Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

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Dili
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Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by Dili »

Compared to the manual control in the other bombers, one knows any information about this?
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m10bob
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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by m10bob »

The dad of one of my high school friends was a B 29 mechanic..He told us the guns were more effective but early models tended to freeze in the "on" position till fixed...The four gun top front turret did this one day on landing killing several ground crewmen...

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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by tocaff »

My father commented that the remote guns on the B-29 were a huge advantage over the old manual system. I suppose he knew what he was talking about as he had 35 missions flown in B-29s out of Tinian by the end of the war.
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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by Ralzakark »

Each claim of an enemy aircraft destroyed in the air in Europe required 12,600 rounds of 0.5" caliber ammunition, in the Mediterranean 11,900 rounds, and 9,800 rounds for B-29s over Japan. From the Army Air Force Digest: World War II, 1945, quotedby Kenneth Werrell in Blankets of Fire.

Werrell discusses the effectiveness of the B-29's defensive armament in some detail and concludes that 'all-in-all the remote-controlled armament could have been a serious problem but was not'.
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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by JeffroK »

Mustve been acceptable

From Joe Baugher

Lingering doubts of about the efficacy of the remotely-controlled armament system resulted in the completion of one B-29-25-BW (42-2444) with manned turrets. This plane featured two manned power-operated dorsal turrets and two manned ventral "ball" turrets, each with two 0.50-inch machine guns. There was a single 0.50-inch gun in each of two beam positions, and two additional 0.50 guns in a blister on each side of the fuselage nose. The remotely-controlled armament system of the standard B-29 proved to be adequate, and this unique armament scheme was not pursued any further.
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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by Sardaukar »

There was some problems with plane vibration reducing accuracy. otherwise they might have been more effective than they were.
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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by wdolson »

The same system was used for the top turret of the P-61. Because the B-29 had priority, most P-61As were completed without the turret and many flew in combat with only two crew members. The guy in the second seat behind the pilot had nothing to do with the turret gone. The early P-61s with turrets also had bad buffeting problems when the turret was rotated, so they were locked down in the field so they would only fire forward.

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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by Dili »

Thanks for feedback everyone. I must say the empirical opinions convince me more than Ralzakark reference, which i thank him anyway. Kills by bombers crew were notoriously unrealiable and any study will have big and several problems.
From unreliable claims, then we have less armored Japanese aircraft, number of night missions, how many attacks simultaneously etc. So like many real things that occur but have many variables we will never can get a good look at what really happened and extract a conclusion by "scientific" means.
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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by Ralzakark »

Oh I just lobbed the figures in as they are about the only hard numbers for effectiveness I have seen Dili, whatever their limitations. I imagine anyone who plays WitP will be quite aware of the difference between claims and actual kills [:)]

There are huge difficulties in assessing the effectiveness of the B-29s defensive armament. To your list I would add that B-29s carried fewer gunners that B-17s and B-24s. Given that multiple gunners firing at the same aircraft are one of the major causes of over-claiming this undoubtedly affected the number of claims made, but again by how much is impossible to determine.

Probably the most that can be said is that the B-29s defensive armament was not so greatly better or worse than that on other similar aircraft that there was any immediately obvious, observable difference in its performance. Simply put, it worked.

There were other reasons for adopting the remote control turrets other than accuracy. The main one was that it allowed the aircraft to be pressurised – indeed one officer remarked that those who supported the GE system where buying pressurisation rather than defensive armament. The low profile turrets also helped reduce drag, which seems to be why the Luftwaffe added them to some of its own aircraft such as the He 177 and Me 410.
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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by Dili »

Precisely it is very dificult to assess. I agree with your conclusion that it appears to have not be detrimental. Albeit with inferior Japanese and not with more efficient German adversaires. Curtis LeMay even ordered to took them out - only remained the rear guns, in face of weak resistence Japanese made against night bombing.
The He 177 and the Italian Piaggio 108 4 engine bomber also had remote control turrets, i don't know the He 177 feedback, but the Piaggio 108 ones had some reliability issues which is to be expected. Only 24 were made.

