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"The Rear Gunner" (1943)


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The sting in the tail! An Army Air Forces dramatized-documentary from 1943 showing how its Aerial Gunners gained their wings. The movie actually features a very young Ronald Reagan as a pilot and stars Burgess Meredith as "the rear gunner". It's obviously very much of its time, but extremely interesting nevertheless, particularly the scenes featuring the then state-of-the-art hardware!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKdLbEQ6Dv8

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:lol:

 

C'mon boys!

 

You too can join military aviation, expose your gun to enemy .50 cal fire and 300 mph shrapnel at 3,000 feet altitude while freezing half to death for hours inside a tiny aluminum capsule!

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A special breed, without doubt! Claustrophobics need not apply! :o

Amen to that...

 

The guys who did this simply defy any sense of self-preservation known to humanity.

 

When first I actually got to see and touch on of those turrets, it humbled me so much, to imagine those men not only entering that thing, but fighting from it at altitude... and often not coming home or in pieces.

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For sure Blue'. Here's the worst case scenario....that, and being trapped in one during a belly landing! At least it was retractable in a B-24.

post-8022-0-60136700-1361917157.jpg

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For sure Blue'. Here's the worst case scenario....that, and being trapped in one during a belly landing! At least it was retractable in a B-24.

The anguish of the pilots involved, too... at such a moment.

 

Anyone who has ever flown in a military aircraft will know what this situation means... the shear horror, the desperation, struggling with aerodynamics on touch down, knowing, knowing, knowing... hoping, praying, rushing out to see...

 

Triumph, or tragedy - equally heart wrenching.

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ww2relichunter

Great video i watched the whole thing army airforce movies always remind me of my grandfather service as a navigator and 50 cal machine gunner

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Ian thank you for finding these great videos. I had the pleasure to work with SAC bomber crews and the last bomber built by Mr. Boeing the B52h. One of the pilots I knew flew the D model BUFF, where the gunner flew in the tail position. He said it was know for the gunner to fall asleep and if they didn't check in on crew checks they would jink the nose up and down. By the time the movement was felt in the tail it was more then a jink more like a slam. It never failed to wake the sleep gunner up.

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Glad you enjoyed them. The old training films and documentaries from the 40s contain a wealth of interesting material. If you do some "deep searches" on YouTube you'll find quite a few of them here and there!

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A B-17 ball turret gunner I met a few years ago while flying in Nine-O Nine. Never got his name , I wish I did...His face says it all !!!

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