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Combat mission photos from January 29, 1945



Specially equipped B-17s, called Pathfinder Force [PFFs] were equipped with a radar navigation system devised by the British and improved by the Americans for targeting through heavy cloud cover. It was encased electronics and replaced the ball turret of the B-17 lead plane (right foreground below).


These planes flew in the lead and others dropped their payload when this plane did. Since the ground couldn't be seen, the results were marked as "unobserved." The "secret" system was code named "Mickey". Highly trained operators were called "Mickey Operators."


This formation of Heavy Bombers shows B-17G Mean Widdle Kid (tail #43-37987) flying at top left on January 29, 1945 mission.  The lead ship in the foreground is a B-17GSH #44-8180, flown by Lt John Timko and air leader Major Francis Eberhart, and outfitted with new radar dome in place of the ball turret.




Enlarged photo of B-17G  Mean Widdle Kid taken January 29, 1945.  The Boeing Flying Fortress #43-37987 was shot down during the crew's last mission on April 10, 1945 over the Jerichow area of Germany.