Being a ball turret gunner would have been a scary but exciting job. Never talked about it. What was the height & weight limit for one of these gunners? It is about the death of a gunner in a Sperry ball turret on a World War II American bomber aircraft. 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. 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. However, I have heard of a few ball turret gunners being 5'-10'' or taller. The turret was directed by two hand control grips with firing buttons similar to a one-button joy stick. I checked my database of ball turret vets and he's not listed yet (it's still a work in progress). Rage, rage against the dying of the light. The Ball Turret Gunner from B17 42-31377 Pot O´Gold crashed on 22 FEB 1944, tells in BALL TURRET about his job. But if his frame was small, his personality was not. (Check out my blog on Ball Turret Gunners on this website.) His name was Roy Jae, if any of you want to research him. Here's a cool youtube video showing a restored ball turret firing live .50 ammo. The Sperry Ball Turret was under the plane as seen in the photo. Fairly sure that you will not find a photo of my Uncle, or a crew photo on-line. 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. 'd medals. The Sperry ball turret was very small in order to reduce drag, and was typically operated by the shortest man of the crew. I don't know of any height or weight restriction for ball turret gunners. Rocket are any of the person's in the photos named? I'll do some checking and if I find anything I'll definitely let you know. 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. The pilot was First Lieutenant Lewis P. Johnson Jr., 21, flying the 25th—and last—mission of his tour. Michael Sweeney--Researcher and Collector of WW2 77TH Division. During the raid, his plane, called the "Snap! [POEM] The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner by Randall Jarrell. 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. 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. Hand cranks were available for backup. Powered by Invision Community. He would then put on a safety strap, close and lock the turret door. We are winning the War on Terror. 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. See much more from Sgt Lester Schrenk! 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 He was considered a perfect fit for the B-17’s ball turret. Have been researching for sometime now. also looking for 134th CB USN and 711th railroad operating battalion photos and photo albums. If you ever wanted to know what it was like to be in one, this video gives you some what of an idea. 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. 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. From my mother's sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. 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. John Baumgardner (1787-1853) VA Mil; Pvt Joel Estep (1828-1864) Co B 5th KY Inf CSA & US; Pvt George B. October 20, 2008 in EPHEMERA, PHOTOGRAPHS & MILITARY ARTWORK. THE SPERRY BALL TURRET. When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose. I recall he was only 5'5" or 5'6". Member, ASMIC.Editor, ASMIC's The Trading PostASMIC Executive VP. The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner. The Erco ball turret was the bow installation in the Navy's Consolidated PB4Y-1 Liberator and PB4Y-2 Privateer airplanes. Ball turret gunner. By The Sperry Ball Turret was under the plane as seen in the photo. 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. 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. Ball turret gunners did not carry their chest pack chutes inside the turret with them due to cramped conditions. The Ball Turret Gunner from B17 42-31377 Pot O´Gold crashed on 22 FEB 1944, tells in BALL TURRET about his job. Most ball turret gunners were chosen because of their short height. Alan Magee decided to join the US Army after Japanese attacked the American fleet at Pearl Harbor. The ball turret gunner was usually the shortest crewmember. 66 years after the crash he still remembers his part of World War II. Jarrell, who served in the Army Air Forces, provided the following explanatory note: . The poem talks about how, the person created by Jarell, gets drafted into the war in the United States. It's high time we pay tribute to the turret gunners from World War 2. 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. Serial #13047756 Scott, Cecil Harmon – Ball Turret Gunner, Asst Radio Operator. ROCKET, From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. 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. ", Simply incredible photos!! 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 … Some very small gunners were able to carry their chutes with them inside the turret but this was very uncommon. 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. Statistically, the ball turret was one of the safest crew positions during WWII as ball turret gunners had the lowest loss rate. A reflector sight was hung from the top of the turret, positioned roughly between the gunner's feet. Video games such as Call of Duty 2: Big Red One. Cool video John. Do not go gentle into that good night. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. Closeup view of Sperry ventral ball turret on a B-17 Flying Fortress. The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner is a five-line poem by Randall Jarrell published in 1945. It's not in the 388th BG history, or any of the post-war 8th AF year books either that I know of. John R. Russell (1758-1838); Pvt Joseph T. Cooley (1767-1826) Fort Hempstead Mil; Pvt Thomas Barron (1776-1863) 1812; Capt. This page last updated December 17th, 2007 . 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. 476. and i got air sick just looking at it lol. Now he is 87! Most ball turret gunners were chosen because of their short height. Walter was a ball-turret gunner on a B-24 bomber (the Liberator). 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. 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. You gotta respect that. Walter’s plane was on a mission to bomb a German manufacturing plant in Austria, which made Messerschmidt 109s. He passed decades ago. It is about the death of a gunner in a Sperry ball turret on a World War II American bomber aircraft. A ball turret was a spherical-shaped, altazimuth mount gun turret, fitted to some American-built aircraft during World War II. It's easy! On his enlistment record, his height is listed at 5 feet 5 inches, and his weight at 128 pounds. 66 years after the crash he still remembers his part of World War II in! The one with the inscription would have been a scary but exciting job them the! History powered by Invision community powered, and equipped with two 0.50-inch caliber guns! 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