Jump to content

WWII Tactical AAA


Al

Recommended Posts

You keep plugging one incident, I'm quoting from accumulated wartime experience which showed that .50s were distinctly inferior to 20mm in the AAA role, and 20mm were inferior to 40mm. Some quotes from 'Rapid Fire':

 

"The USN rated the Oerlikon as between eight and ten times more effective in the AA role than the .5", and estimated that it accounted for 32% of Japanese aircraft destroyed by naval AA fire between Pearl Harbour and 1944, after which the figure dropped to 25%."

 

208723[/snapback]

 

IIRC correctly the USN used a water cooled .50 with a low rate of fire (450?). If you compare this to an air cooled 20mm with about the same rate of fire, the 20mm should be much more effective: it has a more destructive shell and the .50 does not have weight or rate of fire advantages, which is what .50 partisans tend to site as its advantages.

 

If the comparison was, for instance, between a mount with twin air cooled .50s at 650-700 RPM, and a single 20 mm Oerlikon at 450 RPM, the effectiveness calculation might be different, though we would just be having the aircraft armament argument all over again to talk about how the calculation would change.

 

The quad .50 is a whole different animal from the USN single mount: four barrels and a powered mounting. Given approximately equal ballistics and belt feed (which I would expect to translate into a practical rate of fire advantage over the Oerlikon and German 20mm Flak) I would guess the quad .50 to be near the German 20mm quad in effectiveness.

 

So I think the numbers are skewed because the USN had pretty much the worst case scenario for .50 AA effectiveness and, if they had pushed for lighter, higher rate of fire .50 AA, possibly like the twin mounts on PT boats, they might have liked the .50 a lot more.

 

The bridge on the Rhine scenario, OTOH, is best case for .50 AA: all quad mounts with time to deploy around a single high value target. This is why I don't see a contradiction between your notes on the .50 as an AA weapon and the performance at the bridge.

 

In any case, once the Kamikazes are an issue, both the .50 and the 20mm are out the window.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 210
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

IIRC correctly the USN used a water cooled .50 with a low rate of fire (450?).....

 

If the comparison was, for instance, between a mount with twin air cooled .50s at 650-700 RPM, and a single 20 mm Oerlikon at 450 RPM, the effectiveness calculation might be different...

 

The quad .50 is a whole different animal from the USN single mount: four barrels and a powered mounting.  Given approximately equal ballistics and belt feed (which I would expect to translate into a practical rate of fire advantage over the Oerlikon and German 20mm Flak) I would guess the quad .50 to be near the German 20mm quad in effectiveness.

 

So I think the numbers are skewed because the USN had pretty much the worst case scenario for .50 AA effectiveness and, if they had pushed for lighter, higher rate of fire .50 AA, possibly like the twin mounts on PT boats, they might have liked the .50 a lot more.

 

Actually, not. The naval water-cooled .50 had an adjustable rate of fire in the 500-700 rpm range (and the water-cooling meant that it could keep this up for much longer). The naval gun also came in twin as well as single mountings. The aircooled M2HB as used in the army's four-barrel AA mounting had a RoF of 450-500 rpm. Only the aircraft M2, with a shorter and lighter barrel and other changes, was faster-firing than the naval version, at 750-850 rpm.

 

The 20mm Flak 38 had a RoF of 420-480 rpm, i.e. the Vierling fired at about the same rate as the quad .50 - but the ammo was much more powerful and destructive.

 

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and discussion forum

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Apart the very funny posts of formerblue :D ,

this topic (resurrected by miself, great ) send us other reasons to be read.

 

IMO, we can draw some conclusions:

 

-M2 vs 20mm. We can argue if M2 areonautics were better or not of the old oerlikon MgFF, as example.But apart this, the evolution has shown that "bigger is better".

 

Surely that M2 was a ugly beast to manage. If a fighter has 6 of them, you are in trouble. Some pilots of P-47s stated that their armament was more effective than previous fighter flown with 20mms. But it really worths?

 

Also in the BoB Brownings lights were effective, after all, to shot down a thousand of german A/C. But , despite their RoF was atleast comparable with a minigun, they were away from the ideal. The HE bullets for them was considered "ridicolous", and the minimum caliber to fire HE was considered as the 20mm. If nothing else, the MG FF was capable to shot a very powerful shell.

 

British were in trouble to making reliable Hisso armed fighters. But the unreliability of these and the short time of fire were serious issues.

 

So we can say that perhaps the most successfull AA british weapon was the Browning 303, but even if it works quite well, there was a different needing to be satisfied. This was well shown when (to answer to Formerblue about the issue of "how" damages are evalued) by several german bombers returned to home with over 220 holes of MG. Naturally, many were shot down, but the problem was that in a typical tail engagement, even 200 hith could have been not enough, and this mean atleast two fighter that had fired all their ammo on this bomber. Waht if they had heavier weapons? It could had been better. Also in Spain there were complaints about the SKAS letality (not abot reliability, not about RoF, but just leta lity)

 

But how heavier? US tough it was enough the M2. reliable, powerful, cheap. Why not? US didn't faced heavy bombers, after all. The vanilla 20mm with their weight, low ROF , high price and last 60 shell drum, wasn't exactly ideal.

