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    Default Air Gunner training WWII

    Would Bomber Command Air Gunners used in heavy bombers as Front, Mid-Upper, Ventral or Rear gun positions receive the same training at Gunnery School or would they specialise in just one of the positions? Also, when on operational squadrons would they change around or remain in same position during their tour of duty?

    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 18th March 2009 at 01:31.

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    Hi Norman,

    as far as I know from Air Gunner of 311 Sq:

    1) training was the same for all of them, position was determine at OTU but they must be able to serve as any gunner in the crew
    2) when they were flying Wellingtons, they were more or less still in the same positions, but several times they were exchaged by CO (for example most experieced AG was flying ar rear gunner with freshman crew), sometimes they change positions spontaneously (official record states that A was front AG, B was rear AG but the plane was shot down and rear AG perished but it was person A not B).
    When flying Liberators (not BC but CC), in most cases rear AG was in his turret but WOP/AG, WOM/AG and beam AGs were changing places approx. after 2 hours of flight.

    Hope this helps a little

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    I've often wondered ?
    Were rear gunners the youngest or smallest member of the crew -to fit into the space more easily ?

    At times, in my RAAF father's SAAF sqdn of Liberators, in Italy, the rear gunners seem to have been chosen for each flight or joined an established crew for a number of missions .On my father's last mission the RAF RG was aged 19.

    Anne

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    Hi Anne,

    not necessarily.
    I have an example of Sgt Valach of 311 Sq who was the tallest member of his Wellington crew, also W/O Spitz was pretty tall to get into the turret.

    On the other hand I have already posted to some thread that in period of 1941 Air Ministry requested from Czechoslovak Inspectorate General to send new adepts for AG only to some high as Botha planes used for training at the time had only very limited space for AG... So from this period there are nice photos of Wellington crew with 4 normal man + 2 two very small:-))

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    My Dad was a rear gunner in 40 Squadron RAF based in Foggia Italy in 1944. He did 33 ops with the same crew at the time he was 19. As to being the smallest, you can judge, he is on the far right in this picture

    http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y37/DiggerDan/Plane%20Crazy/DadsaircrewcentrePilot2ndLTBayleyBA.jpg

    He did his basic training at Bishops Court NI. all in Avro Anson, so basically from a dorsal turret. It was only when he got to the 76 OTU in Palestine, that someone made the decision to put him in the rear of a Welington.

    After his tour he came back to the UK as a gunner instructor, this time all the training was carried out in Wellington. According to his log book the exercises were done from different positions in the Wimpy. Does anyne know what these abreviation might mean beam (i'm OK with this), G3, G4, QXU.

    One interesting entry 6th June 1945 "Ex Corkscrew G12 D.P.C.O. One member of the crew airsick" ......................... I understand that corkscrews could do that to a man .............. and not a cocktail in sight.
    Last edited by Wimpy; 18th March 2009 at 18:34.

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    Hi,

    I have not seen such abbreviation before, but they may be not official...
    I know that gunnery excercises were numbered at least in one period of WWII so maybe it means Gunnery excercise No. 3, etc.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Norman: Dennis (denonline) is the resident expert on Lancaster Archive Forum. Being a former rear gunner on Lancasters in 5-Group, he should be able to answer questions. There was a fair bit of chatter on the LAF on this and other topics pertaining to gunnery, so you should search some of your posts first, but Dennis is quite accessible and is usually quite willing to answer questions.

    Jim

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