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.
This B-17 was flown overseas to the Netherlands East Indies piloted by Captain Algene E. Key of the 19th Bombardment Group, 30th Bombardment Squadron arriving on Java January 30, 1942.
Assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group, 28th Bombardment Squadron. This B-17 operated from Djogjakarta Airfield on Java. Later, assigned to the 93rd Bombardment Squadron.
On February 19, 1942 took off at roughly 6:00am piloted by Captain Schwanbeck on 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 "Kangaroo Squadron".
On July 31, 1942 assigned on 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, 8th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron and had the lower Bendix turret removed and used for non-combat flights to and from Australia.
In November 1942,
assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group, 65th Bombardment Squadron, but not take up into their inventory. In February 1943 transfered to the 403rd Bombardment Squadron but returned to the 65th Bombardment Squadron at the end of the month. During 1943 operated from 7 Mile Drome (Jackson) near Port Moresby. Often flown by pilot Buchanan or Captain George K. Shako.
Nicknamed "Yankee Diddl'er Wouldn't It Root Ya" 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 while "Wouldn't It Root Ya" was painted in yellow in a cursive style.
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 Mrs. 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, 317th Troop Carrier Group, 39th Troop Carrier Squadron 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 pages 119, 128, 131-132, 369, 385, 412 (notes 19-20), 414 (note 38)
Ken's Men Against The Empire Volume 1 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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January 29, 2019