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  B-17E Flying Fortress Serial Number 41-2471  
USAAF
7th BG
9th BS

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Japan c1942

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Click For Enlargement

Click For Enlargement
Japan c1943

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2282. On December 20, 1941 delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2471 and the same day flown to McChord Field.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 7th Bombardment Group (7th BG), 9th Bombardment Squadron (9th BS). No known nose art or nickname. During the middle of January 1942 departed MacDill Field piloted by Donald R. Strother on a ferry flight via the "African Route" to Java in the Netherlands East Indies (NEI).

On February 8, 1942, one of nine B-17s that took off from Singosari Airfield at 7:35am piloted by Don Strother armed with seven 100 pound bombs and a bomb bay fuel tank on a bombing mission against Japanese occupied Kendari II Airfield on the southeastern corner of Celebes (Sulawesi). A dozen Japanese fighters trailed the formation from behind and made head on attacks, shooting down B-17E 41-2492 and B-17E 41-2456 piloted by Captain "Duke" Dufrane and damaged B-17E 41-2482. Forced to jettison their bomb bay fuel tanks, the remaining B-17s aborted the mission and landed at Djogjakarta Airfield on Java. On the ground strafed by A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kōkūtai and damaged.

Wreckage
Afterwards, this B-17 was written off at Djogjakarta Airfield and the nose section and two engines and propellers were removed for use as spare parts and the rest of the bomber was abandoned.

On March 8, 1942 captured by the Japanese when they occupied Djogjakarta Airfield. Soon afterwards, Japanese technical personnel from Giken (Army Aviation Technical Research Institute) arrived and a pair of B-17E Flying Fortresses including this bomber were repaired and test flown at Bandoeng Airfield (Bandung).

This B-17 retained the olive drab upper surfaces and gray lower surfaces. A white vertical stripe was painted on the rear fuselage and Japanese Hinomaru "rising sun" markings on the upper and lower sides of both wings and both sides of the fuselage. Afterwards, the repaired B-17Es were escorted by a L2D Tabby plus fighter aircraft for the ferry flight via the Philippines to Tachikawa Airfield in Japan.

By late 1943 both B-17E and B-17D 40-3095 were based at Tachikawa Airfield for flight testing and experiments by the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF). All three were photographed flying in formation near Mount Fuji. During June 1944 or July 1944 two B-17s were flown to Hamamatsu Airfield. The captured B-17s were also used in training films and news reels for the public. Details and photographed of all three B-17s were published in aviation magazines including Koku-Asahi and published books.

The precise fate of the captured B-17Es is unknown. Likely, both were scrapped or otherwise disappeared before the arrival of American occupation forces in September 1945.

In early 1944, one B-17E was damaged during take off at Fussa Airfield when a sudden cross wind caused it to veer off the runway and collided with a parked Ki-49 Helen and and was written off due to damage from the collision. likely scrapped afterwards. During May 1945 a four engine bomber was spotted by U. S. inelegance in a photograph parked at Tachikawa Airfield that was noted as "Tachikawa Field 104" because it was deemed to have a 104' wingspan but was not seen in subsequent photographs and was likely removed or scrapped.

The second B-17E might have been parked at Irumagawa Airfield away from the runway for use as an instructional airframe or training aid for students at Toyooka Shikan Gako (Japanese Air Force Academy).

References
Other sources list this B-17 as captured at Madioen Field on Java.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-2471
"2471 Delivered McChord Dec 20, 1941. Assigned 19th BG Java Jan 18, 1942. Transferred to 7th BG, 9th BS. Crash landed Feb 8, 1942, Djokjakarta, Java and abandoned. May have been rebuilt by the Japanese."
Fortress Against the Sun pages 101 (photo), 118, 122, 150 (February 8, 1942 destroyed Djogjakarta), 152 (Japanese capture Djogjakarta), 409 (footnote 1, footnote 4), 410, 411, 386 (SN list)
Nihongun Hokakuki Hiroku
Air Classics "Japan's Mystery Fleet of American Bombers" by Robert Mikesh Vol 9, No 5, May 1973
Aviation History "The Surprising Story of Japan's B-17 Fleet" by Robert C. Mikesh July 2010
Thanks to Robert C. Mikesh and William Bartsch for additional information

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Last Updated
February 28, 2020

 

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