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Posted: 4/26/2014 7:12:00 PM EDT
You have to admit, it's hardly a heavy round for a bomber anti-aircraft gun.

How effective was the Browning .303 Mark II machine gun against German fighters?

Did the .303 offer API and APIT loads? The .50 BMG sure did and had a much longer reach than the .303 to boot.

I realize they pumped up the Mark II's rate of fire close to an MG42, but it's still a .30 cal round. That means limited range and energy.

They probably had a ton of .303 ammo, but I'm sure we could have spared a few thousand M2's and ammo if the Brits wanted it for their bombers.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 7:15:14 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 7:16:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/26/2014 7:16:52 PM EDT by Soylent]
I've never understood the insistence on using .30 cal for aircraft armament after it became obvious a heavier punch was not only desirable but easily attained.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 7:23:54 PM EDT
Nobody liked heavy MG's except for the US, everybody else either used rifle caliber MG's or cannon for air, ground, and sea.  Sometimes both firing at the same time (fighters), which had to pose ridiculous aiming problems.  So the Brits probably never considered heavy MG's at all.  But I can't explain why the Europeans didn't like heavy MG's.

Their perverse disinterest for 50 BMG proves that we were right to revolt.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 7:28:47 PM EDT
Maybe weight played a part.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 7:30:14 PM EDT

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Originally Posted By Mal_means_bad:


Nobody liked heavy MG's except for the US, everybody else either used rifle caliber MG's or cannon for air, ground, and sea.  Sometimes both firing at the same time (fighters), which had to pose ridiculous aiming problems.  So the Brits probably never considered heavy MG's at all.  But I can't explain why the Europeans didn't like heavy MG's.



Their perverse disinterest for 50 BMG proves that we were right to revolt.
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If I remember right, the United States is one of the only countries that also really used the Shotgun as a real battlefield weapon. Something like Europeans thought it was a weapon for just horribly maiming people. Such as Hitler trying to get shotguns internationally banned for battlefield use.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 7:31:33 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Mal_means_bad:
Nobody liked heavy MG's except for the US, everybody else either used rifle caliber MG's or cannon for air, ground, and sea.  Sometimes both firing at the same time (fighters), which had to pose ridiculous aiming problems.  So the Brits probably never considered heavy MG's at all.  But I can't explain why the Europeans didn't like heavy MG's.

Their perverse disinterest for 50 BMG proves that we were right to revolt.
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Every UK and colony combatant in WWII used the .50 BMG.  Quite a few Spitfires mounted .50s and 20mm Hispanos.

Every Axis combatant used a .50 or 13mm HMG as well.  They just were rarely if ever used in flexible mounts.  The Bf-109 used 13mm cowling guns until the end of the war, and early Fw-190s used 13mm guns (replacing 7.92mm guns) as well before switching to a mix of 13mm and 20mm guns, sometimes with 30mm Mk108s used in field mod kits.

The Soviets used 12.7mm and 14.5mm HMGs (the 14.5s were probably technically small cannons) extensively.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 7:35:11 PM EDT

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Originally Posted By Mal_means_bad:


Nobody liked heavy MG's except for the US, everybody else either used rifle caliber MG's or cannon for air, ground, and sea.  Sometimes both firing at the same time (fighters), which had to pose ridiculous aiming problems.  So the Brits probably never considered heavy MG's at all.  But I can't explain why the Europeans didn't like heavy MG's.



Their perverse disinterest for 50 BMG proves that we were right to revolt.
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We flew .30 cal MG's for quite a while too, particularly in crew-served naval aircraft.




The ammo was common to their service rifle and ground-use MG's. Logistically, that makes sense.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 7:39:23 PM EDT
Sometime early in the Spitfire development a test was conducted on various gun packages.  The early set up was 8 .303 machine guns. It could deposit a lot of lead when it hit. Later in the MK V Spitfire 4 of the .303's were replaced with 2 20mm Hispano cannon. A good use for machine guns at that point was to aim the cannon. When the .303s start making hits, touch a few rounds of 20mm and jerry goes swimming. MK XVI spits had the 20mm replaced with .50 Brownings.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 7:40:20 PM EDT
Logistics

it is what makes or breaks a country during a War
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 7:42:40 PM EDT
Bomber Command pretty quickly decided that darkness was a better defense than machine guns of any caliber.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 7:45:47 PM EDT
Originally Posted By mattja:
You have to admit, it's hardly a heavy round for a bomber anti-aircraft gun.

How effective was the Browning .303 Mark II machine gun against German fighters?

Did the .303 offer API and APIT loads? The .50 BMG sure did and had a much longer reach than the .303 to boot.

I realize they pumped up the Mark II's rate of fire close to an MG42, but it's still a .30 cal round. That means limited range and energy.

