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92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazine?

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markv
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2009/08/07 10:15:16 (permalink)
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92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazine?

Hello,

In researching the aircraft flown by my great uncle, Lt. Oscar E. Diedering, I have come across the fact that the 92nd BG was ordered to become a training group in late August of 1942 and had to swap their new B-17Fs with the old B-17Es of the 97th BG.  My great uncle was in the 327th BS, 92nd BG and his aircraft B-17F "Exterminator" arrived in England on August 20, 1942, so presumably this aircraft swap didn't occur until after that date.

The reason that bring this up is that I was looking through the LIFE Magazine photos that are hosted on Google Images and found a series of "8th Air Force Bomber Command" photos taken by photographer Margaret Bourke-White at an "airdrome in Southern England" in September of 1942 that appear to show both the old B-17Es and the new B-17Fs that were part of this swap.  You can see the photos here:  LIFE Photos

Did these photos happen to record this swap?  When and where did the actual swap take place?  Were any of these photos ever actually published in LIFE?

My main focus is identifying and recording the history of the aircraft flown by my great uncle.  The possibility the he or his aircraft could have made it into LIFE Magazine is very interesting!

Mark Cowan
jpeters140
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Re:92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazin 2009/08/07 14:39:42 (permalink)
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Mark...I have checked the list of B-17Fs transferred from the 92nd to the 97th BG as listed in Dick Drain's 5th Wing History Of Aircraft Assigned.

I also checked the same list in Roger Freeman And David Osborne's The B-17 Fllying Fortress Story looking for a B-17F named Exterminator.

I also checked the 92nd BG website  http//www.92ndma.org/   for names of the aircraft that were transferred to the 97th BG for the move to N.Africa. 

Unfortunately, the Roger Freeman book took a lot of the information from Dick Drain's 5th Wing History, and therefore is a duplication.

Some BGs listed the nose art and names...it does not appear that the 92nd BG website has such a listing.

Almost all of the names that appear are those given to the transferred B-17Fs by the 97th BG and only a couple are listed in Roger Freeman's book as 92nd BG  original names.
 
To further explain  the nose/art naming :

For a nose art/name to be recognized as OFFICIAL, the aircraft serial number has to identfy the aircraft in any photo of the nose art/name.

For this requirement to be met, either the data information stenciled under the LEFT pilot's sliding glass window, has to be visible, in any photo of the nose art/name........ OR...the tail number, which is the same as the aircraft serial number, has to show in a photo of the nose art/name.

The referenced data information is illustrated thus:

U.S. ARMY B-17G-90 VE   (VE stands for Vega, DO for Douglas, or BO for Boeing)
AIR FORCE SER. NO.  44-8959   (Illustration only)

Most nose art/names photos are of the RIGHT side of the nose, and therefore do not qualify for the purpose of ID'ng the aircraft.

In addition to the above, some aircraft had a name/nose art on ONLY the RIGHT side, while others had one name on one side and another on the opposite side.

If an aircraft was transferred to a Base Air  Depot for repair, it was not always returned to the sending unit, but, upon release from repair or modification, could be transferred to another BG, and a DIFFERENT nose art/name COULD be assigned by the gaining unit.

All of this means that attempting to track a particular nose art /name CAN be very frustrating, due to all of the variables involved.

Jim :-)

James S. Peters Sr. T/Sgt B-17 Flt Engr, 27 missions 99 BG, 348BS, 5th Wing, 15th AAF Tortorella, (Foggia#2), Italy My Tour was from 12/03/44-06/19/45 M/Sgt USAF (Retired)
markv
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Re:92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazin 2009/08/07 22:10:29 (permalink)
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Jim,

Thank you for your very informative response regarding the difficulties in tracking down an aircraft based on nose art -  but without the aircraft's serial number.  I have been experiencing some of these difficulties first hand over the last several weeks that I have been doing my research.  So far I have been very fortunate though and have confirmed that my great uncle, Lt. Oscar Diedering, flew on these aircraft in the ETO:

August 1942     B-17F     Exterminator     Serial # ?     327th BS/92nd BG
January-June 1943     B-17F     Royal Flush     42-5132     401st BS/91st BG

He also flew single missions on:

March 8, 1943     B-17F      Short Snorter III     42-5337     401st BS/91st BG
March 31, 1943     B-17F     Thunderbird     42-5172     401st BS/91st BG

As you can see there are still two gaps in the record:  1) The serial number of "Exterminator" and 2) The aircraft in which he operated in the September-December 1942 period (if any).  While the "Exterminator" photo is a good lead for resolving the first question, I have no leads for resolving the second question save for the thought that, since he apparently lost his first B-17F in the aircraft swap that occurred between the 92nd BG and the 97th BG soon after arriving in England, perhaps he flew one on the old B-17Es acquired from the 97th BG in the Fall of 1942?  I really don't know.  That trail has gone cold for the moment.

