It was also not uncommon for some units to ask for volunteers from ground crews, such as mechanics, to fill in as aerial gunners. The most common one was manufactured by the Sperry Corporation. Trata sobre la muerte de un artillero dentro de la torreta esférica Sperry de un bombardero pesado estadounidense de … But if his frame was small, his personality was not. These guys sat in those things with their legs spread looking at Messerschmidt's coming up from the bottom with only a little Plexiglas between them and eternity. Once training was complete, aerial gunners were sent out to operational bomber units as crewmen, serving as waist gunners, tail gunners, or most physically demanding, as ball turret gunners. THE SPERRY BALL TURRET. He passed decades ago. However, I have read accounts of some ball turret gunners as tall as 6 feet which would make for a very tight and uncomfortable ride. On a B-17, a ‘belly landing' with the ball turret in place tended to ‘break the airplane's back'. However, I have heard of a few ball turret gunners being 5'-10'' or taller. Garp, the main protagonist in, In "The Mission," a 1985 episode of the television series. The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner (La muerte del artillero de la torreta esférica, en español) es un poema de cinco renglones publicado por Randall Jarrell en 1945. Are any of the ball turret gunner photos named to an L.S. It was not unusual for the temperature to drop to -50 degrees when the ball turret was lowered into the … As he crawls into the turret gunner, the fur on his flight jacket freezes because of the altitude 6 miles high. Ball Turret Gunner. If you give me his name I can check to see if any pictures are out there of him. Walter was a ball-turret gunner on a B-24 bomber (the Liberator). Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. THanks for sharing them. I Proudly Support Our Troops And The War On Terror. I was 5' 8" -- a little tall for the turret, but I accepted the assignment, which some deemed as a suicide position," my dad points out. It's easy! A reflector sight was hung from the top of the turret, positioned roughly between the gunner's feet. The left foot was used to control the reflector sight range reticle. John Baumgardner (1787-1853) VA Mil; Pvt Joel Estep (1828-1864) Co B 5th KY Inf CSA & US; Pvt George B. The turret was directed by two hand control grips with firing buttons similar to a one-button joy stick. Here's a pic of an extremely rare artifact...the data plate from an A-2 Lower Ball Turret made by Emerson Electric Mfg. The Sperry ball turret was very small in order to reduce drag, and was typically operated by the shortest man of the crew. Those are some really neat photos. However, I have read accounts of some ball turret gunners as tall as 6 feet which would make for a very tight and uncomfortable ride. Powered by Invision Community. In January of 1943, Magee was a ball turret gunner in a B-17 Flying Fortress on a bombing run on the Atlantic coast of Nazi-occupied France. Ball turret gunners did not carry their chest pack chutes inside the turret with them due to cramped conditions. This page last updated December 17th, 2007 . Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Pintrest. The ball turret was mounted underneath the aircraft and was used to defend the bomber against aircraft attacking from below. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. Left-side waist gunner position and ball turret on the Castle Air Museum's B-24M. Makes you want to be a spectator up in the sky when a flight of B-17's comes under attack by German Messerschmidt's, it sure would be one awe-inspiring aerial conflict. Michael Sweeney--Researcher and Collector of WW2 77TH Division. Click on the image for a larger picture . His name was Roy Jae, if any of you want to research him. If you have any named items to a 77th Division Soldier please contact me!!! Some very small gunners were able to carry their chutes with them inside the turret but this was very uncommon. Birt? It is about the death of a gunner in a Sperry ball turret on a World War II American bomber aircraft. Articles incorporating text from Wikipedia, freepages.military.rootsweb.com/~josephkennedy/sperry_ball_turret.htm, www.liberatorcrew.com/15_Gunnery/05_ball.htm, https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Ball_turret?oldid=4094566, The father of T.S. At 86, Walter Kush is hale and healthy today, but he was just a teenager when he served in World War II. Most ball turret gunners were chosen because of their short height. It had to be pure adrenalin mixed with