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  B-17F "Old Baldy" Serial Number 41-24455  
USAAF
5th AF
43rd BG
63rd BS

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43rd BG c1943

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Brown March 22, 1943

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43rd BG October 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Delivered to the US Army on July 7, 1942 and ferried to Australia by Lt. James G. DeWolf.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group, 63rd Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Old Baldy" the nose art included a circle with an eagle in flight with stars. A scoreboard with bombs indicating missions flown and silhouettes three aircraft claimed, three ships, and a gun.

During 1943, this B-17 flew combat missions in New Guinea based at 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby.

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

This B-17 flew combat missions in New Guinea until late October 1943. During November 1943, returned to the United States and used as a training bomber at Biggs Field, Texas. During September 1944 salvaged and likely scrapped sometime afterwards.

Relatives
Jake DeWolf (grandson of James G. DeWolf):
"I'm the grandson of James G. DeWolf pilot of Old Baldy my family and I have photos and records of Old Baldy."

References
Pride of Seattle page 6-7
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."
Thanks to Steve Birdsall for additional information.

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Last Updated
January 31, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-17


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