I'd appreciate any leads or advice about where to take my research from here in attempt to answer these questions.  The 91st BG's online mission diaries were critical to learning what aircraft he flew while with that group in 1943.  Are the 92nd BG's mission diaries for 1942 available?  I understand that they flew a few combat operations in the Fall of 1942.  There must be a record of who flew what during this period, right?

Thank you all again,

Mark


martyjhawk
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Re:92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazin 2009/08/08 10:12:46 (permalink)
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Mark,
Attached is a pdf print of a photo from Footnote.com.  The plane is identified in the caption as being the Exterminator from the 92nd BG.
Marty
markv
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Re:92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazin 2009/08/09 08:28:12 (permalink)
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Marty,

Thank you for the picture from Footnote.com.  It is a duplicate of the one we have in the family photo album!    You can see my posting which includes a scan of my copy of this photo here:  Exterminator Photo 

Mark


Steve Birdsall
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Re:92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazin 2010/01/22 14:16:15 (permalink)
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It would be great if we could identify more of those 92nd Bomb Group B-17Fs that went to the 97th, like this one.
 

 

The brand-new Virgin Sturgeon was flown to England by the 92nd Bomb Group, and became part of the 97th Bomb Group shortly after arrival.
 
Margaret Bourke-White took this colour photo for LIFE Magazine in September 1942.
 


 
This is the first and only photo I've seen of this B-17 as Honey Chile II, so maybe she wasn't around for very long.
 
I posted a query about this on the 97th thread but got no response. I'm hoping for better luck here. Anything would help - can anybody identify the airmen with Virgin Sturgeon?
shooshoobaby
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Re:92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazin 2010/01/24 13:19:22 (permalink)
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Steve -
I have a List of F Models transferred  from 97th
to 92d , 305th and Losses.
Serial # , Date , and Names
Don't have Scanner - can Copy and Snail Mail
tomorrow if you want to PM your address.
Mike
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Re:92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazin 2010/01/24 18:33:27 (permalink)
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Mike, I have a list of all the B-17Fs that the 92nd flew overseas, and all the crews, but I've not matched plane names to most of them.

Have you the serial number for Virgin Sturgeon, or the name of the pilot or any crew members?

Thanks!
Steve Birdsall
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Re:92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazin 2010/02/24 01:26:53 (permalink)
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A little bit more on the B-17F that was named Virgin Sturgeon in the original 92nd Bomb Group . . . 
 

 
I think the officer on the right in this enlarged clip from the earlier photo is Captain Francis E. Winget of the 327th Bomb Squadron.
 
The B-17F in the background is named Society Gal, but as far as I know nobody has ever come up with a serial number for that one either.
markv
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Re:92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazin 2010/05/03 12:41:13 (permalink)
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Steve and Mike,

I have also compiled a list of the numbers and names of the B-17F aircraft that were part of this swap using Pride of Seattle and info I've found online.  This list should be considered an unofficial work in progress - Please feel free to contribute information or corrections!
 
A/C #:          Bomb Group:     Name with 92BG:               Bomb Group:     Name with 97BG:
41-24342     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                 Stinky Jr
41-24343     92BG                 Blooming Grove                   97BG                 Peggy D II
41-24344     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  ________
41-24345     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  ________
41-24370     92BG                 Pale Face                            97BG                  Berlin Sleeper II
41-24373     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Peaches II
41-24376     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  ________
41-24377     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Boomerang
41-24378     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  War Eagle
41-24379     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  ________
41-24380     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Superman
41-24382     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Mighty Midgets
41-24385     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  ________
41-24388     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Summers Sleepers
41-24392     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Hell's Kitchen
41-24400     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Little Bill
41-24406     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  All American
41-24411     92BG                 Dottie                                 97BG                  Hellzapoppin-Borrowed Time
41-24412     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Flying Flit Gun
41-24413     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Birmingham Blitzkrieg II
41-24414     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Jarrin Jenny II (named Doghouse at some point)
41-24415     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Yankee Doodle II
41-24416     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Black Diamond Express
41-24417     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Dixie Demo II
41-24419     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  ________
41-24421     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Alley Oop (aka Wongo)
41-24435     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Ramblin Reck-Yankee Do It
41-24437     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Thunderbird
41-24441     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Francis X
41-24442     92BG                 Little Eva                            97BG                  Little Eva
41-24443     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Johnny Reb Jr
41-24444     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  The Red Gremlin
41-24445     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Six Bits
41-24473     92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Kissy-Me-Kowboy

The following 97 BG names are reported without A/C number.  These aircraft should correspond with the blanks in the 97th BG names in the above list:
41-24---       92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  The Fast Worker
41-24---       92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  The Skipper
41-24---       92BG                 _____                                 97BG                  Bottoms Up

