Jump to content

Recommended Posts

B-17F 42-29591 LL-Z "The Shamrock Special" of the 401st BS/ 91st BG based in Bassingbourne UK. Before being transferred to the 91st BG, this aircraft flew two missions with the 95th BG, as 'Easy Aces'. It came to the 91st in june 1943 and was assigned to the care of M.Sgt. Bob Dalton as crew chief. His assitent, Jack Gaffney named it 'The Shamrock Special', adnd painted two girls on either side of the nose, and later a third girl on the tail. This was probably the only aircraft in the 91st with three pieces of art on it. In november, the aircraft, while undergoing repairs, was hit by battle damaged Fort without brakes, ironically called 'the Careful Virgin'. The tail end was severely damaged during the collision, and the whole tail end was replaced with the tail of another aircraft that was damaged from the front. On 30 december 1943, she was back in action and completed another 12 missions, for a total of 26 with the 91st.

 

ss4467_zps874eff3f.jpg

 

ss4468_zps72a9c39b.jpg

 

ss4470_zps5700002d.jpg

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a courageous aircraft she was!

Great references once again JK, brings these shots to life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great story and pics. Silly question though, why did they paint the aircraft with bright red paint? Wouldn't that make them to easy to spot by the enemy? Just wondering if anyone ever came across anything pertaining to this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After the introduction of the Mustang, the allies quickly came to dominate the skies over Europe. After that, camouflage was no longer important, and it became more important to quickly recognize your BG or FG, hence the bright markings (red here) on most American aircraft. Check all the bright noses on the mustangs. Also, starting in mid 1944, all new aircraft came in bare metal. Cheaper to make, faster, what more could anyone want?

Check this one:

ss4493_zps598bd294.jpg

The data block still OD (that was put on right at the start of production), but the rest bare metal, so during the construction of this aircraft, camouflage was abolished...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ahhh I see. I noticed you said that it was 1943 and flew 12 more missions and figured it was still war time. Ended in '45 right? Thanks for clarifying that for me.  I wondered the same thing about the brighter paints on the mustangs too. Learning something new every day keeps you young. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

B-17G 42-97061 LL-B General Ike" of the 401st BS/ 91st BG based in Bassingbourne UK. One of the more well known B-17's of the 91st BG, was originally assigned to the 457th BG, but came to the 91st after only 3 days there, on the 16th March 1944. The aircraft was christened by General Eisenhower himself, when he visisted the 91st BG on 11 April 1944. The noseart was painted by Cpl. Tony Starcer, with the lettering being done by Cpl. Elvis White. Both artists signed their work, though Cpl White's name later disappered from the aircraft. Eisenhower liked the painting, but remarked to Cpl Starcer that his eyes were not blue-grey at all.

 

ss4502_zps2716acab.jpg

"General Ike" survived the war and returned to Kingman Az, where she was scrapped. On its 65th mission, prop 3 started windmilling and sheared off, hitting the fuselage just below the co-pilots feet, but the only damage was to the noseart, which was quickly repainted by Cpl Starcer. "General Ike" flew many missions as lead ship, because, as Capt John Davis said after returning from its 21st mission: "She's a mighty sweet plane, not too hot or fast, she moves steadily along. You don't want a fast aircraft for group lead."Ike" gets you over the target and brings you bak again", which she did, again and again until the end of the war.

 

ss4503_zps7193d954.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have one more 91st BG aircraft for you:

 

B-17G 44-6596 LG-P "Sweet Dish" of the 322nd BS/ 91st BG based in Bassingbourne UK. She arrived in Bassingbourne on the 4th of November 1944 and flew her first mission 5 days later, after which she was assigned to Lt Bob Roach and his crew. He suggested naming her Sweet Dish, after his wife, who was known to the crew. Tony Starcer painted her portrait, based on a pocket photograph. By war's end, she had completed 46 missions , including 24 flown by BoB Roach. Her hairiest mission was to Berlin on 5 December. Flak knocked out no.1 engine and set fire to no.2. During the dive to eliminate the fire, the engineer bailed out, and the navigator and bomb aimer followed him. The fire was extinguished however, and 'Sweet Dish' flew home on two engines. They counted 365 holes in the ship next day, and it took until the end of december to get her in the air again. At the end of the war, she took  groups of ground crew on two flights over the damaged cities of Germany, so that they too could see the effect of their work, and in May she helped repatriate released PoW's. In june 1945, she flew back to the States, where she was scrapped at Kingman, Arizona in December 1945.

