The Army Air Force, like all branches of the service, produced the best trained soldiers in the world. Training was long and thorough as the cadets went from base to base getting training in all aspects of the job. Most of the cadets who wanted to be pilots wanted to be fighter pilots, but the AAF needed bomber pilots too. Those who did not become pilots, bombardiers, or navigators were trained as flight engineers, radiomen, and gunners. The radioman and engineer doubled as gunners, the engineer operating the top turret and the radioman a waist gun.

My father took his gunnery training at the Laredo School for Flexible Gunnery in Laredo, Texas. Most of the photos on this page came from the Laredo Army Air Field (LAAF) school information booklet.


Field stripping the .30 caliber ANM2.


Students are timed as they strip/assemble
.50 caliber machine guns blindfolded.

At the range with .30 cals.

Sighting down an ANM2.
Now that's a stable tripod!

.50 caliber at the range.

Night shooting at the range.

Students developed their skills at hitting a moving target from a moving platform using a shotgun mounted in a modified ANM2 adapter. The truck is a Dodge WC-3 half-ton.

Classroom instruction on anticipating
an enemy's attack curve.

Consolidated tail turret.

Waist gun trainer.

A line of students practicing sighting from a moving turret. These are Martin top turret trainers without their Plexiglas bubbles.

Sperry ball turret trainer.

Nose, tail & waist position trainers.
Photo not from the Laredo training center booklet.

Tail turret trainers mounted
on trucks at the shooting range.

Students select guns for aerial
gunnery practice.

Top turret gunner during aerial exercise

Locheed fitted with a Martin top turret trainer.

Students gather for preflight instructions.

Gunners shoot at a sleeve target.
An important part of gunnery training was learning to anticipate an enemy fighter's attack curve, when to lead an incoming fighter and when to shoot behind him. The rings, or rads on the sight aided the gunner in determining where to aim. The following images are from gunnery manuals.

An interesting training tool was the BB air machine gun manufactured by the McGlashan Air Machine Gun Corporation , Long Beach, California. 1/20 scaled targets are moved at 1/20 scaled ranges and speeds. Lead is corrected by offsetting the sights from the direction of lead. This is necessary because of the high muzzle velocity - 450 feet per second - which is much faster than a 1/20 scaled velocity.

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