 

But the history became furhter, the reliability was improved, the bels inshtead of drums and powerful fighter engines. So the things happened. Hurricane MK II had before 8, after 10-12 MGs, just like Typoon. After, they switched to 4 Hisso. There was a reasond behind that? One could had been the ground attack, but also in AA mode they were indeed more effective.

 

How a M2 fighter could had done as anti-bomber weapon? I feel not very well.

 

But of course, there must be differences.

Italians and Japs fought with much weaker HMGs allied bombers. despite italians HE shells, not so effective like italian historicians claims, the vickers style machines were much weaker than M2 browning, with 40% less energy. Even so, with only two MGs, there were cases in wich axis fighter shot down with a few shots heavy bombers. Trick? frontal engagements.

Now, i don't think that 6 M2s were less effective in this side, if you shot at the front or the sides of enemy heavy bombers you will do something. Even if you pursue on the tail with 6 M2 you will have something good.

 

Maxom mount was good above all for the fast turn rate. It could do as well good things.

Even so, 12,7mm was sobstituted by 20mm. Even the maxon was post WWII "improved " with 2 20mm guns insthead of the 4 12,7mm. This is a clear proof of what kind of superiority was in the 20mm insthead of the 12,7mm.

 

Perhaps that at the beginnings of the WWII M2 HMG was the better choice. At the mid war, perhaps equal. At the end, definitively less effective. This because the improveing of the 20mm weapons at all the levels. And despite the fact that germans bombers were gone.

 

 

So i think that 6 HMGs were good. Perhaps also 12 LMGs. But the better overall arrangement was the 20mm. for special anti-tank, anti-bomber things, stuff of 30-37mm were better as well. Japan tried to put in their fighters any sort of heavy gun. Even 75mm was tested to shot down B-29s. And this, regardless of the good results of M2s in many combats, but also regardless of the american pride (those shitty 20mm european guns! :D ).

 

As Korea war, i am happy that someone seems thinks the same of myself: Tony has said, better 4 23mm insthead than the Mig standard armament.

 

As this issue, perhaps the Mig overall weaponry was quite superior ( AA combats, bomber interceptions, ground attack), but as fighter-to fighter weapon, the problems was that the russian guns not only had lower RoF, but also had slower shells, even if on the longer ranges these shells looses less energy than a 12,7 (but over 500m who care??), and a limited ammo. What hell you can do something if you have just 6-8 sec. of fire? And if your RoF is barely over 2000 RPM? And if your guns are lacking a rangefinder?

 

The Sabres can close the range and fire with M3s with precision. As the accounts of the air battles, i have read that Mig fire often as firsts , but usually missed the sabres, while the sabre then in the furball descended at levels on wich they had better capabilities overall than the Migs, and then fired on them many strafes, hitting time and time until their target started to smoke.

 

I am only wondering, what if some field modifications lead Mig 15 with the 37mm removed and:

-4 NS 23 with 80 R each or

-3 NS 23 with let's say 120 each or

-4 B-20 or skhak guns with 150-160 R. each.

-even 2x20mm (insthead of the 37mm) plus 2x 23mm or

-6 UBT 12,7mm (sabrerovsky!)

-4 KPV(?)

 

All this weapon systems should had been MUCH better than the original.

Personally, 4x20 or 2x20 plus 2x23mm sems to me the better choice. Plus i'd add a battery of AA rockets against B-29s (rockets proved better than heavy guns in AA and AS roles, atleast for the reasons they don't compromise the design of hte aircraft). After all, RS family was the first real AA roket of the world. I bet that against B-29s, if not a copy of the R4M, even RS-82 could had done good things.

 

Naturally it'ds arguable how this question of weapon was important. For me, a weapon lighter but that is precise on hitting the target is better than a heavier that usually missed. Migs usually fired on the sabres, and usually missed them even when they had the start of the battle, while the Sabre's fire was atleast precise to hit the target. Usally, it was wondering how the Migs were able to withstand to the HMG fires, not less than the germans bombers of BoB. But at the end, usually, one or two of hte reds were missing at the landing.

 

Rougly it's all i can say about.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't know the M3 used a wildly different round <_<

208349[/snapback]

You misunderstood. If you are calculating the weight of projectiles on target you do need to account for firing rate. The M3 fires faster than the M2 so the weight of shells on target is obviously higher.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You haven't answered my question: when did B-17s operate within range of light AA cannon? 20mm Flak was effective up to perhaps 3,000 feet altitude, 30mm to perhaps 4,000-5,000 feet. B-17's flew at and bombed from altitudes in excess of 20,000 feet. So if any had been shot down by light AAA it would frankly be a cause of wonder and amazement.

You misunderstood. The B-17s flew high enough that small rounds were not a factor. That was my point.

 

You keep plugging one incident, I'm quoting from accumulated wartime experience which showed that .50s were distinctly inferior to 20mm in the AAA role, and 20mm were inferior to 40mm. Some quotes from 'Rapid Fire':

 

"The USN rated the Oerlikon as between eight and ten times more effective in the AA role than the .5", and estimated that it accounted for 32% of Japanese aircraft destroyed by naval AA fire between Pearl Harbour and 1944, after which the figure dropped to 25%."

