It wasn't until I was about 9-years-old that I realized the impossibility. The Sperry ball turret was very small[clarification needed] in order to reduce drag, and was typically operated by the smallest man of the crew. Over twelve thousand B-17s were built by Boeing. Veering off course, heading for Sweden, I watched as it was blown up. In the tulips were spelled out the words, "Thank you Yanks. I found this: black 'B' in a white triangle underneath 'Yellow 231613' under that Yellow 'N'. "I was feeling pretty good by this time - like "three-martinis good" -- from lack of oxygen," my Dad reminisces. There was no room inside for a parachute, which was left in the cabin above the turret. A shadow box belonging to Luis Perrone, a B-17 ball turret gunner with the 533rd Bomb Squadron during World War II, at his home in Edgewater, Maryland. He felt a need to enlist in the Army and defend his country. Ball turret gunner was killed due to belly landing. It served a double purpose, defense against bow attacks as well as fire suppression and offensive strafing in antisubmarine warfare. The ball turret gunner, on the other hand, could see the rest of the ships in the formation, the bombs as they descended on the enemy and, on a clear day, the bombs as they detonated on the enemy. "I flew my first mission on a B-17 as a ball turret gunner with the 8th Air Force at the age of 21," he tells me while driving me to school one morning. Thirty-five hundred were shot down over Europe. 66 years after the crash he still remembers his part of World War II. The Sperry nose turret was tested and preferred, but its use was limited due to poor availability of suitable aircraft designs. My Dad relates, "I saw one of our planes -- right next to me -- shot down. The ventral turret was used in tandem in the Convair B-32, successor to the B-24. "So far gone was I that Murph had to instruct me on how to get out of the turret -- I was not capable of remembering. A ball turret was a spherical-shaped, altazimuth mount gun turret, fitted to some American-built aircraft during World War II. The formation would be maintained on the way over, during the raid, and on the entire way home. He would put on a safety strap and close and lock the turret door. Life expectancy of something like 4 missions and a good number of those were because they couldn't get out of the ball and were crushed when the rest of their crew made an emergency landing. The ball turret gunner was usually the shortest crewmember. Originating from air bases in England, the B-17s left to attack enemy targets in broad daylight because The Air Force believed in precision bombing -- bombing to hit a specific target. The design was mainly deployed on the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-24 Liberator, as well as the United States Navy's Liberator, the PB4Y-1. Jarrell, who served in the Army Air Forces, provided the following explanatory note: . The Ball Turret Gunner from B17 42-31377 Pot O´Gold crashed on 22 FEB 1944, tells in BALL TURRET about his job. Ball Turret Gunners on B-17 bombers were protected only by a glass bubble jutting out from the bowels of the plane. This was only possible to accomplish in daylight. Nothing my father had related to us over the years prepared us for the terrifying reality of his position. In many cases, when a stoppage occurred, it was necessary for the gunner to "reload" the gun, which required access to the firing chamber of the guns. It lost two engines and couldn't keep up. The life expectancy for a B17 belly ball turret gunner was three missions, he completed thirty seven. It was a manned turret, as distinct from remote-controlled turrets also in use. A merica joined Britain's strategic air campaign designed to destroy Nazi Germany's industrial capacity soon after her entrance into World War Two. Milton Miller, 87, of Amherst, recalls a soldier’s life expectancy being “probably 3 minutes” while on patrol after invasion of Anzio. Sperry and Emerson Electric each developed a ball turret, and the designs were similar in the nose turret version. The silent wing warriors.". To enter the turret, the turret was moved until the guns were pointed straight down. Randall Jarrell - 1914-1965. Flight suits were heated and insulated but the crew often reported icicles on their eyebrows and frostbite around their mouths. Wilbur Richardson, B-17 ball turret gunner and CAF Southern California Wing member, said only a few gunners were trapped like in Rooney’s story. A few gunners wore a chest parachute. Launching Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortresses" and Consolidated B-24 "Liberators" from bases in England's eastern countryside, the Americans bombed their targets during the day while the British attacked at night. He says “in its belly” talking about the ball turret. Camps. 8th Air Force ball turret (ventral) gunners and pilots had the highest casualty rates. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. Permanently fixed and unable to be retracted, there was no hiding from enemy attack. The first gunner in any position to spot an enemy plane alerted the rest of the crew via the plane's intercom system. Ball turrets appeared in the nose and tail as well as the nose of the final series B-24.