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Posts: 15
Reply with quote  #1 

Is there a possibility that on a mission (specifically a radar mission) that there could have been ELEVEN men on a B-17? Are there records of this?

Matt Nesbitt
Grandson of Milton R. McCracken
Left Side Waist Gunner -- "Victory Bound"
POW in Stalag Luft III

Posts: 267
Reply with quote  #2 
I have seen instances where there were eleven men on a plane during a mission but it was not common.  I would have to look it up to find it but sometimes there was one of the 'ground echelon' that would fly as an observer or perhaps as combat photographer, with the regular crew complement making the total as eleven.

On radar missions, the ball turret gunner was replaced by the radar navigator since the ball turret position was where the radar unit was housed.  The radar navigator shared the radio compartment with the RO, from what I was told. They would have their own little compartment with a curtain so they could see the radar screen more readily.

But generally, a radar ship did not have eleven men on board during a mission.  Since PFF (Pathfinder Force) ships were lead ships, they were the primary target for anti-aircraft gunners with the rationale that if the lead could be shot down, this would scatter the rest of the formation, making the bombing of the target less accurate. 


463rd BG Historian
Proud son of 1/Lt Leroy J. Swindlehurst (1921-1950)
Navigator, 772nd Squadron
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