B-25J 'BRIEFING TIME'
WAIST GUNNER / RADIO OPERATOR'S COMPARTMENT

CLICK ON EACH THUMBNAIL PICTURE TO ENLARGE IT


WAIST GUNS   The two M-2 Browning .50 caliber Heavy Machine-Guns in the waist are flexibly mounted at windows located aft of the bomb bay.   The right gun is set slightly forward of the left in order to provide room for both to be operated at the same time without the gunners bumping into each other.   But with a normal crew of six aboard, this was not an issue.  This largest compartment in the aircraft was the usually the sole domain of the lone radio operator/gunner.  His duties included manning both waist guns, as well as operation of the Liaison Radio Equipment and Photographic Equipment.   During takeoff and landing, he would be joined by the tail-gunner, and there was also a third riding seat in the event a second gunner was assigned or if a passenger was aboard.

   

CRAWLWAY   Over the bomb bay is a low crawlway with overhead hand-rails. This allowed crew members to move between the forward and aft portions of the aircraft.  The bright spot in the photo is a portion of the copilot's windshield.

   

LEFT FUSELAGE - AFT OF GUN   The ammunition feed box for the port gun is strapped in a rack above the life raft.  The box and feed chute holds 250 rounds.  The springs and cables lead to the gun cradle and help counterbalance the heavy "Ma Deuce" machine gun.

 

 

   

RIGHT FUSELAGE AFT OF GUN   The round, ground-use-only escape hatch can be seen above the clipped open inner door of the entrance hatch.  The rear, crew-entrance hatch with integral ladder, similar to the forward one, is just out of the picture.

 

 

   
LEFT SIDE - FORWARD OF GUN   Here we see one of the three riding seats and beneath the Liaison Radio Set, mounted on the deck is the Dynamotor and Trailing Antenna Reel.  The inset shows the socket and wooden ball that protrudes through the bottom of the fuselage and the egg-shaped antenna wire end which was designed to keep the trailing wire from whipping in the slipstream.  The wire could be trailed as much as 150 feet behind the aircraft, and each frequency had a different specified antenna length that was regulated by a counter on the reel mechanism.
   
LEFT SIDE FORWARD OF GUN   The rounded box on the upper-left is the life raft container.  Pulling the red T-handle ejected the raft through an outside panel and  inflated it automatically.  Beneath it is the Liaison Radio Set, consisting of the large BC-375 transmitter on the top shelf, and the smaller BC-348 receiver beneath it .  The red emergency wing flap crank is mounted on the rear of the bomb bay wall.  This had to be inserted in a socket marked by the small red plate above the round ashtray on that wall to operate the flaps in the event of a hydraulic failure.
   

WAIST GUN BLISTERS FROM ABOVE   Here you can see how the two waist gun positions are offset from each other to prevent conflict between moving gunners, in the rare event there were two assigned.

 

   
WAIST GUNNER'S ARMOR PLATES   Looking forward from the entrance to the tunnel, we see the 1/4 inch armor plates that protected the gunner from gunfire and flak coming from the rear quarters.  Here's a diagram of the B-25J armor and its theoretical arcs of protection.
   
VIEW AFT FROM BETWEEN THE GUNS    The long, dark tunnel leads to the Tail-Gunners Compartment.  The armor plates can be seen at the sides of the photo.
   

K-24 CAMERA   The Type K-24 Aircraft Camera is mounted to shoot through a window in the belly of the compartment on the right side.  By means of the arc-shaped mount and wing nuts the camera can swing 50 degrees fore or aft of vertical.  The big camera takes 5x5 inch pictures from aerial roll film that could take up to 125 pictures without reloading. Used for both bomb damage assessment (BDA) and photo-reconnaissance, the camera could be both electrically and manually operated.  A Type B-3 Intervalometer sets up pre-selected intervals between exposures when the automatic timing feature is being used.   For you camera buffs, it had an f25, 7 inch lens.   In automatic mode the camera would begin shooting when the bomb bay doors open.  The pilot could also operate it manually with a switch on his switch panel.


web designer & webmaster Bill Rambow            web hosting and support by Avialantic

copyright 2006 Mid-Atlantic Air Museum all rights reserved