Gunner kills

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Hunter368, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    I have never seen a site or book that listed gunner kills. Anyone ever see anything like that where they list the highest gunner kills for each nation? Similar to pilot kills for each nation in WW2.
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Here's a little blip.

    http://afehri.maxwell.af.mil/Documents/pdf/gunners.pdf

    I've seen a kill list of USAAF Gunners during WW2, I thought the top guy had 9 kills. I'll see if I could find it.

    In the link above there is the story of "Johnny Zero," probably one of the more famous gunner aces of WW2.
     
  3. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Joe - is there an on-line reference that lists the air to air awards for gunners in WWII?

    There was a pilot in the 355th FG/354FS by the name of Charles Spencer that shot down an Me262 and recorded four Japanese meatballs plus the swastika on his canopy rail. I asked him about this and he told me he was a B-17 gunner in the PTO with four credits before becoming a pilot.

    It would be interesting to add that bit of history if I can verify it
     
  4. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    side note : Bill do you have the combat report from Spencer on that 262 downing : March 19, of 45 /// send me a private if you would ~ 262 of I./KG (J) 54 over Giebelstadt airfield (Spencer) with another 262 of the same unit damaged, and also another one destroyed by ? 355th fg pilot's.

    E ~
     
  5. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Not aware of one Bill, but here's an aces page that list aerial gunner aces..

    US Army Air Force aces of WW2

    This was on the list...


    TSgt Arthur J. 'Art' BENKO 9 C.Watry-D.Hall (+ 9 ground) 308BG 15/11/1944 B-24 top turret gunner ace, CBI. MIA. 18; 16

    I tried to look for him on that site...
     
  6. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    Thanks guys, interesting reading. I would be interested in both Allied and Axis records for gunners if anything exists like that.
     
  7. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Having done quite a bit of wing shooting the difficulty of hitting anything on purpose with a machine gun from a moving bomber in WW2 awes me. The only run a fighter could make where it might be relatively easy would be from directly astern or head on. The rest of the shots what with the bomber moving at 150-175 mph and with the fighter moving at a much higher speed look almost impossible. I suspect that if you took the kills credited to gunners on bombers in WW2 and reduced them by 75-90% you would have a more accurate number.
     
  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Hey Bill, from the site "Little Friends"

    [​IMG]
    44-14563 P-51D 354 WR-Q Spencer Capt. Charles H
     
  9. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    100% agree, fighter pilots from all countries over claimed (honest mistakes). But bomber pilots who flew most often over enemy country way way way over claimed (also honest mistakes).
     
  10. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    Good find Joe
     
  11. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Agree Hunter, they were honest mistakes. When a gunner was in an airplane in a bomber box and everyone was shooting I don't know how one could tell who hit a fighter when one was hit and only occasionally could anyone see the fighter disentegrate or hit the ground.
     
  12. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    Totally agree
     
  13. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I have that photo - it's probably one I sent to peter for the 355th collection.
     
  14. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    :lol:
     
  15. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    That's the right ballpark from what I know. Intelligence assumption AIUI in ETO was reduce confirmed bomber kills by 75% to get German fighters lost. Checking the Japanese losses v US B-29 claims in Henry Sakaida's "B-29 Hunters of the JAAF" it was a little better than that, but some of those Japanese fighters were ramming on purpose, hard to mistake their destruction. Another example was the Korean War where I found Soviet accounts of all their attacks on B-29's and found 3-4 actual MiG-15 kills by B-29's v 27 credited victories, and at most 1-2 of those downings actually corresponded to a credited victory, the other 2 gunners downed MiG's they *weren't* credited with! (one victory was over a Chinese MiG, they claimed no B-29's so it's unlikely any other B-29 credits were their a/c, the NK's didn't fly MiG's till after the B-29's gave up operating in daylight).

    Besides the difficulty of shooting down a fighter from a bomber (all the more for a MiG-15), formations of bombers had an inherently much more difficult task in eliminating duplicated claims than fighters did. It was, apparently, impossible to do that accurately. And even with benefit of opposing records it would not generally be possible to say which fighter was downed by which gunner, or sometimes whether bombers or friendly fighters were responsible, unless the opposing records say which.

    On 'honest' it should IMO go without saying that overclaiming had little to do with honestly; discussions shouldn't get sidetracked on that, and most of all claims should not be taken at face value on the belief that it's somehow disrespecting the claimants to try to find out what really happened. There were surely (and demonstrably in cases) individuals who deliberately overstated their achievements, that's part of the human condition. But it's pretty clear that the virtually across the board phenomenon of overclaiming was due to limitations in human perception under stress, not about honesty. That said, different tactical situations, different verification processes, and probably different cultural tendencies too, resulted in a very wide range of overclaims, which can only be determined by correlation with opposing records.

    Joe
     
  16. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    So Joe, with all that said, which gunner listed do you want to take a kill or two away from? Art Benko who was credited with 9 kills and eventually became MIA or maybe the Famous "Johnny Zero" who had a half of dozen witnesses verify that he shot down 5 aircraft? Or maybe you could pick out one or two Korean war vets who flew B-29s and pluck away the greatest achievement an enlisted airman could be credited for. There is no doubt there were overclaims in ww2 and Korea and I think its clear that all of us like to see accuracy achieved, but where do you draw the line? I've met some of these gunners who flew in Korea, would you go up to them and question their "kill?"
     
  17. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Good post Joe and good analysis. I would not question anyone's "kills" because if they were "there" that is plenty of reason to respect them. I knew a fellow here in CO who was a flight engineer and top turrent gunner on a Marauder in WW2 and he was quite a shooter and hunter. Questioned him about defending a B26 with MGs and he said it was really difficult to hit anything and he wasn't sure if he ever shot anything down. I expect their main goal was to upset the fighter pilots so they could not aim properly.
     
  18. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    I've interviewed a number of B-29 crewmen from Korea, as well as many fighter pilots. Some I've talked to have volunteered their lack of certainty about what they or others were credited with (aerial victories, real effectiveness of their bombing, etc). They mentioned it first, otherwise it wasn't discussed. When conversing with a stranger, particularly older, you give them information pertinent to them only if they bring it up first. That's politeness, it doesn't change what the information is. I was talking about what the information is, clearly because that's what a forum is for or it's useless. So your point about 'what would I say to them?' is an irrelevant tangent, frankly. As is the question about changing personal official credits, I never suggested that; I specifically said it's not generally possible to determine who shot down who individually. You're reading selectively, as you often do.

    Let's get back to the point. Renrich gave his estimate of that bomber gunner credits 10-25% accurate, I said yes that's probably about right for US in WWII, and gave what I found specifically for Korea. It's lower to much lower than contemporary fighter claim accuracy, so bomber gunner claims should be viewed differently. If you have contrary evidence, please present it.

    It's probably best to consider the issue from the other direction: sometimes somebody's specific claim is clearly verified as a loss in opposing records. Shouldn't we say that? but if we do it's calling attention to the claims less clearly supported, or ruled out, by opposing records. We can't have that both ways.

    Joe
     
  19. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Fair enough....
     
  20. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    Flyboyj answered you fairly, you have a point and he understands that.

    I don't think the above line, you posted, needed to be added. You made your point, you need not add that sort of comment. :rolleyes:
     
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