Building Index – Building 376

Building 376

130 Rampart Way, Denver, CO 80230
[GPS N39°43’13.9800″ x W104°53’54.3000]

Completed in 1942, this hangar-like building was originally known as the Annex to the Armament School Building No. 379. It provided hands-on simulator training in conjunction with classes held in the Armament School Building for all levels of armorer and bombardier personnel. Armament maintenance classes and bombardier training, including the early training on the top secret Norden bombsight, were coordinated and carried out in this building. The building is associated with the training of thousands of armorers and bombardiers during WWII, the Korean War and later conflicts. In 2002 it was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Below are examples of some of the unique hands-on training provided in Building 376. Specifically for the gunner who operates his weapon from the “bubble” gun turrets on bombers and for different types of bombsight training, particularly the top secret Norden bombsight.


As shown on the cover of the Armament School Section of the May 18, 1943 Air Force Base Publication The Rev-Meter, here are two lethal looking platform vehicles holding portable Martin power-operated gun turrets with all the controls the gunner finds in a B-17 bomber. The student learned to repair, install parts, locate trouble, and correct it. He also learned to dismantle and reassemble every type of gun and cannon utilized in the turret.

The Norden bombsight was an analog computer that calculated the trajectory of the bomb, given crosswind, altitude, and airspeed. It also released the bomb, since manual release was too slow. The bombsight also took over as the autopilot of the plane during the bombing run. The job of the bombardier using this device was of the utmost importance. His training was crucial and needed to be carried out in a secure and specially designed space. As shown in this photo, high in the air on an electrically propelled platform a student in the AAF Technical Training Command kept eyes focused through the Norden bombsight. He was seated in the replica of an airplane cockpit and he steered the contraption with airplane controls. As it maneuvered across the hangar floor it approached a rectangular box atop which was a paper “bulls-eye” target, about six inches in diameter. As the “bomber” reached its objective, the bombardier released his “bomb.” A metal plunger plowed down through the very center of the target. The objective was destroyed. The student had repaired this bombsight. He was demonstrating to himself and his instructor that it worked, that it was ready to be installed in a bomber and that it would “hit the target.”#3.