 

and:

 

"the Bofors was credited with 50% of Japanese aircraft shot down by USN AA fire between October 1944 and March 1945"

And you keep pointing to naval combat. AAA fire from ships is different from land as there isn't a lot of hill and tree cover in the Pacific. But hey:
As a result, the 40mm were suppressed and the 3in/50 twin mounting specied instead

USS Des Moines. Nothing less than 3" is useful in that environment. 5" of course being optimal.

 

"Curiously, the British Army showed little interest in light cannon, rapidly abandoning the various 20mm guns for improved models of 40mm Bofors. This view was probably influenced by operational research into the relative effectiveness of the 20mm Oerlikon and 40mm Bofors in dealing with low-flying coastal raiders.  It was noted that these were not usually spotted until 1,500 yards (1,370m) away, so the Bofors could not use its range advantage.  Engagement times were only about 13 seconds (from first sighting the target to the last shot) and the Bofors only had time to fire seven or eight rounds to the Oerlikon's 50.  Even so, in most circumstances the Bofors was more effective.

Interesting that this quote kind of confirms the cover point. But I found what I had mentioned earlier. The British Kerrison Predictor that was used with the Bofors was tested in the US when the 40mm was adopted to replace the 37mm. The director was found to not be able to "solve" the attack problems on aircraft within 600 meters. The quad .50 was used to cover that dead zone.

 

Why the predictor didn't work within 600 meters isn't listed. Again, for maybe the 10th time, speed of traverse would be my guess.

 

The F-35 is getting the 25mm GAU-12. The F-22 will have the M61, because the quality of the gun is no longer as important as it was. Re-read my comments about the USAF's attempts to introduce the GAU-7 - they evidently didn't think that the M61 was adequate even in the 1960s, but it doesn't really matter now.

Quality of the gun on a multimillion dollar aircraft doesn't matter? Why not save the cash and replace it with an M2 then?

 

They did well despite their armament, mainly due to human factors (see other posts).

They did well because of their armament. The standardization of caliber made for an easier gunsight solution. 6 fast firing guns meant that a 10th of a second burst still put a number of rounds on target. That is critical when the target is moving so quickly.

 

We can distill it down quite easily. If you truly believe that the .50s were ineffective find a proportionate number of references to Migs returning after having been hit. The .50s put rounds on target quickly. Increased the chances of hitting. Your contention boils down to the rounds didn't do enough damage. Prove it. Migs.

 

Somewhat related, this is rather interesting also:

http://72.14.207.104/search?q=cache:lnTb-U...15+damage&hl=en

Edited by FormerBlue
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, not. The naval water-cooled .50 had an adjustable rate of fire in the 500-700 rpm range (and the water-cooling meant that it could keep this up for much longer). . . . .

The 20mm Flak 38 had a RoF of 420-480 rpm, i.e. the Vierling fired at about the same rate as the quad .50 - but the ammo was much more powerful and destructive.

 

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and discussion forum

209128[/snapback]

 

Thanks for the clarification on the naval .50; serves me right for going from memory.

 

When we're talking specific mounts, I think the quad .50s power operation, improved sights, and belt feed give it some balancing advantages against the manually operated, clip fed Vierling.

 

This led me into a slightly different line of thinking: I'm starting to wonder how much we may be dancing around better mountings being more important than better weapons?

 

- Tony, your own figures show a predictor improving 40mm AA performance by 2X and a gyro sight improving 20mm performance by 6X. It is hard for me to believe that these kinds of factors wouldn't be more significant than the rate of fire differences and ballistic differences we tend to talk about between most different 12.7-20mm weapons and most different 37-40 weapons.

 

- The single .50 AA has no fans, but the quad mounting, which featured power operation and reflector sights, has some anecdotal support and the ultimate complement: it's still around in vastly updated form.

I think the idea that the US quad .50 is a special case is also supported by the lack of upgrade kits for all the Warsaw Pact unpowered quad 12.7mm and 14.5mm weapons. I'm guessing the larger, powered US mount, designed from the start for better sights was deemed worth upgrading while unpowered mountings were not.

 

I wonder if a good chunk of what we're seeing in the .50 to 40mm range is that larger and later war weapons tended to have much more effective sights and mountings?

 

For 12.7mm and 20mm weapons it would be interesting to know how single, manual mountings compared to multiple powered mountings and, in turn, how these multiple powered mountings might compare to single 37-40mm mountings. I'm guessing that all types of mounts for 12.7mm and 20mm are lumped together in the effectiveness data we're talking about.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Naw, was going all over the place as the thread was drifting all over.  The theme was AAA and it moved to B-17s and their ability to withstand various cannon rounds.  Thought I'd point out that none of them cannon were particularly effective in the AAA role against B-17s so it's not real applicable.  The P-47s lossed to 20mm were a better reference to small cannon.  And I still don't see large losses to Vierlings.

 

The point remains that at Remagen the .50s seemed to work.  The 40mms weren't more destructive as, apparently, they weren't hitting.  Which has been my common thread.  A set of .50s hitting is better than cannon that aren't.

 

It's news to me that the XM-214 was available during Korea.  :P

 

The F-22 is due to get the M61, not a 25mm or 30mm.  As is the F-35.  Seems it's big enough. 

