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42-38050

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Cheyenne 25/11/43; Syracuse 18/12/43; Presque Isle 22/12/43; Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-U] Molesworth 18/1/44; transferred 384 Grafton Underwood 23/3/45; ret Molesworth 14/4/45; transferred 388BG Knettishall 30/4/45; 116m, retUS Bradley 11/7/45; 4185 BU Independence 1/7/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 21/12/45. THUNDERBIRD. (Preserved as above from 44-85718 in 303BG livery after restoration at Duxford, UK; also featured in Keith Ferris’ mural at Smithsonian Institute.)

Service

Units

  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...

  • 384th Bomb Group

    384th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 384th Bomb Group flew B-17s from Grafton Underwood, Northamptonshire, between May 1943 and June 1945. They were engaged in daylight bombing missions over Germany as part of the Allies' efforts to destroy the effectiveness of the Luftwaffe by...

  • 388th Bomb Group

    388th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 388th Bomb Group flew strategic bombing mission from Knettishall, Suffolk from June 1943 to the end of the war. During this time, though, detachments were sent to Fersfield, Norfolk to conduct Aphrodite missions. In these Aphrodite missions veteran...

  • 359th Bomb Squadron

People

  • James Andrus

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 303rd Bomb Group

  • Richard Baer

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group

  • George Baltes

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 359BS, 303BG, 8AF USAAF. 35 missions completed by 17-Oct-44. ETD Awards: DFC, AM (OLC), WWII Victory, EAME.

  • James Brooks

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 303rd Bomb Group

  • Adam Champagne

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 359BS, 303BG, 8AF USAAF. Medical discharge. Awards: AM (OLC), WWII Victory, EAME.

  • David Chang

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 303rd Bomb Group

  • Billy Cunningham

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group

  • Eugene Davis

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner ; Flight Engineer | 303rd Bomb Group
    1st Mission was #110 Diephotz, Germany Feb 21, 19944. Flew on the 75th Mission of the' Knockout Dropper' #41-24605, Mar 27th '44 to Chartres, France Mission #129. Also flew 7 missions on the Thunderbird #42-38050. Flew mission with pilots, John N...

  • Thomas Dickman

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group

  • Stanley Finch

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 359BS, 303BG, 8AF USAAF. Finch was shot down on a mission to attack airfields near Cologne on 10-Nov-44. His aircraft B-17 42-31830 "Marie" received two direct flak hits, which blew off the number 3 engine, right wheel and wing, and then...

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Missions

  • 8th Air Force 250

    6 March 1944
    The industrial areas of Berlin and Genshagen, Germany are the primary targets for this mission. A combined force of 730 heavy bombers are despatched from 1st, 2nd and 3rd Air Divisions. The despatch from 3rd Air Division bombs Targets of Opportunity in...

Places

  • Duxford

    Military site : airfield
    RAF Duxford, now a museum and still a working airfield, was operated by the USAAF from 1943 to 1945. The base was briefly the home of the 350th Fighter Group in late 1942, but it was not until April 1943 that it became a fully American station when the...

  • Grafton Underwood

    Military site : airfield
    Grafton Underwood was built in 1941 by George Wimpey and Co. Ltd. It was the first airfield in England to receive an Eighth Air Force flying unit, when in May 1942 personnel of the 15th Bomb Squadron took up residence. As a satellite airfield for...

  • Knettishall

    Military site : airfield
    Knettishall was built to Class A standard for an American Bomb Group that would be bringing up to forty heavy bombers with them in three or four Squadrons. The 388th Bomb Group, which stayed at Knettishall for their entire service in the ETO, flew B-17...

  • Molesworth

    Military site : airfield
    Molesworth was one of the early stations used by the Eighth Air Force in the UK, first occupied by the 15th Bomb Squadron’s Douglas Bostons in June 1942. Built in 1940 and extended and improved in 1942, Molesworth is most associated with the 303rd...

  • Presque Isle Army Airfield

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date
Manufactured Long Beach, CA 1943

Built at Douglas.

Delivered Cheyenne AAF, WY 25 November 1943

Delivered Cheyenne AAF 25-Nov-43.

Assigned Molesworth, UK 18 January 1944

Assigned 359BS, 303BG, 8AF USAAF.

Assigned Grafton Underwood 23 March 1945

Transferred to 384BG, 8AF USAAF.

Assigned Molesworth, UK 14 April 1945

Returned to 303BG, 8AF USAAF.

Assigned Knettishall, UK 30 April 1945

Transferred to 388BG, 8AF USAAF.

Returned ZI Bradley AAF, CT 11 July 1945

Returned to Bradley AAF 11-Jul-45.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
28 April 2019 15:51:32 Al_Skiff Changes to production block number, manufacturer, nicknames, markings, events, unit associations and person associations
Sources

https://b17flyingfortress.de/en/b17/42-38050-thunderbird/
http://www.303rdbg.com/thunderbird/index.html

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:48 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log

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