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View Full Version : The worst position in a Bomber During ww2!!



FE_pilot
05-07-2007, 04:47 PM
After the last few posts we had, i thought that a change might be good for us all. So after watching something on the History Channel about the B17 ball turret gunner, that convinced me that, it was the worst position of them all to be in, including the rear turret gunner.


Now you tell me what you think was the worst position of any bomber in ww2 in any theater of operations.

FE_pilot
05-07-2007, 04:47 PM
After the last few posts we had, i thought that a change might be good for us all. So after watching something on the History Channel about the B17 ball turret gunner, that convinced me that, it was the worst position of them all to be in, including the rear turret gunner.


Now you tell me what you think was the worst position of any bomber in ww2 in any theater of operations.

leitmotiv
05-07-2007, 04:49 PM
any

XyZspineZyX
05-07-2007, 04:50 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by leitmotiv:
any </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I was going to say "flight crew" but "any" is only three letters, so you win

leitmotiv
05-07-2007, 04:54 PM
Cheers

http://homepages.wmich.edu/~cooneys/poems/jarrell.turret.html (http://homepages.wmich.edu/%7Ecooneys/poems/jarrell.turret.html)

Rood-Zwart
05-07-2007, 04:54 PM
DB-3 torpedo plane nosegunner? That, or Il2 reargunner... 7 sorties average....

berg417448
05-07-2007, 05:01 PM
Interestingly enough...this study showed that the ball turret gunner had the lowest total casualty rate (5.9%)and the waist gunners had the highest(20.9)from June-August 1944:

http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/wwii/woundblstcs/chapter9.1.htm

I still don't think I would have liked that position though.

Freelancer-1
05-07-2007, 05:09 PM
Since it was policy for Luftwaffe planes to sit on six and fire away, I would think rear gunner would be the hot seat for Allied bombers.

Not really sure for Axis.

leitmotiv
05-07-2007, 05:10 PM
The He 111's ventral gunner's tub was known as the "death bed."

stalkervision
05-07-2007, 05:18 PM
Il-2 stormovick rear gunner. Look it up if you don't believe me.. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

leitmotiv
05-07-2007, 05:45 PM
Zackly right, stalkervision, the IL-2 pilots had good odds, the IL-2 gunners had terrible odds---the Su-2 had a far superior survival rate to the IL-2, surprisingly enough!

FPSOLKOR
05-07-2007, 06:00 PM
According to Igor "Hippo" Zhidov who gathered 45000 loss-list for VVS RKKA, PVO and VVS VMF Il-2 pilot-gunner losses were roughly equal... It can be explained that loss of a gunner ment destruction of Il-2 and as they flew low there was no chance for pilot either...
As for the question - Ju-88 totenkopf.

Sergio_101
05-07-2007, 06:07 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by berg417448:
Interestingly enough...this study showed that the ball turret gunner had the lowest total casualty rate (5.9%)and the waist gunners had the highest(20.9)from June-August 1944:

http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/wwii/woundblstcs/chapter9.1.htm

I still don't think I would have liked that position though. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ball turret was a miserable place.
Berg is correct, I have seen that in print many
years ago. Seems Pilots and waste gunners got it worst in B-17s.

According to that data the pilots did better than
the Bombadiers and Waste gunners.
But the fatality rate was highest for the tail gunner.
Also the data was skewed by the lack of
a Ball gunner in most B-24s.
Note, most B-24s were manufactured with a ball turret.
Few got into combat with them in place.

Given this data favoring tha ball turret it may
have still been the worst position.
Not to mention a HELLish ride.

You got to think that if the Fatality rate was as high as it is posted
that the ball turret was likely more dangerous since
about 1/2 the aircraft in the study did not have one!

Sergio

VMF-214_HaVoK
05-07-2007, 06:27 PM
Ball turret was dangerous with out doubt but I do believe the tail gunners suffered the highest loss rate. So Im going to go with tail gunner. Brave souls they were indeed.

leitmotiv
05-07-2007, 06:29 PM
Thanks for the correction, FPSOLKOR, I was relying on the statistics in the bomber volume of SOVIET COMBAT AIRCRAFT OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR by Yefim Gordon and Dmitri Khazanov.

horseback
05-07-2007, 06:40 PM
By far the worst position for a bomber crewman would be one where he couldn't affect his own defense, IMHO.