 

Point stands, F-86s did just fine with the .50s.  A preference for cannon doesn't change that.

208339[/snapback]

 

edit

 

back off topic (sorry, I'm tired and got blather-typing. feel free to ignore. )

 

I was originally bothered that the 25mm gun from the AV8B was not the gun for the f-35, but then I saw that the 27mm Mauser had some advantages.

 

Then they decided to use the 25mm gun. and afaik, they are STILL only talking about 150 rounds on board.

 

 

After readig "Rapid Fire" a couple times, and reading most anything I can find on the web, I find myself wondering why we DO stick with the m61. It seems to be reliable, and we know it. Those seem to be the only real advantages, unless the afaik larger dispersion is considered an advantage. Tony DID manage to convince me that their relatively large bulk is not a great idea. The weight isn't all that hot compared to other guns either.

 

I would think that the 30mm 4(?) barrel gun for gunpods, or the 25mm whether in the Equalizer or the GE(?) Gast style gun would make somewhat more sense. GIven that most other countries seem to have decided that 20mm (particularly 20x102mm) isn't really damaging enough on target, that is. Perhaps a longer barrel version would help, but that is more weight etc.

 

I'm not sure the Mauser 27mm, or the french 30mm (the newer one) or the russian 23 or 30mm guns might be more generally usefull. at least more compact and lighter for the relative performance.

Edited by gewing
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quality of the gun on a multimillion dollar aircraft doesn't matter?  Why not save the cash and replace it with an M2 then?

You misunderstood. I was referring to the choice among modern aircraft cannon. There are better guns available than the 20mm M61, but given the way fighter guns are used these days the question of whether it has a 20mm, 25mm or 30mm aircraft cannon isn't a major issue.

 

We can distill it down quite easily.  If you truly believe that the .50s were ineffective find a proportionate number of references to Migs returning after having been hit.

I have never said that the .50 was ineffective: only that a good 20mm would have been more effective.

 

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and discussion forum

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we're talking specific mounts, I think the quad .50s power operation, improved sights, and belt feed give it some balancing advantages against the manually operated, clip fed Vierling.

I don't think that the belt feed is that significant an advantage because the effective RoF of an air-cooled gun is limited by barrel heating rather than ammunition supply (the maximum continuous rate of fire of an M2HB to avoid overheating is only 40 rpm - yes, that's forty!). And when you think about how AA guns were used, it tended to be in brief bursts of fire since aircraft weren't in range for long, so there would usually have been time for reloading. The main advantage of belt feed is that it saves on the extra bodies needed to keep dashing around changing the magazines.

 

However, I agree with you over the importance of the mounting. A powered mounting has clear advantages over a manual one, and sights are also important (although it should be noted that the Flakvisier on the German 20mm mountings was a sophisticated modern sight - one which IIRC they simplified later in the war!). This is what I said in 'Rapid Fire' concerning current light naval cannon:

 

"The combination of mounting and sighting system does far more to determine the usefulness of a light cannon than the does the calibre. An unpowered mounting and open sights limit the weapon to engaging nearby stationary or slow-moving targets in reasonably calm seas (especially when fitted to small craft). In contrast, a stabilised mounting and a computer sight will convert almost any cannon into a highly effective surface-fire weapon with a credible back-up anti-aircraft performance. Broadly speaking, unpowered free-swinging mountings tend to be of 20mm calibre, with 25mm seeing some powered assistance and 30+mm fully powered and often stabilised."

 

The final point I think answers part of your question: the more powerful an AA gun is, the more worthwhile it is to fit it with a complex and expensive sighting and mounting system. The ballistic and destructive performance of the .50 is really not good enough to be worth spending a lot of money on advanced sights and mountings: which is probably why many of the quad mountings were converted to twin 20mm cannon, as described above.

 

Of course, the quad .50 earned its formidable reputation in another role altogether - cutting swathes through Korean massed infantry attacks!

 

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and discussion forum

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have never said that the .50 was ineffective: only that a good 20mm would have been more effective.

209669[/snapback]

You made the assertion that the F-86 was successful in spite of it's armament. I guess we could also say it was successful in spite of it's not having the J57 engine and much improved aerodynamics. But hey, that would be the F-100 Super Sabre - not available for that war.

 

The M39 wasn't fielded until 1953. Which is also the year the F-100 arrived carrying them. It was also the year that the first Sidewinder was fired. Too late for that war. Yes, I am aware some F-86Fs did see combat (test) M39s. But that's 1953 again. Still leaves a lot of combat in 1950, 1951, 1952. F-86Fs also had a more powerful engine, better guns sight, and better slats than the A model.

 

Unreliable M3 20mm cannon would not have improved the F-86. Its armament was fine. Unless you can find all of those Mig-15s that were able to shrug off the .50s?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back on track of AAA in WW2.

 

There are a number of situations that need to be dealt with. Not every country had the same situations. We've already touched on heavy bombers (which require something really big to reach).

 

The weapons also need to be segregated into static defense and mobile defense. The towed 40mm had to be set up before use. It's not particularly mobile. The quad-fifty was very mobile (half track version specifically). The Germans also had the half track for their 20mm and the modified tank chassis (Mobelwagen IIRC) for the 20mm and 37mm. The US M42 Duster provided 40mm mobility but that wasn't WW2. Zsu-23 also comes to mind.

