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The Sperry Ball Turret ....


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#1 sniper1946

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 04:28 PM

The Sperry lower ball turret was used in the Boeing B-17Flyingfortress and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator. The ball turret was mounted underneath the aircraft and was used to defend the bomber against aircraft attacking from below.
The turret mounted two Browning 50 caliber machine guns that would fire750 to 850 bullets in a minute , that’s about 14 bullets a second. Statistically, the ball turret was one of the safest crew positions during WWII as ball turret gunners had the lowest loss rate.


THE SPERRY BALL TURRET

http://browningmgs.c...ery/05_ball.htm

http://rides.webshot...3VZhdGx?start=0

l4GS1PND7pA if link video is stuttery, use this ..:)

JjCL6AAEb98

Edited by sniper1946, 28 September 2010 - 04:40 PM.

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#2 Spartanroller

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 04:34 PM

nice. :)
Cheers, Nigel :)

"Ubique" - For the Royal Engineer it means 'Everywhere', For the Royal Artillery 'All over the place'.;)

#3 brndirt1

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 06:04 PM

While the "ball turret" was a nasty place for men to serve in the 17 (they could be locked in), it wasn't quite so bad for the men of the 24 since they could be "pulled up" into the fuselage with the entire unit.

Now while the Sperry people were responsible for the belly/ball turret, the little revolving twin gun turret you see on the top of the B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator, B-25 Mitchell and A-20 Havoc/B-26 Marauder bombers is the Tucker turret.

Yes the same Preston Tucker who brought you the short lived; Tucker "48" automobile. He dropped the name "Tucker Torpedo" for "48" when someone pointed out that the name could conjure up visions of war and death, not safety and innovation. His turret was also used (without plexiglas cover) on PT boats, and Higgins boats. In fact he and Higgins were working together for a time.

Tucker's patents for the turret were licensed out to various manufacturers to mass produce the turret in the high volume to meet demand. Tucker's patent rights were stolen and Tucker was embroiled in lawsuits for years trying to recoup royalties for use of his patents on the turret. He never prevailed.

For some footage on his novel "Tucker Combat Car".

Goto:

VIDEO: Archival footage reveals Preston Tucker's novel military Combat Car — Autoblog
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Happy Trails,
Clint.

#4 Spartanroller

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 06:10 PM

That combat car looks like it would be very useful in the sort of operations we have going on today - maybe its time will still come? Fascinating, thanks :)
Cheers, Nigel :)

"Ubique" - For the Royal Engineer it means 'Everywhere', For the Royal Artillery 'All over the place'.;)

#5 mcoffee

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 02:56 PM

Now while the Sperry people were responsible for the belly/ball turret, the little revolving twin gun turret you see on the top of the B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator, B-25 Mitchell and A-20 Havoc/B-26 Marauder bombers is the Tucker turret.


I’m afraid that is one of the many myths surrounding the controversial Preston Tucker. Sperry built the B-17 top turrets. The B-25, B-26 and B-24s used the Martin top turret which was a different animal. Neither of which were Tucker designs.
Sperry had begun work on turrets as early as 1936. The Air Corps Material Branch had experimental work by various manufacturers in progress by 1938.
The Material Branch looked at Tucker’s armored car mounted turret in July 1939 and found it to be slow moving, but had an unusual feature of interest being a commutator that did not arc under rapid reversals. Tucker attended a turret conference held at Wright Field in September 1939 with various manufacturers. He then proposed to build an electric drive for the existing manual B-18 turret. He asked for $10,000 to build an experimental model. By December 1940, the Material Branch concluded that the Tucker design was “not representative of assemblies contemplated for future procurement.” Tucker then built a modified prototype which was also rejected as unsatisfactory.
Sperry, Bendix, Martin, Emerson and Consolidated all produced turrets of various designs which were used in production aircraft. The G.E. Amplidyne drive system was incorporated into the Martin turret and was in no way related to Tucker’s drive system. The Emerson turret was manufactured to a British Boulton-Paul design. I can find no evidence that Tucker patents were used by any of the various turret manufacturers.
An in depth study of turret development can be found in AFHRA Study #54.
Air Force Historical Research Agency - Studies
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#6 brndirt1

