B-17F Double Trouble

During my research in the National Archives for more material on the Ploesti, Romania, oil refineries low-level bombing mission, I came across an original 8" x 10" print of the famous B-17F Double Trouble. I’ve not seen this particular photo before and offer it here due to its very high resolution, which I hope you’ll find interesting.

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(Click to enlarge)

B-17F-25-DL, 42-3082, Double Trouble, was flown by Lt William Winneshiek, 333 BS/94 BG, Rougham, England, in October 1943. This ship was assigned to the unit from 10 June 1943 to 4 October 1943, when it crash landed at Margate, England, after a combat mission to St. Dizier, France. She was salvaged after the crash and in spite of the amazing nose art never flew again.

Although not visible in the photo above, the bomb group marking on the fin is very interesting. No color photos of this ship’s tail have been found, but there are several black & white photos available. The official 8th Air Force directive required the unit letter (in this case "A") be painted in Insignia Blue on a white square, but it was DEFINITELY NOT blue on this plane. This is easily seen by comparing the tonal value of the "A" to the tonal value of the national insignia on the fuselage.

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(Click to enlarge)

I’ve seen at least one color photo that proves, amazingly, that in some cases a YELLOW letter was painted on the white square, which is ridiculous. However, this may have been the case for "Double Trouble," or possibly it could have been a light gray letter–which is also ridiculous. Regardless of how nonsensical it is, there are many documented instances of light-colored letters that are clearly not Insignia Blue or Black on white geometric bases in more than one combat group. Dumbfounding!

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I have a few of my PYN-ups Decals set for Double Trouble (and B-17G Our Gal Sal) left in 1/48 & 1/72:

1/72

PYND72009

PYN-up Decals B-17 Fortress Chicks Part 3. Two extremely famous and popular Forts grace this set. First is B-17F-25-DL, 42-3082, "Double Trouble," Lt William Winnesheik, 333 BS/94 BG, Rougham, England, October 1943. This ship was assigned to the unit from 10 June 1943 to 4 October 1943, when it crash landed at Margate, England, after a combat mission to St. Dizier, France. She was salvaged after the crash and in spite of the amazing nose art never flew again. The bomb group marking on the fin is very interesting! No color photos of this ship’s tail have been found, but there are several black & white photos available. The official 8th Air Force directive required the unit letter (in this case “A”) be painted in Insignia Blue on a white square, but it was DEFINITELY NOT blue on this plane. This is easily seen by comparing the tonal value of the “A” to the tonal value of the national insignia on the fuselage. I’ve seen at least one color photo that proves, amazingly, that in some cases a YELLOW letter was painted on the white square, which is ridiculous. However, this may have been the case for “Double Trouble,” or possibly it could have been a light gray letter-which is also ridiculous. Regardless of how nonsensical it is, there are many documented instances of light-colored letters that are clearly not Insignia Blue or Black on white geometric bases in more than one combat group. Dumbfounding! The second ship is the exceptionally famous B-17G-30-BO “Our Gal Sal” from the 351 BS/100 BG, Thorpe Abbotts, England. Sal was queen of the “Bloody Hundredth” with her 135 combat missions giving her the distinction of being the longest serving plane in the unit. The name “Our Gal Sal” was inspired by the 1942 move of the same name starring Rita Hayworth. At the request of her first crew, captained by Robert J. Shoens, unit artist Frank Stevens painted the “Sal” artwork on standard aircraft canvas-the type used to cover movable control surfaces, and then glued it to the side of the nose. This created the strange “double halo” of olive green color around the artwork. It worked well, however, and the canvas did not blow off in the slipstream! At the time shown here, her 60th mission (the scheme best documented in color and black & white photos), her paintwork was very beat up and her chin turret, originally Neutral Gray, had been replaced by a newer unit in natural metal. Although the 100th is reputed to have used “blue gray” unit codes on the fuselage, color photos absolutely confirm that “Sal” had light gray codes. At least one widely distributed source claims the mission markings began on one side of the plane and continued around to the other side, and the profile painting in that source-while pretty-shows a huge number of mission markings continuing all the way back along the fuselage almost to the tail. The 100th BG historian confirmed for us this is completely bogus and the 100th’s practice was to mirror the mission markings on both sides of the nose. Sal was eventually scrapped at Kingman, Arizona. Interestingly, her bomb mission markings had been completely repainted very late or at the end of the war and in the boneyard she sported a long long line of white mission markings on a dark stripe background (these markings are not included here). We’re especially pleased that Mr Shoens and the 100th BG historian guided us on this project!

