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HangerQueen
10-22-2004, 08:17 PM
As the title implies, I'm curious about the operation of the powered gun turrets found in planes like the B17 and the Lanc. When the elevation of the guns changes, is the gunner still able to look through his gunsight? Does his position also change with elevation, or does he just have to bend his neck?

GT182
10-22-2004, 08:28 PM
bend neck, back, legs, ect.ect. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

HangerQueen
10-22-2004, 09:25 PM
And there was me thinking it would be like on the Millenium Falcon http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

pcpilot_MGG
10-22-2004, 09:44 PM
It depended on the turret. If you were in a B-17, the top turretswiveled left and right and the platform you stood on rotated too I beleive. You probably had to duck or raise a little if you changed elevation of the gun. The ball turret in the belly, you swiveled with the gun, probably the closest thing to the millenium falcon. The nose turret in the G model was aimed by the bombadier with a optical gunsite while he kept on target by moving handles attached to the sight. The turret was mounted below him and swiveled with the motion of his sight. You can see this here. (http://www.geocities.com/milphotos/macdill16.html) The turrets later in the war were almost all electircally operated. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

HangerQueen
10-22-2004, 10:53 PM
Sitting in one of those ball turrets must have been a pretty weird, not to say scary experience. I wonder if you could go upside down?

Snootles
10-22-2004, 10:56 PM
Definitely something one had to get used to. It would be interesting if the PF engine could model remote-control turrets.

gwanna
10-22-2004, 11:16 PM
One of the scary things about the way you sat in those ball turrents is, If they shot back at you, you know where you got a good chance of getting it. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif OUCH!!

pcpilot_MGG
10-23-2004, 12:36 PM
Heres an interesting article on Bomber Command gun turrets...here. (http://www.lancastermuseum.ca/airgunners3.html)

Here's a note on the upper turret on the B-17 and B-24 I think also...Upper turret. (http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/air_power/b17tur.htm)

Here's something on the tailgunner...tail stinger. (http://www.wreckchasing.com/b17%20turret.htm)

A little more...gunsights. (http://www.b17bomber.de/english/index.php?id=defense_mg.htm)

Just thought youd like to know... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

XyZspineZyX
10-24-2004, 05:48 PM
How about those B29 turrets? I read somewhere that the B29 had some kind of "computer fire control" for it's turret guns?! What might that be exactly?

From images, it looks to me like each turret has a little bubble where perhaps a gunner sights targets and maybe the turret tracks with some kind of little gunsight in the bubble or something?

How did those work exactly?

Snootles
10-24-2004, 06:15 PM
Here's what I found:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Reflector gunsights were placed at each of the four gunner's sighting positions. Each gunsight was wired into the electrical system, and it sent electrical commands to direct and fire the guns. In order to direct the guns, the gunner operated the sight by grasping two round knobs on either side of the sight. The sight swiveled horizontally at the base and the upper section rotated in elevation by a forward and backward twisting of the wrists. The sighting mechanism included an incandescent light source that projected a pattern of dots upward through a lens from inside the sight. This pattern was focussed onto a piece of clear glass as a circle of bright dots with one dot at the center. By twisting the right-hand sight knob back and forth, the gunner could make the circle of dots shrink or expand. There was a dial on the back of the sight where the wingspan of the attacking aircraft could be set. With the computer switched on, a target could be tracked smoothly. Gyroscopes scanned the enemy plane's wingtips, and those electrical signals were sent to the turret, allowing it to lead the target and to elevate the guns to compensate for range. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

NegativeGee
10-24-2004, 06:28 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by AgentBif:
How about those B29 turrets? I read somewhere that the B29 had some kind of "computer fire control" for it's turret guns?! What might that be exactly?

From images, it looks to me like each turret has a little bubble where perhaps a gunner sights targets and maybe the turret tracks with some kind of little gunsight in the bubble or something?

How did those work exactly? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

This is paraphrased from Gunner by Donald Nijboer.

The General Electric remote controlled turret system was operated by the following gunners who could operate a selection of turrets:

<UL TYPE=SQUARE>Crew position / turrets linked to positions sight

Navigator/nose gunner: front upper turret*, front lower turret*
Upper blister gunner: front lower, rear upper*, rear lower
Side blister gunners: front lower, rear lower*, tail
Tail gunner: tail only*[/list]

Asterisks denote primary control. Secondary control was achieved via the release of the primary control switches. Only one side blister gunner could use primary/secondary control to any of the guns linked to their sights at a time, ie. both could not simulatenously control the rear lower turret.

