Chevrolet G506 E-5 Turret Training Trucks

During the Second World War the U.S. automotive industry produced a vast number of trucks and light vehicles which were used by all Allied nations. One of the more versatile designs was the Chevrolet G506 1+1⁄2-ton, 4×4 medium truck, of which 154,204 were built in various configurations. Over 44,000 were provided to the Soviets.
One of the versions was the E5 Turret Trainer Truck. This was a rather straight-forward modification which replaced the cargo bed with various frame-mounted aircraft turrets. The truck’s engine drove an electric generator which provided power to operate the turret.
Aerial gunnery students began their training by shooting skeet with shotguns. They then progressed to shooting clay pigeons from the back of a moving vehicle. This is a standard G506 cargo version with a wooden shooting stand added to the bed. The weapon is a Remington Model 11 shotgun fitted with a spade grip.
Shotguns were also fitted to the E5 trucks as the students gained proficiency. The shotguns helped reduce costs.
Here is another configuration – B-24 turrets fitted with .30-caliber machine guns. Note that the truck frames are fitted with stabilizers above the rear wheels for firing.
A good view of the top of a Sperry ventral turret with Perspex transparencies removed. This reveals of details of the frame.
Another top view from a magazine illustration. The caption reads, “Learning To Give Our Enemies a Nasty Taste of Bitter Medicine. Gunnery students learn to aim and fire the .50-caliber machine guns which will later be installed in regulation bomber turrets. Here, for trial workouts, these deadly guns are mounted in Army trucks, from which they fire at targets carried by a driverless jeep running on a circular track.”
A posed photograph, but interesting as it shows jacks being installed under the front bumper to stabilize the vehicle. Note the placard with the number “4” in front of the turret.
A model aircraft mounted to a Cushman cart is intended to provide practice tracking a crossing target, but the trainees don’t appear interested. In many of these photos the trucks have their hoods open, presumably to help keep the engines cool while the vehicles are stationary and generating electricity for the turrets.
Trainees carry ammo to the gun range at Page Field, Fort Myers, Florida. Trucks are lined up preparing to fire. Red flags indicate a “hot” range.
A cloth banner mounted to a Jeep is the intended target. The Jeep would be unmanned when firing, guided by the fixed track system and protected by the earthen berm in the background.
A good view of the rear of the E5 Turret Trainer Truck. To the right is a Sperry ball turret.
The Sperry ball turret required a different frame when mounted to the truck, one which provided clear arcs of fire to the rear. Ironically, the mounting structure resulted in a taller vehicle than those equipped with any of the standard ventral turrets.
A clear side view of an E5 with a ball turret. Any of these vehicles would make an unusual conversion project for a modeler.
While I could not confirm that any of the E5 turret trucks served in anything other than a training capacity, it would be plausible to use them in a local security role for airfield defense. Bomber units would have all the required logistics in place to support both the truck and gun system plus have an abundance of trained gunners.
This and the following photo are supposedly of a gun truck in New Guinea, and may show an E5 truck utilized in an airfield defense role.
Compare the support frame on this truck to the previous photographs – it is much simpler and mounted lower than the others, similar to the support for the Liberator turrets with the .30-caliber guns seen in the fifth photograph.