The Hill Aerospace Museum at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah has an incredible collection of USAAF/USAF aircraft. One of the more amusing sights within the Hadley Gallery of the museum is the nose art for “Short Bier“, a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress bomber sporting the markings of the 493rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) of the Eighth Air Force during World War Two. The image depicts Hitler sitting upright in a coffin that is far too short for him!
This particular B-17G (s/n 44-83663) was manufactured by Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, California and delivered to the USAAF on May 1st, 1945. It did not serve in theatre and remained stateside until put into storage in 1950. After an overhaul it was transferred to the Brazilian Air Force in 1953 and they kept her in service for the next 15 years. Returned to the USAF in 1968, she was loaned to a few museums and maintained airworthy until the late 1970’s. By the early 1980’s the condition of the B-17G had significantly deteriorated.
In 1987 the B-17G was obtained by Ogden businessman John A. Lindquist, a member of the Board of Directors of the Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah, for display at the Hill Aerospace Museum where the exterior was restored by 1991 (the interior is an ongoing project). During World War Two Mr Lindquist was a navigator on the original “Short Bier” in the 493rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) of the Eighth Air Force – hence the livery and nose art. This is actually the third “Short Bier“, as the original was a B-24 before the unit transferred to operating B-17’s. The original B-17G “Short Bier” was lost in action during the war.
Hill Field as it was known during the USAAF days of World War Two, performed a significant amount of repair and maintenance on B-17’s during and after the conflict. Post war the Ogden Air Depot later converted a number of B-17’s to the F-9/RB-17 photo reconnaissance variant and in the 1950’s would go on to be the prime maintenance base for B-17’s operated by the USAAF/USAF.