Stumped: Rear gunners seats- how do they work?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Johnny .45, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. Johnny .45

    Johnny .45 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Occupation:
    Various, Making Life Better For People.
    Location:
    Vermont. That's a state in the US, if you hadn't heard of it.
    Here's something I've long wondered, but never had in my mind at a moment I was on a computer. In aircraft with rear-gunners positions, such as the Ju 87, the SBD, the D3A, D4Y, etc, the gunner had to be able to face rearwards to man the gun, but in many cases he was also responsible for running the radio equipment, located ahead of him. You often see photos of them riding facing forwards. Question is, what was a "typical" design of seat that allowed the gunner to reverse like this? A pivoting seat works in the P-61, but it seems large and heavy for a single engine plane. Also, in most pictures, the rear seats appear to be canvas seat bottoms and backs slung between alloy frames, not rear "seats" at all. In the confines of a single engine aircraft rear cockpit, it seems like the contortions required to change from front to rear-facing would be difficult. I just can't figure it out. I recall looking at pictures of a Ki-45 rear cockpit, and thinking it almost looked as though there was a pivot on the "angle", so the back became the bottom and vice-versa, but that still wouldn't make it any easier to get your legs around at the same time, unless there was room beside the seat to swing your legs around. Doesn't seem as if most of these planes were wide enough to allow that, and I've never seen a picture that showed anything like that.
    Best I can figure is that the seat back was only used when facing forwards, and the gunner was expected to detach it, lift his legs up and over the bench and swing around, and fire the gun sitting on a backless bench. Seems difficult, especially while wearing a parachute and oxygen mask.
     
  2. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    123
    Trophy Points:
    63
    One of the best sources of information on Japanese aircraft interiors can be found in Japanese Aircraft Interiors 1940-1945 by Robert C Mikesh (Monogram Aviation Publications 2000). This book shows that most rear seats eg; the seats on the Ki-45, D3A, D4Y etc were on a swivel mount which enabled the observer/navigator/gunner to face forwards or backwards, depending on his role. In some types, such as the Ki 46 and Ki-51, the B5N and B6N, the seat back folded down so the observer, normally facing forward, could operate the rear gun and the seat back would act as a footrest.
     
  3. Johnny .45

    Johnny .45 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Occupation:
    Various, Making Life Better For People.
    Location:
    Vermont. That's a state in the US, if you hadn't heard of it.
    I would love to get my hands on a copy of that book! I'm all about learning this esoteric stuff no one else cares about, and Japanese aircraft are my current interest. I've been lusting after the Maru Mechanic books for a while now too. So I guess there was no real "typical" way they did it then. I'd love to hear how they worked it in other Axis and Allied aircraft now.
     
  4. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    24,093
    Likes Received:
    657
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Korporate Kontrolleur
    Location:
    South Carolina
    The Martin B-10's rear seat did not have a back rest so they could face either way. IIRC the Potez 631 was the same way (though that one might have swiveled).
     
Loading...

Share This Page