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Old 24th August 2017, 18:30
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8th A.F. B-17F - use of fusleage codes?

Hello everyone

A quick question - when did the 8th Air Force in the U.K. start using fuselage unit codes (as an example DF-A on the Memphis Belle) on their B-17F bombers?

Regards

Simon
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Old 25th August 2017, 14:06
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Re: 8th A.F. B-17F - use of fusleage codes?

US Air Force Colours 1942-1945
European & Mediterranean Theatres Of War
by Dana Bell
p.8
"...December [1942] for the four B-17 Groups remaining in England. By early 1943, all groups joining the Eighth were assigned unit codes, although some did not display them."
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Old 25th August 2017, 17:56
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Re: 8th A.F. B-17F - use of fusleage codes?

Simon - please note that some Eighth B-17 groups did not display codes in WW2 as noted above.
The 388BG was not issued codes nor did they use squadron colours, the only one that didn't.
The 447BG was not issued codes but used coloured prop hubs for squadron ID.
5 groups were alloted codes but didn't use them but had various means to ID their squadrons.
385BG---prop hub colours.
447BG---cowl colours.
452BG---squadron tail symbols.
34BG---nose bands in squadron colours.
493BG---squadron letter on mid-fuselage ( S/P/C/B for the 4 squadrons.
.................................................. .......
Regards
Nick

Last edited by Buckeye30; 25th August 2017 at 18:01. Reason: Spelling !
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Old 25th August 2017, 18:15
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Re: 8th A.F. B-17F - use of fusleage codes?

Thank for the replies.

I'm specifically interested in the 367th BS, 307th BG, in November 1942.

I understand they carried the fuselage codes OR at some stage, so from the quote from Dana Bell's book they wouldn't have had the codes at that time.

Many thanks to you both, much appreciated.

Regards

Simon
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Old 25th August 2017, 21:54
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Re: 8th A.F. B-17F - use of fusleage codes?

( You mean the 306BG ? ). The 367BS started their GY codes in December ( probably the first week) as allocated by the Air Ministry. They tended to paint them extra large also the a/c letter on the fin. Codes were abandoned from Feb. 1944 but they still had large a/c letters on the tail.
Originally the group letter "H" in a triangle was yellow ( later Insignia Blue), the triangle often dulled with grey. Incidentally the 367th had the heaviest losses in VIII BC between Oct. 1942 and August 1943.
"OR" was the code for 323BS / 91BG. BTW I'm in Flitwick about 12 miles from Thurleigh.
Nick
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Old 26th August 2017, 01:16
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Re: 8th A.F. B-17F - use of fusleage codes?

Yes, sorry - 306th BG, and GY. Not my strong point, U.S.A.A.F. Squadrons and Groups, as you may well have noticed...!

I had no idea they were aloocated the codes by the Air Ministry either.

Simon
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Old 26th August 2017, 21:38
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Re: 8th A.F. B-17F - use of fusleage codes?

Hi Simon. This is a typical 306th B-17F ( but 369BS not 367th) after arriving at Thurleigh in October but before codes were applied ( WW-D in Dec.); note overpainting of the yellow border to the insignia as requested by VIII BC on Oct. 1 1942, following the order of Sept.30 for aircraft in Operation TORCH on 8 Nov.
The Eighth didn't always carry out this instruction but it was common on Spitfires and P-47s.
( AFM photo).
Regards
Nick
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Old 27th August 2017, 12:05
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Re: 8th A.F. B-17F - use of fusleage codes?

Thanks for that Nick, much appreciated.

Regards

Simon
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Old 27th August 2017, 12:33
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Re: 8th A.F. B-17F - use of fusleage codes?

According to the "bible" (Ducimus), codes alloted by the Air Ministry were painted from December 1942 on.

Chris
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Old 27th August 2017, 12:54
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Re: 8th A.F. B-17F - use of fusleage codes?

Thanks for confirming the date Chris.

Taking this one step further, B-17F 41-24469 of the 367th B.S. was lost on January 7th 1943, whilst on a transit flight from St. Eval to Thurleigh after having been diverted there by bad weather returning from a raid to St. Nazaire on January 3rd.

Is there a way of finding out this B-17's individual aircraft letter?

Regards

Simon
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