Gunners could shoot back, pilots could fly the plane, bombardiers and navigators had some input (and often got to man some guns), but on the heavies, the radio operator had to sit there inside the plane, twiddle his dials and hope to God that the other guys were successful at their jobs.

Screw the odds. I'd rather be able to shoot back.

I can handle danger as long as I can kid myself that I can influence the outcome. I'd have gone nuts on the first mission as a radio operator.


cheers

horseback

FPSOLKOR
05-07-2007, 06:40 PM
Yep, I know Dmitriy Khazanov, not in person though. "Hippo" is a son of HSU Zhidov and very respected member of the soviet aviation community, and work he does is really tremendous. So far he did not publish the results, as 45000 crewmembers who were discharged for various reasons from flying (killed, disabled, convicted, MIA, POW, suiciders) is just about half of all losses, and more work is going to be. So far his statistics is showing totally different picture from official point of view... Both, German and Russian. Lets say - calculated preliminary results say that at least half of officially killed in action just fell from the skies for one or another reason (leaving alone those who officially were killed without any assistace from LW). Khasanov used official statistics, and some of the drawbacks from it are present in his work.

leitmotiv
05-07-2007, 06:51 PM
Thanks for the clarification---I'll keep my eyes open for his work!

FPSOLKOR
05-07-2007, 06:53 PM
Two or three years to go... Or more... But I can send an example of his work for one or two regiments...

partic_3
05-07-2007, 06:54 PM
I'm just speculating here. But most casualties would have been from flak splinters? The ball turrent required the chap to be all squished up, taking up far less area than most crew members so making a smaller target?

Sergio_101
05-07-2007, 06:59 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by horseback:
By far the worst position for a bomber crewman would be one where he couldn't affect his own defense, IMHO.

Gunners could shoot back, pilots could fly the plane, bombardiers and navigators had some input (and often got to man some guns), but on the heavies, the radio operator had to sit there inside the plane, twiddle his dials and hope to God that the other guys were successful at their jobs.

Screw the odds. I'd rather be able to shoot back.

I can handle danger as long as I can kid myself that I can influence the outcome. I'd have gone nuts on the first mission as a radio operator.


cheers

horseback </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Every non pilot crewman in a B-17 had at least one gun.
Radio operator had one in the top behind the top turret.

Bombadier in a B-17G had up to 8 guns, but at least 4. I believe the radio man or Navigator
helped the bombadier with his guns.

Pilots had no guns. And I doubt a pilot would
leave his station in combat to man a gun.

Sergio

LStarosta
05-07-2007, 07:05 PM
I would hate to be a rear gunner.

FPSOLKOR
05-07-2007, 07:11 PM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif at any post...

Freelancer-1
05-07-2007, 07:14 PM
http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y189/Freelancer1/Misc/B-17.jpg

jarink
05-08-2007, 09:56 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Sergio_101:
Bombadier in a B-17G had up to 8 guns, but at least 4. I believe the radio man or Navigator
helped the bombadier with his guns. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The most guns I've ever heard of in the nose section of a B-17 was 5 (one of which was fixed and fired by the pilot). The Bombardier and Navigator were the ones who worked the guns in the nose. Standard nose armament is as follows:

B-17E - One or two .30 cal machine guns installed in socket mounts. There were several extra sockets, but nortmally no more than 2 guns carried (since there were only 2 guys in the nose to use them)

B-17F - 2 .50 cal MGs in the side windows or in "cheek" mounts. Most Fs in the ETO were modified to also carry a .50 (sometimes 2 .50s) in the tip of the nose.

B-17G - 2 .50 cal MGs in "cheek" mounts. Also had 2 .50s in the chin turret, which was controlled by the bombardier.

There naturally were many modifications made, especially early in the war, to increase the available forward-facing firepower. THe mose interesting one I know of was when the 385th BG tried mounting a 20mm cannon in an "F" nose instead of the usual .50 cal. It only flew on one mission as the recoil damaged the mount and the project was squashed by higher authority as being unsafe(!).

jarink
05-08-2007, 10:02 AM
I think the worst position would be riding the ball. Statistacally, you were safer, but you couls not get out of it without assistance. I've heard more than one case where the ball was jammed and the gunner killed in a belly landing. I can't imagine the thoughts that would go through one's mind in that situation (for both the poor gunner and the rest of the crew).