pure horror! The ball turret, like this one on a B-17 in England in 1943, was designed small to reduce drag, so its gunner usually was the shortest man in the crew. The name arose from the turret's spherical housing. It's not in the 388th BG history, or any of the post-war 8th AF year books either that I know of. Walter was a ball-turret gunner on a B-24 bomber (the Liberator). One B-24 crewman remembers that a ball turret gunner got frostbite of the ears on one mission, and that his eyelids were frozen shut during a mission to Linz. The men that manned these stations were men of steel will and courage. It's high time we pay tribute to the turret gunners from World War 2. The Sperry ball turret was very small in order to reduce drag, and was typically operated by the shortest man of the crew. I would have thought it to be a job almost requiring small stature and low weight. The ball turret was the most accurate and deadly turret on the B-17 & B-24 mostly due to it's advanced computing gunsight which was state of the art at that time. To enter the turret, the turret was moved until the guns were pointed straight down. See much more from Sgt Lester Schrenk! Walter’s plane was on a mission to bomb a German manufacturing plant in Austria, which made Messerschmidt 109s. I'd have to look them up and see. Manning dual .50 caliber Browning Machine Guns 'd medals. Walter’s plane was on a mission to bomb a German manufacturing plant in Austria, which made Messerschmidt 109s. in St. Louis. These gunsights computed for direction, and range to the target and were basically an early analog computer. THAT is a very neat video! I love the shot of the one with the inscription! Alan Magee decided to join the US Army after Japanese attacked the American fleet at Pearl Harbor. From my mother's sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. If you ever wanted to know what it was like to be in one, this video gives you some what of an idea. The waist gunner manually aimed a single 0.50-inch caliber machine gun. HONORING FAMILY LtCol Wm Russell (1679-1757) VA Mil; Pvt Zachariah McKay (1714-97) Frederick VA Mil; BrigGen Evan Shelby, Jr (1719-94) VA Mil; Pvt Vincent Hobbs (1722-1808) Wythe VA Mil; Pvt Hugh Alexander (1724-77); Lt John R. Litton (1726-1804); Bvt BrigGen/Col Wm W. Russell (1735-93) 5th VA Rgmt; Lt James Scott (1736-1817); Capt John Murray, Sr (1747-1833); Capt John Sehorn, Sr (1748-1831) VA Mil; Pvt Corbin Lane (1750-1816) Franklin/TN Mil; Cpl Jesse D. Reynolds (1750-1836) 5th VA Rgmt; Capt. and i got air sick just looking at it lol. He was considered a perfect fit for the B-17’s ball turret. From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. His father Ross had been a timber and logging operator and had experienced more than his fair share of tough times around Holidaysburg, Pennsylvania. US MILITARIA FORUM - COLLECTORS PRESERVING HISTORY SMITH FLEW HIS FIRST MISSION on May 1, 1943, as a ball-turret gunner on a B-17F Flying Fortress known by the last three digits of its tail number, 649. Yes and no. The ball turret gunner was usually the shortest crewmember. At the height of World War II, Allied bombing missions often include hundreds of Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses that strike deep behind enemy lines. “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” by Randall Jarrell is a morbid poem about the brutality of war. I'll do some checking and if I find anything I'll definitely let you know. (Check out my blog on Ball Turret Gunners on this website.) A relative of mine(I posted his picture on the thread for veterans day photos)Was a ball turret gunner in Italy in the 15th AF.He told me once he wasnt actually trained originally for the ball but when he got ther thats what they needed.He went on to say that he had to cock his head to one side in order to get the door closed on the turret.Bob was a little to tall but thats where he was put. Randall Jarrell wrote his poem, "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" in 1945, having recently returned himself from serving in the Army Air Force during World War II. If they had to bail out then all they had to do was snap the other side, pop the turret hatch, and kick themselves into space. In the case of the B-24 the Liberator's tricycle landing gear design required that the turret mount be made upwardly retractable into the lower fuselage while the aircraft was on the ground, since with the ball turret deployed for operation, the shell of the turret would be too close to the ground. It served a double purpose, taking care of any bow attacks on the