Update 2014/03/15 5:17 Eastern Time: I forgot to mention that the flak is parented to an empty and so you can rotate all the flak images to align with a camera angle. Also all parts of the B-17 are parented to the fuselage. To translate along the X, Y, or Z axis, just grab the fuselage and move it. To rotate the B-17, you need to select all the entire aircraft, switch the pivot to BOUNDING BOX CENTER, and then rotate. All of the individual parts should rotate correctly.
This is brief description of the scene. A more detailed account and administrative notes about the file are included in the ZIP file as a PDF document.
During WWII, my father was the pilot of a B-17F-90-BO (serial number 230208) assigned to the 388th Bomb Group, 563rd Bomb Squadron at Kneittishal, England; arriving with his crew in June 1943.
This model/scene is meant as a tribute to the entire crew of that B-17 which flew it's last mission on July 26, 1943.
On that day, the target was the Hanover Rubber Works, Hanover, Germany. En route, his aircraft was hit by flak, killing several of the crew and damaging the plane. After making a successful bomb run, the formation of B-17's made a turn to return to England. However, about 50 miles from the safety of the North Sea, his plane was shot down over Holtland, Germany.
Five of the crew were killed (navigator, radio operator, ball turret gunner, left waist gunner, and the right waist gunner) and five managed to bail out and survive (pilot, co-pilot, bombardier, top turret gunner, and the tail gunner). All survivors were immediately captured and sent to POW camps.
German records state that B-17 230208 was shot down by Oblt (senior lieutenant) Karl Becker flying FW-190A-5 Werk #410005 "Yellow 14" of JG 1/3 (stkpt 3/JG-1).
He was credited with an "HSS" victory. HSS stood for Hesausschuss which roughly means "shoot out" or the separation of a bomber from formation before shooting it down.
Becker himself was killed four days later when he was shot down by an American P-47 pilot.
The B-17 "Flying Fortress" was an aircraft that could take a significant amount of damage and still keep flying. It wasn't easy to shoot down.
"Fips" Philips was a German ACE with credited with shooting down over 200 aircraft on the Eastern Front. While in command of JG 1 defending against American bombers over nothern Germany, he offered the following personal perspective about facing a formation of B-17's:
"Agains 20 Russians trying to shoot you down or even 20 Spitfires, it can be exciting, even fun. But curve in towards 40 fortresses and all your past sins flash before your eyes."
The model is historically accurate for a B-17F-90-BO in the summer of 1943. Paint schemes varied widely both internally and exeternally. Exterior idenification markings also varied. My model is based on a black and white photograph of one of the B-17F-90 in the 562nd Bomb Squadron/388th Bomb Group in August 1943. The white H on the black square was the designation for the 388th Bomb Group. The yellow "R" on the tail was the designation for the 563rd Bomb Squadron. The serial number on the tail is that of the B-17 he was flying when he was shot down.
The Germans fiercely defended their country. They shot down over 4,000 B-17's alone. With a crew of 10, that's over 40,000 B-17 crews killed, wound, or taken POW.
There are a few historical inaccuracies as well. Perhaps the most obvious is that the cheek guns on the nose are directly opposite each other. That's because I was using a mirror modifier. But in reality, either the left or the right cheek gun was staggered forward towards the nose. There wasn't any standard--it appears the staggering was accomplished at the whim of the maintence depot in England that made the modifications to the B-17Fs when they arrived from America.
There is a lot more information in the accompanying PDF file. There I included some administrative notes on settings and other things in the model as well as a lot more detail on the history of that last mission.
As with all of my models, there are no restrictions. There are no copyright images in the file. Most of the textures were hand painted by me in Photoshop. The HDR file packed with the model is 10 MBs alone, which is about a third of the total ZIP size.