Ever wonder where all those WWII naval aviators came from?
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Thread: Ever wonder where all those WWII naval aviators came from?

  1. #1
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    Ever wonder where all those WWII naval aviators came from?

    Well, the Navy took this:



    And turned it into this:



    The USS Wolverine and the USS Sable were side wheelers converted by the Navy to training carriers. They were berthed in Chicago and were usually back in port at the end of the day.

    Warbird Information Exchange.

    The exercise occasionally had a less-than-perfect ending. This is a diorama of an F4F pulled from the lake and displayed at the National Aviation Museum just as it was found:



    Full disclosure: While I knew about the side wheelers, I ran across mention of them on another forum and thought there might be a few members here who would find it an interesting story.
    Last edited by whichfinger; 08-06-2014 at 08:48 AM.
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    I had a great uncle who flew over 50 missions over the hump and survived. He was both an excellent pilot and very, very lucky.


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    Sidewheelers?...shades of "Mark Twain"...whowouldathunkit?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PurpleHouse View Post
    I had a great uncle who flew over 50 missions over the hump and survived. He was both an excellent pilot and very, very lucky.
    I had 5 uncles in WW2, three were in the Army Air Corps. One of them was a radioman that also flew "the hump", one was in intelligence and the other was a belly gunner in a B-17 over Europe. The other two were Marines, one was a motor pool mechanic and the other was killed on Tarawa.
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    I knew of the conversions, but that was a long time ago that I was into the history of Naval Aviation. Thanks for bring the memories back.
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    As to the first photo, you expect me to land on that......up yours! I wouldn't even want to take off from that platform!

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    Based out of Chicago? Must have been before Chicago became a communist country.




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    Quote Originally Posted by kschilk View Post
    I had 5 uncles in WW2, three were in the Army Air Corps. One of them was a radioman that also flew "the hump", one was in intelligence and the other was a belly gunner in a B-17 over Europe. The other two were Marines, one was a motor pool mechanic and the other was killed on Tarawa.
    I've always wondered how those belly gunners managed to squeeze their big clankers into that little turret.
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    Quote Originally Posted by whichfinger View Post
    I've always wondered how those belly gunners managed to squeeze their big clankers into that little turret.
    My uncle, like most belly gunners, was pretty short and thin. If you were B-17 aircrew and on the smallish side, you got stuck in the belly turret...like it or not. It was the least popular position, since most fighter attacks came from behind and below and the belly gunner was most often the first to get hit. Also, the turret was too small to allow for a parachute. If the plane was going down, the BG had to get out of the turret first and then don his rig before he could bail out, unlike the other crewmen who could wear theirs. On one mission, my uncle's chute became unstowed and got caught in the turret gears, jamming the turret. The waist gunners managed to get it out so he could again rotate the turret but it was pretty well shredded by then and no longer useable. Luckily, he didn't need it.
    whichfinger and Wolf1477 like this.
    Ammo will get you through times of no money, better than money will get you through times of no ammo.



    I miss my 286.

    #Neverwarren

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    Thanks for posting. It's a poor day when you don't learn something.
    whichfinger likes this.

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