Liberator as well as being used for strafing in anti-submarine warfare. The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner is a five-line poem by Randall Jarrell published in 1945. Member, ASMIC.Editor, ASMIC's The Trading PostASMIC Executive VP. From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. Although the lower ball turret was designed by the Sperry Company they never did produce the turrets themselves since they didn't have the capacity for wartime production. Wanting to buy uniforms, docs, photos, books and any other items related to WWII US Army Railway units. Rocket are any of the person's in the photos named? One of my HS football coaches was a ball turret gunner in WW II. Jarrell, who served in the Army Air Forces, provided the following explanatory note: . The size of the turret meant that its occupants were usually between 5 ft 4 in and 5 ft 6 in (1.68 and 1.68 m) in height. Do you know what unit he was assigned to? None of them have the last name of Birt. Crackle! Jarrell, who served in the Army Air Forces, provided the following explanatory note: . Like many others in the Memphis Belle’s crew, Cecil Harmon Scott had been affected by the Great Depression. also looking for 134th CB USN and 711th railroad operating battalion photos and photo albums. Most ball turret gunners were chosen because of their short height. The gunner entered the ball turret via a door at its rear, which also served as an emergency exit in case of trouble. ... And you, my father, there on that sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. 66 years after the crash he still remembers his part of World War II. The gunship will circle around the battlefield and the damage dealt in the turret's ammunition is extremely effective that it can clean sweep an entire enemy squad. Here is a link to a YouTube video that a guy took when he was allowed to go up in a B-17 bomber and take video. Now he is 87! The Model 13 was also the most compact turret in service, with the gunner crouched behind the sight, with his knees raised on each side, and possessing adequate fields of vision to his front and sides. A famous poem published in 1945, “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner,” highlights the isolation and hazards of serving as the gunner. The Sperry ball turret, meant for ventral defense needs on aircraft, was used on both the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-24 Liberator as well as the United States Navy's Liberator, the PB4Y. Just wanted to share some cool pics of ball turret gunners from the 388th Bomb Group. Learn more at: The Wisconsin Shoreline & Marsaxlokk, Malta, Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC), "If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by..", US MILITARIA FORUM - COLLECTORS PRESERVING HISTORY. A young man is force to leave the safety of home because he is drafted into the war. The Ball Turret Gunner is a 1700 scorestreak featured in Call of Duty: WWII.When activated, users can control a B-17G Gunship and decimate enemies with it ball turret. The poet's author, Randall Jarrell, summed up the experience in only five lines, concluding “When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.”The poem has been widely reprinted and discussed in school curricula, and like many authors who … Cool video John. It is about the death of a gunner in a Sperry ball turret on a World War II American bomber aircraft. I recall he was only 5'5" or 5'6". On a B-17, a ‘belly landing' with the ball turret in place tended to ‘break the airplane's back'. The Sperry Ball Turret was under the plane as seen in the photo. The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner . Randall Jarrell - 1914-1965. The Ball Turret Gunner from B17 42-31377 Pot O´Gold crashed on 22 FEB 1944, tells in BALL TURRET about his job. 476. Here's a cool cut-away drawing and article of a ball turret which first appeared in Life magazine in 1943. When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose. The turret mounted two Browning 50 caliber machine guns that would fire 750 to 850 bullets in a minute , that’s about 14 bullets a second. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. 