The upper blister gunner was the Central Fire Controller and was responsible for assigning control of the turrets to the various gunners, as well as assigning targets. The system also allowed a single gunner to control a pair of turrets simulataneously to bring more firepower to bear on a single target if nescessary.

The sights were linked to a set of five fire control computers in armoured compartments beneath the cabin floors. By aligning his sight with a target and supplying certain data (IAS, temperature, barometric altitude) the movements of the sight were analyised and then the turrets were trained on the aim point. By smoothly tracking the target the fire control computers made allowances for deflection etc. and aimed the turrets accordingly. This eliminated much of the guesswork normal defensive gunners had to make when engaging attacking fighters.

Another great advancement of this system was one of crew comfort- within the heated pressurised B-29 the gunners did not need to wear the heavy and bulky protective gear that gunners on other planes required.


Hope you found this as interesting as I did http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

Zeus-cat
10-24-2004, 06:30 PM
Gwanna said
"One of the scary things about the way you sat in those ball turrents is, If they shot back at you, you know where you got a good chance of getting it. OUCH!!"

Have you ever seen a B-17 ball turret up close? I saw one this summer from 1 foot away. **** small, but probably the best place to be in a B-17 to survive a strafing attack (assuming the plane is not shot down). The turret is cast aluminum and heavy duty plexiglass. The waist gunners and most of the rest of the crew had the skin of the airplane to "protect" them. The skin of a B-17 is thin aluminum sheet metal, it wouldn't stop anything. The ball turret would likely survive anything but a direct hit from a 20mm or 30mm cannon round. A good chance it would deflect most hits as it was round from front to back (the sides were straight up and down). Keep in mind most fighter attacks are from above and they would never see you.

The guy with the bomber explained that the other gunners would call out the position of attacking planes and the ball gunner would move the ball to the spot he expected to see the enemy plane. As it flew down and away he could squeeze off a half dozen round from each gun (he had 400 per gun). He usually had only a second or two to line up and fire.

Here is a link to 8 B-17 photos I took this summer. One is a closeup of the ball turret.

http://briefcase.yahoo.com/zeuscat@sbcglobal.net

Zeus-cat

GT182
10-24-2004, 06:53 PM
And if you were the shortest man in a crew, guess where you were positioned? That's right, ball turret. You had to be on the short side to fit in one, as a tall person just wouldn't fit.

actionhank1786
10-25-2004, 09:17 AM
Imagine manning the Betty's tailgun?
Mmmmmmmm
20mm of sweet justice

XyZspineZyX
10-26-2004, 05:11 PM
Thanks for the really cool info guys. I'm amazed that anyone had anything that could be remotely called a "computer" flying in those days.

Does anyone have more specific information as to what precisely "computer" technology was like in those B29's? Was it all vaccuum tubes? Was there actual computation going on or was it really more of some kind of carefully calibrated analog feedback circuit?

berg417448
10-26-2004, 06:14 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by AgentBif:
Thanks for the really cool info guys. I'm amazed that anyone had anything that could be remotely called a "computer" flying in those days.

Does anyone have more specific information as to what precisely "computer" technology was like in those B29's? Was it all vaccuum tubes? Was there actual computation going on or was it really more of some kind of carefully calibrated analog feedback circuit? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Don't know how it works but there is a picture of it on this link:

http://www.blauedrache.net/b29tourd.html

And this one has even more info:

http://www.rootsweb.com/~ny330bg/cfc.htm

Snootles
10-26-2004, 06:59 PM
I don't know if any vacuum-tube computers existed before ENIAC in 1947. From the looks of that fire control unit and the technology at the time I'd say it was based on electromechanical relays.

owlwatcher
10-26-2004, 07:03 PM
Zeus-cat
That is some excellent Pictures http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

berg417448
Those links were good.

Saw my first B-17 this year and got a walk threw (B-24 also).
I'm a short person, and I was bumping my head in the B-17.Moving about in the plane was work. The B-24 was not to bad walking around in.
If you can , tap the metal on the planes. It is thin.
Better off in your car. Might protext you more.
Have to find me a walk threw B-29.

NegativeGee
10-26-2004, 07:05 PM
Nice links there berg... the "primary and secondary controls" diagram was what I tried to put into words from the book.

The "computer" looks like a valve thing to me. Haven't a clue how they worked, but they were not computer in the sense that we use the word (ie. it would not have able to be programmed).

I guess it was a bit like the sort of devices the late Battleships used for targeting their main gun batteries- you would input various information and it told you where to shoot. In the case of the B-29 system I imagine it was capable of performing these calculations quickly and continuously.