B-29 Remote Control Turret System

Another entry from the Bombardiers’ Information File, War Department, March 1945:


The 4 turrets and tail mount of the B-29 all operate by remote control. The gunners sit at sighting stations inside the fuselage and manipulate their gunsights. Computers, connected to the sights, automatically figure deflections for any fighter within range.

B-29 Superfortress Remote Gun Turrets

A system of control transfer enables gunners to take over control of more than one turret for a single gunsight. For every turret there is a gunner who has first call. The nose gunner is given first call on the upper and lower forward turrets. This affords him the greatest possible fire power with which to meet a frontal attack.

If he doesn’t need the lower turret, he can let one of the side gunners take it over. For instance, he might be using the upper turret to shoot at an enemy coming in high, while at the same time another hostile plane may be coming in low. In such a case, he would give one of the side gunners control of the lower forward turret. Similarly, he can release control of the upper forward turret to the top gunner.

In the nose sighting station there are 3 units of gunnery equipment that are of concern to you, the bombardier:

1. Control box with the necessary switches for operating the turrets and gunsight.

2. Gunsight and controlling equipment.

3. Transfer switches.

An auxiliary switch on the control box starts the compressor motors that operate the gun chargers. A computer standby switch turned to the IN position cuts the computing mechanism into the forward turret circuits.

B-29 Superfortress Bombardier Gunsight for Remote-Control Turrets

To operate both forward turrets, turn both transfer switches to IN and press down on the action switch. The guns in both turrets then follow your gunsight and fire when you press the trigger.

To give up control of one turret, use the transfer switches. When the upper forward turret switch is OUT, the top gunner has control of the upper turret. When the lower forward turret switch is OUT, one of the side gunners takes over the lower turret.

If you take your hand off the action switch, control of both turrets passes automatically to top and side gunners regardless of transfer switch settings.

Warning — Always sound a warning over the interphone before you give up control of either or both turrets. If you don’t, the gunner who takes over may have his finger on the trigger and the guns will spray bullets into your own formation as they swing into line with his sight.

It is your duty to stow the lower forward turret when it is not in use. Run the turret around so that the guns point aft; then turn off the designated switches. The guns will automatically stow at the correct elevation.

A friction adjustment gives the gun sight just the right touch. You will find there is only one right setting for you. Set the sight so that you can track smoothly. Once you have started tracking, don’t change your grip on the hand wheels. Don’t jerk your point of aim. Move it smoothly and don’t fire until you’re on the target.

Cool the guns at every opportunity. If you fire as much as 50 rounds within a short period, look for a chance to move the guns into the slipstream of the airplane—and hold them there.


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12 comments to B-29 Remote Control Turret System

  • Pat Flannery

    Interesting article; that’s the first time I’ve ever seen the gunsight itself, which looks like it would take a fair amount of training to operate effectively.

  • Rixchard King

    Hi: Having spent hours learning this system for 160 hours in training in May June July and paart of Aug 1945 as CFC gunner some of my memories are a little distorted but the control panel for all gunners was right in front of me in the top barbers chair .I have collected a lot of good info from many web sites over the years
    good to see these articles

  • hardcider

    Amazing skill to hit anything with those controls. Must have took a lot of practice.

  • Billye Togni

    It’s the first time when i’ve seen your site. I can gather a lot of hard work has gone in to it. It’s really wonderful.

  • Chuck Yaffie

    My father in law was a turret gummer on the B-29 and has every training manual issued to him during his training, which was extensive from what can tell. If anyone one is interested in reviewing these manuals, I would gladly e-mail copies.

  • Hi Chuck Could use copies of manuals you have.
    Richard G King
    507 533-7726

  • John Ziegenhagen

    I would like to have copies of these manuals, as well. I have acquired one of these sights at a flea market, of all places. Thanks very much.

  • Robert Brown

    August 9,2014 – I went into the Army Air Corps at 18 as an
    Air Force Cadet for pilot training / to be a fighter pilot/
    but due to so many pilots coming home at that time with
    thousands of hours flying time I was sent to Nellis Air Force base for training in remote control gunnery on B29`s
    to recieve a Warrent Officers rating, that was abbreviated and I was sent to Amarillo Texas / a B29 base / and trained on all aspects of B29`s inside out ( twelve weeks ). After
    my stint in the Air Force ( I just had to be a pilot) I went to flight school for training as a commercial pilot license .

  • Frank Thurston

    Sat behind these sights back in the ’50s. This certainly brings back memories,but it also breaks my heart when I see pictures of the aircraft in the bone-yard being cut-up. Hello out there to all you old gunners. Drop me a line and say hello.

  • Richard G King

    Hi Frank Like to hear from you Richard king

  • Richard G King

    Please get in touch

  • I came into possession of a B-29/50 “Spacial Defense Computer” it appears to be a whiz wheel used by gunners so they shoot down other aircraft in their formation. Does anyone have any information on this device?


    Kevin Doyle