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M2 COUNTDOWN TO CONVENTION 2014; 21 weeks to go.

On August 8th, 1934
the American Army Air Corps issued a proposal request for the development of a
250 mph bomber with a range of 2000 miles and an operating ceiling of 10,000
feet. An ailing Boeing Company took up the challenge, expending nearly all of
the company’s capital and manpower to complete the task, the Boeing Model 2-
99 was rolled out in July 1935. It was an all-metal four-engine bomber, weighing
in at 15 tons. Its performance specifications greatly exceeded those laid down by
the US Army Air Corps in their request. The plane first flew in Seattle, and one
watching journalist is said to have commented that the plane, when in the air,
looked like a Flying Fortress due to the number of machine guns it carried. The
nickname stuck. (1) By the late 30s and early 40s as tensions in Europe
worsened, Boeing had further upgraded the 2-99 into model YB-17. By WW-II this
effective workhorse, the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, was a four-engine heavy
bomber operated by a flight crew of ten. It was nearly 75 feet long with a
wingspan of over 103 feet and an overall height of 19 feet. Its empty weight was
34,000 pounds, 40,437 pounds loaded, and the maximum takeoff weight was
56,500 pounds. The airplane was powered by four air-cooled 1,823-cubic-inch-
displacement Wright Cyclone R-1820-97 turbocharged 9-cylinder radial engines,
producing 1,200 horsepower for takeoff and 1,000 horsepower at 25,000 feet.
The B-17 had a cruising speed of 200 miles per hour. The maximum speed could
reach 325 miles per hour at 25,000 feet for short periods. The service ceiling was
37,500 feet. With a normal fuel load of 2,520 gallons the B-17 had a maximum
range of 2,880 miles. Carrying a 6,000 pound bomb load, the range was 1,300
miles. The B-17 Flying Fortress was armed with up to 13 Browning M2 .50-caliber
machine guns. The maximum bomb load was 20,800 pounds for very short
ranges. The internal bomb bay could be loaded with a maximum of eight 1,600
pound bombs. Two external bomb racks mounted under the wings between the
fuselage and the inboard engines could carry one 4,000 pound bomb each. The
B-17 Flying Fortress was in production from 1936 to 1945. In that period 12,731
B-17s were built by Boeing, Douglas Aircraft Company and Lockheed-Vega. (2)
Bangor, Maine; September, 1942. A new flight crew saw for the first time the
brand new B-17 that was to sustain them through the war. Captain Robert K.
Morgan had recently started a romantic relationship with a gal named Margaret
Polk from Memphis, Tennessee and won the vote among crew members to name
their new plane per his suggestion the “Memphis Belle.” [Finally. The letter “M” in
our reverse alphabet countdown.] Morgan contacted George Petty at the offices
of Esquire magazine and asked him for a pinup drawing to go with the name,
which Petty supplied from the magazine's April 1941 issue. Corporal Tony Starcer
reproduced the famous Petty girl artwork on both sides of the forward fuselage,
depicting her suit in blue on the aircraft's port side and in red on the starboard.
Morgan flew the Belle to Memphis on her shakedown flight. There she was
officially christened, with Margaret Polk as an admiring witness. Memphis Belle
then crossed the Atlantic to what became the home base for the 91st Bomb
Group, Bassingbourn, England. Memphis Belle participated in some of the most
hazardous missions of the war. In Belle's first three months of sorties from
Bassingbourn, 80 percent of the bomb group she was part of was shot down.
Captain Morgan related that casualty rate as sitting to breakfast with ten
comrades and having dinner with just two. The Memphis Belle and her crew are
famous for being the first Eighth Air Force bomber and team to complete 25

stopping at every major and minor airport. Newspaper photographers and newsreel cameramen had a field day. Back at the barracks the puppy created terror with the Captain’s socks and other belongings to such an extent that she was given the name “Stuka” . … They would always be surprised to see her with me at the door of my hotel room. When the cities put on parades for us. she became the mascot and faithful companion of the entire crew of the Belle. (3) Belle and her crew became the inspiration for the making of two motion pictures: a 1944 documentary film. and a 1990 Hollywood feature film named Memphis Belle. Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress. B-17F- 10-Bo (3) Weider History Group. after she got used to flying. he immediately went in and bought her. …Word got out that Stuka liked her whiskey. People went wild over her as much as they made over the Belle and she seemed to be enjoying all the attention. Verinis. She'd stagger around a little. ‘She'd lap it up. taking pictures of the ‘flying dog’. Early in 1943 he and the Belle’s navigator were in London for some R&R.after the name Germans called their terrorizing dive bombers. Mascot of the Memphis Belle” by Jamie Verinis (son of Captain James Verinis) . she would ride in it as if she were a queen’.combat missions over occupied Europe without a crewman killed. June 5. She – Stuka . They did a ‘Grand Tour” throughout the country.” (4) So let us tip a saucer (or at least a glass) to the memory of Stuka. encouraging people to contribute to the war effort. a great dog lover. Com. “Stuka the Mascot Dog” (5) Modern Scottie Dog. could not resist the lively Scottish Terrier puppy bouncing around in the store window. companion and solace to the airmen of the Memphis Flying Fortress (2) This Day in Navigation. (5) After 25 missions the famous bomber and its crew were reassigned back to the United States to promote the sale of War Bonds. she even had her own ‘dog tags’ just like those of the soldiers.was a big hit with the crowds. Historynet. The Memphis Belle’s co-pilot was Captain James Verinis. Who better to see us through troubled times than a faithful Scottish Terrier! But. (4) Although the dog Stuka had to remain ‘grounded’ during missions. in fact. 2012 “Hero Scottie: Stuka. forget your troubles and come to convention this June where you will see us all flying high about Scotties. act silly and go off somewhere and lay down to sleep’. (1) History Learning Site . Co-pilot Verinis is remembered as having said “The little dog didn't seem to mind all the stunt flying Captain Morgan did as he arrived over each new city on the tour. Stuka seemed to enjoy all the wild stuff. drawing crowds with their aviation trick shows and just showing off the famous bomber. Of course Stuka went with them for the entire tour. Walking past a pet shop. and some people would slip her a saucer “Memphis Belle: Famous World War II Eighth Air Force B-17 Bomber” (4) Memphis Belle webpage.