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  B-17E "Monkey Bizz-Ness / Nancy" Serial Number 41-2417  
USAAF
5th AF
Air Service Command

Former Assignments:
7th BG
9th BS

19th BG
28th BS

43rd BG
63rd BS

Click For Enlargement
USAAF c1942

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USAAF c1944

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Brother John Schlund c1944

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Delivered to the US Army. Assigned to the 7th Bombardment Group, 9th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

Wartime History
On December 12, 1941 this B-17 took off from Hamilton Field on a ferry flight bound for Hickam Field but aborted for unknown reasons and returned to Hamilton Field. On December 18, 1942 one of six B-17Es from the 7th Bombardment Group led by Major Kenneth B. Hobson took off from Hamilton Field piloted by Lt. Clarence "Sandy" McPherson on a ferry flight to Hickam Field.

During late December 1941, this B-17 flew reconnaissance missions over the Pacific Ocean based at Hickam Field. At Hickam Field, painted in the three-color Hawaiian Air Depot color scheme.

On January 6, 1942 departed Hickam Field piloted by Lt. McPherson on a ferry flight to bound for Australia accompanied by B-17 piloted by Major Hobson and B-17 piloted by Lt. Hughes. The bombers flew via Tontouta Airfield to Garbutt Field near Townsville then arrived at Darwin.

At Darwin, this bomber experienced engine trouble and was in need of a replacement tail wheel assembly and was repaired during early February.

On February 19, 1942 took off piloted by McPherson leading a formation of P-40 Warhawks to Java in the face of a typhoon. Bad weather forced the P-40s to abort the flight but this B-17 proceeded alone and landed at Denpasar Airfield on Bali, unaware it has just been captured by the Japanese. When this B-17 touched down, it was hit by machine gun fire that hit the fuselage and wounded the tail gunner in the foot. On the ground, the landing was witnessed by Saburo Sakai. Realizing he was under attack, McPherson immediately took off again, narrowly avoiding capture and successfully landed at Singosari Airfield on eastern Java. While taxing, all four engines quit as the bomber had run out of fuel. The wounded tail gunner was rushed to the hospital.

This B-17 participated in the Java campaign. On February 26, 1942 took off from Madioen Airfield piloted by 2nd Lt. Bernice S. Barr with B-17E 41-2452 piloted by Captain Hardison on a bombing mission against a Japanese convoy off the southern end of Makassar Strait. In the face of light anti-aircraft fire, the B-17s bombed from 21,000' but missed.

During the night of February 28, 1942 took off from Madioen Airfield piloted by Lt. Skiles with B-17E 41-2464 piloted by Evans and B-17E 41-2449 piloted by Captain Preston. Inbound to the target, Preston aborted due to faulty machine guns. The remaining two B-17s proceeded alone at 28,000' and claimed direct hits on two parallel strings of ships and claimed one sunk and one damaged.

On March 1, 1942 this B-17 flew two missions. At 3:00am took off from Madioen Airfield piloted by Lt. Beck on a mission against a Japanese eastern invasion force convoy off the north coast of Java. Over the convoy, this bomber experienced heavy anti-aircraft fire and made three runs at varying altitudes and reported uncertain results. After landing, the crew discovered the tail wheel was damaged. At 9:00am, took off from Madioen Airfield piloted by McPherson with B-17 piloted by Lt. Casper on a bombing mission against a Japanese convoy. Inbound, Casper developed engine problems and aborted the mission. Alone, this B-17 proceeded to the convoy at 30,000' and dropped eight 300 lbs bombs, claiming one hit and one near miss.

At the end of the Java campaign, one of sixteen B-17 evacuated to Darwin. Assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group, 28th Bombardment Squadron.

Next, assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group, 63rd Bombardment Squadron. During 1943, nicknamed "Monkey Bizz-Ness" in red lettering with white highlights. The left and right side of the had the nose art of a monkey holding a bottle and an ax painted by Sgt Ernie Vandal.

On March 26, 1943 took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by Trigg on a night bombing mission against enemy shipping in Wewak Harbor. Over the target, nothing was sighted and harbor installations were bombed instead.

On May 29, 1942 piloted by Lt. Hugney with co-pilot 1st Lt. Gilbert Erb, flown from Longreach Airfield to Garbutt Field. The next day flown by Lt. Hugney with co-pilot Sargent and passenger Erb to Horn Island Airfield. On May 31, piloted by Hugney with co-pilot Erb flew a bombing mission against Lae.

On June 1, flown from Horn Island Airfield to Coen Airfield during an air raid alarm, two days later flown returned from Coen Airfield to Longreach Airfield. During the remainder of the month, flown on several local transition flights including June 26 to Charleville Airfield and Long Airfield.

On July 5, 1942, this B-17 force landed on Cape York, roughly 15 northeast of the Mitchell River Mission. Afterwards, repaired and returned to duty.

During 1944, this B-17 served as a transport aircraft in bare metal finish with "417" on the tail and the top turret and lower turret removed. Used as a personal transport by U. S. Army General Clements McMullen, 5th Air Force Service Command who nicknamed the bomber "Nancy" after his wife.

Steve Birdsall adds:
"I've come to the conclusion that the numbers on the tail are 417 and this is 41-2417, previously Monkey Bizz-Ness in the 43rd Group. I believe that General Clements McMullen of Fifth Air Force Service Command used it as a personal transport and that it was named Nancy after his wife."

Scrapped at Manila during 1946.

References
Gilbert E. Erb Flight Log - May 1942
Note, other sources list this B-17 as scrapped in 1944, unclear which is accurate
Diary of the 63rd Bomb Squadron, 43rd Bomb Group
"26 March 1943 –  Departed Jackson at 0130. Target: shipping Wewak Harbor. Bomb load; 4 ships with 8 X 500# inst demo, 3 with 4X 100# inst demo.
554 Murphy didn't take off on account of engine trouble. Nothing was sighted by the remaining crews.
358, Denault, 537 O'Brien, 574 Derr dropped their bombs on harbor installations.
455 Diffenderfer, 543 Staley, 417 Trigg dropped theirs on the town and runway.
543 Staley landed at Dobodura on the way back because of lack of gas. Search party consisting of Lt Murphy and Capt Thompson's crew were organized and were about to take off when 543 landed. Squadron on readiness at 1500."
Mark Styling - Aviation Illustration - B-17 Flying Fortresses In the Pacific page 1
Fortress Against The Sun pages 58, 91, 133-134, 139-142, 384, 400 footnote 32, 414 footnote 38
Thanks to Steve Birdsall and Michael Claringbould additional information

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Last Updated
January 31, 2018

 

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