 

The Allied forces on the Western Front didn't have to deal with a lot of ground attack. Well, outside of Allied aircraft anyway. Other than Remagen I'd say it was pretty much wasted effort for the US.

 

Tank Destroyers was a failed concept. Tanks need to fight tanks. Likewise, aircraft need to fight aircraft. At least in WW2. German ground attack a/c weren't a significant threat in the west because of the fighters - not AAA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They did well because of their armament.  The standardization of caliber made for an easier gunsight solution.  6 fast firing guns meant that a 10th of a second burst still put a number of rounds on target.  That is critical when the target is moving so quickly.

 

We can distill it down quite easily.  If you truly believe that the .50s were ineffective find a proportionate number of references to Migs returning after having been hit.  The .50s put rounds on target quickly.  Increased the chances of hitting.  Your contention boils down to the rounds didn't do enough damage.  Prove it.  Migs.

209652[/snapback]

 

Well, by same token we could then argue that .303 was excellent fighter gun in WW2, after all fighters armed with them did shoot down a huge number of aircraft. Ki-43 had juts two of them and they totally wiped out the opposition in 1941-42. I guess you could argue it is 'because of the armament' and could be disproven only by a 'proportionate number of references to Allied fighters returning after being hit'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The US also used a lot of 37mm AA, both towed and in HTSPs - the latter in combination with two 0.50s. The latter can't have been that bad as they were still in the front line in Korea - though in a surface-to-surface role. The M42 was preceded by a similar twin 40mm SPAAG based on the M24 - the M19. M19s also served in Korea but AFAIK were too late for WW-2.

 

I think the absurdly high figures given for amounts of 0.50 rounds needed to inflict a kill by the US Army are probably because not only 0.50s in AA units were counted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unreliable M3 20mm cannon would not have improved the F-86.   Its armament was fine.  Unless you can find all of those Mig-15s that were able to shrug off the .50s?

 

Some extracts from 'Flying Guns – the Modern Era: Development of Aircraft Guns, Ammunition and Installations since 1945' (Emmanuel wrote this chapter!):

 

"Almost all F 86s that saw service in Korea were armed with six .50 inch M3 machine guns. The M3 had a high muzzle velocity and a high rate of fire (1,200 rpm) but nevertheless the firepower of the Sabre was unsatisfactory in combat against the MiG 15. The Soviet fighter was well armoured and had the sturdy construction that could be expected in a fast jet fighter aircraft. One of the most successful Soviet pilots of the war, Yevgeni Pepelyaev, commented:

 

The US Browning .50-calibre guns bounced off our aircraft like peas! It was routine for our aircraft to return home having taken 40 or 50 hits.

 

In US figures this deficiency in firepower translated itself in a relatively high number of enemy aircraft claimed as “damaged” or “probable” versus the number of enemy aircraft claimed as “destroyed.” And it is likely that many of the aircraft that American pilots thought to have shot down, actually limped home. The first recorded Sabre kill, by Lt.Col. Bruce Hinton on 17 December 1950, was a revealing event:

 

I picked the up the closest enemy, which was MiG No.2, put my pipper on his left fuselage about where the main fuel tank should be and closed. I was using stadiametric ranging on the gun sight with a 30-ft span set. …

When it looked like 1,500-ft range, I let go a short burst and saw strikes against the middle left fuselage and from the right wing where the bullet pattern from the six .50-calibres had sprayed across. The holes appeared to cause some kind of leaks from either internal fuel or smoke from the API ammunition I had fired. …

Range was about 800 ft and I pressed the trigger for a good burst into his engine. Pieces flew out, smoke filled his tail pipe, then flame lengthened out of the opening. He immediately lost airspeed…

In an attempt to finish him off, I made a diving turn, putting the pipper on his forward fuselage. At this point, I fired a very long burst. The API flashed and twinkled on the left and right wing roots and the cockpit area. He rolled on his back and dived, trailing smoke and flaming towards the snow-covered ground. …

The performance of the MiG 15 had been far better than we were told. The airplane also appeared to be a lot tougher than I had imagined when it came to shooting it down.

 

Hinton had consumed almost all his ammunition. On average 1,024 rounds had to be fired to destroy a MiG 15, out of a normal ammunition load of 1,602. More to the point, even with six 1,200 rpm guns it takes eight and a half seconds to fire 1,024 rounds – an eternity in air combat. Col. Glenn Eagleston complained that of all MiG-15s hit by the fire of the Sabres, two-thirds still managed to get away."

 

The 20mm M3 and the electrically-primed M24 were the subject of an intensive development effort in the late 1940s in order to resolve the reliability issues. The improved M24A1 was available in time for the Korean War and four M24 cannon were later the standard fit of the F-86K.

 

It is reasonable to conclude that if in the late 1940s the USAF had had foreknowledge of the results of air combat in Korea, they would have specified the 20mm M3 or M24 for the F-86 from the start. As it was, the Project Gun-Val planes (which tested the M24 as well as the M39) were very much experimental and the cannon installations needed a lot of development before they were satisfactory.

