398th B-17's Going to War

By Wally Blackwell

This is another rare photograph submitted by Ozzie Osborn for posting on the 398th web site. There is no date associated with the photo and it is a shame that no 398th insignia is visible on the B-17's shown. However, the location of the photo is really beyond question; it was taken at Station 131. The B-17's are lined up along the perimeter track at the Anstey end of the long runway, moving along in front of the 602 Squadron dispersal area, which is viewed off to the left in the photo. For a current view of the same spot, see Nuthampstead Taxiway - January 2005.

The photo is taken from the small window on the port side of the radio room. The rear portion of the left wing of the plane is shown in the lower right corner of the photo. This B-17 has not quite reached the point where it will become number one to enter onto and line up on the end of the runway for take off. At this point the pilot is waiting his turn for takeoff.

There are an equal number of B-17's in line on the other side of the runway, on the perimeter track in front ammunitions dump, so the lines alternate. Right now the crew has checked all things and are ready to go. There is a 30 second or maybe a 60 second interval between each take off. As soon as one leaves, the next B-17 gets aligned to the runway, runs up the engines and waits for the red light to turn to green to go. At this time the pilot hopes that at about a mile down the runway ahead, that old B-17 will begin to fly. Can you hear those engines running!

Source Information:

  1. Photo Source: The Malcolm 'Ozzie' Osborn Collection
  2. Photo Reference: MO_B-17s_taxying
  3. Photographer: B-17 Crew Member
  4. If you would like to add information about this photograph, please contact our Aircraft Photo Coordinator. Please include the title.