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The original waist gunners of the B-17 bomber 'Memphis Belle', left waist gunner Bill Wichell and right waist gunner Casmir Nastral, at their battle stations, Europe, Nov 1942-Jun 1943

Caption   The original waist gunners of the B-17 bomber 'Memphis Belle', left waist gunner Bill Wichell and right waist gunner Casmir Nastral, at their battle stations, Europe, Nov 1942-Jun 1943 ww2dbase
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B-17 Flying Fortress   Main article  Photos  Maps  
Added By David Stubblebine
Added Date 10 Mar 2010

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
20 Jul 2010 12:59:13 PM

"One More Time For The Camera Please"

The gunners must be fighting off the German
Luftwaffe, below 10,000 feet!
Dressed in heavy flight gear, but without
flack-jacket and oxygen masks! this would be difficult to do, considering the outside air
was 40 degrees below zero and fighting the slip stream with that .50

The cat walk was only 4 feet wide, fighting off enemy fighters, air streaming through open waist positions.
Wrestling with that .50, making sure your
oxygen and heating lines don't get tangled
and keeping your chute close by, and doing your share of sweating must have been hell at 30,000 feet for the waist gunner.

Early model forts, had ammo boxes that had 150 rounds and needed to be changed by hand, not good in a fight.
Later models, had between 500 to 750 rounds
in a uninterrupted feed system, and also had
gunners in a stagered position to keep from
bumping into each other, but what did the
USAAF do with all that brass on the floor?
to keep the gunner from sliping on them,
enter the brass catcher, a canvas bag that
was designed to collect the brass and keep that 4 foot cat walk and area clear.

The B-17G fortress carried 6,380 rounds of ammo and short bursts please! remember that
.50 eats a lot of lead, and fast!
2. John says:
28 Aug 2012 02:21:51 AM

You can just see the tops of the individual ammo cannisters below and behind the guns. These boxes were high-slung, and clipped on the sidebars of the E-8 flexible adapters the M2's are seen mounted on. I think the cans held only 100 rounds (35 pounds per!). It appears that none of those cans survived WWII, as they went out of use in the second half of 1943.
3. John says:
17 Jan 2013 02:00:23 PM

This photo, as most such, was posed on the ground, and they forgot to mount the ammo-boxes! The B-17's ammo-boxes were made by Boeing (p/n 15-7469 side-gun box, 100rd.). They made 3 other 100rd boxes (for various gun-positions on the B-17C,D,E & F) before adapting 500rd boxes to the sides in September 1943.

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