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World War II: USA
Aircraft of the United States in WWII.
Hosted by Rowan Baylis
LF B17G Markings
HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - 12:58 AM UTC
My wife's grandfather was a ball turret gunner on B17G "Big Widget" (42-38069) assigned to the 96th Bomber Squadron, 2nd Bomber Group, 15th Air Force. The aircraft was shot down over Hungary in Aug '44. I am looking for more info on markings. I have only been able to find the below, fuzzy picture of it that only shows partial markings. Can anyone help out with more complete markings? I still have no clue if it had/what the nose art looked like.



More info on the aircraft can be found here.

HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - 04:42 AM UTC
This is a sister aircraft 42-38078 "Sweet Pea" also from 2 Bomb GRP, 15 AF (different Squadron though) with similar markings. I wonder how close the markings for "Big Widget" would be?

ReluctantRenegade
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Wien, Austria
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Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - 06:56 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I wonder how close the markings for "Big Widget" would be?



The squadron marking (I think that's what it is) under the serial number on the tail of the 96th Bomb Squadron would resemble a 'T'.



HeavyArty
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Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - 11:38 PM UTC
Thanks for the info. Any more would be much appreciated.
ReluctantRenegade
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Wien, Austria
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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 01:55 AM UTC
Any idea how the plane was lost?
Tank1812
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North Carolina, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 02:28 AM UTC
I would search for a 2nd BG or 96th BS assoc website to find more.
I did for my uncle with the 388th. http://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/2004
One of the assoc websites, you have to login into to view had better photos and info. It listed all the crews that few the plane and other planes he flew and more details on the mission logs.

You should be able to find the Missing Air Crew Report, that will everything even down to the .50 cal ss#s.

Should be able to find generic decals here.
https://www.kitsworld.co.uk/index.php?CATEGORY=5&SUB=1
The T might be a unit or mission markings, with out researching the unit/group details its hard to know.

To add, B-17 details are a lot like Sherman details. Factory and dates matter. There was also major oversees upgrades done.

HTH
HeavyArty
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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 02:47 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Any idea how the plane was lost?



Yes. From the Missing Air Crew Report. I was able to find the complete 30+ page report.

Aircraft B-17G with serial number 42-38069, nickname Big Widget, departed from Amendola, Italy on a combat mission to Odertal Oil Refinery in Germany.

Statement from S/Sgt Charles H. Hill, tail gunner on B-17 no. 395. "After we left the target, B-17 no. 069 lagged behind us (supposedly due to flak damage). Our element was separated from the squadron at the time. I heard over the interphone that they were going to throw out all extra equipment and salvo the ball turret. A few minutes later I saw one chute go out, then three FW-190 attacked no. 069. Four chutes came out then, one after the other. The plane flew on behind us for some time until I lost sight of it. This was at 1315 hours from 19000 feet at 46 deg 25 min North 17 deg 10 min East. S/Sgt Willet didnít bail out. He was killed by shrapnel from 20mm in the forehead at the tail position. The aircraft crashed in Hungary."

Most of the nose section of the aircraft was destroyed by enemy fire before crashing. 8 crewmen (my wife's grandfather included) became POWs. 2 crewmen were KIA, one in the aircraft, the other when his chute failed to open.


Quoted Text

You should be able to find the Missing Air Crew Report, that will everything even down to the .50 cal ss#s.



I did. It provided lots of info. The piece I am still missing though is markings. It seems this aircraft wasn't photographed hardly at all. I think I may have enough to piece it together as a best guess, but still nothing on possible nose art.
ReluctantRenegade
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Wien, Austria
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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 08:53 AM UTC
I've found a Hungarian book online about the aerial warfare above the northwestern-part of the country in 1944-45. On page 85-87 there's a description of how 42-38069 was lost. According to Samuel P. Wentzel, the lone struggler was returning from a bombing mission against Blechhammer when was attacked by Me-109s.

http://cellbibl-digit.cellkabel.hu/czirok_zoltan-legi_esemenyek.pdf
Tank1812
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North Carolina, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 10:33 AM UTC
The T was a unit marking.

http://www.2ndbombgroup.org/2ndBombGroup.htm

I ask these folks, they might know more or have a better idea of where to look.
http://www.2ndbombgroup.org/

The national archives might have a photo of the plane, not sure how to find it. I know my uncles bird had a damage assessment type photo after a bombing run so I know the planes color but the name is still a mystery and forget about any nose art.

Good luck.
HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 12:27 PM UTC
Thanks. That is interesting about the book, too bad I can't read Hungarian. I did see the same pic I have of Big Widget though. Are the two pics of a crashed aircraft on pg. 89 of Big Widget as well?

Yup, the "T" is the 96th Bomber Squadron tail marking.

ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 05:26 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Are the two pics of a crashed aircraft on pg. 89 of Big Widget as well?



No, thatís most likely the 42-50934 B-24 crashed on the same day.
HeavyArty
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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 - 11:46 PM UTC
Thanks Israel.
ReluctantRenegade
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Wien, Austria
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 01:39 AM UTC
Gino, the second option from the top could be a good starting point:

https://hlj.com/1-72-scale-boeing-b-17-flying-fortress-part-2-english-instructions-lfl72-015
Tank1812
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North Carolina, United States
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 05:47 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Gino, the second option from the top could be a good starting point:

https://hlj.com/1-72-scale-boeing-b-17-flying-fortress-part-2-english-instructions-lfl72-015



Gino,

I have that decal because of option 4 for the 388th BG. If I can put hands on the decal sheet your welcome to option 2 marking if you want them. PM your info.
HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
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Posted: Sunday, June 16, 2019 - 01:03 AM UTC
Thanks Ryan. PM sent.