The ball turret in B-24s was retractable, unlike the B-17. Many models of B-24 did not feature a ball turret, mainly as a weight-saving measure (the -24 was notoriously tail-heavy). When the ball was not installed, a "tunnel gun" was usually installed in it's place.
http://www.nps.gov/archive/yuch/Expanded/b24/b24_graphics/august_2004_pics/tunnel_gunner_large.jpg

DIRTY-MAC
05-08-2007, 10:45 AM
didnt the rear gunner and ball turret have some protection, wereas the waist gunners had none?

FPSOLKOR
05-08-2007, 11:03 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by leitmotiv:
Zackly right, stalkervision, the IL-2 pilots had good odds, the IL-2 gunners had terrible odds---the Su-2 had a far superior survival rate to the IL-2, surprisingly enough! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Called Hippo today, and he confirmed my previous post. Among about 6000 lost Il-2 in his work he removed single-seaters entirely, and from 4600 crews he got higher losses for rear gunners somewhere around 100 men. Nothing even close to official 1:7 ratio...

Agamemnon22
05-08-2007, 01:33 PM
I'd say any position in any Japanese bomber. Sooner or later, you're going into the drink.

But casualty rate aside, I'd say Lancaster rear turret. You're cold, you're in the breeze, you have 4 guns that are of limited use because you're flying at night and can't see a damn thing, and because they're .303s.

Aaron_GT
05-08-2007, 02:52 PM
And your parachute is in the fuselage...

Daiichidoku
05-08-2007, 02:57 PM
id say mosquito pilot

tiny lil hatch that he was only going to get out of if the nav went first

another good reason to keep your nav alive

Daiichidoku
05-08-2007, 03:01 PM
oh, and in-game the worst is a tie between lead magnet ju88 crews and beaufighter ballast..errr..observors

Mysticpuma2003
05-08-2007, 03:06 PM
Anywhere over the target would be the worst position!

Cheers, MP.

Hanglands
05-08-2007, 03:09 PM
Hi,

Any position has to be awful beyond anything we can imagine.

I think one of the saddest stories I read (I think in Tail End Charlies by Tony Rennel and John Nichol) was the B-17 ball turret gunner who could not get out of his damaged turret, his crewmates couldnt get him out either. The aircraft was coming into land with either zero fuel or one engine (I forget which), and the hydraulics were all gone - it was a wheels up landing. You can imagine the rest.

He was read the last rites by the Padre over the radio.

The book is well worth a read for for people interested in either the British/Commonwealth or American bombing campaigns.

Heres a couple of shots I got from the teail end of a lanc :

http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m203/ChickenHawk_2006/tailslide.jpg

http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m203/ChickenHawk_2006/tailinside.jpg

And from the outside :

http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m203/ChickenHawk_2006/tailoutside.jpg

Regards.

Daiichidoku
05-08-2007, 03:34 PM
probably the best combat flight crew positions were aboard the Martin Mariner

had (US supplied provisions, the best) a kitchen, bathroom and beds....jsut needed a living room with HD tv!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/Daiichidoku/MartinPBM5Mariner.jpg

Sergio_101
05-08-2007, 03:39 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by jarink:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Sergio_101:
Bombadier in a B-17G had up to 8 guns, but at least 4. I believe the radio man or Navigator
helped the bombadier with his guns. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The most guns I've ever heard of in the nose section of a B-17 was 5 (one of which was fixed and fired by the pilot). The Bombardier and Navigator were the ones who worked the guns in the nose. Standard nose armament is as follows:

B-17E - One or two .30 cal machine guns installed in socket mounts. There were several extra sockets, but nortmally no more than 2 guns carried (since there were only 2 guys in the nose to use them)

B-17F - 2 .50 cal MGs in the side windows or in "cheek" mounts. Most Fs in the ETO were modified to also carry a .50 (sometimes 2 .50s) in the tip of the nose.

B-17G - 2 .50 cal MGs in "cheek" mounts. Also had 2 .50s in the chin turret, which was controlled by the bombardier.

