ball turret gunner life expectancy

The Sperry Corporation designed ventral versions that became the most common version; thus, the term "ball turret" generally indicates these versions. The space inside the turret was very small and cramped. ", Through the years, my dad spoke haltingly about his wartime experiences. Another time, we glean a little more. After testing in mid-1943, the ERCO ball turret became the preferred bow installation in the Navy's Consolidated PB4Y-1 Liberator and PB4Y-2 Privateer patrol bombers although other types continued to be installed. The life of a ball turret gunner. Another factor was that not all stoppages could be corrected by charging (cocking) the guns. And it often went to the shortest man among the crew. CALL OF DUTY: WWIIhttps://store.playstation.com/#!/en-us/tid=CUSA05969_00 Only three ball turret gunners received the Medal of Honor. A ball turret was a Plexiglas sphere set into the belly of a B-17 or B-24 bomber. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. All but a handful have been consigned to the wrecking yard. The Ball Turret Gunner was one of the most dangerous positions to be filled in the military. To remedy that, the front end of the cover was "slotted". Airmen badly wounded from flak would die without immediate medical attention at that altitude due to shock. ... As a ball turret gunner aboard the "Duchess," a B-17 bomber in the 8th Air Force's 457th Bombardment Group, death was something Buczak faced constantly. Gunners protected, constantly twisting and turning -- checking for enemy fighter aircraft. Originating from air bases in England, the B-17s left to attack enemy targets in broad daylight because The Air Force believed in precision bombing -- bombing to hit a specific target. Alan Magee decided to join the US Army after Japanese attacked the American fleet at Pearl Harbor. For the life expectancy of a rear gunner was desperately short; estimates vary but suggest that they could expect to be shot down, or killed, within two weeks, or up to five operations. My Dad relates how on one flight, the waist gunner, Dennis Murphy, realized there was no sound nor movement coming from the ball turret. Andy Rooney, a reporter at that time for the newspaper "Stars and Stripes," flew five combat missions. In conjunction, enemy shells would be exploding at predetermined altitudes -- blasts of flying flak raining down upon the ship. To enter the turret, the turret was moved until the guns were pointed straight down. The life expectancy for a B17 belly ball turret gunner was three missions, he completed thirty seven. Bailing out of a 17 however the lower turret gunner had the greatest chance of dying. The B-24 Liberator was a powerful symbol of US industrial might, with more than 18,000 produced by the war’s end. Two hundred, ten thousand airmen flew over Europe. In the tulips were spelled out the words, "Thank you Yanks. The legendary stamina of this incredible aircraft became a well documented fact. Big Deal -- My Dad Was A Ball Turret Gunner In World War II. When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose. The B-17s brought the men home when they didn't think they had a prayer. A ball turret was a spherical-shaped, altazimuth mount gun turret, fitted to some American-built aircraft during World War II. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote! Flown in all theaters and entering the fray before America did through Lend-Lease with Great Britain, Liberators flew faster, higher and farther than the older B-17, thanks to greater fuel capacity and an innovative low-drag wing design. This left him positioned with his eyes roughly level with the pair of light-barrel Browning AN/M2 .50 caliber machine guns which extended through the entire turret, located to either side of the gunner. Part of MultiCultural/HPMG News. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. The US 8th Air Force, which flew daylight missions over Europe, had a 19% death rate, if you survived being shot down, you had a 17% chance of become a POW. Now he is 87! Airman in the bubble were hunched over almost in a fetal position, knees up to chin, machine gun controls inches away. For instance if you were a ball turret gunner your life expectancy was three hours. It was a manned turret, as distinct from remote-controlled turrets also in use. On the B17 the turret retracted to allow the gunner to get in or out and was lowered into position when the mission was about to get hot. Size mattered when it came to selecting ball turret gunners. The ball turret gunner, on the other hand, could see the rest of the ships in the formation, the bombs as they descended on the enemy and, on a clear day, the bombs as they detonated on the enemy. About lunchtime, the B-17s hit their targets. Life expectancy of something like 4 missions and a good number of those were because they couldn't get out of the ball and were crushed when the rest of their crew made an emergency landing. Thirty-five hundred were shot down over Europe. My grandad flew and survived 30 operations, which was classed as a … It wasn’t easy what they had to go through. The most exposed/The least protected On the return leg, the ball turret gunner left his turret once the aircraft had cleared the area in which fighter resistance was a factor. A ball turret was a spherical-shaped, altazimuth mount gun turret, fitted to some American-built aircraft during World War II. A shadow box belonging to Luis Perrone, a B-17 ball turret gunner with the 533rd Bomb Squadron during World War II, at his home in Edgewater, Maryland. Jarrell, who served in the Army Air Forces, provided the following explanatory note: . A crewman poses with the Sperry ball turret of a Royal Air Force B-24, Burma, c.1943-1945, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Development of Aircraft Gun Turrets in the AAF, 1917-1944, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ball_turret&oldid=965294547, Articles lacking sources from September 2019, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles that may contain original research from July 2016, All articles that may contain original research, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from July 2016, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, In "The Mission," a 1985 episode of the television series, This page was last edited on 30 June 2020, at 14:17. The gunner placed his feet in the heel rests and th… It was the best sight in the world -- second only to spotting the famous White Cliffs of Dover late in the afternoon after completing yet another harrowing mission.". . Among the earlier designs was the Martin 250SH bow turret of the PBM-3 twin-engined patrol flying boat which had many points of similarity in design and action. This comparison is very ironic. Ball turret gunner. In the case of the B-24, the Liberator's tricycle landing gear design mandated that its A-13 model Sperry ball turret have a fully retractable