perjantai 23. syyskuuta 2016

FAF 16 Squadron Gladiator

No. 16 Squadron (Finnish: Lentolaivue 16 or LLv.16, from 3 May 1942 Le.Lv.16), renamed No. 16 Reconnaissance Squadron (Finnish: Tiedustelulentolaivue 16 or TLe.Lv.16 on 14 February 1944) was a reconnaissance squadron of the Finnish Air Force during World War II. 

                            Gloster Gauntlet, 1944 spring, Goal Towing Machine

The squadron was part of Flying Regiment 1 during the Winter War and Flying Regiment 2 during the Continuation War.
No. 16 Squadron Finnish Air Force
Unofficial flight emblem of the 2nd Flight of No. 16 Squadron 1942–1943
Active30 November 1939 – 13 March 1940
25 June 1941 – 4 September 1944
BranchFinnish Air Force
EngagementsWinter WarContinuation War
Winter War
1st Flight (1. Lentue)
2nd Flight (2. Lentue)
3rd Flight (3. Lentue)
The equipment consisted of 8 Blackburn Ripon IIs, 4 Fokker C.VEs, 3 Junkers W 34 and K 43, and 3 Fokker C.Xs.

Continuation War
HQ Flight (Esikuntalentue, operational between 8 June 1942 and 1 July 1943)
1st Flight (1. Lentue)
2nd Flight (2. Lentue)
3rd Flight (3. Lentue)
Detachment Jäntti (Osasto Jäntti, temporary detachment July–August 1944)
The equipment consisted of 5 Gloster Gladiator IIs, 3 Fokker D.Xs, 4 Westland Lysander Is, 6 VL Myrsky IIs, and an undisclosed number of de Havilland Moths.



Aiming (mg) centered the same point

                              40mm grenade hits, the wing is changed.

perjantai 16. syyskuuta 2016

Ball Turret

A ball turret was a spherical-shaped, altazimuth mount gun turret, fitted to some American-built aircraft during World War II The name arose from the turret's spherical housing.

It was a manned turret, as distinct from remote-controlled turrets also in use. The turret held the gunner, two heavy machine guns, ammunition, and sights. The Sperry Corporation designed ventral versions that became the most common version, thus the term "ball turret" is most specific to these versions.
Sperry and Emerson Electric each developed a ball turret, and the designs were similar in the nose turret version. Development of the spherical Emerson was halted. The Sperry nose turret was tested and preferred, but its use was limited due to poor availability of suitable aircraft designs. The Sperry-designed ventral system saw widespread use and production, including much sub-contracting. The design was mainly deployed on the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-24 Liberator, as well as the United States Navy's Liberator, the PB4Y-1. The ventral turret was used in tandem in the Convair B-32, successor to the B-24. Ball turrets appeared in the nose and tail as well as the nose of the final series B-24.
The Sperry ball turret was very small in order to reduce drag, and was typically operated by the smallest man of the crew. To enter the turret, the turret was moved until the guns were pointed straight down. The gunner placed his feet in the heel rests and occupied his cramped station. He would put on a safety strap and close and lock the turret door. There was no room inside for a parachute, which was left in the cabin above the turret. A few gunners wore a chest parachute.

The gunner was forced to assume a fetal position within the turret with his back and head against the rear wall, his hips at the bottom, and his legs held in mid-air by two footrests on the front wall. This left him positioned with his eyes roughly level with the pair of light-barrel Browning AN/M2 .50 caliber machine guns which extended through the entire turret, located to either side of the gunner. The cocking handles were located too close to the gunner to be operated easily, so a cable was attached to the handle through pulleys to a handle near the front of the turret. Another factor was that not all stoppages could be corrected by charging (cocking) the guns. In many cases, when a stoppage occurred, it was necessary for the gunner to "reload" the gun, which required access to the firing chamber of the guns. Access was severely restricted by the guns location in the small turret. 

Normally, the gunner accessed the firing chamber by releasing a latch and raising the cover to a position perpendicular to the gun but this was not possible in the ball turret. To remedy that, the front end of the cover was "slotted". The gunner released the latch and removed the cover which allowed space to clear the action. Small ammunition boxes rested on the top of the turret and additional ammunition belts fed the turret by means of a chute system. A reflector sight was hung from the top of the turret, positioned roughly between the gunner's feet.

The directional control was by two hand control grips with firing buttons. The left foot controlled the reflector sight range reticule. The right foot operated a push-to-talk intercom switch. The turret was electrically powered in azimuth and altitude. An emergency hand crank could be attached to reposition the turret from inside the aircraft fuselage. In the event of a power failure another crewman would use this to crank the turret into the vertical position to allow the gunner to exit.

A B-24J's Sperry ventral ball turret in its retracted position for landing, as seen from inside the bomber

On the B-17, the A-2 turret was close to the ground, but had enough clearance for takeoff and landing. However, the gunner did not enter the turret until well into the air, in case of landing gear failure. During take-off and landing, the turret had to be positioned with its guns horizontal, pointing aft. As the guns had to be vertical before the gunner could enter or leave the turret, a set of external controls were fitted so the turret could be repositioned while unoccupied.

In the case of the B-24, the Liberator's tricycle landing gear design mandated that its A-13 model Sperry ball turret have a fully retractable mount, so that the ball turret would always be retracted upwards into the lower fuselage while the aircraft was on the ground, providing ground clearance with it in the stowed position.

