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  USAAF Boeing B-17F-25 Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber - "The Duchess", 358th Bombardment Squadron, 303rd Bombardment Group, 1944 (1:144 Scale)
USAAF Boeing B-17F-25 Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber - The Duchess, 358th Bombardment Squadron, 303rd Bombardment Group, 1944

Dragon Warbirds USAAF Boeing B-17F-25 Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber - 'The Duchess', 358th Bombardment Squadron, 303rd Bombardment Group, 1944




 
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Product Code: DRW51003

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Dragon DRW51003 USAAF Boeing B-17F-25 Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber - "The Duchess", 358th Bombardment Squadron, 303rd Bombardment Group, 1944 (1:144 Scale) "Without any assistance from me he pulled himself back to his bombsight," Elliott continued. "I looked at my watch to start timing the fall of the bombs. I heard Jack call out on the intercom, 'bombs....'. He usually called it out in a sort of singsong. But he never finished the phrase this time. The words just sort of trickled off, and I thought his throat mike had slipped out of the place, so I finished out the phrase 'bombs away' for him....I closed the bomb bay (doors) and returned to my station."
- Jessie Elliott, Navigator aboard "The Duchess" recounting its final mission, March 18th, 1944

In the mid-1930s, Boeing engineers suggested the idea of building a big bomber to the U.S. Army Air Corps. At the time, the best American bomber in front line service was an inadequate twin-engine adaptation of the DC-3 transport. The decision to go ahead with the B-17 Flying Fortress was a courageous leap forward: it gave the United States an embryonic strategic bomber force by the time the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The first prototype flew on July 28, 1935 while the first production B-17s were delivered to the Air Corps between December 1936 and August 1937 (13 aircraft).

The B-17 will always be remembered as the most celebrated four-engine strategic aircraft of WW II, maybe of all time. From the summer of 1943 onwards, huge numbers of Boeing's great silver bird were found on airfields throughout the English countryside. Early B-17s did not have enough guns and were not available in sufficient numbers, but as the war progressed the Flying Fortresses took command of the skies. The most extensively built variant was the B-17G (8,680 planes), which were built by Douglas and Lockheed Vega as well as Boeing. Pratt & Whitney R-1820-97 engines and improved turbochargers enabled the B-17G to operate at an altitude of up to 35,000 feet. The addition of a chin turret below the nose provided better defense against head-on attacks being launched by Luftwaffe fighter pilots who were desperately attempting to reduce the number of 'Forts' striking daily at targets deep in Germany. Special upgunned variants included the B-40 which had up to 30 machine guns and were intended for use as a B-17 escort, proved to be an operational failure as was the BQ-7 pilotless aircraft, which was packed with bombs and flown to its target using radio control equipment.

This 1:144 scale B-17F-25 model is christened 'The Duchess', as flown by the USAF's 358th Bombardment Squadron, 303rd Bombardment Group during 1944. The bomber's fuselage and wings are made from die cast metal to add a sense of weight and realism, as well as for strength. The panel lines are delicately engraved, while machine gun turrets are reproduced to fire on enemy fighters, just like on the real plane. The landing gear is fully detailed, allowing the option of displaying the plane in either a taxiing or flying mode. A bombing mode is even possible, as the bomb doors can be displayed open when optional parts are used. Sold Out!

Dimensions:
Wingspan: 8.25 inches
Length: 5.5 inches

Release Date: March 2007

Historical Account: "Through it all, then Silence" - On its' 50th mission, B-17F (Serial no. #41-245612), nicknamed "The Duchess" flew for its last time on March 18th, 1944 while on a bombing raid over Vegesack. Participating in the 8th Air Force's maximum effort mission, the crew would later count 38 holes in the airplane and pull an unexploded 20mm shell from the gas tank.

The odyssey began when the formation neared the northern coast of Germany, passing over the small island of Helgoland where the navigator could make any last-minute adjustments for the turn inland towards the target. It was at that moment that 50 - 60 German fighters appeared to intercept the mission. These followed the bombers the remainder of the way to the coastline, raining deadly fire in a desperate attempt to thwart the attack. Inside the B-17s, every available man was positioned behind a belt-fed machinegun to defend his airplane.

In the nose of "The Duchess" Lieutenant Mathis knelt at his station over the Norden bombsight to mark readings and make dial adjustments. Coolly he went about his work despite a heavy barrage of flak that reached upward when the formation crossed the coastline.

