View Full Version : Gun turrets and the ammunition feed...

1st Oct 2004, 21:31
hello all
i hope there are a few old turret-drivers out there to answer this one....How was the ammunition fed to the guns so as to allow for elevation?

PPRuNe Pop
1st Oct 2004, 21:46
The rounds were belt fed to the breech from cans which were, in turn, attached to the gun.

2nd Oct 2004, 05:59
What about the 360 degree rotating mid-upper (RAF)/ top turrets USAAC) or the ball turret on the B-17?

Did they have to return to a specific position to fill up the cans or was there a trough around the turret which fed into the cans?

2nd Oct 2004, 06:46
We have a B-25 top turret on a stand at the local museum.

From memory (which ain't what it used to be) the bins were positioned beneath each gun and fixed to the rotating frame.

As they lay within the footprint of the turret I'd guess that they could be changed at any time....disconnect, drop to the floor and hoist in a replacement.

But I'm only guessing :O

PPRuNe Pop
2nd Oct 2004, 10:25
Nearly all turrets, I think I am right in saying, were self contained units and the cans were stored within the confines of the turret. Some turrets had other cans stored in the fuselage alongside the turrets. As for the ball turrets - I ain't got a clue! :eek:


Just gave Google a whirl. Here is a link that will tell you EVERYTHING you want to know.


Have fun.


3rd Oct 2004, 05:17
Not so for the British bombers with the Frazer-Nash or Boulton-Paul turrets Pop see here (http://www.lancastermuseum.ca/airgunners3.html)

The Lancaster, Halifax and Stirling had their ammunition (up to 10,000 rounds of it) for the rear turrets on tracks which fed into the turret. I'm still Googling but suspect that it was fed into a magazine which moved with the turret.

I wish I'd paid more attention when I went to the Air Gunnery display at the YAM in Elvington. :(

PPRuNe Pop
3rd Oct 2004, 10:34
You live and learn every day. ;)

4th Oct 2004, 04:16
Further Googling has revealed that the B-24 had a British pattern turret for it's rear protection.

4th Oct 2004, 22:03
Hi all
Very interesting answers so far, but somewhat astray of the question. How were the belts fed so as to prevent jams when the gun elevated thru as much as 90 degrees? Did they have some kind of flexible feed chute? I know a cartridge belt is quite flexible, but surely there was some kind of guide or support to allow for movement.

5th Oct 2004, 06:56
I think the answer to that is there for you see for yourself. Just look at the diagrams and pictures. Where the guns go the cans and ammo feeds follow. Why don't you have a go with Google as well btw.

5th Oct 2004, 15:10
The actual range of elevation of a Boulton Paul type turrent wasn't more than about 100 degrees. THe latter element of the feed was (IIRC) loose enough to alow that amount of motion. I have photos of the defiant turret (inc some interior ones) here: Defiant Walkaround (http://forum.airforces.info/showthread.php?t=31021) and a photo of the air min diagram. I'm trying to say it's less of a problem than you might think!

5th Oct 2004, 21:51
hello all
Thanks for all the gen.The Defiant pics are excellent, sobering and well worth the visit. The bravery of all air-gunners is beyond question.Perhaps if the people who designed the Defiant's turret had been made to attempt to escape from it, in extremis, then ,maybe, the design might have been better. but, then, there are many other aircraft with awful escape characteristics.

ps: the only fully-equipped turret that i have ever sat in, was on a Panhard armoured car, which had very little in the way of guidance for the ammunition and jams weren't unknown when firing at higher angles of elevation. the aircraft turrets that I have sat in have been deactivated, such as the turrets of the "Sally-B"

11th Oct 2004, 18:04
Defiant - sorry there's no pics of the breeches / feed.

Lancaster. The ammo for the rear turret was held halfway down the rear fuselage (for Cof G reasons I've been told...) and the belts travelled down a track to the turret. How they entered, I don't know. At Conningsby last week, we were told that the turret was held on by 4 bolts...


11th Oct 2004, 19:36
JDK check out how many bolts hold the wings on!

11th Oct 2004, 21:05

AFAK we were discussing turrets. If you've got a contribution, let's have it. Sheesh. :rolleyes: The wings don't rotate do they? (Not more than once anyway.) Let's see chaper and worse on the Lanc tail turret :hmm:

12th Oct 2004, 00:12
Mid Upper Turrets

How many shot off their own tails or shredded the props ?

Any survivors?

13th Oct 2004, 08:56
The Lancaster had a taboo rail. (it's the fat area around the lower turret) the hampden ('free' rather than turret guns) has a wire arrangement after the early part of the war... Many had electric cutouts - Boulton Paul type turrets - which could be adjusted for the a/c type they were in.

15th Oct 2004, 11:39
Relax JDK ;) I've finally found a site here (http://www.aeroplanemonthly.com/archive/turret/turret.htm) that gives the required chapter and verse on how ammunition was fed into the tail turret. It also explains how the electro-hydraulic turrets were set up so that they didn't shoot lumps off the aircraft.

15th Oct 2004, 11:42
Ta L&S,
I also have the info from a media called 'books'; but not to hand. British Aircraft Armament II had c&v on turrets.