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  B-17E "Calamity Jane" Serial Number 41-2440  
USAAF
13th AF
5th BG
394th BS

Former Assignments
19th BG
435th BS

Click For Enlargement
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USAAF c1943

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Delivered to pilot Lt. Clyde B. Kelsey on December 1,  1941 at Boeing Field.

Wartime History
Ferried overseas to Australia arriving at Garbutt Field. Assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group.

On February 22-23, 1942 participated in the bombing mission against Rabaul, pilot Harry Speith and co-pilot Lt. Fields. This bomber aborted due to poor weather and being unable to find the target, and returned to Garbutt.

Flew the July 3, 1942 mission when the crew claimed two Zeros south of Salamaua, and two of the crew (waist & bendix turret gunners) were wounded in the battle. Holes were made in the tail and the crew fought off 10 frontal attacks, 5 side attacks and three belly attacks in the 20 minute battle.

Later, transferred to the 435th Bombardment Squadron at Cloncurry Airfield when it was formed on March 14, 1942.

Three of the better B-17E's from the 19th Bombardment Group were transfered to the 13th Air Force, 5th Bombardment Group, 394th Bombardment Squadron: this bomber, B-17E 41-2632 and B-17E 41-2658.

Assigned to the 13th AF, 5th Bombardment Group, 394th Bombardment Squadron on November 14, 1942 with crew chief Roy Davenport. and flew missions from Guadalcanal and New Caledonia until the middle of 1943.

During this point in her service, this B-17 had the nose art "Calamity Jane" with a nude woman with her hands behind her head and a flower in her hair. At some point later, possibly when it returned to the United States, the woman's nipples were painted out.

Declared war weary and flown back to the United States, arriving March 7, 1944. Salvaged on June 15, 1946.

References
Wherefore the REAL 'Swamp Ghost' by Michael Claringbould
Fortress Against The Sun page 60, 312, 384, 400, 415
Grey Geese Calling includes a photo of this B-17
Some references incorrectly state this B-17 ditched off Duma Point
Thanks to Steve Birdsall for additional information

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Last Updated
January 31, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-17
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