Cutway drawing Piaggio 108 , Remote control guns over outer engine nacelles. The 2 control positions are in dorsal postion, the number 52. http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/album/ ... hoto=18793

It is also interesting that B-32 Dominator remote turrets had serious problems that made them to be replaced by manned positions.
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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by JeffroK »

I think the B32 had problems which saw it become unpressurized therefore the remote turrets were not required.

The A26 used the same system and I've read no complaints and they fought the "superior" Luftwaffe types.

While the P61 used the same system, the turret was teardrop shaped and that caused the buffeting.
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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by witpqs »

I think the B32 had problems which saw it become unpressurized therefore the remote turrets were not required.
Maybe not required, but my understanding is that a benefit of remote controlled gun systems is that they remove the effects of the guns' vibrations from the person who is aiming the guns.
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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by wdolson »

The B-29 was very fast, which aided in its defense. During the 30s there was an arms race going on and bombers would get ahead of fighters in speed, then fighters would catch up. The B-29 was not faster than most of the fighters out there, but it was fast enough that it made a "stern chase" a drawn out mission for the fighter and reduced the total number of intercepts. It's high altitude also made it difficult for fighters.

Defensive armament doesn't have to be as extensive if the plane flies higher than most fighters and is as fast as the fighters. The Mosquito bomber version had no defensive armament relying entirely on its speed to escape fighters.

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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by tocaff »

According to my father that speed that the B-29s were capable of on paper and the actual mission speeds were quite a bit different. By late in the war Japanese pilot quality was lacking and usually when fighters were seen they didn't press home attacks.
Todd

I never thought that doing an AAR would be so time consuming and difficult.
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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by wdolson »

My father flew in B-29s for a short period early in the campaign from Tinian. He was part of a project to film the bomb runs into every city in Japan in range of the B-29s. The plan was to show the navigators the film, which pointed out terrain features on their way in to help them locate the target. They carried extra fuel in the bomb bays instead of bombs and would film several run ins per mission. He saw a lot of Japanese fighters clawing for altitude trying to intercept them, but by the time they got to altitude, they were gone.

They were flying fully armed B-29s and not F-13 recon versions, but they were flying at max altitude. He said they moved along at a pretty good clip, but then fuel weighs less than bombs.

The situation for the Japanese was much as it was for most powers trying to intercept recon planes. Fighters are at a disadvantage trying to catch fairly fast planes flying alone at altitude. The British modified the Spitfire Mk V to the Mk VI for that job. Japan hadn't really done much research in high altitude engines, at least nothing like the Europeans and Americans, so they were at a disadvantage in that game from day 1.

My father was in a photo unit that was attached to various bomber units. He flew in B-25s, B-26s, B-24s, B-17s, and B-29s at various times. Almost all his combat time was in B-25s, with a few months B-29 time. The other planes were stateside projects. He felt the most safe in the B-17, the least safe in the B-24, and he said the B-29 was the most comfortable.

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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by Bearcat2 »

My father[47th Grp, 97th BS] flew A-26's after A-20's in Europe, he liked both the plane[A-26] and the turret.
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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by Dili »

Interesting stories. Thanks.
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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by AW1Steve »

It's funny , but the B-50 and B-36's had the same complaints throughout their careers. And the B-47. Makes you wonder if some people just didn't like remote control guns. [:D]
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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by czert2 »

well can anyone explain to me how remotely controled turrets can be more effective than manualy operated ones ? sice in remote ones you after all, have more limited field of vission. It is becaus they can be placed where manualy operated cant be ?
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RE: Effectiveness of B-29 remote controlled guns?

Post by witpqs »

ORIGINAL: witpqs

... my understanding is that a benefit of remote controlled gun systems is that they remove the effects of the guns' vibrations from the person who is aiming the guns.
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