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Flying a B-17 was a very risky job since they were huge, slow and therefore easy targets for enemy aircraft and anti-aircraft defences, who always marked them as primary targets.
Out of the entire crew, the most endangered were the machine gunners housed in overexposed emplacements.
One emplacement in particular carried the greatest risk.
The Position of the underbelly, ball turret gunner.
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Created by Daniel Turner (B.A. (Hons) in History, University College London)
Script: Dejan Milivojevic
Bryan ‘Lazlo’ Beauregard
Drendel, Lou, Don Greer, and Ernesteo Cumpain. Walk around Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress. Squadron/Signal Publications, 1998.
Johnsen, Frederick A. Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Specialty Press Publishers, 2001.
O’Leary, Michael. Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Osprey Aviation, 1998.
Aircrewman’s Gunnery Manual. U.S. Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 1944.