Demystifying the US gun bomber on the gun: after half a century of brilliant achievements

The early B-52 bomber was fitted with 4 machine guns at the end

B-52 bomber gunner Samuel Tunier (right) was awarded the Silver Star Medal

ChinaNet February 13th Few people now know the gunners on the bombers. However, during the 1991 Gulf War, it was the US gunmen who protected the B-52 bombers.

In an air battle, Sergeant Samuel Tunier of the US Air Force discovered an enemy plane from the turret at the rear of the bomber before the enemy fighter fired.

Two enemy fighters approached the bomber from below and behind. When they entered the range of the bomber machine gun, Tunier fired about 700 rounds from the tail turret in 6 seconds, hit a fighter, and another fighter escaped.

This air combat is of concern to the skill of the gunners in the face of danger, as well as the B-52 bomber itself. The B-52 bomber is equipped with a defensive weapon at the rear. It is equipped with four 12.7 mm caliber machine guns from the B-52A to B-52G models and a 20 mm M61 gun from the B-52H model.

Samuel Tunier used to be a gunner on a B-52D bomber. On December 18, 1972, the bomber took off from Utapa Air Force Base in Thailand and was ordered to bomb the target near Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. In the battle, he shot down a MiG-21 fighter in North Vietnam, which was the first time the gunman of the B-52 bomber shot down the enemy plane.

Tunier was awarded the Silver Star Medal for this record. The award speech said: “In the face of a dangerous operational environment, he successfully defended the aircraft and its crew with his courage and excellent professional skills, thus ensuring that the aircraft successfully completed its mission and returned to the base safely. ”

Prior to the First World War, fighter pilots and in-flight scouts often used pistols, rifles, and machine guns to defend. The “turret” of the machine gun was later developed.

As the bomber’s volume and speed increase, the machine gun is fixed inside the fuselage, and the number of weapons is greatly increased. In the Second World War, the early models of the US B-17 bomber were equipped with five machine guns, which were distributed in different positions, which allowed the bomber to cover almost all possible angles of attack.

A bomber formation can build a strong defense fire network in the air. At the height of the war, gunners are indispensable for the defense of all theater strategic bombers. When the US Army Air Force attacked the German industrial base, tens of thousands of American gunmen were performing missions only across Europe.

US Air Force Sergeant Forrest Worthler is one of them. He is a radio operator and gunner. After completing radio training, he studied a six-week shooting course. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his military achievements on the grounds of Germany on December 20, 1943. At the time, Worthler was hit by a 20mm shell from Germany and was seriously injured, but he still used the machine gun on the bomber to shoot. Although his eyes were partially blind, he only repaired the damaged radio by touch and sent a distress signal before his B-17 bomber landed in the North Sea. Worsler survived. In the Pacific Theater, US Air Force Sergeant John Foley was the gunner of a brave B-26 bomber at the top of the turret. In the execution of 63 combat missions, he shot down seven enemy aircraft, some of which were Japan’s A6M“ zero-style carrier warplanes.

When jet fighters are flying in the air, aerial shooting is still an effective measure to defend long-range bombers. In the Korean War, the gunmen of the US B-29 bomber won 27 battles. Albert Condell, who used to be a gunner, said that the cumbersome B-29 bomber was faced with a flexible and fast Soviet-made MiG-15 jet fighter. This is indeed a “great record” ; Condell later wrote the book “The Man Behind the Machine Gun: The Aerial Shooting History of Soldiers, 1917-1991”.

In this context, it is easy to understand why American Boeing Aircraft engineers are designing this new long-range jet bomber —B-52 bomber designed to maintain the balance of Cold War power. When you want to install active defense weapons.

In November 1955, the US military’s first B-52 bomber joined the Air Force. At first, the US Air Force required five crew members for the long-range strategic bomber, plus a larger number of gunners. However, the B-52B bomber (a modified version of the B-52A bomber) was first deployed with only one gunner, operating four machine guns with a 12.7mm diameter. The barrel of these machine guns from the bomberThe tail extends out of the fuselage, like a sharp thorn.

The gunner sits under a transparent canopy at the rear of the bomber and has a wide view. The field of view in front of the gunner is affected by the control panel and the body of the gun, but an optical periscope can overcome the blind spots of vision.

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