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11
B-17F Memphis Belle

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Memphis Belle
Memphis Belle is perhaps the most famous and recognizable B-17 of World War Two. She survived the war and returned to the United States for War Bond tours. Then she was acquired by her namesake Tennessee city but languished to neglect and vandalism for decades. Various well-meaning groups tried to care for her but for nought.

Eventually the United States Air Force reclaimed Memphis Belle and brought her to Wright-Patterson AFB, where the National Museum of the US Air Force lavished loving care upon the treasure.

In 2018, on the 75th anniversary of her famous 25th mission, the National Museum of the US Air Force unveiled her after a lengthy restoration. This is how Memphis Belle and her display appeared in August, 2018.

Photos
No, you are not seeing double. To extenuate detail, I purposely loaded some photos as pairs, original and retouched.

To make these 100+ photos easier to digest, I segregated them into four pages. This first section is mainly the exterior.

Page two are the bomb bay, and top and belly turrets in more detail.

Page three presents B-17 schematics, and a detailed explanation of the General Electric Turbosupercharger.

Finally, a fourth page of miscellaneous parts and components. Memphis Belle was not the first USAAF heavy bomber to complete 25 combat missions. A few shots of Memphis Belle's 25-mission predecessors are included.
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About the Author

About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)
FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...


Comments

Thanks Fred, these are excellent! Michael
MAY 19, 2019 - 07:15 AM
Thanks Fred, I followed the WPAFM renovation project with great interest as I was scratchbuilding a 1/16 scale waist gunner position based on Verlinden's waist gunner. But after seeing the renovation photos, I ended up only using the figure when I realized everything else had to be scratch built. It was truly interesting to see almost everything taken apart, stripped down to the bare metal, and then reassembled and re-painted, and the USAFM should be proud of their efforts. They also had a great roll out ceremony. I understand why they hung it from the ceiling, but it's sad too, that you can't walk up and touch it (one reason they hung it from the ceiling I think). The "Boeing Bee", another (formerly flying) B-17F is parked at Seattle's Museum of Flight-- and you can get right up to it, but, it's not the same as this history making aircraft. It's great to see it on display again, thanks for posting. VR, Russ
MAY 19, 2019 - 07:47 AM
Wow, Frederick, what a fantastic resource! Thank you! I agree about the B-17F parked at Seattle's Museum of Flight-- better for modelling reference since you can see it better on the ground.
JUN 06, 2019 - 02:31 PM