41-9107 The 401st Hack, Agony Wagon, Gravy Train

Assigned 340BS/97BG Polebrook 15/4/42; transferred 390BG Framlingham 29/6/42; 407BS/92BG [PY-N] Bovingdon /9/42; 401BS/91BG [LL-X] Bassingbourn 22/7/43; 613BS/401BG [IN-P], then 612BS [SC-X] Deenethorpe, Nth. 6/11/43; /390BG Framlingham, 6/11/43; 600BS/398BG Nuthampstead 29/8/44; not used operationally with group and transferred 435 ASGp 3/6/45; Salvaged 2/8/45. AGONY WAGON aka GRAVY TRAIN.

This aircraft, known as "the 401st Hack", saw service with the 97th BG (Polebrook), the 390th BG (Framlingham), the 92th BG (Bovingdon), and the 91st BG (Bassingbourn) before arriving at Deenethorpe to join the 401st.

The 401st hack was on charge to the 613th Squadron. It was the oldest B-17 with the Group and was, in fact, a B-17E acquired after the Group had landed in England but before the Group moved into Deenethorpe on 19 November 1943. It had initially belonged to the 97th BG, the first Group in the 8th Air Force, who had flown the first American mission in WWII on 17 August 1942. The 97th BG had only been in the ETO for two months before leaving for North Africa on 18 November 1942.

This historic Queen was used by the 401st for target towing and general hack duties until replaced by a war weary 614th Fortress. She was subsequently transferred back to the 390th BG on 29 August 1944 and later to the 398th BG (Nuthampstead), and finally salvaged after the War on 2 August 1945.


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Units served with

The insignia of the 390th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
A pathfinder B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 44-8258) of the 401st Bomb Group. Image by Robert Astrella. Written on slide casing: '48258 14 A, Mount Farm.'
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment




Date5 Sep 2021 23:12:58
Date27 Sep 2014 18:40:07

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log