B-17G Flying Fortress Sentimental Journey
B-17s were heavy bomber aircraft. Over 8000 G models were built, and some were converted to other uses besides 'bombing'. But most were bombers with 13 'guns'.
B-17s are HUGE aircraft. Massive. Five gunners 'man' the guns, and five other crew members are aboard. A gunner sits in a little bulb located underneath the aircraft. Another sits in a "bulb" at the tail. One above sits in a bulb above, and two more at the sides/at the 'waist'.
On one single Thursday during World War II, the aircraft took a beating. 77 B-17s were shot down, destroyed, crashed. 680 airmen aboard those B-17 were killed.
Randall Jarrell, U.S. Poet Laureate (1956-58), imagined the day all too well. He wrote a poem titled "The Death of a Ball Turret Gunner".
Jarrell sees the belly gunner/ball turret gunner in ways we can't imagine.
"I hunched in its belly..."
Jarrell envisioned the gunner facing
"black flak and the nightmare fighters".
And then the most sickening imagery:
"When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose."
NO! I scream. NO.
And I add one more PLOTUS to my spreadsheet.
Sometimes I am sorry I do.