Turret Failure

Discussion in 'Heavy & Very Heavy Bombers' started by peterDuck, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. peterDuck

    peterDuck Member

    This photo is causing some bewilderment. The photo is dated 16 Aug 44 and has the caption 'Turret Failure'. It is also thought to be related to the 467th BG. I'd like to credit Brendan Wood who posted it in the 467th BG Facebook Group.

    Here's some background:

    • The 467th BG did fly a mission on 16 Aug 44. One B24 was lost and sadly all 10 crewmen were lost. No other men or aircraft were lost on this mission.

    • There was a practice mission also flown 16 Aug 44. One aircraft had a mechanical failure when the trigger switch on the top turret "fused" causing the turret to rotate out of control. While the gunner was able to eventually prevent the gun from firing, another ship was hit, broke up and crashed into the North Sea. Sadly, only 5 of the 11 on board were rescued.

    • Missions flown on the previous 6 days had only one day where a ship was lost. Sadly, 8 of the 10 men were lost in that incident.

    • No other incidences are known to have been reported during that time frame.

    The turret involved in the incident on the practice mission was a top turret. This pictured is definitely the tail turret (or at least where the tail turret used to be). I'm fairly confident this aircraft was not involved in that incident. Also,I don't believe the date of the photo necessarily means the date of the incident. I believe the date is the date the photo was taken (although I can definitely be wrong on that one).

    The comment "Turret Failure" is a bit puzzling considering the amount of damage visible. The amount of damage would indicate that the tail turret "sheared" off (if this is not battle related). That's one heck of a turret failure. I would think there'd be a report of this "somewhere". Especially if a tail turret failure caused it to "shear" from the ship. So far, there's been nothing found that relates to such an incident.

    I read through a report by Joseph Femme (Project Engineer from Consolidated for the B24), that he wrote on 1 Dec 44, after spending time in England attaining "operating data of the B24 in combat". While much attention was given to the nose turret in the report, the only mention of the tail turret was: 1) in an effort to "shed" weight - reduce the thickness of the glass and armor, 2) optimal conditions for firing azimuth and "comfort and warmth" considerations, 3) Booster motor "to weak to pull ammunition from lower box". I'm pretty confident if there were critical failures (even just one for that matter) of tail turret structures it would have ended up in that report.

    First question, has anyone ever heard of the tail turret failing to the point where it "sheared" of the aircraft?

    Next, this might not be a 467th B24. Perhaps it is a B24 from another Bomb Group that landed at Rackheath. Does anyone know of an incident, such as described, with a B24 from another Group of the 2nd Air Division?
    Airwar likes this.

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