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  B-17E "Buzz King" Serial Number 41-9124  
USAAF
13th AF
11th BG
98th BS

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Click For Enlargement
13th AF c1942

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2596. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-9124. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to the South Pacific (SOPAC).

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force (13th AF), 11th Bombardment Group (11th BG), 98th Bombardment Squadron (98th BS). Nicknamed "Buzz King" in stylized capital letters with three white hashes to the left. Below the nickname was a scoreboard with Japanese rising sun flags in two rows (5+5) indicating aerial victory claims by gunners with a date in white above each flag (top row: 9-14-42, 9-19-42, 9-24-42, 9-25-42. lower row: 10-13-43, 10-13-42, 11-18-42, 11-15-42, 11-18-42). Twelve bomb markings indicating bombing missions flown with dates inside each bomb (9-14-42, 9-19-42, 9-21-42, 9-25-42, 10-11-42, 10-13-42, 11-12-42, 11-15-42 or 11-18-42) plus four undated bombs. Three ship silhouettes (merchant ship 11-14-42, merchant ship 10-15-42 or 11-15-42 and warship with no date.

By late 1942, this B-17 flew at least twelve bombing missions (or more) and was photographed at Tontouta Airfield on New Caledonia. This bomber was field modified with twin .50 caliber machine guns in the radio compartment for additional defensive firepower.

Wartime History
During late 1942, operated from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal flying bombing missions in the Solomon Islands.

On September 14, 1942 took off on a mission and claimed a Japanese plane shot down.

On September 19, 1942 took off on a mission and claimed a Japanese plane shot down.

On September 24, 1942 took off on a mission and claimed a Japanese plane shot down.

On September 25, 1942 took off on a mission and claimed a Japanese plane shot down.

On October 13, 1942 took off on a mission and claimed two Japanese plane shot down.

On October 15, 1942 took off on a mission and claimed a merchant ship sunk.

On November 12, 1942 took off on a mission

On November 14, 1942 took off on a mission and claimed a merchant ship sunk.

On November 15, 1942 took off on a mission and claimed a Japanese plane shot down.

On November 18, 1942 took off on a mission and claimed two Japanese planes shot down.

On March 16, 1943 took off from Henderson Field piloted by Captain Jim Carroll armed with eight 500 pound bombs and three M-26 flares as one of two B-17s on a night mission against Kahilli Airfield southern Bougainville. Over the target, the bombers made four passes and experienced heavy anti-aircraft fire. Both sustained shrapnel damage but neither was seriously damaged and none of the crew hurt.

On March 23, 1943 this B-17 was parked in the northwest dispersal area at Henderson Field on Guadalcanal loaded with bombs and fuel ready for a night mission against Kahilli Airfield on southern Bougainville.

During the night, three G4M1 Bettys from the 705 Kokutai on a night bombing mission on against Henderson Field on Guadalcanal armed with 60kg and 250kg bombs. Over the target, bombed the northwest dispersal area destroyed this B-17. Also destroyed was B-17E "Zero Six Zero" 41-9060, B-24D "Flying Gator" 41-23898, B-24D "Shamrock", B-24D "Lone Wolf" and RNZAF Hudson from No. 3 Squadron.

Captain Jim Carroll wrote:
"Washing Machine Charlie was not to be denied. His bomb struck 41-9124 [this aircraft] amidship and triggered her bomb load, which ignited her fuel load. She disappeared in a magnificent swoosh! A little later, 41-9060 was hit by the nuisance bomber. The B-17 [41-9060] was blown to hell by Charlie, who dropped one along the plane which was loaded with eight 500 pounders... [the explosion left] a hole 40' wide and 30' deep - that was all. Two B-17s had disappeared in the blink of an eye."

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-9124
"9124 delivered to 303rd BG Bosie Apr 20, 1942; transferred to Lowry May 29, 1942; assigned to 11th BG, 98th BS, Hawaii, named (*Buzz King*) Jun 7, 1942; transferred to 5th BG, 31st BS; bombed on Henderson Field by "Washing Machine Charlie" Mar 23, 1943. Salvaged."
Fortress Against the Sun (2001) pages 325-327, 424 footnote 13
Thanks to Steve Birdsall for additional information

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Last Updated
March 22, 2022

 

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