Boeing B-17G "West End", S/N 42-31435, fight me head-on, I dare you!

Do you want to see this B-17G ingame?
  • Yes, as a regular techtree vehicle.
  • Yes, as a premium vehicle.
  • Yes, as a event vehicle.
  • Yes, as a squadron vehicle.
  • No.

0 voters

Have you ever heard of or seen this B-17G?
  • Yes.
  • No.

0 voters

​Hello everyone, hope your having a wonderfull day!

Today I’d like to suggest a very special field modification of a B-17G.

The aircraft in question is the B-17G “West End”, SU-S, Serial number: 42-31435.


As you can see, instead of the typical Bendix-built “chin turret”, this one has a six .50 cal machinegun mount! But, this mount is fixed! I must point out that it is not a gunner!

Now sadly with these rare field modifications, information regarding them is a bit scarce.

But, what do we know?


Well the gun mount was designed by Armaments Officer Mike Mazer, and was installed to this B-17G overseas in the field in May of 1944.

The mount has six M2 12.7mm machineguns in a fixed forward firing position that would be fired by the pilot .



These guns had ammunition belts going up into the nose of the aircraft, but sadly we do not know where the ammunition boxes were put, and how much ammo each of the guns had.

We do however have this one photo:


If you look closely, you can see an ammunition belt going into an ammunition box. It’s safe to assume that the equipment normaly used to control the chin turret has now been replaced with ammunition boxes.

Also looking at the size of the box, I’d say it carries around 400 rounds per gun. So that would add up to 2400 rounds total.

The reasoning behind this gun mount, and why it was never used again.



The idea of this gun mount was very simple. The tactic the Germans used a lot to engage B-17’s, was to attack headon.

The enemy attacks headon? Okay let’s mount six M2 .50 cal machineguns in the nose.

In the end the gun mount proved the mechanical practicability of the design, but also had some drawbacks.

To begin with, this mount had a lot of drag. The mount was even bigger and heavier then your normal chin turret, and while it was still a round sleek design, it was far from aerodynamic.

Also, the guns had a low ammount of ammunition. Like stated in the spoiler above, the guns would have most likely had around 400 rounds per gun at most.

But the thing that really destroyed this concept was that the Germans had a temporary cessation of head-on attacks, wich prevented the proof of this gun mounts effectiveness.

Also the guns being fixed ment that the pilot would have had to turn the bomber towards the enemy in order for him to shoot at them.

In other words, the bomber would have had to break formation in order to attack the enemies. Wich does not sounds like such a good idea, considering B-17’s tend to fly in a very tight formation.


“West End” ingame


I think this could be a really fun variant of the B-17G that would work really well ingame as either a premium, event or squadron vehicle.

There are many more interesting B-17 variants that could be added this way, like the B-17 “Old-666”.

As a premium, this plane would give the US players a nice Rank IV premium bomber, wich they at this moment do not have.

This aircraft is still a B-17G, so we know how that performs ingame, and would be a very welcome addition as a premium.

As a event plane, this B-17G could be a really cool reward you get on special days. Maybe something like B-17’s Birthday event, or a certain US Bomber Group day event sounds like a lot of fun.

Either way as a event plane this would become a very wanted vehicle to add to your collection.

As a squadron vehicle, this could be a fun addition to have, but I’m not so sure it’s what people really want for a squadron vehicle. I think the changes made to this B-17 are not big enough to be a squadron vehicle.

A short description of 42-31435’s career.



This B-17G was delivered in Cheyenne on the 31st of October 1943, and was assinged to the 384th bomb group on the 18th of Febuari 1944.

This B-17 was just a normal B-17G in the beginning of her career, where she flew on normal bombing missions.

On the 11th of May 1944, she made a battle damaged landing, after wich she was repaired and fitted with the new gun mount and was returned to service on the 6th of June 1944.

She successfully completed many operational sorties with the new nose gun installation, but sadly was not able to fully proof the concept of the gun mount.

On the 6th of July 1944 disaster struck. During a bombing mission the plane was hit badly by enemy flak. The flak managed to KO three of the four engines.

Thankfully she did manage to fly back and crash landed at RAF Manston. The crash landing destroyed the front turret, and what happend to the aircraft afterwards is unclear.


Also an aircraft is only as good as the people flying it, so here is a quick mention of the “West End” crew.


Roughly left to right, per order of hand-written identifications:
Engineer/Top Turret - Gregory, Charlie F
Tail Gunner - Kobulik, Andrew (NMI), Jr
Pilot - Maggart, Richard L
Togglier - Hamilton, Cecil A
Copilot - Seidlein, George H
Flexible Gunner - Huff, George L
Radio Operator - Johnson, John W
Navigator - Galloway, Leonard (NMI)
Ball Turret - Wittwer, Derall B

***Wouldn’t it be really cool to have these men as actual crew models for this aircraft?


Anyways that’s it! Hope you enjoyed reading about this wonderfull aircraft, and be sure to give your vote in the poll above!



Service career / general information

General information B-17G Fitted With SIX .50Cal Machine Guns In The Front "Turret" - Aviation Humor

Photos 384th During WWII / Aircraft / B-17G Aircraft / B-17G 42-31435 SU*S, "WEST END" | 384th Bombardment Group (Heavy) in World War II

384th Group 384th Air Expeditionary Group - Wikipedia

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+1, seems cool

More machine guns, more fun! +1