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Thread: B-24 WW2

  1. #21
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    My short of stature uncle was a belly ball turret gunner in a 24. Never got to talk much with him about it, but when he passed away a picture of him and his crew came to the family. I could enlarge the pic and make out bullet and schrapnel holes in the 24G in the background. That reminds me, got to get a pic of him up on the WWII Memorial. Grandma had a 50cal round in her knicknack cabinet that he'd brought home from gunnery school. Sat there for over 60 years until I pulled it down about 15yrs ago. It was live, but the powder had deteriorated. I still have the SL43 case and bullet.
    "I have sworn upon the Altar of God, eternity hostility upon all forms of tyranny over the minds of man." - Thomas Jefferson

  2. #22
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    Default B-24 ball turret gunner

    I have a little old short round guy 91-92 in my practice, 3 fingers off from JAP flak, he was a ball turret gunner in the 5th AF group that had all the gaudily marked ones like Dragon and his Tail and Cocktail Hour. Pretty quickly they pulled the ball turrets out and went to a field expedient free mount shooting through the hole where the ball turret had been... this little man is still a ball of energy!!!

    back the B-36... a lot of retired Convair-GD-Lockheed and USAF people here in Fort Worth poured their hearts out on the plane's restoration. A retired Colonel, George Savage, who recently died, did a lot of that work especially the flight engineer's panel.
    Last edited by Griff Murphey; 06-26-2013 at 08:21.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Griff Murphey View Post

    back the B-36... a lot of retired Convair-GD-Lockheed and USAF people here in Fort Worth poured their hearts out on the plane's restoration. A retired Colonel, George Savage, who recently died, did a lot of that work especially the flight engineer's panel.
    Know that this guy sat in the chair, and appreciated every moment to be one of the few guys that can say they were INSIDE a B-36.

    It was a treat, and now the windows have been painted blue to protect the inside.


  4. #24
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    Regarding the B-36. The NMUSAF has abandoned efforts to restore the single surviving XC-99 derived from the B-36. After several years of trying, the Restoration staff finally had to admit that the airframe was simply too far gone to restore. The chunks (which are all over the Museum restoration shop and the surrounding storage lot like a bad rash!) are to be removed to a "desert storage facility" (read that as Davis-Monthan!) for storage. Maybe sometime in the future, the project can be re-attempted, but for now, the airframe is beyond economical repair.

    Having seen the remains of the XC-99,,,,I'm actually surprised it took the Museum this long to back away from the restoration! Like the B-36, the XC-99 had a magnesium alloy skin that was prone to oxidation embrittlement and Galvanic corrosion with other parts of the airframe. Cracks in the skin of the wings were visible from the facility parking lot! Even when it was still an active project, they were going to have to COMPLETELY re-skin the airframe in aluminum.....a monumental job that would require decades of work and millions of dollars!

  5. #25
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    Growing up we lived in the projects at Willow Run MI a few years. This was the Ford plant that built B-24s, one per hour under one big roof, like an auto assembly line. First stretch there was 1946-8, I was just a wee thing, then 1951-54. By then Henry kaiser had taken over the plant and was making Kaisers, Frazers and Henry Js there, plus the C-119 "Flying Boxcar." My mother was a keypunch operator there during those years.

    "Willow Village" was a huge sprawling mess of a planned community built by the Army, barracks-like housing units, schools, a community center, etc. for about 15,000 people. It went up in less than a year and it's all gone now. Google earth, I can see a big scorch mark where my school used to be!

    There was a lot of politics going on: the established aircraft companies did NOT want Kaiser involved in building 'planes! And they managed to knock him out of the business, too. Kaiser lost the aircraft contract and that in turn knocked them out of the car business. Mom got laid off, dad got a job in Ohio and we left town.

    jn

  6. #26
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    No, the fact that Kaiser was producing $hit no one wanted to buy got them out of the car business.....though they continued to own Jeep until AMC bought it in 1970! FWIW: While Kaiser couldn't compete in the US auto market.....they DID do fairly well in other contries! Kaiser shipped all the Kaiser-Willys auto production equipment and dies to Argentina, where they operated a joint-venture with the Argentine government that stayed in operation until 1977 when they sold it to Renault.

  7. #27
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    My cousin survided 23 missions in one (B-24), as top turrent gunner, not allot of fighter opposition but the ack-ack was still heavy at that time. McGovern (the recently deceased politician) was a pilot in one for 35 missions. He was rated as one of the best and said the plane was very air worthy, he liked it very much.
    Last edited by dave; 06-27-2013 at 09:38.

  8. #28
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    I was priviliged to fly in "Witchcraft" a Collins Foundation B24 a few years ago and my impression was, (I am 6'5" 250 lbs) the inside of the plane was designed for a crew with no larger than a 32" waist and 5'6" tall. Walking through the bomb bay on the catwalk was VERY tight.

  9. #29
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    As a couple others have pointed out, we don't have the manufacturing capacity. It would be pretty tough (impossible) for the US to build 200,000 planes in 4 years, for instance. The entire manufacturing branch of our economy is hollowed out. For instance, every one of those 'planes had subframes welded up from chrome-moly tubing. last I checked, Plymouth Tubing was the only manufacturer left of milspec cro-mo tubing.

    I use a lot of the stuff, and most of what I'm getting comes from China.

    That is just one example. Looking back, Willow Run seems like it was another age in history to me. You can travel the legnth and width of this country and what you see is the ruins of that lost civilization.

    jn

  10. #30
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    Listening to you guys is like listening to a bunch of old horse cavalrymen looking at a tank and lamenting the demise of the horse as a combat tool! No, you will never see the US (or anyone else!) cranking out thousands of aircraft to drop hundreds of bombs on a city! Back then, we were sending hundreds of aircraft, killing thousands of brave young men to destroy a target that could be completely negated by the precise placement of a single aircraft's bomb load......a shotgun approach that was as crude as it was inefficient. Today, one aircraft dropping PGW ordnance can do the job far more effectively than 500 bombers of yore!

    As for the rest.....where you see a "lost civilization", I see the rotting carcasses of dinosaurs that out-lived their time! Modern manufacturing is defined by flexibility and effeciency. Where a huge assembly line and thousands of people were required, you can now do the same job in 1/10th the space with a handful of people required. The new Toledo Jeep plant is a classic example! It has 1/4 of the floor-space that the old plat did.....and has a manufacuring capacity 3 times greater than the old joint.Where there used to be lines of jigs and people at the old plant, there is now a single line of robots that can assemble ANY chassis with parts that will fit in the handlers. Where it took hundreds of man-hours and massive investment in tooling to change in an even minor way what was being manufactured can now be done with a single key-stroke 1000 miles away in 15 seconds. I'm sorry that this means that a semi-literate high school drop-out can no longer make more money than a college professor shoving "...washers into shock exorbers" at Ford....but the stuff is still being made

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