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. Solomon C. Litton (1751-1844); 1Lt Christopher Casey (1754-1840) SC Mil; Pvt Mark Adams (1755-1828); Pvt Randolph White (1755-1831) Bailey's Co. VA Rgmt; Capt. You gotta respect that. Ramey found the turret in a surplus shop many years ago. The taller the gunner the harder it was for him to aim properly through the computing gunsight located above him and between his legs, which were propped up. Most likely his size is what landed him the job as the Ball Turret Gunner. It was only common sense to assign the shortest guy on the crew as the ball turret gunner, which is what most crews did. A diagram depicting how a gunner sits inside a Sperry A2 ball turret. i jsut watched that video! See much more from Sgt Lester Schrenk! For both aircraft types, there was no room inside for a parachute, which was left in the cabin above the turret. On the B-17 the turret was close to the ground, but had enough clearance for takeoff and landing. The ball turret gunner was usually the shortest crewmember. From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. (NASM (SI-80-20353)) Aerial gunnery training had a make-do, try-anything quality, resulting in the design of 16 types of outdoor ranges. Ball turret gunner Richard Getty checking out his turret,which he named "Ball of Fire", Sept. 1942. Ball Turret Gunner: Staff Sergeant William H. Cassiday, 32346219, New York – Killed in Action Radio Operator: Staff Sergeant Ralph J. Leffelman, 19112019, Washington – Killed in Action Waist Gunner: Staff Sergeant James D. Houtchens, 37483248, Nebraska – Killed in Action Since this turret is of the ball type, the gunner moves with his guns and sight in elevation and azimuth as he moves his control handles. Steve I cant post a source but I do know it was a concern of a relative who was a ball turret gunner in WW2.He flew out of Italy and in B17s.What he stated to me once was he saw a B17 land once with the turret down.He wasnt sure if the guy was already gone or not as the aircraft had considerable flak damage and they couldnt get the ball cranked up before landing.He also said he … What was the height & weight limit for one of these gunners? Serial #13047756 Scott, Cecil Harmon – Ball Turret Gunner, Asst Radio Operator. That last one doesn't look like he is old enough to shave! The Sperry lower ball turret was used in the Boeing B-17 Flying fortress and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator. The ball turret was powered, and equipped with two 0.50-inch caliber machine guns. Ball turret gunners did not carry their chest pack chutes inside the turret with them due to cramped conditions. Being a ball turret gunner would have been a scary but exciting job. The turrets on bombers such as the B-24 and B-17 were most certainly not the most comfortable places to sit in the aircraft. Nope...sorry. Learn more at: www.MoveAmericaForward.org. 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. Ramey found the turret in a surplus shop many years ago. Do you mind re-posting the picture of your relative or directing me to the thread it's on? Hand cranks were available for backup. A ball turret was a particular form of spherical-form, altazimuth mount movement manned aircraft gun turret, accommodating the gunner with nearly all the needed equipment for defensive firepower (except for the ammunition storage) mounted either within or onto the spherical shell of the turret structure, mounted on aircraft during World War II. The space inside the turret was very small and cramped. 49 comments. Video games such as Call of Duty 2: Big Red One. A diagram depicting how a gunner sits inside a Sperry A2 ball turret. The Ball Turret Gunner from B17 42-31377 Pot O´Gold crashed on 22 FEB 1944, tells in BALL TURRET about his job. Here's a cool youtube video showing a restored ball turret firing live .50 ammo. October 20, 2008 in EPHEMERA, PHOTOGRAPHS & MILITARY ARTWORK. Small ammo boxes rested on the top of the turret and the remaining ammo belts were stowed in the already cramped turret by means of an elaborate feed chute system. Tell Obama that we need to keep jobs here in the U.S., NOT overseas! The pilot was First Lieutenant Lewis P. Johnson Jr., 21, flying the 25th—and last—mission of his tour. Sign up for a new account in our community. The Sperry ball turret, meant for ventral defense needs on aircraft, was used on both the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-24 Liberator as well as the United States Navy's Liberator, the PB4Y. share. The chutes were instead stowed outside the turret inside the aircraft. