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Thread: Did these Blenheim IVs have the 2-gun turret?

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    Default Did these Blenheim IVs have the 2-gun turret?

    I am researching 11 Sqn's 9 April 1942 attack on the Japanese carrier task force off Ceylon and I'm wondering if all of the squadron's Blenheim IVs had the newer dorsal turret with two Browning machine guns. The serial numbers of the aircraft were:

    R3911
    V5992, V6010
    Z5868, Z7506, Z7640, Z7759, Z7771, Z7767, Z7640, Z7803, Z9574

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.


    Rob

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    Default Re: Did these Blenheim IVs have the 2-gun turret?

    It was common in 1941 for UK-based Blenheim Mk.IVs (and probably Desert ones too) to have two guns in the earlier turret. I would expect this to have been standard throughout the operational units by mid-1942, but am not familiar with photos of Indian-based aircraft of this period. If however you mean the later two-gun turret as most common on Mk.IVs, then almost certainly not. (Never say never, but...)

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    Default Re: Did these Blenheim IVs have the 2-gun turret?

    Hello Graham,

    I take it from your response that twin belt-fed Brownings could be fitted in the original turret in the place of the single drum fed VGO. I hadn't realized that.

    11 Sqn was equipped with Blenheim Is and based in India when the war began, but was transferred to Egypt in May 1940 and was re-equipped with Mk IVs in January 1941. It remained in the Middle East until mid-February 1942, when it began its move to Ceylon. This being the case, would you say that it's likely (or not) that 11 Sqn's Mark IVs would have had twin Brownings by time it departed for Ceylon?

    Thanks,

    Rob

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    Default Re: Did these Blenheim IVs have the 2-gun turret?

    In my previous post re the later (last?) turret, for MK.IVs read Mk.Vs.

    I don't know of any source describing the range of Bristol turrets in any detail, but admit assuming that the single-gun turret of the Mk.1 was carried over to the Mk.IV. I recall references to two-gun turrets being the norm for operations in the second part of 1940, and would expect those delivered to Far East to be so equipped.

    There may be more in various works, listing the particular turret Mark fitted to the Mk.IV, but I suspect your best bet would be to contact the Filton Museum which holds the Bristol archives. Although presumably restricted to production fit, it would at least make clear it the Mk.IVs generally had a different turret, or if one was introduced at any time.

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    Default Re: Did these Blenheim IVs have the 2-gun turret?

    You might find the following thread on Britmodeller useful: although it deals specifically with the Beaufort there are references to the Blenheim too. https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/...omment-4409793 From what I read I suggest that the original single gun turret which was partially retractable was superseded by a later non-retractable mark of the same turret with the twin Brownings. The final (as I write) posting mentions alterations linked to the Brownings. It isn't something that has occurred to be before but I don't recall seeing a Mk.IV Blenheim with a retracted turret.

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    Default Re: Did these Blenheim IVs have the 2-gun turret?

    Graham,

    Thanks for both your responses, including the suggestion to contact the Filton Museum and the link included in your last one.

    Since my last post I have received a copy of Chaz Bower's book Bristol Blenheim. It provides a good overview of the type's history and there are good photos of the various turrets, but it doesn't say that all Mark IVs after Rxxxx, Vxxxx and Zxxxx had two-gun turrets, which would be very helpful. The info at https://wingcotomjefferson.wordpress.com/blenheim/, which I recently found, has good info on Blenheim turrets but likewise does not provide confirmation about whether 11 Sqn had turrets with one .303 Browning or with two.

    The library at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum (CASM) in Ottawa has three books on the Blenheim which may be helpful but while the museum is open to the public again the library remains closed due to Covid, so it will be a while before I can access them.

    Thanks again,

    Rob

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    Default Re: Did these Blenheim IVs have the 2-gun turret?

    Regarding the site
    Wing Commander T G 'Jeff' Jefferson, DSO AFC AE
    and its Bristol Blenheim Bomber page https://wingcotomjefferson.wordpress.com/blenheim/ in particular,
    I regret to report that several extended passages and several images on that page are directly lifted, without permission or attribution, from my own 211 Squadron work on the Blenheim, at
    http://www.211squadron.org/bristol_blenheim_i.html
    and
    http://www.211squadron.org/blenheim_armament.html

    The offending passages are in breach of my copyright and terms of use. They relate to aircraft development, the turret, and the CSBS bombsight.
    The site author/owner is not readily id'd but acknowledges his original source as LDA Russell and his boook Mast High Over Rotterdam.
    Their claims to copyright, carefully couched, are at
    https://wingcotomjefferson.wordpress.com/about/

    My site has taken many many years of my own work at my own expense, from original sources (including most welcome contributions of material from ex-members and their families).
    My copyright and conditions of use are very clearly stated here:
    http://www.211squadron.org/enquiries.html

    I shall be contacting the site owner about this breach of copyright in due course.

    As for twin-gun turrets in Mark IV Blenheims, 211 Squadron aircraft sent to the Far East in early 1942 certainly had the twin gun chin-turret, which suggests that the WOp/AGs turrret was also a twin-gun model (and confirmed by direct photographic evidence (Z7521 of WOp/AG FC Joerin).

    In the case of 11 Squadron, direct photographic evidence (WOp/AG Cameron eg) shows twin Brownings in his turret on Desert Ops in 1941 (ie before their move to Ceylon in Feb 42).

    Don Clark
    www.211squadron.org
    Last edited by Don Clark; 27th May 2022 at 22:46. Reason: Addnl, links

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