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Flying Fortress Dorsal Flexible Single Gun Position

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  • Member since
    November 2016
Flying Fortress Dorsal Flexible Single Gun Position
Posted by Kilo 66 on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 1:27 PM

 Good day, gentlemen (and, hopefully, some ladies). I'm inquiring on behalf of two amigos, one building an in-flight rendition of the 1/32 styrene B-17 E/F kit with the crew at their battle stations, the other scratch constructing a 1/12 RC Fort which he wants to double as an accurate static display when it's not mission ready.

 As to the area in question, this I know: on E, F, and early G models, the large egg-shaped plexi cover over the radio room had to be removed to allow the gun mount to be slid into position. I have been able to find many good reference photos of both types of gun mount, both stowed and in firing position, but have thrown Snake Eyes when it comes to answering the question, "WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PLEXI COVER ONCE IT WAS DETACHED?" Given the size and weight of the thing, it would make sense to have had it drop down a couple inches and slide forward to a stowed position. However, I can't see how that could happen without colliding with the life raft panel release handles, the gun mount, or both. Did the radio operator/gunner have to wrestle the thing down into his little compartment and strap it somewhere? I have a mental picture of the cover being grabbed from his cold-numbed hands by the slipstream and sent hurtling through the formation like a huge plexiglass projectile. Most importantly of all, can anyone post pictures (or a link to pictures) of the cover in its stowed position? Illustrations from relevant AAF manuals would be a real God-send.

 Any assistance at all would be greatly appreciated.

  • Member since
    May 2011
  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 5:09 PM

The roof glass might have slid forward, inside the fuselage.  I had a look at the Evergreen Museum's B-17, and while standing in the radio operator's compartment, I noticed there was a space above the bomb bay formed by the upper skin of the fuselage and the cabin top.  It looked big enough to slide that big piece of glass into.

“Ya ya ya, unicorn papoi!”

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 5:49 PM

The earlier hatch was divided into three roughly equal parts. All of the views I can find from below show the thing open with the rear edge of the opening  having a rounded shape. I also found a photo of the flex gun mount, which was a ring supported at each side. It slid rearwards so the gun cound then tilt up and swivel left/ right and up/ down.

There's no indication of the edge of the opening section. I also think it probably slid forward under the rest of the clear hatch sections. Forward of that is a solid section of skin with a wind deflector on it. Forward of that the fixed glazing over the desk.

Sorry I don't know more. I also looked at some photos that make me think some of the hatches may have just been removed entirely.



 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.


  • Member since
    November 2016
Posted by Kilo 66 on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 11:55 PM
Thanks, guys. I've been searching off and on all blessed day and still don't have a definitive answer. Based on the multitude of photos of the gun mount in stowed and firing positions, and taking into account the sheer bulk of the plexi hatch cover, my best guess is that the models should reflect a procedure along these lines: 1. Slide gun mount forward into the radio cabin. 2. Unlock the four retaining latches holding the hatch cover in place. Reaching over the gun, take hold of the two horizontal grab bars attached to the underside of the hatch cover frame and secure the cover in a space just above where the gun mount was stowed. 3. Unfasten the barrel restraining strap and train the gun barrel upward in firing position. Charge the weapon. That's the best that I can conjure up and I know it's not optimum in terms of ease of operation. If anyone can show me photos or manual passages that say otherwise, I'd be glad to stand corrected...really, really glad. - Ray

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