The death of the Ball Turret Gunner - US Army Air Force | Gallery

The death of the Ball Turret Gunner

This is the photo which made Jarett Randall write his poem.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I have been looking for more info on this photo.I found that on:Battle-Damaged B-17 Flying Fortresses: Fuselage hits - Page 1
Shows once again that scources can give completely different info.
Info from ‘daveswarbirds’ says:
Another view of the flak hit to “Little Miss Mischief”, this shows the mangled fuselage and ball turret. Incredibly, the ball turret gunner’s only injuries were the loss of a little toe and frostbite from the high altitude.
SOURCE: B-17 In Action by Squadron/Signal Publications

Interesting source.
I however doubt its trustworthiness after reading the description to the last picture: a B-17 hit by a surface-to-air missile. I have no knowledge of such a weapon having ever been deployed in combat during WW2.

I can’t imagine a ground-launched Panzerschreck or Nebelwerfer rocket hitting a bomber at altitude.

Good point Huijgens. If it was hit by a rocket, it is more likely fired from a Luftwaffe fighter.

It was either flak, or a rocket fired from fighters designed to break up tight ‘box’ formations…