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Thread: Help to identify WW2 aircraft?

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    Member skipperbob's Avatar
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    Default Help to identify WW2 aircraft?

    Ran across this pic I have never seen before... caption says "Gunner firing at Nazi planes 1942"

    I cannot identify this aircraft, not B-17 or B-24 I don't think. Medium bomber? Small windows to left of gunner? B-18?
    I have a feeling this is a pic taken during training, not combat. Just curious if anyone can figure it out.
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    My father's WWII unit, the 87th Infantry Division JUNKHO's Avatar
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    Almost looks like some kind of camera or damage assessment device rather than a "gun".

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    Senior Member Dinges's Avatar
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    Member skipperbob's Avatar
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    What position? Lower nose? Where is the bomb sight etc... Tail? Belly? I'm sorry but that just doesn't look right to me. No oxygen etc... Not buying this is a combat pic from a B-24.

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    Member Ksiunc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skipperbob View Post
    What position? Lower nose? Where is the bomb sight etc... Tail? Belly? I'm sorry but that just doesn't look right to me. No oxygen etc... Not buying this is a combat pic from a B-24.
    Dinges gave you the answer and he's right. Look. Just 30 sec of google search:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEiv36uLlzQ

    It's B-24. Nothing else. Rear belly gunner position. Just use google next time.

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    Member bersaglieri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JUNKHO View Post
    Almost looks like some kind of camera or damage assessment device rather than a "gun".
    Browning M2 .50 is a damage causation device, not a damage assessment device.

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    L O L A JCR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bersaglieri View Post
    Browning M2 .50 is a damage causation device, not a damage assessment device.
    Doesn't exactly look super effective, that gun position.
    Also this sort of position was only installed in the very early liberators before they got a ball turret.
    Incidentially one of the few flyable Liberators today is a very early liberator, so the youtube footage.

    And it is a safe bet this was not taken during combat for the simple reason that early Liberators fitted with this "defensive" weapon hardly saw combat and were used mostly for training or converted as transports.

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    Member bersaglieri's Avatar
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    The link posted by Dinges has this caption

    "U.S Army Air Force gunner Sgt. William Watts of Alexandria, Louisiana, fires his machine gun at German fighter planes during a bombing run in 1942. ( Photo credit. U.S. National Archives)"

    However given the fact that there does'nt seem to be an ammo feed to the gun although there are shell casings on the floor, it may be more likely to have been taken after action!

    Quote Originally Posted by JCR View Post

    And it is a safe bet this was not taken during combat for the simple reason that early Liberators fitted with this "defensive" weapon hardly saw combat and were used mostly for training or converted as transports.

    http://browningmgs.com/AirGunnery/01_50cal.htm

    According to that link it's a B24L , of which Wiki tells us

    "Because of the excessively high gross weight of the B-24J, the Army pushed for a lighter version. In the B-24L, the Sperry ball turret was replaced by a floor ring mount with two .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns, and the A-6B tail turret by an M-6A. Later aircraft were delivered from the factory without tail armament. An A-6B, M-6A, or a manually operated twin .50 caliber (12.7 mm) mounting was then installed at a depot before arrival at operational units. The L model was built only at Willow Run and Consolidated's San Diego factory. (Total: 1,667)"

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    L O L A JCR's Avatar
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    In 1942, the B-24 was still a rare plane. And the B-24L version came much later.
    The combat units in 1942 had LB-30s and B-24Ds, both of which had the tunnel gun, but USAAF Liberator combat use in 1942 was very limited in Europe.
    A squadron or two were flying from Egypt.

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    Senior Member LineDoggie's Avatar
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    Early manually operated gun positions used a Magazine instead of the flexible chuting to large ammo boxes



    held 30 rounds of .50

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    Member skipperbob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ksiunc View Post
    Dinges gave you the answer and he's right. Look. Just 30 sec of google search:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEiv36uLlzQ

    It's B-24. Nothing else. Rear belly gunner position. Just use google next time.
    You know maybe I didn't want to use google... maybe I was looking to see what others thought and to get their opinions on an interesting pic. Sorry I took up some of your precious time.

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    Member Stink Bomb's Avatar
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    It's ok skipperbob, this is only the internet and shouldn't make you angry. I enjoyed the mind twisting dilemma your original post posed, and was delighted it was solved ! Keep those rare pictures coming !!

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    My father's WWII unit, the 87th Infantry Division JUNKHO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bersaglieri View Post
    Browning M2 .50 is a damage causation device, not a damage assessment device.
    Check...I can be a bit thick about some of this stuff.

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    Senior Member Euroamerican's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting, skipperbob.

    I was aware that the ball turret was deleted later int the ware from some B-24s in the Pacific and in Asia, but not in Europe. This photo shows that interesting fact.

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    Junior Member armpcm's Avatar
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    Discovered this in google search, i have learned a little more

    • IPTC Source NARA NLR-PHOCO-A-65639(31)


    • IPTC Copyright Caption 2007 MFA Productions LLC Image in the Public Domain


    • IPTC Caption United States Army Air Force gunner Sgt. William Watts of Alexandria, Louisiana, demonstrates the tunnel-mounted Browning .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine gun of the Consolidated B-24D/LB-30 Liberator. This photo appeared in the LB-30 Erection and Maintenance Instruction manual (TO 01-5ED-2) in 1942. This could have been a staged photo by Consolidated. It is not clear if he is engaged in combat, as he is not wearing an oxygen mask and the machine gun is not exhibiting recoil. Note spent .50 caliber casings caught in the gunner's window. The waist gunner is visible behind him. Originally introduced in the B-24C model, which did not see combat, the tunnel gun had a limited field of fire and was difficult to operate in combat. As result 287 B-24Ds were equipped with Bendix power turrets that could be retracted into the aircraft for takeoff and landings. The Bendix turret induced nausea and disorientation in the ball turret gunners, and soon the turret was deleted and replaced with the tunnel gun again. It was not until the successful Sperry turret was installed (like the one used on the B-17E/F, only it could be retracted into the fuselage) that the B-24 had a workable belly gun defense. Eventually a nose turret like the tail turret was also added, bringing the total number of .50 caliber machine guns to over thirteen. The B-24 never upgraded its engines, resulting in diminished performance since the extra turrets added significant weight. The first B-24D combat mission was on October 9, 1942 by the 93rd Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force against locomotive manufacturing in Lille, France. Out of twenty-four aircraft, one was shot down.

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