 

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and discussion forum

Edited by Tony Williams
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Allied forces on the Western Front didn't have to deal with a lot of ground attack.  Well, outside of Allied aircraft anyway.  Other than Remagen I'd say it was pretty much wasted effort for the US.

 

Tank Destroyers was a failed concept.  Tanks need to fight tanks.  Likewise, aircraft need to fight aircraft.  At least in WW2.  German ground attack a/c weren't a significant threat in the west because of the fighters - not AAA.

 

But the US didn't have absolute air superiority from the start, or everywhere all the time during the entire war. And it would be little consolation to soldiers on the ground that the fact they couldn't fight back saved some money :)

 

As for TD's being a failed concept, that is simply to sweeping a statement to be true.

And ultimatly it was the heavy bombers that caused the a/c to stop being a threat, so what you really need is bombers to shut down the enemie's a/c and tanks: everything else is a diversionary effort :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, by same token we could then argue that .303 was excellent fighter gun in WW2, after all fighters armed with them did shoot down a huge number of aircraft. Ki-43 had juts two of them and they totally wiped out the opposition in 1941-42. I guess you could argue it is 'because of the armament' and could be disproven only by a 'proportionate number of references to Allied fighters returning after being hit'.

209698[/snapback]

I have no problem with that. In 1941-1942 the Ki-43 was a good fighter. The Japanese focus on dogfighting is reflected in the light armament. The Ki-43 was able to handle the lightly armored enemy aircraft without a lot of problems. So if you are speaking of the 1941-1942 period I'd agree. You can go back further and look at the Fokkers in WW1. Lightly armed also but very effective for the time.

 

Unless you have evidence that the assortment of allied aircraft ranged against the Ki-43 were able to handle it in 1941-1942?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In US figures this deficiency in firepower translated itself in a relatively high number of enemy aircraft claimed as “damaged” or “probable” versus the number of enemy aircraft claimed as “destroyed.” And it is likely that many of the aircraft that American pilots thought to have shot down, actually limped home. The first recorded Sabre kill, by Lt.Col. Bruce Hinton on 17 December 1950, was a revealing event:

McConnell:

Fedorets spotted McConnell's Sabre, who was chasing another MiG. The Russian pilot smartly managed to put himself on the Sabre's tail, slightly below. Thus, when McConnell's wingman told him to break, he couldn't see Fedorets, who was 'on his six'. Seconds later, Fedorets' lethal burst smashed into McConnell's F-86. Using all his expertise, and despite the damage caused by Fedorets, McConnell forced his Sabre into a high-G barrel roll, causing Fedorets to overtake him. Turning the tables, McConnell fired his 50-caliber machine guns into Fedorets' MiG, forcing him to eject. Mac's own plane was smoking, had lost half its power, and its radio, but McConnell could still control the crippled Sabre.
Mig cannon didn't make his aircraft blow up in the "earth shattering kaoboom" we were lead to expect.

 

Davis:

So, Davis and Creighton were tasked "to cool the enthusiam" of the Russians and allow the US fighter-bombers to do their job; and indeed Davis let the Russians "frozen". In only two minutes between 13:49 and 13:51 hs, he blasted two MiGs out of the sky: the ones flown by Aleksandr P. Verdysh and A. Yesipko (both fliers perished)

Two Migs in 2 minutes. No reloading allowed. I guess it didn't take the full load to down them each?

 

He pulled in behind one of those MiGs, and opened up. The MiG just blew up and the pilot (Anatoly I. Baturov) bailed out. Unfortunatelly, the Russian flier did so at very low altitude and perished.
Seem to be working fine.

 

It is reasonable to conclude that if in the late 1940s the USAF had had foreknowledge of the results of air combat in Korea, they would have specified the 20mm M3 or M24 for the F-86 from the start.

It's reasonable to conclude they'd have sped up development of the later fighters and cannon. Maybe the F-100 could have entered combat.

 

Interestingly he didn't get his first Mig. Call it "Buck fever." He opened up out of range and didn't get enough hits on target (although he did hit).

 

I still don't see those large number of Migs. Large number of "probables and damaged"

is the nature of the fight. You don't always get to watch the enemy blow up. If he leaves smoking you don't get credit for a kill. I suppose it would be better to claim them all and inflate the "kill" category?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. . One of the most successful Soviet pilots of the war, Yevgeni Pepelyaev, commented:

 

The US Browning .50-calibre guns bounced off our aircraft like peas! It was routine for our aircraft to return home having taken 40 or 50 hits.

 

2. In US figures this deficiency in firepower translated itself in a relatively high number of enemy aircraft claimed as “damaged” or “probable” versus the number of enemy aircraft claimed as “destroyed.” And it is likely that many of the aircraft that American pilots thought to have shot down, actually limped home.

 

3. The 20mm M3 and the electrically-primed M24 were the subject of an intensive development effort in the late 1940s in order to resolve the reliability issues. The improved M24A1 was available in time for the Korean War and four M24 cannon were later the standard fit of the F-86K.

 

4. It is reasonable to conclude that if in the late 1940s the USAF had had foreknowledge of the results of air combat in Korea, they would have specified the 20mm M3 or M24 for the F-86 from the start. As it was, the Project Gun-Val planes (which tested the M24 as well as the M39) were very much experimental and the cannon installations needed a lot of development before they were satisfactory.

