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Thread: Lancaster nose turret usefulness?

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  1. #1
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    Default Lancaster nose turret usefulness?

    Partly triggered by images of ‘suppressing fire’ back at the defenders on the dams 80 years ago tonight, just wondering if there were any recorded cases of an enemy a/c being shot down by a nose turret gunner? Just asking as I can’t recall ever coming across references to these guns firing in anger let alone hitting anything.
    Last edited by ianh; 17th May 2023 at 21:38.

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    Default Re: Lancaster nose turret usefulness?

    Wasn't the nose gun of the Halifax removed on some squadrons at one point as it was found to be surplus to requirements?

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    Default Re: Lancaster nose turret usefulness?

    It was not normally a Squadron Modification Greg.
    The Halifax nose turret was originally removed for Weight + Drag reduction to improve the bombing height capabilities of the Merlin Engined Halifax ( the thus modified A/C suffixed 'Special' ) and later became the normal build standard for most Halibags,I always puzzled why a similar mod was not carried out on main force Lancasters.
    Last edited by bvs; 17th May 2023 at 07:22.

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    Default Re: Lancaster nose turret usefulness?

    Hi Ian,

    I have a report from Bob Rennick RAAF who was Co-Pilot on a 10 OTU Whitney on loan to Coastal Command in June 1943 they attacked U564 & U185 in the Bay of Biscay. Bob manned the front Lewis gun but only got off about 30 rounds before the gun jammed for good. They straddled U564 with bombs which sank. They were also hit by Flak and crashed landed in the sea and ended up pow’s for the rest of the war.

    Cheers,

    John.

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    Default Re: Lancaster nose turret usefulness?

    I have a record of at least three 630 Sqdn combats (crews of Sam Weller DFC on 29 April 1944, Don Paterson DFC RCAF on 1 Jan 1944 and Eugene Mitchell on 14/15 Jun 1944) which record the initial strikes being scored on an attacking night fighter from the nose turret and followed up by either mid upper and or rear gunners or vice versa.

    https://630squadron.wordpress.com/20...944-april-1944


    https://630squadron.wordpress.com/20...-january-1944/

    https://630squadron.wordpress.com/20...944-june-1944/


    cheers
    PeteS
    Last edited by PeteS; 17th May 2023 at 10:19. Reason: links to narrative of combats

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    Default Re: Lancaster nose turret usefulness?

    And I just found another two for 630 Squadron, again the crew of Eugene Mitchell DFC - his bomb aimer Ernie Roddis, this time 12/13 Aug 1944. They did have a very eventful tour.

    https://630squadron.wordpress.com/20...4-august-1944/

    and the final one 8/9 Feb 1945 (Albert MacLean's crew)

    https://630squadron.wordpress.com/20...february-1945/


    On this basis I'd say that the turret was useful

    cheers
    PeteS
    https://630squadron.wordpress.com/
    Last edited by PeteS; 17th May 2023 at 10:27. Reason: added links

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    Default Re: Lancaster nose turret usefulness?

    The Halifax (eventually) replaced the nose turret with a low-drag nose containing a single hand-held gun. This would seem to have been a superior solution. Jean Calmel's book of the French Halifaxes does include one example of the nose gun claiming one attacker. Presumably he was including both French units in this solitary claim. That would still leave a large number of other Halifax units which might have added to the total.

    Given the low number of claims, and the rarity of night-fighter attacks from the front, carrying the nose turret does seem to have been an unnecessary penalty. It does however retain the potential of changing to daylight attacks, though from the stories told of such late-war missions the RAF would have benefitted from more emphasis on close formation flying and longer-range guns. Another story, however.
    Last edited by Graham Boak; 17th May 2023 at 13:15.

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    Default Re: Lancaster nose turret usefulness?

    Hi Ian,

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...upplement/2622

    Flying Officer John Ronald DREWERY (Can/J.38817),R.C.A.F., 101 Sqn

    Flying Officer Drewery has participated in many sorties as an air bomber and has at all times displayed a high standard of ability and determination. One night in February 1945 he was detailed to take part in an attack against Pforzheim. When over the target area, an enemy fighter was sighted. Flying Officer Drewery promptly manned the front gun turret, gave his pilot the necessary combat manoeuvre, and then opened fire. His bullets struck the enemy aircraft which caught fire, dived towards the ground where it exploded on impact. By his vigilance, promptitude and good shooting, this officer contributed in good measure to the safety of his aircraft. Flying Officer Drewery is a most devoted and fearless member of aircraft crew.
    Regards,

    Dave

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    Default Re: Lancaster nose turret usefulness?

    Hi Dave! And others.
    Thanks for these. So a few cases out there then.
    And 630 Sqn clearly being the Nose Turret Hotshots!
    Maybe still only marginally beneficial though.
    Cheers
    Ian

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    Default Re: Lancaster nose turret usefulness?

    I believe a turret underneath would have been the most use as night fighters were apt to attack from below.

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