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  • A ball turret was a particular form of aircraft gun turret mounted on aircraft during World War II. The most popular one was manufactured by the Sperry Corporation.


    January 27, 2008

  • The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner is a five-line poem by Randall Jarrell. It was about a gunner in a Sperry ball turret on a World War II American bomber aircraft, who was killed and whose remains were unceremoniously hosed out of the turret. Jarrell, who served in the Army Air Force, provided the following explanatory note:

    "A ball turret was a plexiglass sphere set into the belly of a B-17 or B-24, and inhabited by two .50 caliber machine guns and one man, a short small man. When this gunner tracked with his machine guns a fighter attacking his bomber from below, he revolved with the turret; hunched upsidedown in his little sphere, he looked like the fetus in the womb. The fighters which attacked him were armed with cannon firing explosive shells. The hose was a steam hose."


    January 27, 2008