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Fred grassi
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B-17G “The Betty-L” HK Models 1/32e

September 16, 2017 · in Aviation · · 29 · 3.6K


First I present the "Betty-L":
Why this plane there in particular? Well I like to make assemblies that have a history; this "anonymous" plane among so many others will have paid the high price during one of the many missions realized by the allies during these dark years.
Besides, he fell a few miles from my home; alone ; ... the years passing, which remembers that 4 young people lost the life here ...
In order to remember, I am going to put up this model for them and for all those who have fought for our freedom.

Let me tell you his story:

the B17-G 55-BO, "The Betty-L" , code 42-102585, is assigned to the 381st Bomb Group, 534th Bomb Squadron, and arrives in Ridgewell, England on April 24, 1944.

On the morning of June 24, 1944, the aircraft already had 10 bombing missions behind it. He is on the point of leaving for his last mission over Europe and more precisely, above France, towards Tours.

As part of the mission that day, several hundred B17 and B24 will sweep over France on various objectives. For the occasion, several groups of bombardment are formed according to the missions.

While 257 aircrafts take off in the direction of Bremen, Germany, to pour 643 tons of HE bombs; 53 aircraft depart in the direction of Wesermunde (also in Germany) with 127 tons of bombs

The "Force II" of which the "Betty-L" is part also takes off in the morning. The 483 aircraft, (74 and 409 B-24), have various objectives.

The B-17's mission is to destroy the following bridges:

  • Railway bridge at Saumur (38 B-17 deliver 90 tons of HE bombs)
  • Railway Bridge to the Rich Tours (36 B-17 deliver 108 tons of HE bombs) (the Betty-L's goal)

The B-24:

  • Airfield in Toussus le Noble
  • Airfield in Bricy Orléans
  • Airfield in Chateaudun
  • Airstrip near Essay
  • Various targets of opportunities

The planes on "La Riche" take a direct South-South East route starting from Ridgewell.
At an altitude above France between 20 and 23 000 feet (approximately 7000 meters); the bombardment on the objective is made "leeward" in direction of the South.
It takes place from the head of the bridge to its connection on the other bank.
Of the 108 tons of bombs, the bridge receives in all and for all 3 direct shots that destroy part of the structure, cutting the tracks ...

If the B-17 group is not intercepted by any enemy fighter during its mission, they encounter a rather sparse but precise Flak on Tours.
Only one B-17 is shot down by the Flak, it's the "Betty-L".

Touched by a direct blow to the radio room, engine no. 3 caught fire. The crew evacuated the plane at 24,000 feet while the plane crashed near Tours, at the place called "Le Vaussouvin", in Valleres.

The crew is then 9 men instead of 10, (1 only used for "left / right" machine guns in the rear fuselage)
Pilot: 2nd Lt Romasco Victor Roger: Prisoner of War
co-pilot: 2nd Lt Kellum Richard Love: Death in combat
Backgrounder: Sgt Giddens Elbert Forest: Prisoner of War
Radio Operator: S / Sgt Cosandier Paul G: Death in combat
Navigator: FO Chandler James Harris: Prisoner of War
Bomber / front gunner: 2nd Lt Stewart Ray L: Evader
Sgt Scoggins Grover L: Death to Combat
Sgt Owens Harry E: Death to Combat
Rear Gunner: Sgt Waldow Ernest Lee: Prisoner

Of the 9 crew members; 4 died (3 directly on the plane when it exploded at 20,000 feet, 1 hit the ground), 4 were taken prisoner; and only one could escape, hidden by resistance in the area of "Pont de Ruan" near Tours ; until the liberation of the region of Tours in September 1944.

All the information I could get comes from:

All the story of my researches is here
in english:

Reader reactions:
15  Awesome

13 additional images. Click to enlarge.

29 responses

  1. A very comprehensive and well written narrative to accompany that beautifully finished B-17...a nice piece of work all around, sir.

  2. Fred, a wonderful looking model and I enjoyed reading about the history you provided on it. In this scale I imagine this takes up a good bit of space !

    • thanks Terry,
      i've search about this plane about one year; i found lots of things; parts of the plane; witnesses ...
      Yes, you're right; it takes some place at home! :)))...

  3. Superb modelling Fred.

  4. Very impressive. What paint did you use for the natural metal?

  5. Impressive project, Fred. She must be huge.
    Do you know whether one of the guys who survived the crash is still alive today?

  6. Simply stunning. Everything a B-17 project should be, including the history. Very impressive work all around.

  7. Apologies for the 'truism' but thanks for a well-told story that reflects how brave these flyers had to be, knowing the odds and the random nature of life and death in bombers. A story all the better of course for being encapsulated in this beautiful model! Congratulations!

  8. Fred, good looking B-17G. I'll bet it takes up some room. Thanks for the writeup and research. Sometimes we forget the cost of combat, and what the crews had to face every mission. Most of them are leaving us, these days, all the more reason to honor and remember them.

  9. I really enjoyed reading your write-up, Fred, and have admired the pictures of your fantastic model, a really fitting tribute.

  10. Beautiful model. Great history, too. Having build this kit, I really admire the work and effort you put into it.

    One thing I have only recently discovered (learn something new all the time with modeling) from research is that all the nose turrets on B-17Gs were Neutral Grey - nobody ever told the subcontractor building them to stop painting them! Once you know it, it's obvious as hell in photos (not a criticism, just information for we B-17 muddlers).

  11. Great story AND model plane. Your story reminded me of a distant relative of mine.

    My dad had a cousin who was a top turret gunner in a B-25 flying out of Corsica during WW2. He was shot down and killed on his 58th mission when his B-25J took a direct hit from an 88 MM gun over the target. His body is buried in Florence, Italy with most of his crew members. None survived.

    I recently found a set of decals for one of the planes he flew in and plan on telling his story soon, after I finish building the model. He flew numerous missions in a plane called "Stuff"...

    Thanks for reminding everyone that many men gave it all for freedom.

  12. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    The comprehensive and well written narrative alone caught my attention and yet you top it off with this fine and honorable build. Thank you Fred ... this model really says a lot. One can imagine the young crew in those birds at that time, their actions and words.
    Very nice modeling and photography.

  13. Nice. B-17 is my favourite plane since I saw Memphis Belle movie for the first time when I was 6 or 7 yo. Thanks for showing model and placeing interesting links.

  14. A great job and the aluminum paint looks great a beautiful aircraft the only problem of this scale is the size of these models, for the rest a great job

  15. Excellent build! Great back round story.

  16. Stellar work! The NMF looks very well done, and the details I can see look crisp.

  17. Oh YES, what a beauty! Must be huge!

  18. It always impresses me when I see one of these in that scale, and that is a great example! I wouldn't have room for it in my house!

  19. thank you all for your comments:) i appreciate all
    sure it's a big scale; it's hard to put it on a place...:)

    no one of the crew is still alive today; but we've found the family of the Pilot and bomber.
    We made a tribute ; and a stele has been erected at Valleres; the city of the crash.

    if you want to read this special day; it's here

  20. Do you just spray aluminium or steel over the silver panel lines to get that excellent shading

  21. I happened upon this by accident, but do you sell these models? My grandfather was the navigator on this plane (Victor Romasco) and my brother would absolutely love this. Thanks!

    2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

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