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  B-17E "Tojo's Physic" Serial Number 41-2640  
5th AF
19th BG
30th BS

Former Assignments
7th BG
9th BS

Click For Enlargement
Don Eckerly

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2451. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2640 and flown to Lowry Field. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 7th Bombardment Group, 9th Bombardment Squadron. During 1942, this B-17 managed to escape from Philippines to Australia. Assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group, 30th Bombardment Squadron operating from Mareeba Airfield. Nicknamed "Tojo's Physic".

Wartime History
On July 4, 1942 took off piloted by Captain Felix Hardison leading a bombing mission against Lae Airfield.

On July 30, 1942 one of six B-17s that took off from Horn Island Airfield piloted by Lt. Carey O'Brien on a predawn take for a bombing mission against Lae. While taxing, B-17E 41-2460 collided with this bomber, tearing off the nose section, which was unoccupied for take off and there were only minor injuries to the crew of each bomber.

Steve Birdsall adds:
"It was destroyed on July 30. That's what Carey O'Bryan told me (quoting from his diary), and it's supported by the fact that 41-2640 was not one of the nine that were on the Buna mission on July 27, 1942.

After the accident, this B-17 was salvaged at Horn Island. Ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

Note, other sources list the Horn Island Airfield collision as July 13, 1942 or July 27, 1942, both dates are incorrect.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-2640
"2640 ("Tojo's Physic" cf. 41-2634) delivered to Lowry Mar 5, 1942; assigned to 19BG/92BS at Hickam, Hawaii Apr 22, 1942; sustained a ground collision at Horn Island, Australia Jul 13, 1942, repaired; Hit by an aircraft while on the ground sheering off the nose Jul 27, 1943. Salvaged for parts."
The B-17 Flying Fortress "Famous Aircraft Series"
Fortress Against The Sun pages 218, 235, 385, 388, 424 (footnote 23)
Horn Island mentions this loss pages 198 - 199
Thanks to Steve Birdsall and Richard Rudd for additional information

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019


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