B 17G gun sights


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longspurr
July 13, 2009, 12:12 AM
I did a walkthrough of the Yankee Lady today, a B 17G. I was surprised by several things.

The waist gunners had optical-heads up sights. Does anyone know about them? Are they like our modern Red dot sights? They had adjustments for altitude, was this to compensate for bullet drop at lesser air density?
The linked ammo was in WOODEN boxes. There was a mix of wood and metal boxes connected to the flex ammo feed devices.

Several of the gunners had the body of the 50 cal right beside them. The barrels stuck out with the muzzles only 2+ feet in front of their face!! I know they were wearing flying headsets over their ears but that must have been incredibly noisy!!

The side of the plane said crew weight was 1200 lbs, This is for 10 guys. They sure were not modern feed high school kids. I think today you would be hard pressed to round up 10 guys in high school that together only weighed 1200 lbs.

I asked about the flying speed, reply 160 knots cruising speed. This is for a 1944/45 series 4 engine bomber. My how things have changed.

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Dr.Rob
July 13, 2009, 12:24 AM
Did the sights look like this? This is from Aluminum Overcast, also a B-17G.

paintballdude902
July 13, 2009, 12:41 AM
can anyone explane to me how the flex ammo feeders work?

Avenger29
July 13, 2009, 01:09 AM
The side of the plane said crew weight was 1200 lbs, This is for 10 guys. They sure were not modern feed high school kids. I think today you would be hard pressed to round up 10 guys in high school that together only weighed 1200 lbs.

Keep in mind listed weights and actual weights can be two very different things.


Several of the gunners had the body of the 50 cal right beside them. The barrels stuck out with the muzzles only 2+ feet in front of their face!! I know they were wearing flying headsets over their ears – but that must have been incredibly noisy!!

Not just noisy. Very, very cold. Cold to the point where the guns stopped working.

The gunsight is a "deflection" gunsight. Read more about it here (http://books.google.com/books?id=AC1GlWYTe3EC&pg=RA1-PA261&lpg=RA1-PA261&dq=K-13+waist+gunsight&source=bl&ots=JbaXj_XbCF&sig=yTBGai9aAdWLIKmFMJKpK_N-QXI&hl=en&ei=KLNaSqOYO8-ntgf_6ZCaCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6)

You set the altitude and true airspeed, and it compensated for the speed of the bomber.

I think that those came along later in the war.

Trebor
July 13, 2009, 05:37 AM
The "Yankee Lady" has reflector gunsights set up at the waist gun positions. A reflector gunsight reflects an image of the crosshairs from the base of the unit where the electronics are up 90 degress onto a think sheet of plexiglass. The sight works so that you must have your head lined up in the right place in order to see the crosshairs. If your head is too far off to either side, you won't see the crosshairs at all, and you know that you need to move your head. When your head is in the right place, not only can you see the sight, but you know that you are properly boresighted for that sight.

The advantage is that this eliminates the need for a "ring and bead" type front and rear sight. The reflector sight allows the shooter to sight using just one focal plane, which is *much* easier.

The "computing" aspect of this particular sight is a separate consideration from the reflector aspect. Not all reflector gunsights had computing capabilities. The reflector gunsight came first (as early as WWI), and the computing capabilities were developed very much later.

Btw, a more common use of reflector gunsights was as the standard gunsight for fighter planes. The waist gun sights are a bit different technically, but it's the same basic technology. Reflector sights didn't start to be used in waist gun positions until late in the war and the computing reflector sights were even later yet.

John Parker
July 13, 2009, 07:25 PM
can anyone explane to me how the flex ammo feeders work?

They just provide a stable feedway for the belts to run from the ammo box to the gun. Nothing complicated about them. Keeps belts feeding in correctly and prevents the rounds from getting hung up on protrusions inside the fuselage.

slzy
July 14, 2009, 01:40 AM
i have heard it was difficult to hit anything from a waist gun position compared to a powered turret.

no surprise,though.

paintballdude902
July 14, 2009, 01:53 AM
thanks john i assumed it actually moved the ammo but from what you say its just a flexible housing k thanks alot

longspurr
July 14, 2009, 09:17 PM
From the cramped positions & being between the guns in some stations I would think tracking a fast moving target would be difficult. I wonder if they depended on the tracers as much as the sights?

From the waist gunners position it looks like they would need stops - or the gun could make holes in the back edge of the wing and the front edge of the tail on their side!!

One of the guys was talking about joining up into groups of 3, then 4 of these groups joining into a group of 12 bombers. I wonder how many planes got hit with "Friendly Fire" from other bombers trying to shoot at the German fighters.

I haven't heard of it but I wonder how many flight suits got dampened, on a planes first serious scrap with German fighters

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