 

ss4702.jpg

ss4712.jpg

ss4716.jpg

ss4724.jpg

ss4719.jpg

ss4727.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

B-17F 41-24439 LG-Q "Chief Sly" of the 322nd BS/ 91st BG, based in Bassingbourne, UK. It was one of the original aircraft of the group, assigned to it in Bangfor, Maine in september 1942. No photos exist mof the aircraft, my paint was based on pics of crew photos and their jacket emblems. The names on the nose of the aircraft refer to sweetheart of the crew. Mary Ellen was the girl friend of the bombardier, Steve Lindney, and Loraine was the fiancee of the navigator, Paul Burnett. The end of Çhief Sly'came on 20 december 1942. It was returning from a mission to bomb an airfield in Romilly-sur-Seine, when the lead aircraft, 'Rose o'day had to slow down due to flak damage. Chief Sly dropped back to protect the struggling bomber, and soon they came under attack from german aircraft. On Chief Sly, the navigator was wounded, engines 3 and 4 were disabled and a large hole was ripped out in the tail. Struggling to control the aircraft, pilots Bruce Barton and Arthur Reynolds managed to hide in thick clouds, and although the ailerons were no longer working, tried to nurture the crippled aircraft back to England. All unnecessary equipment was jettisoned, and they made it, although sometimes at an height of just 50 ft. On reaching England, they made a wheels up landing in one of the first fields available, killing two sheep. Miraculously, apart from the navigator, no crew members were hurt, and they were soon assigned a new B-17, 42-5139, naming it "Chief Sly II".

 

ss4797.jpg

 

ss4803.jpg

 

B-17G-10-DL 42-37761 OR-L "Blue Dreams" of the 323rd BS/ 91st BG, based in Bassingbourne, UK. "Blue Dreams" was assigned to Captain Ken McFarland and his crew, and was painted by Corporal Tony Starcer, with the december pin-up by Alberto varga. When the crew found out that their captain's wife was pregnant, they had Starcer paint a stork and baby below the pilots window (without McFarlane knowing), adding the name 'Mona Gail'after the birth of his daughter. The aircraft would go on to complete 29 missions with the group, before being written off due to an unfortunate oversight by another crew. Shortly after taking off for a flight to Berlin, on the 6th of March 1944, the pilot, Lt Walter Wilkinson, noticed fuel streaming from the starboard wing. He decided to land immediately, in the hope of quickly solving the problem and rejoining the mission. The nearest airfield was the 355th FG's base at Steeple Morden, close to bassingbourne, and he decided to land there. He lined up with the runway and slowly descended the heavily laden bomber, going for a smooth as possible landing. What came was different, since the crew had forgotten to lower the landing gear, and "Blue Dreams" screeched of the runway and into the grass. The crew evacuated the wrecked aircraft as quickly as they could, but fortunately, the bombs in the bomb-bay did not explode. "Blue Dreams" would not fly again, and was salvaged the following day. The subsequent accident report revealed that the pilot had flown 8 exhaustive missions in the previous two weeks. This time nobody was hurt, but it would be a different story 10 months later, when another 91st B-17 forcelanded at Steeple Morden...

 

ss4811.jpg

 

ss4810.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amazing story about Chief Sly. That these aircraft could still fly with that much damage is unbelievable. The pilot and crew should also be given alot of the credit in these situations too!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

work in progress:

ss5104.jpg

Judy's Little Ass flew 45 missions, with 22 different crews, with Lt Lawson as its most regular pilot (9 missions), and survived the war.

 

ss5100.jpg

#860 lasted only a week with the 91st, being hit by flak on a mission to Dresden, and making a crashlanding in southern Belgium with lt Lawson as pilot. No-one was injured, but the aircraft was written off.

 

ss5098.jpg

Miss B.Have was the second aicraft of that name with the 486th BG, and she flew 68 missions until the end of the war. She was involved in a mid air collision during a training flight after the end of the hostilities, but managed to land safely. and was repaired and consequently flew back to the States to be scrapped at Kingman. The other aircraft involved in the collision crashed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My last paint for the B-17:

ss5467.jpg

ss5443.jpg

ss5468.jpg

and a nice story to go with it:

On December 20, 1943, the 379th Bomb Group (H) of the Eighth Bomber Command (U.S. Eighth Air Force) attacked Bremen, Germany. During that attack, Lt. Charles Brown from Weston, West Virginia, flying B-17F number 42-3167, witnessed an extraordinary act of chivalry by Franz Stiegler, the pilot of a Bf-109, who had taken off to attack his B-17.

As Lt. Brown guided his B-17, "Ye Olde Pub", toward the target...an aircraft factory...it was buffeted by flak. "Suddenly," he later recounted, "the nose of the B-17 was mangled by flak. Two of the four engines were damaged. The entire left stabilizer and left elevator were gone, ninety percent of the rudder was gone, and part of the top of the vertical stabilizer was gone."
The now straggling B-17 was then attacked by over a dozen enemy fighters (a mixture of Bf-109s and FW-190s) for over 10 minutes. More damage was sustained including number the three engine which would produce only half power. The bomber's internal oxygen, hydraulic and electrical systems were also damaged. The bomber's only remaining defensive armament were the two dorsal turret guns and one of three forward-firing nose guns (from eleven available). Lacking oxygen, Brown lost consciousness and the plane went into a steep "death spiral", but came round to find the bomber remarkably flying level at around 1000 ft. He regained the controls and began the long flight home in the shattered bomber.