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. Ball turret gunner. ROCKET, 66 years after the crash he still remembers his part of World War II. "There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education. Interesting story and one that was quite common according to many of the ball turret gunners I've interviewed over the years. [POEM] The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner by Randall Jarrell. On days that missions were flown, the crew was up at 2 a.m. preparing their aircraft, cleaning their guns, grabbing a quick … The size of the turret meant that its occupants were usually between 5 ft 4 in and 5 ft 6 in (1.68 and 1.68 m) in height. During the raid, his plane, called the "Snap! The poem talks about how, the person created by Jarell, gets drafted into the war in the United States. Jarrell, who served in the Army Air Forces, provided the following explanatory note: 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. The Sperry Ball Turret was under the plane as seen in the photo. A few gunners wore a chest parachute. A ball turret was a spherical-shaped, altazimuth mount gun turret, fitted to some American-built aircraft during World War II. Remember also, as you step into the turret for the first time, that on combat missions you will never get in until your bomber is in full flight, and will always get out before the landing. I don't know of any height or weight restriction for ball turret gunners. He is assigned to be a Ball Turret Gunner, which he knows the chances are he will end up like the former Ball Turret Gunner dead. Since your uncle was a radio operator I doubt he would be in any of these photos. However, the gunner did not enter the turret until well into the air, in case of landing gear failure. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. You need to be a member in order to leave a comment. Do not go gentle into that good night. They would hook one side of the chest chute to their harness and stow it off to one side so it was out of the way when operating the turret. Always looking for PTO related photos and photo albums. Never talked about it. The Erco ball turret was the bow installation in the Navy's Consolidated PB4Y-1 Liberator and PB4Y-2 Privateer airplanes. The turrets were made under license by the Emerson Electric Co. in St. Louis as well as the Briggs Mfg Co. located in Detroit. Thanks for the kind offer of assistance John. In Memoriam:Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 ItalyI HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHTForget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by..". Price (1975-) VP-10; 1Lt Matthew Wm Bell (1985-) 82nd Abn/SOC. Statistically, the ball turret was one of the safest crew positions during WWII as ball turret gunners had the lowest loss rate. simply awesome these guys really had a "set of balls" to be a ball turret gunner. Now he is 87! Thanks for sharing with us! The right foot operated a push-to-talk intercom switch. Yes and no. It shows the detail of the interior ammo cans with the .50 cal belted ammo draped over the baffles. By Fairly sure that you will not find a photo of my Uncle, or a crew photo on-line. The gunner placed his feet in the heel rests and th… This left him positioned with his eyes roughly level with the pair of light-barrel Browning AN/M2 .50 caliber machine guns which extended through the entire turret, and located to either side of the gunner. Bell (1833-1910) Co C 47th IL Inf US; Cpl Daniel H. Barron (1838-1910) Co B 19th TN Rgmt Inf CSA; Capt Richard K. Kaufman (1908-1946) 7th PRG/3rd AF CCU; T-5 Vernon L. Bell (1926-95) 1802nd Spec Rgmt; PO2 Murray J. Heichman (1932-2019) HQSB/MCRD; PFC Jess Long (1934-2017) US Army; PFC Donald W. Johnson (1931-) 43rd ID HQ; A1C Keith W. Bell (1931-2011) 314th TCW; A3C Michael S. Bell (1946-) 3346th CMS; A1C Sam W. Lee (1954-2017) 2d BW; AW3 Keith J. Will continue to look though. Not long ago someone did post a photo of the planes pilot on the 388th veterans site. I have been doing tons of research on ball turret gunners over the last few years and I'm interested in acquiring ANY items related to ball turret gunners during WWII, especially photos and I.D. I checked my database of ball turret vets and he's not listed yet (it's still a work in progress). We are winning the War on Terror. The gunner could enter the turret from inside the plane by having the turret rotated until the door opening faced the interior of the plane. To enter the turret, the turret was moved until the guns were pointed straight down. It is a relative of the Martin 250SH bow turret of the PBM-3 twin-engined patrol flying boat and has many points of similarity in design and action. We are winning the War on Terror. The height & weight limit for one of my late Uncles served in the U.S., not!... Photos named 5 inches, and range to the ground, but was. Years ago know what unit he was just a teenager when he served in photo! 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