Palm Springs Air Museum 15            April 2011

Here is a close-up of the gun and what the gunners view would have been like. The selector switch at the back of the gun changed the rate of fire. Notice the round item (black and orange) mounted to the piece of wood. That's an oxygen regulator and the orange knob is emergency off.



 These were placed all over the aircraft and the crew could plug their electrically heated suits into these to help keep warm. Being that they didn't really have 'flight suits' back then... think of it as a kind of electric blanket they had on and you'll get the idea. The units had a dial on them (rheostat) to regulate the amount of heat output and I'm guessing they had them cranked to the max most of the time.



This section of the aircraft which is close to the rear is much larger than the front half. As you can see, Jerry is standing without any problem and he's about 6' tall. The other guy in the background is our guide which was very knowledgeable.



Now we're at the rear of the plane and you're looking at two .50 caliber machine guns that the tail gunner would use. This was really a gun turret that could swing 90 degrees from left to right along with up and down movement too. The tail gunners second roll was to be a lookout for enemy aircraft as well. He would shoot from the standing position and swing from side to side when needed.



Here is what the tail gun looks like from the outside. The long black piece on the floor with a wire at one end is not part of the aircraft, it's a safety mat covering the electrical wire so nobody trips on it just in case you were wondering.



Here you can see the dorsal turret. It is operated by an electro-hydraulic system, which powers both elevation and windage of the two .50-caliber Browning machine guns, and has a rate of fire of 1,400-1,600 rounds per minute.



Here is the ball turret which was very small in order to reduce drag, and was operated by the shortest man of the crew. To enter the turret, it was moved until the guns were pointed straight down. The gunner placed his feet in the heel rests and then crouched down into a fetal position and then put on a safety strap, then he closed and locked the door. The gunner sat in the turret with his back and head against the rear wall, his hips at the bottom, and his legs held in mid-air by two footrests on the front wall. This positioned the gunner with his eyes roughly level with the .50 caliber machine guns, and located to either side of the gunner. The cocking handles were located too close to the gunner to be operated easily, so a cable was attached to the handle through pulleys to a handle near the front of the turret.


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