Armor for pilots of American heavy bombers

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Jenisch, May 16, 2013.

  1. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    Hello,

    So, the Lancaster had armor for the head of it's pilot. Did the American heavy bombers (B-17, B-24 and B-29) had similar feature?
     
  2. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Yes, certainly on the B-17G and later blocks of the B-24, the whole seat back and head are was covered by armour plate, along with applique external armour in some cases. The waist gunner's positions were also armoured, with the B-24 having additional, internal armour shields which could be swung into place.
     
  3. model299

    model299 Member

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    the waist gunners also would often take extra flak jackets and spread them on the floor of the aircraft to help protect them from flak bursts below the aircraft.
     
  4. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    The armor was fair for flak splinters but not much for 13mm or 20mm - same for US fighters
     
  5. Coyote

    Coyote Member

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    Pilots were known to take their flak jackets and sit on them.
     
  6. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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  7. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    A lot of doorgunners in Vietnam were usually sitting on a extra flak jacket. I certainly did.
    I've read that a lot of WW1 British army cooks had trouble with the lids of their cookstoves disappearing. The pilots were sitting on them.

    It's not too comforting knowing one bullet can come up thru the floor and make you a eunuch.
     
  8. Reegor

    Reegor Member

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    When LeMay stripped down the B-29s, one of the items removed was their armor. Along with almost all the guns.
     
  9. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I was doing that in Iraq today still. :lol: Well thr back plate. I still wore the front plate.

    At least until we installed balistic "blankets".
     
  10. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure I have read somewhere that Harris ordered the removal of the armour from Lancasters in order to increase the bomb load.
    Is this true or fiction?
    Cheers
    John
     
  11. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    John, how much did the armor weigh that was installed in the Lancaster?
    How many more bombs could be carried if the weight of armor was removed?
     
  12. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    As far as I know, the only standard armour in a Lanc was the head shield on the pilot's seat. removing that might allow the carriage of an extra Thermos flask or two ......
     
  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    When someone is shooting AT you, no matter how much armor you have it is NOT enough.

    When you are shooting AT someone is is shooting back your gun is ALWAYS too small.

    When you are trying to MOVE your armor and gun are ALWAYS too heavy. :)
     
  14. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    He did, but I can't remember when. The normal armour was 4mm plate on the seat back and the 9mm head armour. There was an armoured bulkhead about 15' behind the pilot.
    Harris also had some other equipment removed, the rest bed was certainly one such item. Ammunition for the machine guns was also reduced.
    It was more to increase range than to increase bomb load. Every ounce that you lift burns fuel to lift it.

    In 1941 there was much discussion about armouring the Lancaster (Hercules powered Lancaster II were considered more viable) for daylight operations. The total weight of armour was not to exceed 2000lbs. One proposal had 260lbs per engine, an extra 90lbs for the pilot and various other bits protecting turrets, fuel systems etc. The RAF didn't revert to daylight bombing until late in the war and this sort of aircraft wasn't needed.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  15. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Ah, yes. I forgot about the armoured bulkhead doors, at the rear spar position, very soon deleted in production. There were also the armoured doors between the tail plane spar and rear turret, but as far as I know, these remained throughout production and operations.
     
  16. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    I don't know. That's why I asked the question....
     
  17. varsity078740

    varsity078740 Member

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