What aircraft is this?

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Master Sergeant
Nov 9, 2004
Bristol, UK
I found this on another site - a Liberator perhaps?


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Due to excessive weight some USAAF units removed the ball turrets from their B-24s and replaced them with hand-held gun mounts. This field mod started around the time the B-24J was in service and became standard at the factories beginning with the B-24L.

Here's a larger version of the photo from above, taken from the Library of Congress website. I'm almost certain that the photo shows a B-24, although I don't know if this is a field mod or a factory gun mount. I'm leaning toward it being a mod, as this is a single mount and I believe that the ships coming from the factory in this configuration had a twin mount. Not totally sure on this though.


Click for larger image

This is the caption that accompanied the photo, although it's advisable to keep in mind the fact that many of the captions which accompany the photos on the LOC site are incorrect and/or misleading...

United States Army air force gunner Sergeant William Watts of Alexandria, Louisiana, training machine gun on the enemy during a aerial fight with German planes somewhere in the European war theater. Behind him may be seen the legs of another gunner operating his weapon from the side of the plane.

Here's a shot of a B-24 'Mickey' ship with its radar dome retracted. I believe that the open hatch toward the rear of the fuselage is one of these gun positions, although, again, I don't know if this was a mod or a factory job.


Image source: unknown web

Fade to Black...
Definitely not. Very uncomfortable, but by comparison I wouldn't think the ball turret would have been much better.
I know in the SW pacific in 1941/42, the belly turrets were removed because the windows of the turret would get splattered with mud on takeoff, and become useless.
Thats what they called the Tunnel Gun. They were installed in the door behind the ball referenced in Wolf's picture. They were installed from the factory in late B-24C's and early D's. I dont know of them being installed factory in L or M models though. They probably were depot or field installed in those cases.

Beginning with the 77th D the tunnel gun was replaced with the same Bendix periscopically sighted gun that B-17's had. The periscope sighting and all its effects were horrible and production reverted back to the tunnel gun after 287 Bendix periscopically sighted turrets. The Sperry ball turret came a long soon thereafter.
It looks a bit like one of those big guns off the AC-130 or that AC-46 used, only firing through the floor. An early test for a fixed wing gunship perhaps?
It doesn't look like the gunner has a very good field of view, did he have a bigger window near where the camera was situated??
well most instalations like this we just as much to put off attackers than actually shoot anything down, if you're attacking the underside and you get what i'm assuming will be a few bursts of a .50cal coming at you you're gonna think twice about attacking!

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