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Dean_EGTC

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Donny AKA ShalomarFly 2 ROCKS!!!Just to add a detail to a magnificent story: Percentagewise, those that carried the bombs suffered more casualties than those who carried rifles. There is a reason for the 30 mision limit, and the 100 in Vietnam.Merry Christmas and a Survivable New Year:-beerchug

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FANTASTIC!!!! you LUCKY DAWG!!!!!!I got a chance back last year to be at KFTY one saturday morning when the B-17 Fuddy Duddy came in. I got to climb all over her inside and out. You really get a sense of how tight these airplanes are for 11 crewmen. Did you notice that the dorsal turret gunner stands in the cockpit right behind the 2 pilots? You think its loud with the engines right by your ears...think of it with another guy firing twin 50 caliber MG's right behind your head!!!The other thing is how tight the flight deck is. Think about being in full parachute rig etc. If that plane gets hit, extremely difficult to think about how some of these guys could get out of the airplane.You really got a fantastic opportunity. Shoulda wedged the kid into the ball turret. Now that would have been an experience.Nice legs by the way...Eric

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Hee hee, we thought about the ball, but they had it locked shut. Right now its not functional but I believe they are working on that. FAA might have a tough time biting off on someone in there.Hornit

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Awesome stuff, Hornit.I was at Martin State Airport up in Baltimore several years ago when the Collings Foundation had their B-17 "Nine-O-Nine" and their B-24 up there. Along that day was a friend-of-a-friend that flew 24 missions out of Italy on B-24s, with the Fifteenth Air Force. He was a bombardier, and had a great time showing us around both planes. Well, this gentleman's daughter was there, and as he showed off the Liberator inside-and-out, you could see the shock and awe grow on her face. She had no idea just what her father had faced in 1944 and 1945. Little-known fact on B-24Js: The nose gunner was basically locked into that cramped turret in the front, above the bombardier's sighting window. The door was closed behind him and he couldn't turn around to get out. In event of a bailout, the bombardier had to reach up and let the gunner out, it was the only way he could escape. Bombardiers and nose gunners got to be REALLY good friends. :) We ran into a nose-gunner there and talked with him for a few minutes. The guy was 6'1". Even he couldn't figure out how he ever fit in that turret!The amazing thing is, this gentleman simply could not understand why we were so fascinated with his wartime experiences. Later he showed us a huge folder of stuff that he'd saved. Newspaper clippings, photographs, aerial battle-damage assessment photographs, "flimsies" showing times and routings for bomb runs, even an inspection card for a German fighter pilot parachute. He'd saved all that stuff for 50 years, but honestly didn't think anybody cared about it.Oh, and this guy's B-24 career ended when his plane had a bomb hang up on a bomb run. (He was very matter-of-fact about his story of standing on a 6" girder over an open bomb bay at 10,000 feet over the Adriatic, with no parachute because there wasn't room, hacking at the shackles of an armed 500-pound bomb with a fire axe.) They ran off the end of the steel-plank runway when they got home, due to flak damaging the hydraulics and brakes, and at that point the bomb shook loose and exploded under the plane. Miraculously, only one man was killed--the nose-turret gunner crushed when the B-24 flipped over. But every crewman was injured, and by the time Ray recovered the war was over.Lewis "Moose" GregoryRichmond, Virginia

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I am green with envy.... :-hah what a great experience for you.I got to check out the inside of a B-17 a few times, and I am amazed at how little space there is. I was inside one durning the summer wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I can't imagine wearing a bulky flight suit, flak jacket, helmet, and a parachute inside one of those. Truely amazing individuals....Kevin

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