$24.97

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1/48

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PYN-up Decals B-17 Fortress Chicks Part 3. Two extremely famous and popular Forts grace this set. First is B-17F-25-DL, 42-3082, Double Trouble, Lt William Winnesheik, 333 BS/94 BG, Rougham, England, October 1943. This ship was assigned to the unit from 10 June 1943 to 4 October 1943, when it crash landed at Margate, England, after a combat mission to St. Dizier, France. She was salvaged after the crash and in spite of the amazing nose art never flew again. The bomb group marking on the fin is very interesting! No color photos of this ship’s tail have been found, but there are several black & white photos available. The official 8th Air Force directive required the unit letter (in this case “A”) be painted in Insignia Blue on a white square, but it was DEFINITELY NOT blue on this plane. This is easily seen by comparing the tonal value of the “A” to the tonal value of the national insignia on the fuselage. I’ve seen at least one color photo that proves, amazingly, that in some cases a YELLOW letter was painted on the white square, which is ridiculous. However, this may have been the case for “Double Trouble,” or possibly it could have been a light gray letter-which is also ridiculous. Regardless of how nonsensical it is, there are many documented instances of light-colored letters that are clearly not Insignia Blue or Black on white geometric bases in more than one combat group. Dumbfounding! The second ship is the exceptionally famous B-17G-30-BO “Our Gal Sal” from the 351 BS/100 BG, Thorpe Abbotts, England. Sal was queen of the “Bloody Hundredth” with her 135 combat missions giving her the distinction of being the longest serving plane in the unit. The name “Our Gal Sal” was inspired by the 1942 move of the same name starring Rita Hayworth. At the request of her first crew, captained by Robert J. Shoens, unit artist Frank Stevens painted the “Sal” artwork on standard aircraft canvas-the type used to cover movable control surfaces, and then glued it to the side of the nose. This created the strange “double halo” of olive green color around the artwork. It worked well, however, and the canvas did not blow off in the slipstream! At the time shown here, her 60th mission (the scheme best documented in color and black & white photos), her paintwork was very beat up and her chin turret, originally Neutral Gray, had been replaced by a newer unit in natural metal. Although the 100th is reputed to have used “blue gray” unit codes on the fuselage, color photos absolutely confirm that “Sal” had light gray codes. At least one widely distributed source claims the mission markings began on one side of the plane and continued around to the other side, and the profile painting in that source-while pretty-shows a huge number of mission markings continuing all the way back along the fuselage almost to the tail. The 100th BG historian confirmed for us this is completely bogus and the 100th’s practice was to mirror the mission markings on both sides of the nose. Sal was eventually scrapped at Kingman, Arizona. Interestingly, her bomb mission markings had been completely repainted very late or at the end of the war and in the boneyard she sported a long long line of white mission markings on a dark stripe background (these markings are not included here). We’re especially pleased that Mr Shoens and the 100th BG historian guided us on this project!

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$38.97

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B-17 Standard Insignia #1. Insignia used until August 1942, including 56″ fuselage and 74″ wing cocardes with separate red centers (Freeman “Type 1” US national insignia). These markings were used on B-17s from the start of the program until the introduction of smaller star/blue circle/no red dot cocardes in mid August 1942. This set also includes the “U.S. ARMY” for the wing bottoms in the correct Insignia Blue (they were NOT black!), as well as prop logos and Orange Yellow 15″ individual numbers for the fin serial. Note that officially, the red center dot was removed from US insignia as of 1 June 1942, so it’s possible to see B-17s with the large “Type 1” insignia without the red dot! Please note that we have never seen documentation of a B-17E (including the prototype) with the red/white/blue rudder stripes, so they are not included on this sheet.

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B-17 Standard Insignia #2: August 1942 to June 1943. This set includes 50″ fuselage cocardes and 70″ wing cocardes (Freeman “Type 2″ national insignia), with separate 3″ and 6” yellow surrounds (Freeman “Type 2A”). It also includes optional light gray stars to replace the white stars in the insignia as was very frequently seen in the field. Prop logos and Orange Yellow 15″ individual numbers for the fin serial are also included. Note that the yellow surround to the cocardes was OFFICIALLY 2″ wide, but most photos we’ve seen show much wider surrounds. These were invariably hand-painted, and wide variations were seen. Please note that these yellow surrounds were NOT Operation Torch (North African invasion) markings as usually reported, but rather were in response to a British request to help make the US cocardes more visible in the ETO. Practically, the “Type 2A” insignia was only painted on aircraft until about December 1942, but some in-service aircraft carried the insignia after that date.

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B-17 Standard Insignia #3. June 1943 to September 1943 and even later. This set includes 50″ fuselage and 70″ wing stars & bars with RED outline for use until late September 1943 (Freeman “Type 3”), AS WELL AS the same size insignia with lighter blue (faded) cocardes with darker blue surrounds to represent Type 3 insignia converted to “Type 4″ insignia. The set also includes prop logos and Orange Yellow 15” individual numbers for the fin serial. Note that these markings will allow you to show accurate and high-quality star markings on any of your B-17 models from this period, regardless which decals you use, and that most 1/48 Cutting Edge and PYN-up Decal B-17 sets do not include national insignia so we can include the maximum number of specific markings in each set. *** Also please note that I will make the other three types of B-17 national markings (CED48260, B-17E/F Early Insignia (simple cocardes with and without the center red dot used through August 1942, with huge “U. S. Army” for the lower wings); CED48261, B-17E/F Early Insignia used from Aug 42 to June 43 (simple cocarde with and without center red dot, with optional yellow outer ring, and with optional “grayed out” white star); and CED48263, B-17E/F/G Late Insignia with the standard “star and bar” including optional “grayed out” white areas and optional red bars for postwar markings) available at a later time. I will also make available in the near future CED48270, B-29 National Insignia; CED48271, B-24 National Insignia (Early), and CED48272, B-24 National Insignia (Late).

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B-17 Standard Insignia #4: September 1943 to the 1950s. This set has the 50″ fuselage and 70″ wing stars & bars in Insignia Blue and Insignia White, and includes separate red bars for post-1947 B-17s. In addition, the set has optional separate light gray stars and bars to replace the white for “grayed out” insignia, which was often seen on B-17s, including Forts that left the factory in the natural metal scheme! Prop logos and 15″ black individual numbers for the fin serial. Note that this is the final B-17 national markings set out of the four we created to cover the entire operational history of the Flying Fortress; the other three sets were previously offered to you in past increments.

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