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This folder contains a repaint for the accu-sim version of the A2A B-17G Flying Fortress. It represents #42-97976 "A Bit o' Lace", which was assigned to the 709th BS /447th BG. The nose art consisted of a cartoon by Milton Caniff. The co-pilot was Lt. John Bauman, a fraternity brother of Milton Caniff. He sent Caniff a detailed idea of the proposed artwork and the sketch was returned with Caniff's annotation: "A Bit-O-Lace for Lt. John H. Bauman, and the rest of the gang, with my best wishes - Milton Caniff NY, Oct. 1944". Nicholas Fingelly, an artist attached to the 709th BS, carried out the work and completed the painting in about six hours and gave Milton Caniff full credit for his his character. Her first crew flew 35 missions over Europe with no injuries, although returning with a good many holes, at times. The closest call was when a piece of shrapnel came up through Navigator's table and "Ike" Eisenhart's arms, but missed him. A surprise souvenir for Ike, which he still has. She flew more missions with different crews, until the april 4, 1945 flight. From the navigator, John Kirkwood: "Right over Kiel, and seconds before the bomb release, I heard the co-pilot say that "This airplane feels funny." Seconds later the tail gunner, who had regained his power of speech, blurted out something to the effect that part of "The tail was gone." A flak shell had gone right through the left horizontal tail, leaving only a partial surface, and completely removing the left elevator.
We dropped out of the formation, and tried to drop the bombs, but the electrical system failed. We flew north a minute or so, the plane now in the hands of the pilot. The pilot did not want to drop over Denmark, so we turned out over sea, and dropped via screwdriver. Actually, we were over Schleswig-Holstein, according to my position, but it was close, and Tom did not want to chance killing danes.
We flew on, at a reduced speed, far out to sea on a west-south-west course with occasional ETA's to the pilot. Several fighters joined us, and finally we got back to the base, and the runway was cleared for us. A decision had to be made by the pilot: To jump or ride her in.. Tom decided that he could land the plane, so we all congregated to the radio room, and that was that.
I might add that none of us had any desire to jump. Most of the photos of 976 were taken after repairs, hence the dark colored rudder and left elevator. As you know, the color prior to the damage was silver. 976 flew one or two missions after that, but I never saw her again, other than in a color photo of the moth-balled fleet in Arizona."
Repaint by Jan Kees Blom, based on the repaint kit by A2A.
||20th August 2010, 22:14:46
||Jan Kees Blom