|The Sperry ball turret was used on both the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-24 Liberator as well as the Navy's PB4Y Liberator. The B-17's Sperry was not retractable. The Liberator's ground clearance was minimal and so a hoist was required to lift the turret into the airframe. The Sperry ball turret could spin 360 degrees, making it impractical to store much ammunition outside the turret. Small ammo boxes rested on the top of the turret and the remaining ammo belts were stowed in the already cramped turret by means of an elaborate feed chute system. Click on the graphic below to see this in more detail.|
The January 24th, 1944 issue of Life magazine featured the Sperry ball turret in an article on the emerging technology of computing sights.
A WW2 era Kelvinator ad
Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
by Randall Jarrell
From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.