There naturally were many modifications made, especially early in the war, to increase the available forward-facing firepower. THe mose interesting one I know of was when the 385th BG tried mounting a 20mm cannon in an "F" nose instead of the usual .50 cal. It only flew on one mission as the recoil damaged the mount and the project was squashed by higher authority as being unsafe(!). </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

On a B-17G the standard was two in the chin turret
one in each cheek. Any more was non standard.
Some crews rigged up to four more firing foreward.
I have seen a photo from the outside, not the inside.
I can not imagine a Bombadier having any room.

There is also a case where a 20MM cannon was rigged
in the field.

Commonly there was 4 foreward guns handled by
the Bombadier and Navigator.

No, there was no protection of any kind
for the waist gunners.
And they stood up! The thin skin was worthless as protection.

Sergio

PapaG39
05-08-2007, 03:53 PM
When I was in the 7th grade our New Coach, who had been a tail gunner in a B17, thought that was the worst position. he said that The Germans were always trying to knock out the Tail gunner. he said that their passes were always so fast that all he ever got was a guick shot at best... plus, everyone else had an idea what was going on with the acft & he would be the very last to know & chanches of getting out of there was not good at best...

SithSpeeder
05-08-2007, 06:59 PM
Reminds me of a poem...

Randall Jarrell
The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

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 its 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.

[Commentary by Mr. Jarrell]
"A ball turret was a Plexiglas sphere set into the belly of a B-17 or B-24, and inhabited by two .50 caliber machine-guns and one man, a short small man. When this gunner tracked with his machine guns a fighter attacking his bomber from below, he revolved with the turret; hunched upside-down in his little sphere, he looked like the foetus in the womb. The fighters which attacked him were armed with cannon firing explosive shells. The hose was a steam hose." -- Jarrell's note.

The poem was published in 1945.

Freelancer's chart is quite enlightening, IMO. But you have to divide the waist gunner casualties by two since there were two stations to get a proper casualty "rate". Looking at KIA + WIA numbers, it appears that the ball turret is only slightly the worst place to be (followed very closely by the Waist, Tail, Radio, Nav, etc.).

* _54th_Speeder *

GIAP.Shura
05-09-2007, 02:31 AM
Just a question about that table that Freelancer posted. I don't know that much about the B-17 but would it not have had two waist gunners, hence the casualty rate which is twice as high?

luftluuver
05-09-2007, 06:28 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Daiichidoku:
id say mosquito pilot

tiny lil hatch that he was only going to get out of if the nav went first

another good reason to keep your nav alive </div></BLOCKQUOTE>A section of the canopy above the crew could be jetisoned for emergency exit from the a/c.

WWSpinDry
05-09-2007, 07:32 AM
The bomb bay.

Feathered_IV
05-09-2007, 07:59 AM
Doggy position would be fairly uncomfortable...

jarink
05-09-2007, 10:14 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by GIAP.Shura:
Just a question about that table that Freelancer posted. I don't know that much about the B-17 but would it not have had two waist gunners, hence the casualty rate which is twice as high? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Later in the war (when there was far less fighter opposition), the second waist gunner position was deleted, reducing the nominal crew from 10 to 9 men. The window and gun remained, but there was only one man to use both.

From what I've read the waist gunner's high casualty rate was mainly because they were exposed to fire much more so than other positions, especially so in early models that had open waist windows.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Sergio_101:
On a B-17G the standard was two in the chin turret
one in each cheek. Any more was non standard.
Some crews rigged up to four more firing foreward.
I have seen a photo from the outside, not the inside.
I can not imagine a Bombadier having any room. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Can you post the pic? I'd be really interested in seeing it. The B-17 mounting the 20mm was "Roundtrip Jack" from the 385th BG. I have a pic of it; I'll see if I can get it posted for ya.

Abbuzze
05-09-2007, 10:36 AM
The worst position? In a hit Lancaster. A wonderfull plane to fly but IRC once hit it was very difficult to bail out compared to other heavy bombers.

Blood_Splat
05-09-2007, 11:16 AM
Reverse cowboy.

Maj.Kaos
05-09-2007, 11:43 AM
My uncle was 20mm AA gunner on a troop ship (kamikaze magnet) in several battles around Phillipines. His ship was hit by kamikaze plane which passed within a dozen feet over his head before slamming into the ship.