 

209706[/snapback]

Again I think some of these statements (type I was thinking of in earlier responses) are actually non-quantative, hard to back quantitatively and therefore the specific conclusion can be questioned.

 

1. But how often? Again a higher damaged to killed ratio is inherent with a lighter gun, even assuming it is equally effective; depends on how much. As I said in accounts like Naboka's (plodding transcription of the Soviet records enagement by engagement, including for part of Pepelyaev's tour) there are relatively few mentions of cases like that, not a huge number of damaged planes mentioned at all. It doesn't mean there weren't others not mentioned, but I don't know. Plus the implicit frame of reference of Pepelyaev's statement is again the view that says they downed lots and lots of F-86's and most of those they fired at, but this cannot be supported in the US records. Actually plenty of F-86's were hit and survived also, more than 1/2 perhaps 2/3, and as little as 10% of what they claimed actually downed. And in general quotes of pilots of the 324 amd 303 divs (almost all those you see in English in books, even TV shows) are somtetimes at odds with known facts in *their records*, let alone US ones. Part of this problem was probably telling them to forget they fought in Korea for 40yrs, then asking them to tell all about it.

 

2. Was it especially high (original source for that?). Even if so, the ratio among dest/dam/prob *claims* is also a function of how rigorously they are culled down before crediting, not just the actual effect on the enemy. If you add up US dest/prob/dam they would exceed actual Soviet losses by something like, or more, than the Soviets claims of destroyed alone exceeded the US losses, order of 10 times, because they apparently credited most planes their pilots got a reasonable shot at, and gc photo of, much different than actually downing a plane. As to "destroyed's" limping away we know that the overall ratio of US destroyed credits to real MiG losses (70%+) was pretty good by WWII standards, so no evidence that was particularly prevalent, relatively. Again we'd need actual MiG damage v. loss stats to say anything definitive on this issue comparatively.

 

3. The M3 20mm had at least some reliability issues with the Navy in Korea, as in Nov 1950 when F9F's killed 2 MiG's (claimed 3) including the first confirmable in Soviet records, they would probably have had more without gun failures.

 

4. So I question this specific conclusion. As of F-86 design and even after, USAF had stats studies saying *existing* larger cals were not superior. GUNVAL, per the chapter on it in Thompson/McLaren "MiG Alley, Sabres vs. MiG's Over Korea" only tested the T-160 (M39) in combat, a later weapon. Kill rates were "above average", not clear slam dunk apparently.

 

Joe

Edited by JOE BRENNAN
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Four F-86E-10s (serial numbers 51-2803, 2819, 2826 and 2836) and six F-86F-1s (serial numbers 51-2855, 2861, 2867, 2868, 2884 and 2900) were pulled off the North American assembly line and fitted with a quartet of T-160 20-mm cannon and redesignated F-86F-2-NA. The T-160 guns were belt-fed and were capable of firing 1500 rounds per minute. The gun bays had to be completely redesigned and the guns had to be spaced further apart vertically with a totally new blast panel. The ammunition canisters could carry only 100 rounds each, for about 6 seconds of firing. The gun mounts had to be strengthened and the nose structure around the guns had to be beefed up in order to handle the extra amount of recoil. In order to prevent the buildup of gun gas in the cannon bays, where it could be an explosion and fire hazard, small doors were cut into the interior of the intake duct to extract the gun gas and suck it into the engine.
The cannon-armed Sabre project came to be known as Project Gunval. Eight F-86F-2s were transferred to the 4th Wing in Korea in January 1953 for actual combat tests. The Gunval project was assigned to the 335th FIS, commanded by LtCol Vermont Garrison. Almost immediately, problems were encountered. In the very first aerial combats, the engines of the Gunval Sabres flamed out immediately when the cannon were fired, and no hits on MiGs were scored.

 

All of the *Gunval* Sabres had to be grounded to figure out what the problem was. It turned that during the firing of the cannon, excessive amounts of gun gas were being sucked into the engine, much larger amounts than the engineers had expected. The early stateside firing tests had been carried out at lower altitudes and no problems had been encountered, but at higher altitudes there was lesser oxygen to run the engine and the gun gas was causing a compressor stall, resulting in a flameout.

 

This seemed to cure the gun gas ingestion problem, and combat tests resumed. A total of 282 combat missions were flown. Out of the 41 MiGs fired at, six were destroyed, three were probably destroyed, and 13 were damaged. Two *Gunval* Sabres were hit by MiG cannon fire, but both aircraft were able to return safely to base. The *Gunval* tests were completed on May 1, 1953, and the surviving aircraft were sent back to the USA, ultimately to be assigned to the Colorado Air National Guard *Minutemen* aerobatic team.

 

That is the M39. Damage rate is much higher than kill rate. Numbers aren't out of line with .50 experience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

McConnell:

 

Mig cannon didn't make his aircraft blow up in the "earth shattering kaoboom" we were lead to expect.

 

Davis:

209767[/snapback]

On McConnell, yes obviously he wasn't blown up. Davis [edit: I mean Jabara, for some reason I thought of him when you said Davis] specifically believed in the .50; apparently he had no interest in trying out the GUNVAL planes on his second tour.