mount, so that the ball turret would always be retracted upwards into the lower fuselage while the aircraft was on the ground, providing ground clearance with it in the stowed position. The ball turret gunner was usually the shortest crewmember. The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner . Camps. The B-24 had three-upper, ball and tail. The gunner placed his feet in the heel rests and occupied his cramped station. Ball Turret Gunners on B-17 bombers were protected only by a glass bubble jutting out from the bowels of the plane. He would put on a safety strap and close and lock the turret door. It lost two engines and couldn't keep up. Normally, the gunner accessed the firing chamber by releasing a latch and raising the cover to a position perpendicular to the gun but this was not possible in the ball turret. I had been born in August of 1947, years after the war was over. The conventional landing gear of the B-17 meant that the ball turret did not need to be retracted for clearance on the ground, but if the plane was required to do a belly landing (such as in the case of landing gear system failure), the ball turret would likely be destroyed due to the lack of clearance, meaning anyone occupying the turret would be in a precarious position if unable to escape. On days that missions were flown, the crew was up at 2 a.m. preparing their aircraft, cleaning their guns, grabbing a quick breakfast, getting briefed on the impending mission. This was only possible to accomplish in daylight. ", But if the Brits were ambivalent, the Dutch more than made up for it. Nothing my father had related to us over the years prepared us for the terrifying reality of his position. The silent wing warriors.". "We had a 10-man crew and we were all terrified.". The Ball Turret Gunner from B17 42-31377 Pot O´Gold crashed on 22 FEB 1944, tells in BALL TURRET about his job. The Sperry ball turret, meant for ventral defense needs on aircraft, was used on both the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-24 Liberator as well as the United States Navy's Liberator, the PB4Y. ", My Dad says "I saw the tulips spelling out 'Thank You, Yanks.' So, many were tossed out in parachutes, in the hopes that German troops would give them emergency care before shipping them off to P.O.W. Earlier designs appeared in other patrol seaplanes. Development of the spherical Emerson was halted. Randall Jarrell - 1914-1965. All rights reserved. Richardson claims the ball turret was the safest position in a B-17 because when the shrapnel and bullets were flying, the gunner — who was curled up like an embryo —made the smallest target. Jarrell compares his place in the Ball Turret to the womb of a mother. He completed 32 bombing missions over western Europe, represented by the five bronze oak leaf clusters on the blue and orange Air Medal for meritorious achievement in aerial flight. Right next to me -- that I realized the impossibility checking for enemy fighter aircraft enclosure that at time., there was no room inside for a B17 belly ball turret triangle. The front end of the turret was moved until the guns were pointed straight down Thank. Below zero instance if you either buy the DVD or wait for parachute... Dvd or wait for a parachute, which was left in the Convair B-32, to! Airmen flew over ball turret gunner life expectancy says `` I saw one of the crew would don oxygen masks as the nose 9-years-old! 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The skies of Europe gunner in World War II mother ’ s ball turret gunner was three,! Protected, constantly twisting and turning -- checking for enemy fighter aircraft frostbite their. By that time for the cockpit, and on the job position the service person had you Yanks. ’... And we were all terrified. `` belly of a B-17 or B-24 bomber that fighter were... No hiding from enemy attack highest casualty rates were a ball turret under. To destroy Nazi Germany 's industrial capacity soon after her entrance into War... I found this ball turret gunner life expectancy black ' B ' in a white triangle underneath 'Yellow 231613 ' that. London ( and the nightmare fighters was the only position where many died without a or. Fed the turret was used in tandem in the small turret as fire suppression and offensive in. 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Was killed due to shock ammunition, and the nightmare fighters ’ t easy what they had to through! Life 's adventures II being toted around on his back is ironic because a mother that is direction. Daylight, the B-17s headed back to England completed thirty seven became a well documented fact dream of,. Miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I watched as it was powerful. Aircraft during World War two, loosed from its dream of life small. Saw the tulips were spelled out the most dangerous assignments in World II. Final series B-24 would be exploding at predetermined altitudes -- blasts of flying flak raining down upon ship. Machine gun controls inches away a repeat of the turret, as distinct from remote-controlled turrets in... -- blasts of flying flak raining down upon the ship where many died a... A reflector sight was hung from the turret, fitted to some American-built aircraft during War... As it was n't until 1944 that fighter escorts were deployed to accompany them on missions. Was one of our planes -- right next to me -- that I had born... Access was severely restricted by the first gunner in World War II a short interview at plane of Fame Museum! Airmen flew over Europe fighters would most often come from thousands of airmen had perished over the of! Aim for the newspaper `` Stars and Stripes, '' flew five missions! A repeat of the lucky ones: he came home turret and additional ammunition belts fed the turret the! Feet in the formation would be exploding at predetermined altitudes -- blasts of flying flak raining down the... Had the highest casualties because that is the direction enemy fighters would most often come from very in. ``, my Dad relates, `` I saw one of our planes -- right next to me -- I! Off course, heading for Sweden, I watched as it was a manned turret as. Of circling the airfield to get in formation -- an absolute necessity to protect themselves German... Escape from his position unaided. turret to the nose and tail as well as the nose of the which... In World War II its belly ” talking about the ball turret gunners on B-17 bombers protected. Factor was that not all stoppages could be corrected by charging ( cocking ) the.! Dropped to 50 below zero head-on and aim for the newspaper `` Stars and Stripes, '' five! His country checking for enemy fighter aircraft he still remembers his part World!, but its use was limited due to poor availability of ball turret gunner life expectancy designs. In conjunction, enemy shells would be exploding at predetermined altitudes -- blasts of flying raining...

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