"Flak hit our ship and sounded like hail on a roof," recalled navigator Jesse Elliott who manned his station directly behind the bombardier. "I glanced at Lt. Mathis who was crouched over his bombsight lining up the target. Jack was an easy-going guy and the flak didn't bother him. He wasn't saying a word--just sticking there over his bombsight, doing his job.

"'Bomb bay doors are open,' I heard Jack call up to the pilot, Captain Stouse. Then Jack gave instructions to climb a little more to reach bombing altitude."

Jack Mathis knew well that at the moment, his was the single most important job in the squadron. He refused to be deterred or distracted by anything. Only seconds from release of the bombs the enemy reached out one more time to deny him success. A large explosion to the right of The Duchess peppered the bomber's nose with a hail of shrapnel. One large hunk of hot metal tore through the glass compartment where Mathis knelt at his controls.

"I saw Jack falling back toward me and threw up my arm to ward off the fall," Lieutenant Elliott later recalled. "By that time both of us were way back in the rear of the nose--blown back there, I guess, by the flak. I was sort of half-standing, half-lying against the back wall and Jack was leaning up against me. I didn't know he was injured at the time."

Indeed Jack Mathis was seriously injured. Shell fragments had shattered his right arm nearly severing it above the elbow. A larger piece of metal tore a gaping hole in his side, his oxygen mask had been blown off his face, and his body slammed fully nine feet backward in by explosion. The man was virtually dead--and with The Duchess only seconds from its critical bomb-drop station. Somehow the dead bombardier did the impossible, summoning his last ounce of ebbing strength to maintain consciousness long enough to complete his mission.

"Without any assistance from me he pulled himself back to his bombsight," Elliott continued. "I looked at my watch to start timing the fall of the bombs. I heard Jack call out on the intercom, 'bombs....'. He usually called it out in a sort of singsong. But he never finished the phrase this time. The words just sort of trickled off, and I thought his throat mike had slipped out of the place, so I finished out the phrase 'bombs away' for him....I closed the bomb bay (doors) and returned to my station."

The minutes that followed remained dangerous while enemy fighters continued to attack the formation as The Duchess turned to head home. Behind her the remaining bombers of the squadron noted the fall of the lead pilot's bombs and released their own in what later proved to be a deadly accurate series of explosions. After the war the director of the Bremen-Vulkan Vegesack submarine building shipyard recalled that 102 persons were killed, four submarines were damaged, and production was halted for two months. "The men who guided this raid did a good job," he remarked, never realizing that one of those all-important men had been virtually a dead man.

Meanwhile, with wind screaming through the shattered nose of his Flying Fortress, Harold Stause headed for home. "I was pretty busy at my guns there for a while," Staff Sergeant Eldon Audiss recalled in a recent telephone interview, "but as things settled down I heard Stause on the mike saying, 'Audiss, as soon as those damn fighters leave, get down and check on Mathis. I think he's in trouble."

Working his way forward, the airplane's flight engineer found The Duchess' nose compartment nearly destroyed. Broken glass still blew about in the rushing winds and Lieutenant Elliott, who had also been injured, was now seated at his navigator's table in shock. Jack Mathis was slumped silently over his bomb sight.

"I rushed forward and found the gears were still turning and his harness was caught in them, pulling him forward. I grabbed my knife to cut him loose and pulled him back. I reached out toward the wound in his side and all four fingers slipped into the hole. I knew then that he was dead. What I'll never know is how he managed to get back to his bombsight and finish that mission."

Back at Molesworth, Lieutenant Mark Mathis heard the sound of airplane engines, signaling the return of the Flying Fortresses. He rushed to the airfield and breathed a sigh of relief upon noting The Duchess was leading the way in. Then his heart leaped to his throat at the sight of a flare, the pilot's message to men on the ground that wounded were aboard. When the B-17 taxied in for a landing the damage to its nose was apparent, and Mark knew instantly that his brother was in trouble. He followed the ambulance to the hospital where 1Lt. Jack Mathis was pronounced dead. He would later be awarded the Medal of Honor. (Information courtesy of HomeofHeroes.com)

Features
  • Fully detailed 1/144 B-17 mold approved by Boeing
  • Diecast metal fuselage and wings
  • Bomb bay door can be positioned as open or closed
  • Rotating propellers
  • Accurate engraved panel lines
  • Historically accurate markings
  • Pre-assembled

Average Customer Review: 5 of 5 | Total Reviews: 1 Write a review.


  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
 
WW2 b-17 January 18, 2013
Reviewer: J Crockett from Little Rock, AR United States  
Very pleased with model.

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