 

But, source note, I would not take literally accounts like those on acepilots by Diego Zampini, they're let's say "based on a true story" ;) . There's no way to say Fedorets downed McConnell, the Chinese pilot Jiang Dao-ping also now specifically claims it*. The Soviets claimed 5 F-86's that day, the Chinese at least Jiang's claim and probably others, and 2 NK divs were flying by then. 3 F-86's were lost, tied for the highest in one day by MiG's in the war. Accounts of the various sides, esp Soviet v. US, usually agree well on time place and rough circumstances; disagree on results almost always, and usually the blow by blow of who turned which way and saw and attacked what is very hard to match too. It's usually impossible to factually say who downed whom. Diego didn't have better sources, he dramatized based on fewer sources (all those inconsistencies and other claims didn't get in the way ;) ).

 

* same with the another famous ace downing, George Davis KIA CMOH in early 1952, competing Soviet and Chinese claims each have inconsistencies with the US account but then, Davis was downed.

 

Joe

Edited by JOE BRENNAN
Link to comment
Share on other sites

But, source note, I would not take literally accounts like those on acepilots by Diego Zampini, are let's say "based on a true story" ;) .

209774[/snapback]

Zampini's data is completely inconsistent on one date*. He claims no Russian or Chinese Migs were even engaged in combat on a day that McConnell? claimed a kill. I can see conflicting claims on what went down and who shot at whom but are we really supposed to believe the McConnell wouldn't even know if he was shooting at an airplane? That one is a little rich.

 

I could look it up but I'm pretty sure it was McConnell. Boots would be the other possibility as I was looking at his data too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Zampini's data is completely inconsistent on one date*.  He claims no Russian or Chinese Migs were even engaged in combat on a day that McConnell? claimed a kill.  I can see conflicting claims on what went down and who shot at whom but are we really supposed to believe the McConnell wouldn't even know if he was shooting at an airplane?  That one is a little rich.

 

I could look it up but I'm pretty sure it was McConnell.  Boots would be the other possibility as I was looking at his data too.

209775[/snapback]

You kind of lost me on that whole post. I'll just repeat what I said more directly: Diego constructs stories of pilot on pilot combats that can't really be supported from records as certainly what happened, but he presents it as if it is. If McConnell says he fired at somebody, we'd take that at face value; if Fedorets said he fired at somebody likewise. If they said they downed somebody unfortunately that's seldom specifically provable in large combats. If somebody says specifically Fedorets shot at McConnell or vice versa, that's made up, in a large combat, you can't tell that.

 

Besides that Diego often credits Soviet pilots with US non-MiG or non-combat losses in these "detailed" accounts; occasionally with non-existent losses (see his article on that site about Fedorets, credits him with Vincent Stacy who was never shot down).

 

As to verifying US pilot's scores, the source Diego uses for the Soviet losses isn't complete (but fairly close), and clearly wasn't written with detailed info on Chinese/NK losses. On Chinese losses I've found fewer than 30% of their admitted total specified date by date, and NK losses aren't known in detail at all except a few via the defector No Gum-suk. Therefore no Soviet loss on date of claim means nothing after around Sep 1951 (previously, virtually all MiG opposition was Soviet). That said related back to dest/prob/dam ratio's, some MiG losses represent the latter two categories, whereas we quote individual scores as "dest" only. So while dest credits~70% of the real MiG losses, we'd expect individual scores to check out at less than 70%, and that's the case AFAIK for pre Sep 1951. For 1953 you can't do that accurately, yet.

 

Joe

Edited by JOE BRENNAN
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You kind of lost me on that whole post.

209790[/snapback]

My point was, for one particular day, his claims state no Migs were in the air. Yet a US pilot, not an inexperienced one at that, was shooting at a Mig.

 

Kind of makes the rest of his data somewhat suspect. If Zampini's data shows no Migs in the air, and we know one was getting fired on, Zampini's research isn't all that it ought to be. Clearer? I pointed that one out as it was more or less the really wierd one. "There were no Migs in the air," "we fired on one," "there were no Migs in the air." I'd take the pilot's word that he fired on one. If Zampini's data doesn't show one in the air his data is incomplete or incorrect. Either way.

 

From what you've posted you've pretty much confirmed that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If Zampini's data shows no Migs in the air, and we know one was getting fired on, Zampini's research isn't all that it ought to be.  Clearer? 

 

209803[/snapback]

Got it.

 

Bottomline, I know Diego and he's an OK guy (to debate on the internet anyway) but I wouldn't use his articles on other air wars either based on his research techniques about Korea. Back on a recent tangent from another thread, data on ACIG has been questioned here; the data on ACIG I know has big problems is mainly by Diego, otherwise I don't know.

 

Joe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You misunderstood.  If you are calculating the weight of projectiles on target you do need to account for firing rate.  The M3 fires faster than the M2 so the weight of shells on target is obviously higher.

209644[/snapback]

 

I used 1200 rpm and 46g (basic AP round) times 6 (for number of guns) and divided by 60 (to get a second's worth of firing), pretty straight-forward I would think.

Edited by Lev
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...