A couple B 17 questions!

Discussion in 'Technical' started by Chris O., Jan 9, 2012.

  1. Chris O.

    Chris O. New Member

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    If someone can point me in a direction with a link or where to find my answers I dont mind looking, but really dont know where to start.

    Why do some 17's have a wire/cable(s) running from the center fuselage to the top of the tail, and some do not? Whats it for also?

    There is a red light and a white light at the rear of the tail that was used for Bombing missions. What light was used at which point in the mission?

    When a B 17 completed a bombing mission and safely returned to base they would get a "bomb'' decal on the nose specifying a total number of completed missions. Would these only be placed on one side of the nose or both sides, and would only one side be used to keep all planes uniform or was it left up to the crew to pick what side and where the decals got placed?

    Where can I find information to determine what a specific Bomb squadron's marking were? Obviously this would be markings that do not come with a factory kit. For example, "Spirit of Flak Wolf" was a B 17G with the 427th Bomb Squadron. What would the markings on the tail and fuselage be?

    Thanks for any help Fella's, please be patient with me.
     
  2. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I believe the wire is the radio antenna.
     
  3. Park

    Park Member

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    Yes the wire was the HF radio antenna (or part of it), I'm not sure about the lights being used for bombing missions but aircraft have and not limited to "position lights" red on the left wing tip, green on the right and white on the tail.

    Most pictures you see have the bombing missions marked on the left side.

    Here's some group markings. Army Air Forces: B-17 Flying Fortress Tail Markings
     
  4. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    The ones that do not have the wire running from the fuselage to the tail had a different radio setup thus using a different style antenna.
     
  5. Chris O.

    Chris O. New Member

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    Okay, that helps alot, thanks guys! About the lights, I understand the typical marker lights but if you look at alot of the tails on 17's, right under the gun barrels you will see a red and white lense, maybe about 3" in diameter. They were said to be used for Bombing missions.
     
  6. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    The Air Force Colors books by Dana Bell are excellent sources for markings. Vol. 1 1926-42, Vol. 2 ETO MTO 1942-45, and Vol. 3 Pacific Home Front 1942-1947. Vol .1 is available at squadron for around $14 and Vol.2 3 can be found at amazon used dirt cheep or new between $8-$11
     
  7. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I'm just guessing here guys but could the lights have be used to line up the formation on a lead plane?
     
  8. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Far as I know, that's more or less correct; the lights were position/signal lamps, used for formating and signalling etc.
     
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