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  B-17F-25-BO "Little Poopsie Adele / Harry the Horse" Serial Number 41-24548 Field No 167
USAAF
5th AF
54th TCW
375th TCG
57th TCS

Former Assignments
43rd BG
403rd BS
65th BS
64th BS
63rd BS

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43rd BG c1943

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5th AF May 4, 1944

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Neville Mines 1973

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Richard Leahy 1998

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2003

Pilot  Lt. Robert Kennedy (survived)
Force Landed  May 4, 1944 at 12:00pm
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. On August 1, 1942 delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17F-25-BO Flying Fortress serial number 41-24548 and flown to Cheyenne. On September 4, 1942 took off from Hamilton Field and ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
On September 28, 1942 assigned to the 5th Air Force, 43rd Bombardment Group, 403rd Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Little Poopsie Adele" painted on the right side of the nose. Later, this nickname was overpainted.

This bomber had tiger stripes (dark green patches of painted) applied to the tail. On the outer engine cowls were girl's names on the no. 3 outer engine cowling and "Mary" on the number 4 outer engine cowling. While in service with the 43rd Bombardment Group a reinforced mount for a .50 caliber machine gun was added to the center of the nose perspex for additional firepower.

During January 1943 to October 1943 operated from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby.

On January 20, 1943 assigned to the 65th Bombardment Squadron. During the first week of June 1943 transfered to the 64th Bombardment Squadron.

On July 13, 1943 took off from 7 Mile Drome on a bombing mission against Lae with B-17E 41-2408, B-17E "Queenie" 41-2464, B-17F "Dinah Might ?" 41-24355, this aircraft and a single B-24. This was the last B-17 mission flown by the 64th Bombardment Squadron before they converted to the B-24 Liberator.

On July 22, 1943 transfered to the 65th Bombardment Squadron. On September 18, 1943 this B-17 flew its last combat mission with 65th Bombardment Squadron.

On September 24, 1943 assigned to the 63rd Bombardment Squadron.

On October 10, 1943 took off piloted by Captain Jack L. Campbell on an early morning weather reconnaissance over Rabaul. This was the last mission this B-17 flew with the squadron and was removed from squadron by the end of the month.

During early November 1943, converted to an armed transport at the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field. During the overhaul this B-17 was completely repainted with a new coat of olive drab paint and nicknamed "Harry the Horse". Assigned field number "167" painted in yellow on both sides of the cockpit, behind the co-pilot's window. On the outer side of the no. 4 engine cowl was "Betty Jo" with a heart in white. Another name was painted on the no. 3 engine cowl. Afterwards, assigned to the 54th Troop Carrier Wing, 375th Troop Carrier Group, 57th Troop Carrier Squadron and operated from Port Moresby and Nadzab Airfield.

On March 1, 1944 took off from Finschafen Airfield as one of four armed transport B-17s including B-17E 41-2662, B-17F 41-24420 and another B-17 made supply runs dropping weapons, ammunition, barbed wire and blood plasma to the U. S. Army 1st Calvary Division at Momote Airfield on Los Negros Island and strafed enemy positions in the area.

Mission History
On May 4, 1944, this B-17 took off from Nadzab Airfield piloted by Lt. Robert Kennedy on a mission to drop supplies over Hollandia. Returning, the bomber ran short of fuel and attempted to land at Tadji Airfield. During the landing at 12:00K, the right wheel collapsed, causing the B-17 to skid off the runway in a "wild run" that ended "within the limits of a bomb dump". The B-17 sustained damage to the outer wing. Beyond repair, the wreckage was stripped for parts and partially disassembled from the wings and abandoned in a bone yard area.

Wreckage
The wing center section remains in the former American bone yard area at Tadji Airfield. Reportedly, part of the fuselage section remains in a swamp nearby.

References
Note, this B-17's nickname sometimes incorrectly listed as "War Horse" an some sources incorrectly state the force landing happened on May 2, 1944 or May 5, 1944, both dates are incorrect.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17F-1-BO Flying Fortress 41-24548
"24548 delivered to Cheyenne Aug 2, 1942; transferred to Hamilton Sep 4, 1942; assigned to the 43rd BG in Hawaii Sep 14, 1942; transferred to 5th Air Force, 375th Troop Carrier Group (date not recorded); crash landed at Aitape, New Guinea on May 5, 1944. Salvaged."
Flying Buccaneers page 170
Pride of Seattle page 14, 17
Fortress Against The Sun pages 357 (July 13, 1943 mission), 392 (nickname listed as "War Horse" incorrectly)
Ken's Men Against The Empire Volume 1 pages 304, 326, 328, 329, 330, 336, 396 (index Little Poopsie Adele)
Thanks to Steve Birdsall for additional information

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Last Updated
October 25, 2018

 

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B-17

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