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Thread: Lancaster nose turret usefulness?

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Lancaster nose turret usefulness?

    I was recently looking at pics of that ball turret and was surprised at how limited the view out seemed to have been when you allow for the solid panels and framing, all the gubbins inside, and the fact that the gunner was on his back with his legs scrunched up.
    May have been ok in broad daylight when you could see ‘em coming from miles away, but not so useful at night. Maybe that’s why 214 did away with them!

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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?

    The dambuster attack was most likely the best use of the front turret, using tracer rounds to knock out and demoralise the flak guns and crews !

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    Default Re: Lancaster nose turret usefulness?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marks View Post
    The dambuster attack was most likely the best use of the front turret, using tracer rounds to knock out and demoralise the flak guns and crews !
    I suspect that teenage flak gunners experiencing incoming machinegun fire for the first time that is very true.

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Lancaster nose turret usefulness?

    There were several attempts to provide ventral gun positions for RAF bombers, notable the early Stirlings and Halifaxes. They were however removed as being not worth the weight and drag penalties, not least because of the visibility problems. This didn't stop at least one early Halifax unit providing their own undergun position with an extra gunner, but this was not widely adopted nor perhaps persevered with. Later in the war the Preston Green ventral gun blister was commonly fitted, especially it seems by the RCAF, with a 0.5 gun. This was required to be removed because the space and weight was required by the H2S radar, which overall would seem to have been more effective.

    Late in the war Stirlings were again operating with a ventral turret, one such being encountered by night-fighter ace Johnen and described in his autobiography. Presumably these examples were 100 Group, as the Stirling had been retired from the Main Force by then, and thus not requiring H2S.

    The introduction of the upward-firing Shrage Musik would seem to have justified the return of some kind of ventral defence, or at least observation, but this threat does not seem to have been recognized and, in fairness, appears to have been been largely restricted to a few more successful German pilots who had already proven themselves perfectly capable of shooting down RAF bombers by more conventional means.

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