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Zeus-cat
05-15-2009, 11:21 AM
Thursday night I had the opportuntiy to crawl inside a real B-17 ball turret. I barley fit inside and I'm about 5' 10" (178cm). The door was missing and the guns were not bolted down so it wasn't a true test of fit, but there wasn't much room to move around the way it was. I'm not claustrophobic, but I don't think I could have stayed in there very long.

Someone took a few photos, but he mainly got closeups of the bald spot on top of my head so I did not bother posting them.

M_Gunz
05-15-2009, 12:07 PM
Smaller target?

ImMoreBetter
05-15-2009, 03:02 PM
Too small to wear a parachute...

F0_Dark_P
05-15-2009, 03:38 PM
Nice Zeus-cat, would really try that if i could, you are one of few http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

i am 172 cm and 61 kg could i fit?

AllorNothing117
05-15-2009, 03:53 PM
Wel, I'm 6 foot 3 ....... Is there anypoint trying. I saw a Lancaster turret at an Imperialwar museam...That was tiny but I don't think you were suposed to fit a whole person in... It was the top turret... so the bottom half of the gunner would be stood inside the plane.

jarink
05-15-2009, 07:27 PM
I think that back in the '40s people were not only shorter, but typically skinnier than now. For the record, there is no way I could fit in a ball turret.

staticline1
05-15-2009, 07:36 PM
Originally posted by jarink:
I think that back in the '40s people were not only shorter, but typically skinnier than now.

There's much truth to that. People back then ate smaller portions not to mention ate MUCH LESS sugar and were much more active, especially here in the US. I read that the average US Marine in WWII was something like 165lbs give or take, can't totally remember but it was somethere like that. Today, thats your average 5th grader. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

Choctaw111
05-15-2009, 08:08 PM
My grandfather often told me about the lack of space in those turrets.
Before he was flying on the B29, he had done some training on the B17 in the states.
As far as people being smaller in general back then, I would have to agree.
Both of my Grandfather's uniforms are much smaller than my uniform size was.

Esel1964
05-16-2009, 01:46 AM
http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i314/DMFesel/129201582.jpg

To show how small the turret is,the .50 cal rounds are almost 5.5 in.(138 mm) long.

I read Stephen Ambrose's book on B-24 crews,and he claimed at one point,they could fit men up to 6 ft. tall in there-that must've been a very skinny 6 footer! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

RPMcMurphy
05-17-2009, 02:33 AM
Good post. It got me to looking around and I found this captivating interview:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRWrAP_b3vY

stiboo2
05-17-2009, 03:29 AM
Found these a while back while researching my B17 campaign about the 303rd BG 'HELL'S ANGELS'
which I hope to release in June/July...

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t50/Stiboo/Ball_Turret_Position.gif

http://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t50/Stiboo/pp-bondtour-dasher3.jpg

Lots of us are too big to get in a real ball turret, but we can man the virtual one instead!


------------------------------------------------
" Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and have their shoes! " Groucho Marx

DuxCorvan
05-17-2009, 09:22 AM
Being quite shorty, I could fit there... before I started to grow... in radius. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/shady.gif

GAU-8
05-17-2009, 09:50 AM
very tiny indeed. i cant remember the air museum i went to, but it is in kissimee FL. ball turret removed from B-17, and in the lobby in a mounted frame suspending it.

i personally would have still worn a chute. but "the BALL" is hella cramped indeed. it almost needs to be updated for some kind of sci-fi book. if i was around back then, i'da volunteered for the ball.

Esel1964
05-17-2009, 08:01 PM
GAU-8-Like this,this one's at BC's Vintage Flight Museum in Addison,TX.

http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i314/DMFesel/12920009.jpg

http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i314/DMFesel/12920010.jpg

For size reference,the frame is made of 2" square steel.

http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i314/DMFesel/ballturretgwo.jpg

Nash-Kelvinator,a conglomeration of a car company,and a refrigerator company.

RPMcMurphy
05-18-2009, 03:02 PM
It looks to me like the most least-desireable duty station on a bomber.

