Clarification On Gunner Kill Credit

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Jul 21, 2020
So, I'm aware that some services recognized gunner kills in multi-crewed aircraft (IE the gunners on a B-17). However there's a very particular situation I'm looking for information on:

Who gets awarded the kill in a case that BOTH the pilot and the gunner score hits on the target?

For example, let's say an SBD engages a Zero. There are no other aircraft from either side present. During the initial merge the pilot of the Dauntless scores damaging hits against the Zeke, but fails to complete the kill. Perhaps the engine is starting to smoke, or a fuel or oil line have been severed, but the aircraft is still in the fight. The Zero swings around and gets in behind the Dauntless, however the gunner tracks him and opens fire, scoring hits into the engine bay. The Zero promptly explodes.

In this case, who gets the kill?

Although the gunner fired the golden BB, the pilot had caused significant damage during the initial pass, which may have been a factor in the explosion. Is the victory shared between the pilot and gunner, or would the gunner get the sole credit since he was the one who actually completed the kill?

I know the US did record shared kills, half-kills, and assists, but I've only ever heard of that in reference to occasions like two fighters firing on the same target at once, or otherwise when it's unclear which pilot actually brought the target down.

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