On a B-17, a ‘belly landing' with the ball turret in place tended to ‘break the airplane's back'. Click on the image for a larger picture . The ball turret was mounted underneath the aircraft and was used to defend the bomber against aircraft attacking from below. Suddenly, the Air Force wanted the short-stuff guys. THE SPERRY BALL TURRET. Ball turret gunners did not carry their chest pack chutes inside the turret with them due to cramped conditions. They were extremely exposed and vulnerable for attack. When he went back to that office in Harrisburg, PA, he was accepted as a Private in the Air Corps. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. Ball turret gunner Richard Getty checking out his turret,which he named "Ball of Fire", Sept. 1942. There are two types of guns. He was a quarter-inch under minimum height. So he hung on a bar every day, trying to stretch himself – and ate bananas to put on weight. The ball turret gunner was usually the shortest crewmember. These all refer to gun positions throughout the airplane. However, I have read accounts of some ball turret gunners as tall as 6 feet which would make for a very tight and uncomfortable ride. This page last updated December 17th, 2007 . I don't know of any height or weight restriction for ball turret gunners. The death of the ball turret gunner, written by Randall Jarrell, is about the common use of a ball turret gunner in the war. The turret mounted two Browning 50 caliber … From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. The Sperry lower ball turret was used in the Boeing B-17 Flying fortress and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator. Yes and no. His story of being a Ball Turret Gunner is right here, the same as in the pdf-file: BALL TURRET, by Lester Schrenk Dec. 2000. Most ball turret gunners were chosen because of their short height. I would imagine people who never flew combat, sometimes must be wondering what is meant when we use the terminology such as tail gun, nose gun, waist gun, top turret, etc. Serial #13047756 Scott, Cecil Harmon – Ball Turret Gunner, Asst Radio Operator. The poem elaborates on the risk of becoming a ball turret gunner. Walter was a ball-turret gunner on a B-24 bomber (the Liberator). Ball Turret gunners would sit in a tight plexi-glass circle and fire their weapon at enemy targets. The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner . Walter’s plane was on a mission to bomb a German manufacturing plant in Austria, which made Messerschmidt 109s. When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.