Subject: B-17E Histories
Date: Wed, 17 May 2000 21:39:30 EDT
I've got about 4,000 pages of mission reports just on the 19th Bomb Group some from the 7th BG and some from the 43rd BG. Most of my research is in 41 & 42 while my dad was a B-17 pilot with the 7th and 19th. I'm currently working on the recovery of the Swamp Ghost 41-2446 in Papua New Guinea. One of my dad's wingman that did not make it back on the first mission against Rabaul.
A question for you, do you have a crash location for 41-2434? It went down near Cairns, but have you found any specifics? I have some extensive files on many B-17E's. I'm somewhat focused on 41-2408, 2416, 2421, 2430, 2432, 2434, 2435, 2438, 2440, 2446, 2447, & 2656. These were mainly 22BS, 88BS, and 435th BS Airplanes. I wrote A book on the Swamp Ghost and an article on Chief Seattle (41-2656). Where are you located? I'm in Tacoma, Washington ,
Glen E. Spieth
NOTE:- On 17 February 1942, ten B-17 Flying Fortresses of a US Navy Task Force in "Southern Bomber Command" arrived at Archerfield airfield in Brisbane. These ten B-17's were part of a group of twelve B-17's that had flown from Hawaii via Plaine de Gaiacs, New Caledonia. They had spent a number of weeks in Hawaii prior to this long flight. On the final leg from Plaine de Gaiacs, two of the B-17's flew directly to Townsville in north Queensland through a tropical storm. These two were piloted by Captain Lewis and the other by Harry Spieth. Dick Graf was Radio Operator on Captain Lewis's aircraft. Three other B-17E's of the US Navy Task Force had earlier flown from Hawaii directly to Java.
NOTE:- #41-2435 was one of the aircraft that rescued General Douglas MacArthur and his entourage from the Philippines. It was piloted by Captain Lewis with Dick Graf as its radio operator.
Dick Graf told me about a story involving his friend Harry Spieth. On the afternoon of the 7 May 1942, the Allied Task Force in the Coral Sea was attacked by twelve twin-engined Japanese torpedo bombers. They dropped their torpedoes and strafed the ships causing minimal damage. Five of the Japanese aircraft were shot down in the encounter. Not long after this attack, the Allied Task Force was again attacked by nineteen heavy bombers flying over at 18,000 feet. But this time they were not Japanese! They were American B-17 Flying Fortresses, of the 435th Bomb Squadron, 19th Bomb Group, based at Townsville. That were returning to Townsville after a bombing raid in New Guinea. Their bombs straddled HMAS Australia, whose upper decks were swamped with water from the explosion. Some minor damage was reported by bomb shrapnel. A further three aircraft then dropped bombs from 25,000 feet near the USS Perkins. Harry Spieth was one of the pilots involved in this accidental bombing incident. HMAS Australia returned fire with its anti-aircraft guns.
Can anyone help me with more information?
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This page first produced 19 May 2000
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