The following 92 BG names are reported without A/C number.  These aircraft should correspond with the blanks in the 92th BG names in the above list:
41-24---       92BG                 Bundles for Berlin                97BG                  _________
41-24---       92BG                 Exterminator                       97BG                  _________

The following aircraft's names are known for both BGs, but without A/C number.  This aircraft should correspond with one of the aircraft with blanks in both columns in the above list:
41-24---       92BG                 Virgin Sturgeon                   97BG                  Honey Chilie II

My particular interest is in 92BG Exterminator.  I have recently heard from the son of Lt. Charles J. Kelly (Lt. C.J. Kelly appears in my photo of Exterminator).  While he did not know Exterminator's number, he indicated that he believed that this aircraft had subsequently been bombed in North Africa.  In looking at the aircraft numbers that are unidentified in this list and comparing them to the individual aircraft histories in Pride of Seattle, it was found that 41-24376 was bombed in North Africa.  This aircraft was destroyed by German bombers on November 20, 1942 while taxiing for takeoff at the Maison Blanche airfield in Algiers.  This tentatively indicates that Exterminator may have been 41-24376.  This of course requires further research to confirm.

Again, please feel free to contribute information to correct or complete this list!

Thanks,

Mark
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92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazine? 2010/11/14 15:00:09 (permalink)
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Mark,
 
have you been able to fill in any more blanks on this list? This list is awesome, keep up the great work and thanks for posting it.
 
James Sontag

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markv
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Re:92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazin 2010/12/11 17:56:04 (permalink)
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James,
 
I haven't made any more progress.  The list above sums up my research, as far as I could take it.   I am hoping someone out there has the missing pieces to this puzzle and is willing to share with us!
 
Mark
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92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazine? 2010/12/11 18:31:10 (permalink)
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markv

James,
 
I haven't made any more progress.  The list above sums up my research, as far as I could take it.   I am hoping someone out there has the missing pieces to this puzzle and is willing to share with us!
 
Mark

Mark,
 
Thank you so much for the research you've done. It is extremely valueable and like you I hope someone can fill in the missing pieces to this puzzle.
 
James

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markv
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Re:92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazin 2010/12/20 09:08:46 (permalink)
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James,
 
On further reflection, I guess there are a couple of items I've learned.  There's a photo of 41-24376, taken after she was hit by German bombers at Maison Blanche, Algiers, available on Footnote.com here:
 
http://www.footnote.com/image/#47306940&terms=41-24376
 
Also, as per Steve Birdsall's post above, it looks like we should add B-17F Society Gal to the list as an aircraft reported to be part of the 92nd - A/C number unknown (42-24---).
 
MarkV
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92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazine? 2010/12/20 19:19:48 (permalink)
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Mark, thank you so much for the photo and information. I wonder what the serial for that B-17F 42-? was?

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Re:92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazin 2010/12/21 19:39:26 (permalink)
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MarkV,
Bits and Pieces lists Photo of  " Exterminator " , no Serial
# Listed , 92d BG , in Book:
B -17 Flying Fortress Nose Art Gallery
by John and Donna Campbell  Page 59
Mike
 
 
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Re:92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazin 2011/01/08 23:38:13 (permalink)
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Hello,
 
My grand uncle was Lt. Jim K. Bone, who was co-pilot of "Hellzapoppin" and was killed at Maison Blanche on 11/20/42.  I'm fairly certain the plane shown in the pictures linked above, 41-24376, was his plane, Hellzapoppin.  Which may or may not have been Exterminator as part of the 92 BG, I have no idea.
 
Regards,
 
Alan Richbourg
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Re:92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazin 2011/02/08 00:44:58 (permalink)
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Sir. My father was ball turret gunner on the second crew with the Virgin Sturgeon. They went down after a mid air collision with wing Miss Carey in which Virgin Sturgeon's wing was damaged. The crew with the execption of the pilot and navagator bailed out  while the plane traveled on in an attempt to reach neutral Switzerland. The airplane was set upon by Me-109's around the border and was shot down and ditched into a lake along the border of Austria. The crew spent the remainder of the war as prisioners and were liberated by Pattons' ( I believe) forces in 1945. This photo I believe shows members of the first crew.
post edited by petersonhaardtt - 2011/02/08 17:06:09
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Re:92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazin 2011/04/29 22:42:28 (permalink)
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peterson - 
 
My uncle was on the Virgin Sturgeon (570th bomb sq, 390th bomb grp).  I have is photo album.  He was ball turret gunner too.  He mentions in his notes that the Virgin Sturgeon went down on its 33rd mission.  I think he flew 25 missions on that plane.  He must of been ball turret gunner before your father.  

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Re:92nd BG - 97th BG Aircraft Swap 1942 - Photographed in LIFE Magazin 2011/04/29 22:46:01 (permalink)
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I'm new.  I attached my uncle's writing to the back of his crew's photo to the prior email.  Here is the front.  

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