"The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" by Randall Jarrell (1914-1965)
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.
Jarrell's explanation: "A ball turret was a Plexiglas sphere set into the belly of a B-17 or B-24, and inhabited by two .50 caliber machine-guns and one man, a short small man. When this gunner tracked with his machine guns a fighter attacking his bomber from below, he revolved with the turret; hunched upside-down in his little sphere, he looked like the foetus in the womb. The fighters which attacked him were armed with cannon firing explosive shells. The hose was a steam hose."
"It hard to imagine a worse place to go to war in then the ball turret position of the B-17 Flying Fortress. Isolated from the rest of the ten man crew, the ball turret was extremely cramped quarters and required a man with a slight build. In almost every case, there was not enough room for the ball turret gunner to wear a parachute...Once inside the ball, the gunner sat all curled up in the fetal position, swiveling the entire turret as he aimed the two guns. The turret had a full 360 degress of motion horizontally and 90 degrees of motion vertically. The gunner could be in any attitude from laying on his back to standing on his feet. " Source
Speaking of veterans .......ReplyDelete
Will the insider be doing a story in this? Or is it just to hot to touch considering, it's a possible can of worms?