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  B-17E Flying Fortress Serial Number 41-2478  
7th BG

Former Assignment
19th BG
30th BS

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. On December 26, 1941 delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2478 and flown to Sacramento Air Depot (SAD).

Wartime History
Assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group (19th BG), 30th Bombardment Squadron (30th BS). No known nickname or nose art.

This B-17 was ferried by pilot 1st Lt. Ignatius Sargent from the United States departing MacDill Field via the "Africa route". On January 28, 1942 arrived at Surabaya on Java as a replacement aircraft. In Java, transfered to the 7th Bombardment Group (7th BG), Headquarters Squadron.

On February 13, 1942 took off piloted by Northcutt at night one of eleven B-17s (three from the 19th BG and eight from the 19th BG) on a bombing mission against Japanese shipping off Makassar. This was the largest formation by Java based B-17s to date. Inbound to the target, B-17E 41-2466 aborted the mission due to engine trouble. The rest of the formation bombed through clouds, reporting: "Bombs were dropped on lights off shore - results undetermined." but claimed one ship hit.

On February 15, 1942 took off piloted by Jaques at 6:10am armed with eight 300kg bombs as one of five B-17s from the 19th BG as part of an air raid against a Japanese convoy. Over the ships, the formation experienced moderate to heavy anti-aircraft fire before releasing their bombs under cloudy conditions. Several near misses were claimed, including "smoke was seen to be emerging from the stern of a cruiser".

On February 17, 1942 took off piloted by Schwanbeck as one of five B-17s on a bombing mission against Palembang, but the formation aborts the mission due to a storm front.

On February 18, 1942 took off piloted by Dean C. "Pinky" Hoevet on a bombing mission against Palembang but the formation again aborted the mission due to bad weather.

On February 19, 1942 at 5:00am, took off from Singosari Airfield (Malang) on Java piloted by Lt. Godman armed with eight 300kg bombs on a mission to bomb an enemy convoy landing troops on the southern coast of at Denpasar Airfield on Bali Island. This B-17 was the second to arrive over the target at 7:45am and was targeted by heavy anti-aircraft fire while bombing from 7,000'. Targeted by 3" guns from the warships and aborted the bomb run to climb to 23,000'. During the second bomb run, the ships were obscured by heavy clouds and this B-17 descended to 16,000' but still could not see any targets and was intercepted by four Zeros, with his gunners claiming two shot down. When the B-17's top turret malfunctioned, Godman opted to salvo his bombs, abort the mission and returned to Singosari Airfield (Malang).

On February 20, 1942 parked at Singosari Airfield (Malang) on Java. Around 3:45pm, nine fighters were spotted over the area below a layer of clouds, but were assumed to be friendly fighters and no air raid alarm was sounded. In fact, they were nine A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai (Tainan Air Group) that began strafing runs over the parked B-17 Flying Fortresses.

During their attack, this B-17 was destroyed. Nine personnel were wounded on the ground, two seriously. The five parked B-17s were set on fire and destroyed including three destroyed: B-17E 41-2455, B-17E 41-2484, B-17E 41-2488 plus two others burned and damaged beyond repair: B-17E 41-2478 (this aircraft) and B-17E 41-2498.

Afterwards, salvaged for parts. On February 27, 1942 both B-17E 41-2478 and B-17E 41-2498 were burned by the Americans to prevent them from being captured before the airfield was abandoned.

This B-17 was captured by the Japanese. Ultimate fate unknown likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

Other sources incorrectly list this B-17 as destroyed February 3, 1942, lost in Africa or Singosari Airfield (Malang).
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-2478
"2478 delivered Sacramento Dec 26, 1941. Assigned to 19th BG Java Jan 28, 1942. Transferred to 7th BG. Strafed Singosari Feb 3, 1942. Also reported as having crashed somewhere in Africa while on supply mission to FEAF"
Fortress Against The Sun (2001) pages 123, 127, 137, 141, 386 (Appendix B: B-17E 41-2478 HQ/7BG, destroyed by strafing at Malang, 20 Feb 42.), 412 (footnotes 8, 11, 19, 20)

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Last Updated
February 27, 2021


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