The waist position usually had one dedicated gunner. The radio man, when available, was the second gunner. The earlier guns used open iron sights, but as wartime technology improved, reflector sights, and then compensating reflector sights, were added. The turrets either ejected the spent shells into a holding bin, or through a chute and out of the aircraft. The spent shells from the waist guns simply dropped at the feet of the gunners creating a difficult place to work. Sometimes a shovel was used to clear a place to stand.

The waist gunners had the unfortunate distinction of being in the most dangerous spot on the plane. In the photo below, left, you can see armor plates hanging beneath the rear of each gun.


B-17 gunner tries to maintain his footing amidst a growing pile of spent cartridges. The adapter is a Mark 6.

Gunners on a B-17 worked in tight quarters.

Looking through the sights of a
B-24 waist .50.

B-24 gunner with Browning on early adapter.

Cramped quarters in a B-24
The Navy used tear drop turrets on both bombers and flying boats.

A Navy gunner placing a .30 caliber
ANM2 in a swivel mount.

Navy Privateer bomber.


Catalinas being assembled at a Consolidated plant.


Above: Navy Catalina. A small greenhouse housed the the bow gun.

Right: Privateer gun blister. JATO bottles at bottom added thrust for a heavily loaded aircraft.
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