Were the tails protected against their own rear/upper gunners gunfire?

Discussion in 'Technical Requests' started by seesul, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    #1 seesul, Oct 29, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
    Were the tails of the aircrafts anyhow protected against the gunfire of their own rear/upper turret gunners?
    I speak generally about all kind of the bombers or battle aircrafts as light bombers as TBG,SBD,IL2 and also about medium and heavy bombers as A-20, B-25 or B-17....
    Had their machine guns any device stopping shooting in a certain elevation?
    In the IL2 Sturmovik video game I´m able to shoot off a taill on my own IL2...
     
  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Some did and some didn't. I believe many of the american turrets had cams that would cut out the guns if they pointed at parts of the aircraft. Some of the free swinging guns may have had devices (barriers) to keep them from pointing at certain parts of the aircraft (trailing edge of wing, horizontal tail serfaces?) but the vertical part might be harder to gaurd against.:confused:
     
  3. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    O.K. So to be concrete, how it was perhaps on SBD-2?
     
  4. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    Really no idea?
     
  5. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Looking at a few cutaway drawings, I am guessing not.
     
  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I've done a bit of checking Roman, and on the SBD, it seems there were no mechanical or electrical devices to aid in preventing accidental damage. I've certainly read accounts of aircraft being damaged by their own fire, with tail fins being hit, and antennas shot off, but many aircraft did have cut-outs, even if just a mechanical device, such as the cams and cam track on the Lancaster mid upper turret.
     
  7. Flyboy2

    Flyboy2 Member

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    From G.E. Murray's Bomber Missions

    " [B-29] computer assisted gun sights, aided by gyroscopes, locked on to an approaching plane's wings and fed speed, altitude, and distance information to the gunners. A safety lockout switch prevented the guns from shooting any part of their own plane. "

    So at least the B-29 had safety lockouts
     
  8. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Was watching Battle 360 the TV show and it was about battle of Midway. It was talking about the tail gunner and how he was trying to figure out when to shoot because it would shoot off his own stabilizer is what they said...
     
  9. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    Thank you guys for all your info. So at least Lanc and B-29 had it.
    It really surprises me that some of the planes didn´t have it. It had to be dangerous under battle conditions...
     
  10. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    Did they speak about Dautless or Avenger?
     
  11. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Neither ;) the TBD Devastator
     
  12. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I remember reading about the way some gunners were trained and unlike whipping a 50 cal or turret around and spraying bullets, gunners would sight their target, lead it accordingly and then fire when they had the shot and shoot in short bursts. I guess while all this is going on the gunners are instinctively trained to "capture" their targets so in their field of vision they would be aware if they were shooting at their own plane or another friendly.

    Anyone else?
     
  13. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I can't speak for daytime USAAF gunners but long bursts or "hosing" as it was called was actively discouraged on nightime RAF operations. The gunners tried to see the nightfighter, before it got in a position to fire,in order to fire a short burst in its general direction and commence evasive manouevres. The night fighter, once it knew it had been seen, ( a few tracers arcing by will let you know) rarely pressed home an attack. They would seek easier,unsuspecting prey.
    Steve
     
  14. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    Just got an e-mail from Mr. Jim Peters, former B-17 flight engineer serving in 99th BG:

    Roman....Yes ,there was a Fire Cut-off Cam on both the upper and lower ball turrets.

    The upper turret fire cut-off cam prevented the top turret from firing when passing the tail vertical stabilizer and rudder.
    If traversing from the right to left, the RIGHT gun would cut out, and then the LEFT gun would cut out,,,and then as the Right gun passed the limit of the fire cut-off cam, the RIGHT gun would start firing again...Ditto the left gun as soon as it also cleared the Vertical stabilizer and rudder.

    The ball turret worked in a similar manner to prevent firing into the aircraft propellors. Again, if you were traversing from LEFT to Right, when the fire cut-off cam was encountered, the ball turret guns would stop firing, passing N1 Propellor and commence again after clearing No 4.

    This would not work if the gun barrels were overheated due to prolonged firing, as the rounds woild "Cookoff" due to the overheated barrel (s).
    For this reason, we were taught to only fire in bursts of 20 rounds or so. so as to not overheat the barrels.

    IF for some reason, the rifling in the barrel was worn, due to prolonged firing without a break, the bullet accuracy was affected, with no telling where the bullets were going.

    Jim :)
     
  15. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Kinda seems like if it was in a turret, it had a cut off. If free mounted, it did not.
     
  16. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    Yes, that would make a sense.
     
  17. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Just found similar info on the B17 turrets in 'Combat Crewman', and also found out the turrets on the B24, Mitchell and B26 had similar cut-outs. I do know that in RAF service, the B17 waist guns had large metal 'stops' mounted outside the window, to prevent the barrel being swung into line with the tailplane, and similar fittings were on some hand-operated weapons on othe aircraft. However, there were still many which didn't have any form of stop, due to the nature of the design, and presumably relied on the training and alertness of the gunner. There are certainly known cases of the whip antenna, to the rear of the B17F radio room hatch, being shot off when the radio room free-swivelling gun was used.
     
  18. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    Thank you Terry!
    Since you speak about the antenna, I got one more interesting info for you from the same flight engineer. He posted it to another forum which is not accessible at the moment. Will post it tomorrow.
     
  19. Marcogrifo

    Marcogrifo Member

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    Hi,
    here below is the simple keep-off rails system mounted on german bombers Do17-Z preventing damaging by rear guns fire (see details "C"):

    [​IMG]

    Cheers
     
  20. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    Good, thank you. So a mechanical track in this case.
     
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