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One of two known tail art paintings done by Sam Rodman, this Boeing-built Fort is reputed to have carried at least two other titles on the nose, possible at the same time. It was assigned to the group in late February 1943 having flown to England via Brazil and North Africa on the South Atlantic route.
It flew its first mission on 6th March 1943 to Lorient in France. Four different crews took the ship on its first four missions but then Lt Stallings was assigned on a regular basis and completed eight sorties to French and German port facilities. In late July 1943, the Bradbury crew took over and achieved ten missions in the aircraft. They sustained considerable punishment in the ship and recorded significant battle damage on at least five of their missions before finishing up on 3rd September. Carl Fyler's crew added another five missions, others added four more until William Heller had most of the left main wing flap shot away and was forced to landed at RAF Kenley on 14th October after the costly raid on Schweinfurt -- it blew a tyre on landing and skidded into a truck.
Repairs put the Fortress out of action for some time and it may have undergone a name change at this time to become "Thumper Again". It returned to combat flying in late January 1944 and John Parrott took the ship for five more missions until flak again ripped up the right wing. It was repaired but shot up again two days later, and yet again on the following day 25th February. It seems that the combat weary veteran was thereafter withdrawn from operations -- in any case, newer B17Gs with longer range tanks were beginning to fill out the ranks.
No mission listing is currently available for this aircraft
© Ray Bowden 26 January 2020