13, 1943 when First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt landed at Archerfield Airfield near Brisbane Apparently, this B-17 was parked nearby and there were worries the risqué nose art might offend her sensibilities.

In early November 1943, converted to an armed transport by the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field at Townsville. The modifications included adding cargo bins inside the bomb bay and changing the engines. The B-17 was also repainted with the new paint job "covering her risqué nude art work and the long row of bombs recording more than 60 missions she had made". Afterwards, assigned to the 54th Troop Carrier Wing (54th TCW), 317th Troop Carrier Group (317th TCG), 39th Troop Carrier Squadron (39th TCS) with squadron number 25.

On December 19, 1943 took off piloted by Captain Lee Bird, navigator Lt. Seymour M. Schafer, waist gunner Sgt Lewis K. Scott, tail gunner SSgt Paul Blasewitz and radio operator SSgt George Prezioso on its first air drop mission. Also aboard were four U.S. Army quartermaster soldiers aboard to release the cargo.

On January 29, 1944 this B-17 ground looped at Finschafen Airfield and afterwards repaired.

On March 1, 1944 one of five armed transports that took off from Finschafen Airfield on a mission to air drop supplies to US Army forces and strafe enemy positions on Los Negros. The next day, flew another air drop and ground support mission.

On January 27, 1945 this B-17 was scrapped at Brisbane.

USAF Serial Number Search Results -B-17E Flying Fortress 41-2458
"2458 (43rd BG, 65th BS, *Yankee Diddler*) damaged by air action and crash landed Pasiran Feb 8, 1942. Flew to Sydney on beer run, ground looped Finchafen Jan 27, 1945. Repaired but eventually written off at Brisbane Jan 1945."
Fortress Against The Sun (2001) pages 119, 128, 131-132, 369, 385, 412 (notes 19-20), 414 (note 38)
Ken's Men Against The Empire Volume I (2016) pages 132 (February 25, 1943 mission), 253 (August 8, 1943 mission) 213 (color photo), 328, 331, 342, (photo), 344 (index Yankee Diddl'er)
Thanks to Steve Birdsall for additional information

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Last Updated
March 17, 2024


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