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World War II question, for other buffs?


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InternetTough

The B-17, Lancaster, or B-24 gunners might not have that often hit the fighter planes that were attacking them, but that didn't mean that they were doing nothing. I remember seeing a video of one Adolf Galland describing what it was like to attack a "box" (group) of allied heavy bombers with a Messerschmidt---he said that you had to close to within a couple of hundred meters to get a good chance of a kill, but that up to 50 heavy machine guns could be trying to shoot you down at the same time. He said that the last bit he might close his eyes while accelerating closer before firing!

 

He shot down a bunch of bombers just the same.

 

But I bet a lot of fighter pilots had their aim thrown off a bit more.

 

 

In Berlin, they had a huge concrete and steel tower called "The Flak Tower". On it were several anti-aircraft guns. After the war, the British decided to blow it up. They had their expert demolition teams place charges throughout it. They called a bunch of reporters over to witness the great event. They set off the charges---and the tower disappeared in a cloud of smoke. Then---it re-appeared after the smoke cleared away. It looked undamaged. One reporter commented, "Made in Germany!"

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Thought any of you that had not seen this would appreciate it  

Thought some of you might like this a couple of minutes on what it was to look out a norden bomb sight  

I think they stuck to whatever the set target was.   

liquido

Thought some of you might like this a couple of minutes on what it was to look out a norden bomb sight

 

That is soooo coool...

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Dublin boy

Amazing and so proud of those men who gave the ultimate for our freedom. Now look at us, kids with no comprehension of what these men gave for our freedom. My son will grow up to respect history and it's sacrifices for me and him. God bless them guys and thank you

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CardiacKid

The casualties of those air crews was staggering. If memory is correct the losses were about 50% or more of the men that climbed into those aircraft were killed. Their casualty rate was one of the highest of the war. 

The 8th Air Force lost more `men over Europe  than the USMC did in the Pacific in WW2

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Wow----- I just tried to select quote and full quote you Paul and it wouldn't work

 

The 12 o-clock high series was one of my favorites as a kid and every so often they still run a few on late night TV

 

Another favorite was Rat patrol

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Paul

Wow----- I just tried to select quote and full quote you Paul and it wouldn't work

 

The 12 o-clock high series was one of my favorites as a kid and every so often they still run a few on late night TV

 

Another favorite was Rat patrol

 

BossHog, I believe it was, watched the series recently. It prompted me to watch it. (All three seasons are on Youtube.) I haven't seen the Rat Patrol in some time. But, I like it a lot as well. Any WW2 movies / series, actually, I am happy watching. 

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colemanlee

There is tons of stuff on you tube....watching red tails again right now....just got through watching Mosquito Bomber...If you get Vettle it has a couple of war movie channels....

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cybersquat

When B-17s, and other ships, were on bomb runs, would they attempt to bomb the anti-aircraft guns - which I assume, quite often to be German 88s, as well as the designated target? Or, would they mostly just fly through the flack to try to make it to the targeted areas?

 

Given the accuracy of B-17's and B-24's (even with the Norden bombsight), the strategy was "area bombing" with the lead bombardier fixing on a specific location with nearby bombers releasing at the same time. There are many different WWII reports on bombing accuracy with one (I found) stating that only 7% of bombs hit within 1000 ft of intended target. I find it hard to believe that specific targets (such as AAA) could be targeted, because of this lack of accuracy. 

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Paul

 

 

It may look good in the movies seeing all those bullets flying around, but the cold hard facts are that less than 1 in 1,000 bullets ever hit anything,  less than 1 in 10,000 ever hit an enemy plane.    And a typical shell load was 2,500 to 5,000 bullets so the average bomber during its ten missions only hit an enemy plane with 3 bullets.

 

I've been thinking about this, what Art (Bill) posted, regarding actual hits on enemy planes, by the gunners on the Forts.

 

Now, I am assuming the 50 calibre guns they had on the forts were M2s? If so, let's just say, conservatively, they could fire 500 rounds per minute. There would be a hell of a lot more than 1 bullet in every 1,000 to make contact. I just do not buy those statistics. 

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colemanlee

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M2_Browning

 

Turret-mount or flexible-mounted defensive armament, again only with the AN/M2 light-barrel version, in World War II-era bombers such as the B-17 Flying Fortress, and B-24 Liberator.

 

The M2 has varying cyclic rates of fire, depending on the model. The M2HB (heavy barrel) air-cooled ground gun has a cyclical rate of 450-575 rounds per minute.[20] The early M2 water-cooled AA guns had a cyclical rate of around 450–600 rpm.[21] The AN/M2 aircraft gun has a cyclic rate of 750–850 rpm; this increases to 1,200 rpm or more for AN/M3 aircraft guns fitted with electric or mechanical feed boost mechanisms.[5] These maximum rates of fire are generally not achieved in use, as sustained fire at that rate will wear out the bore within a few thousand rounds, necessitating replacement. In addition to full automatic, the M2HB can be selected to fire single-shots or at less than 40 rounds per minute, or rapid fire for more than 40 rounds per minute. Slow and rapid firing modes use 5-7 round bursts with different lengths of pause between bursts.[22]

 

 

I also found this...

During the Schweifurt-Ragensburd mission on 17 August 1943 the B-17 gunners shot-down about 18 single-engined Luftwaffe fighters but the gunners made claims (which were accepted at the time) for 288 definitely destroyed, 81 probably destroyed and 103 damaged, and these are only the claims made by gunners that returned from the mission.

The escorting P-47 fighters shot-down about 13 single-engined fighters compared to the 20 claims made at the time.

Against this 60 B-17 bombers were lost; about 50 of them to enemy fighter attack.

 

 

There really does not seem to be any definitive stats I could find but I will keep looking

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My friends father (who is still alive) was a tail gunner (in the glass bubble) and he told us that they trained him on a skeet range to learn to lead the fighters. He is in his 90's and still as sharp as a tack but his body is giving out.

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Cipro

The only fighter capable of escorting the bombers all the way in WW2 was the Mustang when it came on line....Ive studied the fighters a fair amount and never could understand why not the P38 as it had a fairly long range also....it could be that the Brits, had a non supercharged version that really sucked, no altitude capability...but the American version would fly higher than the bombers...and as much as I have looked I cant find the answer, maybe somebody here will have that piece of knowledge....

But as it worked out, the P51 was the first fighter that could escort the Bombers all the way to Germany...

 

To answer your other question, when the B17 was introduced it was believed that the armament it carried would protect it from the fighters..that proved to be not true...hence the 8th Airforce changed its tactics and started the close formations we see in the movies..it was believed that by flying close formation the circle of fire would protect the formations...which worked better but still not enough...there is a huge amount of information on You Tube concerning the bombers, the tactics, and the fighters....giving both the good ideas and the mistakes made

 

The P-38 was really loved in the Pacific where, if you had a mechanical issue, a P-51 pilot would be swimming with sharks while the P-38 limped home. When you're flying over France it's probably not as big a deal. 

 

I love the P-38, FWIW. I love the P-51 too, but it's not my favorite. 

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