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USAAF Gunner's Information file - Flexible Gunnery (1944) (original paper book)

$61.00 - $61.00
$61.00 - $61.00
USAAF Gunner's Information file - Flexible Gunnery (1944)

The preface to this manual, signed by the "big boss" of the US Air Force in 1944, sums up its contents perfectly:

"If anyone in the Army Air Forces needs proof that he is helping do a great job, he can find it in the words of a British corporal named William McLough-Ian. Corporal McLoughlan once had a dangerous privilege. As a prisoner of war in a camp deep inside Germany, he watched a United States bombing mission as the enemy sees it.
Near Corporal McLoughlan's camp was a German airplane factory, busy turning out planes for the LUFTWAFFE. The Germans needed that plant—so one day the Eighth Air Force paid it a visit.
After Corporal McLoughlan returned to England, he described the bombing mission in these words:
"In two or three minutes—I give you my word for this-the factory had been flattened. Not a building except one shed was standing when the Americans went away. Everybody was thunderstruck by the whole thing. Every one of the bombs fell exactly inside the target area. It was perfection bombing." "Perfection bombing"—or what we call precision bombing—is the ultimate goal of the Army Air Forces. It is the offensive weapon with which we hasten the day of victory by knocking out the enemy's munitions and airplane plants, cutting off his supplies, and weakening the very source of his power.
The pictures on these pages show why precision bombing strikes terror to the heart of the enemy. Using precision methods, we can pick out the most important target-the one which the enemy needs most—and methodically destroy it. A formation of heavy bombers, dropping their bombs with deadly accuracy, can level any enemy war plant within a matter of minutes.
The success of precision bombing depends on many things. It depends on the famous air forces bombsight. It depends on the quality of our bombers, which are tough and durable and can fly all day. It depends on careful planning by intelligence officers who pick out the most vital targets, on operations and flak officers who can route the mission over the least dangerous course, on an elaborate system of traffic control which enables bombers and fighters to rise from scores of scattered airports, meet in the air, and proceed together to the target.
But above all it depends on good crews: pilots who can handle the big ships smoothly, navigators who can steer a course to the pinpoint targets, bombardiers who can drop the bombs accurately—and gunners who can fight off any enemy planes which dare to interfere.
No man in a bomber crew, or in the vast system of ground operations which puts the bomber in the air, can claim that he is more important than another. Precision bombing is a matter of teamwork, in which every man's work is crucial.
But the gunner can feel honest pride—and a sense of grave responsibility—in the importance of his job. Now that the terrible striking power of precision bombing has been proven, the enemy is doing everything within his power to keep our missions from getting through. The enemy is concentrating on building as many fighter planes as possible, and sending them up with his best pilots to meet our bomber missions. And when fighters attack, only the gunner can beat them off.
Remember, as you start your course of instruction in gunnery, that all your training is designed for the day when you—and you alone—can fight off a fighter plane. In that moment, untold responsibility will lie in your hands: your own safe return, the lives of the other crew members, and the success of your bombing mission—which may be as important as any battle which has gone down in history.
Like all combat assignments, the gunner's job is dangerous. In every big air battle, planes are shot down—the enemy's and our own. It takes courage and good nerves to be a gunner, and it takes skill to be a gunner who wins all his fights.
Although bombers travel together in formation for mutual protection, and enemy fighters team up to launch their attacks, in the last analysis air combat always boils down to two men shooting at one another—and the best man almost always wins.
In the long run everything is up to you. You will have to be a letter man than the enemy—who will be a pretty good man himself. In combat you will have to search the skies so closely that no enemy fighter can ever surprise you. You will have to take care of your equipment so well that it never fails, and know how to use it as well as you use your right arm. You will have to know how to aim; you can never afford to miss.
The best life insurance in combat flying is to know your job better than the enemy knows his. This is no idle sermon; it has been proven over and over again in the field.
As a gunner, you will use three tools: the machine gun, the sight for aiming it, and the turret in which it is mounted. If you are using a ring sight, your know-how will be a thorough knowledge of Position Firing—the improved new system of aiming at enemy fighters which has been developed through trial and error in combat and double-checked by the best scientific minds in the nation. If you are using a computing sight, you must have a thorough knowledge of its operation and what it can and cannot do.
You will have plenty of time, in the classroom and in practice, to learn everything you need to know. Although gunners are being trained by the tens of thousands to provide crews for our new bombers—which come off the assembly lines with unbelieveable speed—our gunnery schools are doing an excellent job of individual instruction, and the teaching methods are constantly being improved.
This INFORMATION FILE will help you. In its pages you will find—for study, review, or reference—the facts that a gunner needs in combat. It begins with a section which contains all the information necessary to keep the machine gun working when you need it most. The manual then presents the rules of Position Firing—a successful way of aiming your gun, with a non-computing sight, to shoot down an attacking fighter. If you have done any shooting on the ground, the rules may surprise you, because firing from a moving bomber requires entirely different methods. But you will find them easy to learn. The INFORMATION FILE then discusses the various kinds of sights used on bomber guns and gives specific instructions for using each one. Finally, it tells how to operate every turret found in combat today.
Some of the training—for example, stripping down the machine gun—may seem complicated and monotonous at the start. But the training pays off. In combat, you will have to strip down and clean that gun every day. You may have to repair it in a bomber in the midst of an attack.
There is no unnecessary theory in this book, or in the way your instructors will teach you these facts. Everything is practical; you will use every bit of it. It is your round-trip ticket into combat.


320 pages, a little yellowed and weathered, but overall in good condition.