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 03:07 PM

I’m afraid that is one of the many myths surrounding the controversial Preston Tucker. Sperry built the B-17 top turrets. The B-25, B-26 and B-24s used the Martin top turret which was a different animal. Neither of which were Tucker designs.
Sperry had begun work on turrets as early as 1936. The Air Corps Material Branch had experimental work by various manufacturers in progress by 1938.
The Material Branch looked at Tucker’s armored car mounted turret in July 1939 and found it to be slow moving, but had an unusual feature of interest being a commutator that did not arc under rapid reversals. Tucker attended a turret conference held at Wright Field in September 1939 with various manufacturers. He then proposed to build an electric drive for the existing manual B-18 turret. He asked for $10,000 to build an experimental model. By December 1940, the Material Branch concluded that the Tucker design was “not representative of assemblies contemplated for future procurement.” Tucker then built a modified prototype which was also rejected as unsatisfactory.
Sperry, Bendix, Martin, Emerson and Consolidated all produced turrets of various designs which were used in production aircraft. The G.E. Amplidyne drive system was incorporated into the Martin turret and was in no way related to Tucker’s drive system. The Emerson turret was manufactured to a British Boulton-Paul design. I can find no evidence that Tucker patents were used by any of the various turret manufacturers.
An in depth study of turret development can be found in AFHRA Study #54.
Air Force Historical Research Agency - Studies


Thank you, I stand corrected. Still liked the little "Combat Car" footage though.
Happy Trails,
Clint.

#7 mcoffee

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 02:59 PM

Statistically, the ball turret was one of the safest crew positions during WWII as ball turret gunners had the lowest loss rate.




The ball turret also had the least fighter encounters and claims of any of the positions. The attached memo is from the 8th AF, 2nd Air Division requesting permission to remove ball turrets from B-24s to save weight and drag.

The table showing data for the previous 6 months is interesting. The tail gunners had by far the most fighter encounters and claims. The nose, top and waist gunners had an almost equal distribution of encounters and claims. The ball turret was far behind in both.

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  • Attached File  btr.pdf   148.35KB   7 downloads

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#8 sniper1946

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 03:10 PM

so! far from being in, what appears a precarious and vulnerable position, it was the best turret to be in? so to speak..

#9 sniper1946

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 03:16 PM

Alan Magee's B-17 was named 'Snap, Crackle, Pop' because the Fort's original pilot, Jacob Fredericks, had worked for Kelloggs Cereal before the war. Kelloggs was famous for its 'Rice Crispies' cereal, and the three little men, Snap, Crackle and Pop are still the mascots for the cereal. Ball turret gunner Magee fell over 20,000 feet without a parachute, and was saved when he crashed through the glass ceiling of the Nazaire, France train station.

Remembering World War Two Airmen: Alan Magee: The Luckiest Ball Turret Gunner of WWII?

#10 Spartanroller

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 03:21 PM

Alan Magee's B-17 was named 'Snap, Crackle, Pop' because the Fort's original pilot, Jacob Fredericks, had worked for Kelloggs Cereal before the war. Kelloggs was famous for its 'Rice Crispies' cereal, and the three little men, Snap, Crackle and Pop are still the mascots for the cereal. Ball turret gunner Magee fell over 20,000 feet without a parachute, and was saved when he crashed through the glass ceiling of the Nazaire, France train station.

Remembering World War Two Airmen: Alan Magee: The Luckiest Ball Turret Gunner of WWII?


'Mythbusters' did a good show exploring this one.
Cheers, Nigel :)

"Ubique" - For the Royal Engineer it means 'Everywhere', For the Royal Artillery 'All over the place'.;)

#11 mcoffee

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 05:07 PM

A story similar to Magee's:

On 2 April 1944 over Steyr Austria, the B-24 "Miss Behavin" (42-52086) went out of control and collided with "Superstitious Al-O-Ysius" (42-52136). "Peerless Clipper" (41-29216) was struck by debris from the collision and crashed. One crew member on another ship reported that "Miss Behavin" was struck by a rocket, but no other crewmen in the group reported any rockets fired at them. Of the 31 men aboard the three ships, the only survivor was S/Sgt Mark Schneider who was the BTG on "Miss Behavin".

After the collision, he was able to climb out of his turret into the aircraft to attempt to find his parachute. He blacked out and awoke about 3 1/2 hours later in deep snow surrounded by the wreckage of his aircraft.

A couple of pages of the Missing Aircrew Report:

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#12 sniper1946

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 05:13 PM

amazing stories, lucky or what...

#13 ULITHI

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 05:39 PM

Since the ball turret experts are here, I wanted to ask if anyone knows any stories about the poem The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner by Randall Jarrell?

I was bored in English class one day in 11th grade. I flipped through our textbook and saw that poem, and always remember it!

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 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.


Have a good one,
Darren

#14 sniper1946

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 06:16 PM

Since the ball turret experts are here, I wanted to ask if anyone knows any stories about the poem The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner by Randall Jarrell?

I was bored in English class one day in 11th grade. I flipped through our textbook and saw that poem, and always remember it!

plenty of debate on this very subject, darren.. The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner Analysis Randall Jarrell : Summary Explanation Meaning Overview Essay Writing Critique Peer Review Literary Criticism Synopsis Online Education
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