B-17 Ball Turret Gunner.

Discussion in 'Weapons Systems Tech.' started by Bucksnort101, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. Bucksnort101

    Bucksnort101 Well-Known Member

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    Forgive me if this is a "dumb" question, but it is something I've always wondered about but never looked into.
    Was the ball turret gunner in the B-17 able to get in and out of the ball turret while in flight. Video's I've seen always seem to show him getting into the Turret while on the ground, but I cannot imagine him being in there for the entire flight.
     
  2. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    The gunner entered the ball turret via a door at its rear, which also served as an emergency exit in case of trouble. The gunner could enter the turret from inside the plane by having the turret rotated until the door opening faced the interior of the plane. However, since this required that the ball turret be positioned so that the guns were pointed downward, this meant that the turret could not be entered from inside the plane while it was on the ground.

    It was possible for the gunner to enter the turret from outside the plane while it was on the ground by having it rotated so that its door faced outside the plane. However, once he did this, he would have to stay inside the turret during the takeoff. Since the turret was only 15 inches off the ground, it would take a bold soul to ride inside the belly turret during take off or landing, and most ball turret gunners chose to enter the turret while the plane was in the air.

    Normally, the guns were stowed facing rearward with the barrels horizontal for takeoffs and landings.

    TO
     
  3. Bucksnort101

    Bucksnort101 Well-Known Member

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  4. trackend

    trackend Active Member

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    Yes BS he did have the ability to enter from inside the aircraft the first picture shows the hatch and rack and pinon drive train
     

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  5. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    the answer as to the safest position has been covered somewhat earlier but would disagree from the summer of 44-45 on the pilot as the most unsafe, that would go to the tail gunner position as LW tactics had changed
     
  6. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    kind of Ironic...

    "Good news Mom, I'm a Ball Turret Gunner and it's the safest position on the plane. Bad news- the pilots are the least safest so in reality, we're all screwed!

    .

    .
     
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