History[edit | edit source]
Built by Boeing at Seattle, 40-3061 was ferried overseas from the United States to Clark Field during mid-September 1941. This flight went via 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby and via Batchelor Field near Darwin on September 10th, these aircraft becoming the first B-17s in Australia.
On December 8, 1941, this B-17 was at Del Monte Airfield, and was ordered to be flown to San Marcelino Airfield, arriving in the afternoon.
On December 10, 1941, 40-3061 took off from San Marcelino Airfield piloted by Major Emmett "Rosie" O'Donnell before dawn and flew to Clark Field. On the ground, the B-17 was armed with eight 600 lbs bombs and departed alone to bomb Japanese shipping off Vigan. Over target, this B-17 sighted a Japanese cruiser and destroyer but experienced bomb rack problems, and had to make five bombing runs, spending 45 minutes over the target area, experiencing anti-aircraft fire, but all eight bombs missed, then returned to Clark Field.
Later, this B-17 returned to Del Monte Airfield. On December 18, 1941, this B-17 was flown from Del Monte Airfield to Batchelor Field, piloted by Major Birrell "Mike" Walsh, co-pilot Lt. Edwin B. Broadhurst, navigator Lt. Edward C. Tarbutton, Bombardier Carter, Engineer Heard, radio Richardson, gunners Clark and Stephens, with passengers Gauche and Wise. On December 30, this B-17 was piloted by Major Walsh from Batchelor Field to Java.
On January 1, 1942 this B-17 was piloted by Captain Edwin B. Broadhurts of the 30th BS to inspect Dutch Airfields, flying to Samarinda II Airfield. Next, he flew to Kendari II Airfield, the returned to Singosari Airfield. He reported both airfields were sufficient for bomber operations and had enough fuel and bombs.
On January 8, 40-3061 was one of nine B-17s took off from Kendari II Airfield piloted by Broadhurst to bomb Japanese ships in Davao Gulf, but encountered two violent storms, and was forced to abort.
On January 10, this B-17 was flown from Kendari II Airfield to Singosari Airfield. Next, on January 11, one of seven B-17s that took off at 5:55am from Malang Airfield piloted by Broadhurst at on a mission against Japanese shipping off Tarakan. On the way to the target, the formation encountered bad weather that broke up the formation, forcing five B-17s including this bomber to abort.
On January 14, 1942, 40-3061 took off Singosari Airfield piloted by Major Combs, leading seven B-17s and was flown to Palembang Airfield, and spent a day at the airfield being refueled and armed with bombs.
On January 15, 1942, the flight took off from Palembang to bomb Sungei Patani Airfield on the west coast of Malaysia. On the way to the target, two B-17s aborted. The B-17s dropped 31 of their 42 bombs, with fifteen hitting the airfield. Aboard this B-17, ten bombs hung up inside the bomb bay and Combs circled for a second bombing run, but the bombs again failed to release and had to be salvo together. Departing, Japanese fighters attempted to intercept, but were unable to reach the B-17s altitude. Landing at Palembang, the tail wheel of this B-17 blew out. Since there were no spare tires available, the crew used the inter tube from a Dutch truck tire wrapped over the hub twice. It worked, and the B-17 departed that night, and flew back to Malang Airfield.
Finally, when Allied aircraft evacuated Java, this B-17 was deliberately set on fire on the ground. The aircraft was repaired by the Japanese, and flown to Japan for evaluation.