Erco Ball turret, on display at National Museum of Naval Aviation, FL.
After testing in mid-1943, the ERCO ball turret became the preferred bow installation in the Navy's Consolidated PB4Y-1 Liberator and PB4Y-2 Privateer patrol bombers although other types continued to be installed. Earlier designs appeared in other patrol seaplanes. It served a double purpose, defense against bow attacks as well as fire suppression and offensive strafing in antisubmarine warfare. Since this turret is of the ball type, the gunner moves with his guns and sight in elevation and azimuth by means of control handles. Among the earlier designs was the Martin 250SH bow turret of the PBM-3 twin-engined patrol flying boat which had many points of similarity in design and action.

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner is a five-line poem by Randall Jarrell published in 1945. It is about the death of a gunner in a Sperry ball turret on a World War II American bomber aircraft.

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, who served in the Army Air Forces, provided the following explanatory note:
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 fetus in the womb. The fighters which attacked him were armed with cannon firing explosive shells. The hose was a steam hose.

Reviewer Leven M. Dawson says that "The theme of Randall Jarrell's 'The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner' is that institutionalized violence, or war, creates moral paradox, a condition in which acts repugnant to human nature become appropriate." Most commentators agree, calling the poem a condemnation of the dehumanizing powers of "the State", which are most graphically exhibited by the violence of war.
Due partly to its short length, "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" poem has been widely anthologized. In fact, Jarrell came to fear that his reputation would come to rest on it alone.

The poem inspired the play, "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" by Anna Moench, which premiered in New York City at the New York International Fringe Festival in August 2008 and was extended to play at The Space in Long Island City. A nod to the poem can also be found in John Irving's 1978 novel The World According to Garp, in which the protagonist's father died from a "rather careless lobotomy" by enemy gunfire while serving as a ball-turret gunner in World War II.

tiistai 13. syyskuuta 2016

Kawasaki Ki-32

The Kawasaki Ki-32 (九八式軽爆撃機 Kyuhachi-shiki keibakugekiki?) was a Japanese light bomber aircraft of World War II. It was a single-engine, two-seat, mid-wing, cantilever monoplane with a fixed tailwheel undercarriage. An internal bomb bay accommodated a 300 kg offensive load, supplemented by 150 kg of bombs on external racks. During the war, it was known by the Allies by the name Mary.
The Ki-32 was developed in response to a May 1936 Imperial Japanese Army specification to replace the Kawasaki Ki-3 light bomber with a completely indigenously designed and built aircraft. Mitsubishi and Kawasaki were requested to build two prototypes each by December 1936. The specification called for a top speed of 400 km/h at 3,000 m, normal operating altitude from 2,000–4,000 m, the ability to climb to 3,000 m within 8 minutes and an engine to be selected from the 825 hp Mitsubishi Ha-6 radial, 850 hp (630 kW) Nakajima Ha-5 radial, or 850 hp Kawasaki Ha-9-IIb liquid-cooled inline engines, a normal bomb load of 300 kg and a maximum of 450 kg, one forward-firing machine gun and one flexible rearward-firing machine gun, the ability to perform 60-degree dives for dive bombing, and a loaded weight less than 3,300 kg.
                   Kuvahaun tulos haulle Kawasaki Ki-32
The first Kawasaki prototype flew in March 1937, seven more prototypes were produced. Being very similar in layout and performance, main difference between the Kawasaki Ki-32 and its Mitsubishi Ki-30 rival was in the choice of an engine. The Mitsubishi design used the Nakajima Ha-5 14-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, whereas Kawasaki opted for their own Kawasaki Ha-9-II inline V12 engine.

Problems were encountered with the Kawasaki design, particularly with engine cooling, and the Mitsubishi Ki-30 received the production order. In spite of this, the pressing need for more aircraft in the Second Sino-Japanese War, which had started at full scale in July 1937, resulted in the Ki-32's entry into production as well, 12 months behind its rival. Ironically, the number of Ki-32s built was much higher than that of the successful Ki-30.

The Ki-32 entered production in 1938, designated Army Type 98 Single-engine Light Bomber, Kawasaki manufactured 854 Ki-32s before production ceased in May 1940.

The Ki-32 saw extensive war service in the Second Sino-Japanese War, equipping the 3rd, 6th, 10th, 35th, 45th, 65th and 75th Sentai. It also saw combat during the Battle of Nomonhan against the Soviet Union in 1938-1939. Its last combat action was bombing Commonwealth forces during the Japanese Invasion of Hong Kong.

Ki-32s during World War II were also supplied to the Manchukuo Air Force to replace their obsolescent Kawasaki Type 88/KDA-2 light bombers; they were the main bomber of that service through the conflict.

After their withdrawal from front-line service in 1942 the Ki-32s were used in a training role.

General characteristics
Crew: 2
Length: 11.65 m 
Wingspan: 15.0 m 
Height: 2.90m 
Wing area: 34.00 m² 
Empty weight: 1,066 kg 
Max takeoff weight: 3,760 kg
Powerplant: 1× Kawasaki Ha-9-IIb liquid-cooled inline V12 engine, 634 kW (850 hp)
Maximum speed: 423 km/h at (3,940 m) 
Cruise speed: 300 km/h 
Range: 1,965 km 
Service ceiling: 8,920 m
Rate of climb: 7.6 m/s 
Wing loading: 104.1 kg/m² 
Armament: 2× 7.7 mm machine guns, Bombs: 450 kg