The B-17 has those toothpick props so must be an early model B-17E.
Very early production model; in the third and last photo, although they're not very clear, notice that the belly turret is not spherical, but flat. That's because it's not the usual Sperry ball turret the B-17 and B-24 were fitted with, but a Bendix remotely operated turret, of which only the first hundred or so B-17Es had. Apparently the turret was heavy and difficult to operate and was removed in favour of the characteristic manned ball turret. Very interesting photos.
According to a modelling research site is was looking at the other day, the remote turret on the early B-17E was a 'Bendix'-style Sperry remote turret,apparently similar to the top turret except the plexiglass was replaced with aluminium. I had the brainwave for using the Bendix turret in the new Airfix B-25 for a B-17 remote turret,but it appears they aren't similar,except positoining.
According to a modelling research site is was looking at the other day, the remote turret on the early B-17E was a 'Bendix'-style Sperry remote turret,
Hmmm, the remote turret was built by Bendix and the manned ball turret was built by Sperry - two different companies and two different turrets. The Bendix turret was operated by a mirrored periscope sight from a position in the after fuselage and was awkward from what I've read. Bendix also supplied the top turret in the B-17E and also the chin turret in the B-17G. The Sperry ball turret was fitted to the B-17E from the 113th example.
Post by Dave Homewood on Apr 12, 2018 13:30:43 GMT 12
Just a note for the researchers of B-17 visits to New Zealand, the No. 16 (Fighter) Squadron Operations Record Book notes that P-40's from the squadron intercepted a Flying Fortress that was arriving at Ohakea from Australia on the 31st of July 1942. I cannot see any mention of that date in this thread so maybe it is a 'new' B-17 visit?
Ah, looks like you're right. The millions of references and several books with it as a Bendix turret are not correct. Bendix did a lower turret that looks similar though, fitted to early B-25s, but was sighted through a periscope. Perhaps that's why/how so many sources have it wrong.
Thanks Steve. I noticed it seemed to be without turrets. Did they use older B-17's as transports? I know a few were used to transport VIP's, like The Swoose which visted NZ as a VIP aircraft carrying a General. But were they also used as normal troop transports?
I have blown up the photo and note that it seems it may have had some sort of nose art, not sure what though.
Also in the background you can see an Avenger, two Dauntless and a GMC truck.
It turns out that Dave was right on the money – 41-2487 was Sexpot in the 394th Bomb Squadron, 5th Bomb Group. Unclear when and where the old B-17E got the name and artwork.
Dave Homewood,back in January 2018 you asked me if ''it still exists''. Were you referring to the photo of the B17 I mentioned, or just the aircraft itself. If the photo, the answer is yes, I still have it, but it is a normal b&w from a Brownie.
I was curious to see what he may have been involved with and did a Google search and it seems he was a B-17 and/or B-24 captain with the 42nf Bomb Squadron, 11th Bombardment Group. There is more about him here:
On the same Google search I clicked another photo which led to a pdf book which is the diary of another Pacific crewman in the same squadron, and he also came to New Zealand. I thought this may be helpful in your research if you are not aware of these two chaps.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 16, 2019 22:06:54 GMT 12
Not a B-17 but another big American bomber visiting Whenuapai - a B-24 Liberator from the New Zealand Herald dated 21 June 1943 .
The caption reads: "AMERICAN BOMBER BRINGS GENERAL FREYBERG TO NEW ZEALAND: The Liberator bomber after landing yesterday afternoon. The private aircraft of Major-General Millard Harmon, officer commanding the U.S. Army Forces in the South Pacific Area, the machine is named " My Ever Lovin' Dove, II.""
That is very interesting Dave, don't think I have seen a photograph of this aircraft before. I wonder what that flag being waved on left of photo is all about? The two fellows standing there may be Americans. There was a permanent presence of USAAF personnel at Whenuapai by this time, to administer American personnel as well as to service American aircraft such as this one. David D
Dave, the Americans based at Whenuapai would have been a small base unit which would have provided administrative (including accommodation and perhaps messing) and technical support for American aircraft and personnel arriving or departing, it would probably not have had any aircraft of its own. The RAF had a somewhat similar unit at Whenuapai later in the war, from November 1944 I think, No. 144 Staging Post, RAF Transport Command. David D