Ritter_Cuda
05-18-2009, 04:03 PM
Originally posted by RPMcMurphy:
It looks to me like the most least-desireable duty station on a bomber.
but one of the safest. on the air frame you have thin sheeting for protection the ball turret is about 1/2" think in casing most of the gunner.

Stiletto-
05-18-2009, 07:05 PM
My Grandpa was a pretty short man, I think 5'6" or 5'7" and I heard they wanted him to be either a tail gunner or a ball gunner due to his size, I don't remember which. My Grandmother didn't like the idea of either and since he was a very good mechanic that's what he ended up doing in WWII as well.

WTE_Galway
05-18-2009, 07:21 PM
Originally posted by Stiletto-:
My Grandpa was a pretty short man, I think 5'6" or 5'7" and I heard they wanted him to be either a tail gunner or a ball gunner due to his size, I don't remember which. My Grandmother didn't like the idea of either and since he was a very good mechanic that's what he ended up doing in WWII as well.

Not surprising as ball turrent and tail gunners had the highest death rate of all bomber crew.

Aside from no parachute .. ball turrets also had a nasty habit of jamming in a rotated position where you could not get out, especially if they took a hit or two ... leaving the poor bugger stuck in a faulty ball turret hoping like hell the pilot was not forced to do a wheels up landing.

wheelsup_cavu
05-19-2009, 09:42 AM
Originally posted by RPMcMurphy:
Good post. It got me to looking around and I found this captivating interview:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRWrAP_b3vY
Great interview McMurphy. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif


Wheelsup

DuxCorvan
05-19-2009, 10:21 AM
Originally posted by Ritter_Cuda:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RPMcMurphy:
It looks to me like the most least-desireable duty station on a bomber.
but one of the safest. on the air frame you have thin sheeting for protection the ball turret is about 1/2" think in casing most of the gunner. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yeah, but not the quickest quit if you had to bail out.

shotdownski
05-19-2009, 07:40 PM
The ball turret gunner on my uncle's crew (303rd BG) was 6 foot and 196 lbs. He volunteered for the position because none of the other gunners wanted it.

When their plane was attacked he was hit by a 20mm round and "had the side of my right upper leg blown off." His turret lost power and comms and by the time he got out, the rest of the crew had already bailed. Had to find his chute and then crawl to the door to get out; hell of a story.

Regards,

shot

ImMoreBetter
05-19-2009, 09:50 PM
No internal pics yet?

http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d113/rustymusket/IMG_4111.jpg?t=1242791381

WTE_Galway
05-19-2009, 11:33 PM
Originally posted by ImMoreBetter:
No internal pics yet?


Hmmm ... you sure would want to wear ear plugs

Kettenhunde
05-20-2009, 12:32 AM
The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
by Randall Jarrell


From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.

Six miles from earth, loosed from the dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.

When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.



The hose was a steam hose." (Jarrell's notes)

http://www.rjgeib.com/thoughts/gunner/gunner.html

T_O_A_D
05-20-2009, 08:17 AM
Originally posted by jarink:
I think that back in the '40s people were not only shorter, but typically skinnier than now. For the record, there is no way I could fit in a ball turret.

The country had just came out of the depression short food supplies, and more manual labor to make a living back then, caused that Generation to to grow less, and be more physically fit, on a General rule.

All though I have some Great Uncles raised on a farm in Northern Missouri during that time that are well over 6 foot 200lbs thugs. Even in their 80's My Grandpa was just a whimp, 5'6 145lbs. He was also the youngest, and did most of his growing in the Depression and last to get feed I'm sure after the rest of the Beast he had to share the table with. LOL



Originally posted by shotdownski:

When their plane was attacked he was hit by a 20mm round and "had the side of my right upper leg blown off."

Now thats a heck of a round to hit your Uncle and blow part of your leg off before you was even born. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/59.gif

Kettenhunde
05-20-2009, 08:25 AM
Now thats a heck of a round to hit your Uncle and blow part of your leg off before you was even born.


The Chuck Norris of 20mm rounds...