At 4 o'clock am. The noise of trucks on the move can be heard across the base, Ordanance crews are collecting bombs from the dump. The crew chief and his ground crew are already awake and at work on the aircraft. The auxiliary power plant, a small petraol generator colled "putt-putt", is started up. It is there to boost the electrical supply of the plane on the ground and save the aircraft batteries.
359th BS Cpl George Turkel vusing a Put Put to start a B-17 (photo courtesy of Jack Turkel) - www.303rdbg.com
The Suadron Armaments officers appears and climbs into the B-17. He opens the door to the bomb bay, walks along the catwalk and sits in the bombardier's seat in the nose. He switches on the bombardier's panel and opens the bomb bay dorrs by moving the first of two levers. He checks that the red warning light has come on. He then moves the second lever to on of 3 positions. He chooses "Selective" (a selective drop bombs). He switches on the Intervalometer wchich sets the bomb drop intervals and then tests the bomb shackles and electric firing solenoids by pressing the bomb release located on the top of panel. Test lights flash back at him as he switched the lever to "Salvo" (emergency drop of bombs) and "Lock".
The Chief checks the operation of the bomb bay doors from the outside, then remove the canvas windshield cover. The Duty Mechanic removes the canvas wraps from the engine cowling.