Wreck 5002 B17- Bomber

Summary

Wreck 5002, the remains of a Second World War Bomber, lies in 16m deep water SSW of Newhaven. The wreck was first mentioned in 1975, when a SCUBA diver failed to surface after a dive. This accident led to partial dismantling of the wreck by the Royal Navy. In 2002 and 2003 Wessex Archaeology carried out a geophysical and diving assessment of the site to confirm the aircraft type identification and to establish the extent of the site. Like all aircraft lost in military service, the site is protected under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.
 
Click the spots below to view underwater photographs and video footage from the dive.

Wreck 5002 MapEngine 1 Wing Structure Engine 2 Engine 3

Results

A close inspection of the aircraft engines on site confirmed the identification of site 5002 as a B-17 bomber. The B-17 was one of the most common daylight bombers during the 2nd World War. It was used by the RAF as well as by the USAF from many British airfields for bombing raids to France and Germany.
 
The first B-17’s (model C) were employed in the European war theatre in 1941. A series of amendments and improvements led to the construction of the B-17 G from 1943. Altogether 8680 B-17’s of this model were built. 1301 of these were either shot down, crashed or were ditched. The B-17 G had a wingspan of 31.6 m, a length of 22.8m and a height of 5.8m. It weighed 22475 kg. The maximum speed was 295 mph at a height of 7625m. The range of the bomber was 1760 km. B-17 G’s were armed with 13 .50 cal machine guns and carried 2724 kg of bombs.
 
Further details on the histoy of the B-17 bomber can be found at http://b17bomber.de/english/index.php.

Engine 1

One of the three 9 cylinder radial air cooled Wright Cyclone GR 1820 engines on site. Two propeller blades are still attached and the variable propeller pitch mechanism is visible.

Engine 2

The second engine, the propeller is missing and the engine block is partly buried.
 
Video footage (with diver audio) of this feature is available (MPEG, 1.3Mb). It will open in your system's default media player.

 

Engine 3

Third engine with propeller attached. The engine block is buried.

Wing Structure

Tubular frame structure, probably part of the internal wing framing.