Lt. Brown's life and the lives of his eight remaining crewmen now hung by thin cables that held their B-17 together. The wounded bomber now flew low over the coastal towns of North Germany, bearing the battle damage from the earlier battle at 27,000 feet. The Pub's crew was equally battered. Lt. Brown had flak in his shoulder. A 20 mm cannon had killed his tail gunner. One waist gunner had a severed leg and another was also wounded and shell shocked. The radio operator had a shell fragment in his eye. The ball gunner had frostbitten feet.

When their situation couldn't seem to worsen, they passed over a German airfield where Lt. Franz Stiegler was smoking a cigarette as his Bf-109 was re-armed. A squadron leader, he had already shot down two B-17s that morning - one more and he would earn the Knight's Cross. He jumped into his fighter and gave pursuit, the rudder of his plane bearing 25 victory marks from earlier combat missions.
Stiegler later described the encounter from his point of view. "The B-17 was like a sieve. There was blood everywhere. I could see the crew trying to help their wounded. The tail gunner was slumped over his guns, his blood streaming down the barrels. Through a gaping hole in the fuselage, I could see crewmen working frantically to save a comrade whose leg was blown off. I thought to myself, 'How can I shoot something like that? It would be like shooting a man in a parachute.'
Expecting the worst at any moment, Brown marveled as Stiegler flew wingtip-to-wingtip with his crippled bomber, close enough for the two enemies to see each other clearly. Having made his decision not to fire on the stricken bomber, the German pilot now escorted the struggling B-17 to the North Sea. Then, to Brown's amazement, the German pilot saluted, put his plane into a crisp roll, and flew away. Over the Channel a pair of P-47s joined up on the stricken bomber, and Brown and "Ye Old Pub" incredibly made it back to a British airfield.

When Franz landed he told his CO that the B-17 had been shot down over the sea, and never told the truth to anybody. Charles Brown and the remainder of his crew told all at their briefing, but were ordered never to talk about it.

40 years later, Charlie Brown wanted to find the Luftwaffe pilot who saved him and his crew. After years of research, Franz was found in 1990. He had never talked about the incident, not even at post-war reunions. In the years that followed, their friendship developed to the point where Stigler considered Brown to be as precious as the brother he had lost during the war.
Amazingly, "Ye Olde Pub" was repaired and flew back to the US in the summer of 1944, to be scrapped at the end of the war.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tVx2s.jpg

AVgyZ.jpg

JKnt.jpg

km0Rn.jpg

 

B-17 42-107040 Shirley Jean, assigned to the 91st BG in Bassingbourn, UK. It which was a B-17G and was named after the crew chief's two daughters. The nose art was done by Tony Starcer and was taken from Esquire's Vargas Girl Calendar, August 1943. she flew 7 combat sorties with the 324th as DF-D, was transferred to the 323rd on 1 april as OR-K, then came back to the 324th in the latter part of August 1944. This paint shows her when she was flying with the 323rd BS. Shirley Jean survived the war with the 91st with a total of 98 missions during 18 months of combat. Her last mission was on March 8, 1945 which was approximately six weeks before the 91st Group's last mission.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I absolutely love the work you've done on all these aircraft JK.

I just wish you were my next door neighbour.

That way I could come and watch your skills at work and how you decide what to do and how to plan its execution.

Thanks for showing us you great work.

Regards

Brian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I absolutely love the work you've done on all these aircraft JK.

I just wish you were my next door neighbour.

That way I could come and watch your skills at work and how you decide what to do and how to plan its execution.

Thanks for showing us you great work.

Regards

Brian

 

Well, Brussels isn't that far....you're welcome to drop in one day.

In the meantime, check out the

'>P-51B

thread...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so, a request to paint 'the Saint', by the son of one of the crew members, who is also still alive.

B-17G:  42-37985  "The Saint",  Stationed in Snetterton Heath,  England,  
3rd Bombardment Group (Square "C"),  96th Bomber Group, 338 Squadron,  8th Air Force,   
Call Letters  BX-V  
Plane shot up on mission to Poznan, Poland  4-9-44, landed at Bultofta, in Sweden.
The crew was interned, but allowed to return to the UK, and the aircraft was repaired, and returned to the UK after the war.
 
EPSON016.jpg

 

I can never say no to these requests, so let's see if we can get it done before I leave on fieldwork next friday.

 

First step: recreate the nose art:

 

saint.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was wondering were the saint stick figure came from during the war years since I remember seeing it in a TV show back when I was a kid in the 60'S. Great show, The Saint, and never missed an episode. Funny how making searches give you everything but what your looking for, Wikipedia finally came through once it got around all the movie and show stuff. New to me is the fact that the original stories that the show was based on were written back as far as the late 20's. Question solved. :D

 

Nice paint, glad you got hooked in to do it. :thum:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×