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B-17 Ball Turrent


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#1 Cadetat6

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 01:09 PM

Any one have the straight dope on B-17 ball turret? I was told that the ball turret
could not be raised up into the plane.At one air show I was told that the ball turret
could be raised into the plane. I read about a plane could not drop the wheels and the ball turret man was killed.
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The ball turret on a B-17 did not retract into the fuselage like the ball turret on the B-24. Here is a pic of the 17's ball turret from inside the plane. (http://www.flightjou...7g_10_waist.asp) Here is a pic of the ball turret that is retracted on the 24. (http://www.b24bestweb.com/ballgun2.htm)

Here is a great site for the Sperry Ball Turret. (http://www.softwhale...all-turret.html)

There were several incidents where gunners were killed because the ball would be jammed and they could not get out.

#2 Walt's Daughter

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 02:08 PM

Some scary stuff there.  We watched a program on them the other day and there's no way you'd get me in a ball turret.  God, for one thing I am so claustrophobic and the idea of being RIGHT OUT THERE with no protection, just gives the damn "willies".  Eek!  Hat's off to those guys.  God, what balls.  So to speak!   armata_PDT_34.gif  biggrin.gif
Marion J Chard
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#3 James Pickering

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 02:12 PM


SSgt Gene Eisele, USAAF

Gene Eisele, now deceased, was the father of one of my friends-- Jim Eisele.

Mr. Eisele related the following story to Jim several years ago. It is brief, for these were modest heroes who didn't think they performed any great deeds during WW2. SSgt Gene Eisels, US Army Air Corps, was a lower ball turret gunner on a B17 Bomber Aircraft nick-named  "The Lady Helen" and flew 52 missions -- a lot for a ball turret gunner.




"The Lady Helen" B17 Bomber

It was lady luck that played a key role in sergeant Eisele's life on 25 February 1944. He was assigned to special ground duty on that day and was not on board for that day's mission. "The Lady Helen" was reported missing over Austria and never did return, being reported as lost in action.


Crew of "The Lady Helen"


Crew list for last mission

On an earlier mission some bombs got jammed in the bomb bay and had to be freed up before the plane could land. SSgt Eisele was the crew member who walked down the plank catwalk with the bomb bay doors open and released the bombs.

#4 Walt's Daughter

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 02:20 PM

Very good James.  Excellent photos and a story to accompany.  

QUOTE
It was lady luck that played a key role in sergeant Eisele's life on 25 February 1944. He was assigned to special ground duty on that day and was not on board for that day's mission. "The Lady Helen" was reported missing over Austria and never did return, being reported as lost in action.


A twist of fate.  Guess God did not want him on the day.  That must have shaken him to the core.  Bet he thought about it every day of his life and always wondered why he was spared and not his beloved friends on that B-17!   unsure.gif
Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon

There's "No Bridge Too Far"
Marion Chard