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Mighty Eight Air Force Gunnery School near Snettisham

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Mighty Eight Air Force Gunnery School near Snettisham

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Date Posted:December 12th, 2009
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Description: At the end of summer 1943 it was decided to establish a new VIII Bomber Command Gunnery School in England, closer to the airbases it was to serve, as the previous school was near Perranporth in Cornwall.

The existing RAF Combined Gunnery Range at Snettisham was chosen, and the 8AF Provisional Gunnery School was set up there to provide refresher and additional training courses for B-17 air gunners.
This was later renamed the Turret Gunnery School, 1st Combat Crew Gunnery School, and finally the Air Division Gunnery School.

Training courses lasted between 3 and 14 days depending on requirements, and used a number of target types including ground-based synthetic turret trainers aimed at track-mounted targets and towed streamers, as well as air-to-air practice further out over the Wash.
While the main camp buildings and staff accommodation appear to have mainly been in a combination of requisitioned bungalows and temporary buildings along the beach, students lived under canvas slightly further inland.

Aircraft turrets would be mounted on the concrete pads at the southern end of the ranges, and would live-fire at wooden aircraft targets which would travel along railtracks under control of the instructors. Shingle banks protected the tracks and trollies from direct hits.

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