After Phillipines was taken (and his ship laid up for repairs) he was assigned to Navy airfield as tail gunner in a recon B-25 fitted experimentally with a 20mm gun. He flew one mission during which the plane was jumped by several jap fighters. He described it as lonely as hell, isolated from rest of crew (whereas on ship you have buddies all around in other AA positions) and the japs making it real personal. He refused to go up again, risking brig time and demotion. He already had a Bronze Star which may have saved him from the cowardess label. He's a natural fighter and hell-raising country boy but has suffered from PTSD ever since that war.

Daiichidoku
05-09-2007, 11:52 AM
91stBG 323BS "miss ouachita" sported a forward 20mm cannon for some time...

On 21 February 1944, 861 heavy bombers were on their way to bomb Luftwaffe airfields inside Germany. Miss Ouachita was one of them. The crew used the plane as a spare aircraft this day and their target was the Guetersloh airfield.


Crew:
Pilot; 2nd LT Spencer K Osterberg
Co-pilot; John E. Van Beran
Bombardier; 2nd LT George J. Zebrowski
Navigator; 2nd LT Morris J. Roy
Asssistant Radio op; S/SGT Samuel P Aldridge
Top gunner; T/SGT Lambert R. Brostrom
Assistant engineer; S/SGT Alexander W. Sistowski
Gunner SGT Jay J. Milewski
T/SGT Harold Klem
S/SGT Clayton E. Morningstar


On the way to the target Miss Ouachita got outside the cover of the formation because the crew didn't notice a turn in time to correct it. They tried to get back into formation when they were pounced on several times by German fighters. The top turret gunner Brostrom did shoot down one fighter before getting killed. The fighters kept on pounding the B-17 and scored several hits in the tail section, radio room and the oxygen tanks. Klem and Morningstar bailed out west of Hannover and were captured by the Volkssturm.


Without oxygen Osterberg couldn't hold the altitude so he headed down to a cloud bank below. The German fighters strafed the plane once more before it could get into the clouds. After getting out of the clouds the B-17 flew as close to the ground as possible. Unfortunately they came over a German airfield at Dreierwalde and the German aircraft scrambled. Van Beran got killed during one of the attacks so Osterberg decided to crash land the aircraft.


It came down at 15.27PM at Bexten not far from Salzberg. The remaining crew did not manage to set the plane on fire before being taken prisoners.


A German salvage team considered the aircraft repairable and began to retrieve it. They had just finished removing the guns when Allied fighters found the aircraft and strafed it until it was set on fire. The remains were broken down and sent to Germany as scrap metal.


The pilot who claimed the victory for downing the aircraft was Major Heinz Baer.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/Daiichidoku/b17c.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/Daiichidoku/quachita.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/Daiichidoku/ouachita.jpg

shotdownski
05-09-2007, 12:22 PM
Regarding B-17G gunners. Sometime in the spring of '44 (I think) second waist gunner was removed but during combat the radio operator would move into the waist to man the second waist gun. The radio operator's single top gun having been previously removed as it was largely ineffective.

As for the most dangerous position, I think pilots (and engineer/top turret gunner because of his position behind pilots) or tail gunner, as they were specifically targeted by enemy pilots.


<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by jarink:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by GIAP.Shura:
Just a question about that table that Freelancer posted. I don't know that much about the B-17 but would it not have had two waist gunners, hence the casualty rate which is twice as high? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Later in the war (when there was far less fighter opposition), the second waist gunner position was deleted, reducing the nominal crew from 10 to 9 men. The window and gun remained, but there was only one man to use both.

From what I've read the waist gunner's high casualty rate was mainly because they were exposed to fire much more so than other positions, especially so in early models that had open waist windows.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Sergio_101:
On a B-17G the standard was two in the chin turret
one in each cheek. Any more was non standard.
Some crews rigged up to four more firing foreward.
I have seen a photo from the outside, not the inside.
I can not imagine a Bombadier having any room. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Can you post the pic? I'd be really interested in seeing it. The B-17 mounting the 20mm was "Roundtrip Jack" from the 385th BG. I have a pic of it; I'll see if I can get it posted for ya. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

jarink
05-09-2007, 02:07 PM
Roundtrip Jack, as promised....

Seems awfully cramped in there!
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1/jarink/Jack.jpg

Freelancer-1
05-09-2007, 08:45 PM
After watching this, I'm thinkin' anywhere but the rear gunner position http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

The view from the ball turret might be a little on the scary side as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHP66Joky-M&mode=related&search=

WilhelmSchulz.
05-09-2007, 09:56 PM
B-17 Ball Turret Gunner. Cramped, no escape if something goes wrong.

