I read many times in English Wikipedia that some servicemen were trained in Flexible Gunnery schools, but I don't get what that exactly means.


In January 1942, the 2d Air Force was withdrawn from the Western Defense Command and assigned the operational training of units, crews, and replacements for bombardment, fighter, and reconnaissance operations. It received graduates from Army Air Forces Training Command flight schools; navigator training; flexible gunnery schools and various technical schools, organized them into newly activated combat groups and squadrons, and conducted operational unit training (OTU) and replacement training (RTU) to prepare groups and replacements for deployment overseas to combat theaters.

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    $\begingroup$ Could you add a link to an example article where the term showed up? Thanks, and welcome to Aviation.se. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Apr 29, 2017 at 11:48
  • $\begingroup$ Of course I will: it.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Air_Force. That's it, look up in the "Storia" section, you'll find che "armi brandeggiabili" )that's plural form) mentioned. Very obliged for your helping, thanks a lot. $\endgroup$
    – Filippof
    Commented Apr 29, 2017 at 12:08
  • $\begingroup$ (And, of course, I found the "flexible gunnery" in the corresponding en.wiki article, which I happen to be translating.) $\endgroup$
    – Filippof
    Commented Apr 29, 2017 at 12:11

1 Answer 1


flexible gunnery - the firing of swivel guns (as in an airplane)

fixed gunnery - the firing of a gun having no traverse so that the entire gun platform or aircraft must be maneuvered for aiming

enter image description here
(flickr.com) Swivel guns on a B-17 (underside and waist).

From Wikipedia: "Flexible Gunnery" training developed diverse skills for various aircraft and differing positions within bombers, e.g., waist gunner, rear gunner, etc.

From a 13-minute declassified US Army Air Forces training film, Flexible Aerial Gunnery: Making a Gunner, from 1943 about that gunnery course, the course included but was not limited to:

  • learning the machine gun types inside out
  • learning bullets trajectory and aiming
  • train on moving objects using a BB gun
  • train in the air by shooting at a trailing dummy attached to another aircraft
  • learn the different shapes (silhouettes) of enemy aircraft and learn to judge their distance through the sight to judge whether to fire
  • learn the different positions, including the ball turret and how it functions
  • train in a ball turret simulator
  • train at night by utilizing tracer ammo
  • the course took a few weeks to complete.
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    $\begingroup$ A very useful answer. I just implemented it in an Italian Wikipedia article, by the translation "arma brandeggiabile". $\endgroup$
    – Filippof
    Commented Apr 29, 2017 at 11:39

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