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  B-17E Flying Fortress Serial Number 41-2611  
13th AF
5th BG
31st BS

Former Assignments
11th BG
26th BS

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2422. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2611. Ferried to Hickam Field.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 11th Bombardment Group, 26th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

On September 29, 1942 took off from Espiritu Santo piloted by Major Allen J. Sewart flying via Henderson Field on Guadalcanal leading a bombing mission against Tonolei Harbor off southern Bougainville. One of eleven bombers forming a mixed formation from the 11th BG including the 26th BS, 98th BS and 431st BS plus B-17s from the 5th BG, 72nd BS. Over the target was thick fog and the formation dove down to make their bombing run and were attacked by fifteen A6M Zeros. The formation was unable to locate the target due to bad weather and instead patrolled the western coast of Bougainville before spotting a Japanese cruiser and the formation bombed from 5,500' with all bombs missing the ship. Returning, this B-17 landed safely at Henderson Field around 3:30pm.

On October 13, 1942 took off Henderson Field on Guadalcanal piloted by Major Sewart armed with two 1,000 pound bombs on a bombing mission against Buka Airfield on Buka Island. The formation of six bombers from the 431st BS and 26th BS was flying in three plane elements led Major Sewart with B-17E 41-9217 piloted by Major Edmundson leading the second element. The weather was poor with a storm as they started the bomb run. Over the target, the first element bombed parked planes with the second element bombing the runway and observed fighters taking off and soon afterwards began attacks as the formation. Low on fuel, B-17F 41-24528 in the second element returned to base, while the rest of the formation made a run on a secondary target Erventa Harbor (Buin Harbor) on southern Bougainville.. With only two bombers, the second element was targeted by the fighters and tail gunner Sgt Handrow aboard this B-17 claimed one shot down in flames and another was claimed by the other B-17. Over Erventa Harbor (Buin Harbor), they spotted 34 ships and attempted a bomb run from 11,000' in the face of anti-aircraft fire and claimed hits on a cruiser and transport while being attacked by ten Zeros. Each B-17 in the formation sustained some damage and returned to Henderson Field to find it under attack by a Japanese air raid and had to circle as the attackers were intercepted and damage to the runway was repaired. After landing safely, each bomber was dispersed when a second air raid commenced but none were damaged.

Later, assigned to the 5th Bombardment Group, 31st Bombardment Squadron.

On January 17, 1944 returned to the United States. Ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17E Fortress 41-2611

"2611 was at Midway Island before the battle"
Grey Geese Calling page 213
Fortress Against The Sun pages 259-260 (September 29, 1942), 274-275 (October 13, 1942), 387, 461 (index Sewart)

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019


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