Roblex
05-10-2007, 01:57 PM
Seeing as the average life expectancy for RAF bomber command over the course of the war was just 5 missions it is probably a meaningless question for British crew!

luftluuver
05-10-2007, 03:07 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Roblex:
Seeing as the average life expectancy for RAF bomber command over the course of the war was just 5 missions it is probably a meaningless question for British crew! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Bomber Command
Monthly Operational Statistics
http://www.lancaster-archive.com/bc-Stats1.htm

Hanglands
05-11-2007, 03:02 AM
Hi,

I've read all kinds of statistics for Bomber Command losses, including the ones linked to here.

Ive read for example that on certain missions the loss rate could be as high as 80%. I've read things like the average Lancaster would last 40hours total on missions, and that the average mission was 8hours (A good book, (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tail-End-Charlies-Battles-1944-45/dp/0670914568)and another, (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bomber-Command-Pan-Grand-Strategy/dp/0330392042) and another) (http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/product.php?productid=472&cat=34&page=2).

But then on the other hand, there were 35 Lancasters that exceeded 100 missions (A good book) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ton-up-Lancs-Photographic-Thirty-five-Lancasters/dp/1904943098) .

To look at bomber command as a whole, and not just Lancaster ops, the only statistics that matter are :

55,573 dead
4000 wounded
9783 POW.

As Wikipedia breaks it down, if you take a random selection of 100 RAF Bomber Command aircrew :

55 killed on operations or died as result of wounds
3 injured (in varying levels of severity) on operations or active service
12 taken prisoner of war (some injured)
2 shot down and evaded capture
27 survived a tour of operations

Regards.

carguy_
05-11-2007, 05:12 AM
I would think the rear gunner for sure.

Most of LW fighters just sat there on bomber`s six firing till the thing went down,sometimes even from a very short distance.
Ofcourse some heavier weapons let Germans fire from a distance that was ineffective for .50cal.A good explanation why Germans never really considered arming their heavies with turrets lighter than 20mm.

And if that was MK108 or MK103 I imagine it must have been the same as being in the middle of raining grenades,with only difference that it was usually 10000-20000ft over the ground.

luftluuver
05-11-2007, 05:37 AM
Killed in Action, or died when prisoners of War - 47,268

Killed in flying or ground accidents - 8,195

Killed in ground battle action - 37

Total fatal casualties to aircrew in Bomber Command - 55,500

Prisoners of war, including many wounded - 9,838

Wounded in aircraft which returned from operations - 4,200

Wounded in flying or ground accidents in the UK - 4,203

Total wounded other than prisoners of war - 8403

Total aircrew casualties in Bomber Command - 73,741

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/r_m_g.varley/Strategic_Air_Offensive.html

As can bee seen Hanglands numbers are not quite correct, implying that the 55,000 were killed on ops. Still a terrible number.

Roblex
05-11-2007, 12:38 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Still a terrible number. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

They minted special medals for the soldiers for each of the campaigns they helped with such as N. Africa or Italy and one for the RAF pilots for the BoB where they lost around 600 crew but never did anything for Bomber Command.

Hanglands
05-12-2007, 05:53 AM
A good link there luftluuver. Added straight to favourites.
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

As a sidenote, a book Im reading at the moment says the TB-3 was known in its day as the 'communal grave'.

zugfuhrer
05-12-2007, 08:36 AM
Everywhere except in the air, inside it.

Sergio_101
05-12-2007, 10:59 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by luftluuver:
Killed in Action, or died when prisoners of War - 47,268

Killed in flying or ground accidents - 8,195

Killed in ground battle action - 37

Total fatal casualties to aircrew in Bomber Command - 55,500

Prisoners of war, including many wounded - 9,838

Wounded in aircraft which returned from operations - 4,200

Wounded in flying or ground accidents in the UK - 4,203

Total wounded other than prisoners of war - 8403

Total aircrew casualties in Bomber Command - 73,741

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/r_m_g.varley/Strategic_Air_Offensive.html

As can bee seen Hanglands numbers are not quite correct, implying that the 55,000 were killed on ops. Still a terrible number. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I bet it's terribly efficent if you compare the total killed
by those bombs......


sergio