They probably had a ton of .303 ammo, but I'm sure we could have spared a few thousand M2's and ammo if the Brits wanted it for their bombers.
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I know there is AP since I have a box.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 7:51:39 PM EDT

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Originally Posted By C-4:
I know there is AP since I have a box.
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Originally Posted By C-4:



Originally Posted By mattja:

You have to admit, it's hardly a heavy round for a bomber anti-aircraft gun.



How effective was the Browning .303 Mark II machine gun against German fighters?



Did the .303 offer API and APIT loads? The .50 BMG sure did and had a much longer reach than the .303 to boot.



I realize they pumped up the Mark II's rate of fire close to an MG42, but it's still a .30 cal round. That means limited range and energy.



They probably had a ton of .303 ammo, but I'm sure we could have spared a few thousand M2's and ammo if the Brits wanted it for their bombers.





I know there is AP since I have a box.




 



They were busy, something about Germans bombing their cities every day.




As simple as it sounds, you can't just pop and swap aircraft components without affecting weight and balance (aircraft center of gravity and payload capacity) or taking the time to properly engineer, test, and field new mounts to adapt a heavier MG to an existing airframe built around a lighter and lighter recoiling weapon system.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 7:51:43 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By slama682:
Bomber Command pretty quickly decided that darkness was a better defense than machine guns of any caliber.
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Good point. They only bombed at night, so I guess they hardly even fired them. I can't imagine hitting a fighter at night with a machine gun. Had to be damn near impossible.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 8:00:03 PM EDT
Given their loss rate they should have just saved the weight and personnel and went for speed.


Bomber Command crews also suffered an extremely high casualty rate:

55,573 killed out of a total of 125,000 aircrew (a 44.4% death rate), a further 8,403 were wounded in action and 9,838 became prisoners of war. This covered all Bomber Command operations including tactical support for ground operations and mining of sea lanes.

A Bomber Command crew member had a worse chance of survival than an infantry officer in World War I..
 Wiki
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 8:13:29 PM EDT
Later model Lancaster bombers WERE armed with M2 .50 cal HMGs.
This information comes direct to me from one of the men restoring "Lady Jane", a Lancaster bomber, over in the UK.

I asked my friend why the Brits insisted on using quad mounted .303's for defense on the bombers, and that is when he told me those were only the early models, and that the later ones had the M2 arrangement.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 8:17:28 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By GunnyG:

 

They were busy, something about Germans bombing their cities every day.

As simple as it sounds, you can't just pop and swap aircraft components without affecting weight and balance (aircraft center of gravity and payload capacity) or taking the time to properly engineer, test, and field new mounts to adapt a heavier MG to an existing airframe built around a lighter and lighter recoiling weapon system.
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Originally Posted By GunnyG:
Originally Posted By C-4:
Originally Posted By mattja:
You have to admit, it's hardly a heavy round for a bomber anti-aircraft gun.

How effective was the Browning .303 Mark II machine gun against German fighters?

Did the .303 offer API and APIT loads? The .50 BMG sure did and had a much longer reach than the .303 to boot.

I realize they pumped up the Mark II's rate of fire close to an MG42, but it's still a .30 cal round. That means limited range and energy.

They probably had a ton of .303 ammo, but I'm sure we could have spared a few thousand M2's and ammo if the Brits wanted it for their bombers.


I know there is AP since I have a box.

 

They were busy, something about Germans bombing their cities every day.

As simple as it sounds, you can't just pop and swap aircraft components without affecting weight and balance (aircraft center of gravity and payload capacity) or taking the time to properly engineer, test, and field new mounts to adapt a heavier MG to an existing airframe built around a lighter and lighter recoiling weapon system.



There was also Mk.VIIIZ, specifically designed for aircraft use. Higher MV, heavier bullet, boat-tailed rather than flat-base, IIRC available in AP, API, and tracers of both, but  I could well be wrong about that latter point.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 8:27:47 PM EDT

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Originally Posted By Rogue-Sasquatch:
Every UK and colony combatant in WWII used the .50 BMG.  Quite a few Spitfires mounted .50s and 20mm Hispanos.



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Originally Posted By Rogue-Sasquatch:



Originally Posted By Mal_means_bad:

Nobody liked heavy MG's except for the US, everybody else either used rifle caliber MG's or cannon for air, ground, and sea.  Sometimes both firing at the same time (fighters), which had to pose ridiculous aiming problems.  So the Brits probably never considered heavy MG's at all.  But I can't explain why the Europeans didn't like heavy MG's.



Their perverse disinterest for 50 BMG proves that we were right to revolt.




Every UK and colony combatant in WWII used the .50 BMG.  Quite a few Spitfires mounted .50s and 20mm Hispanos.







 
that was an evolution though, correct?  i seem to recall that britain began the war with a "weight on target" paradigm--more small-caliber projectiles rather than fewer large ones--which resulted in the 8x.303 arrangement for the early spits.  this thinking was gradually superseded as lessons were learned about the value of larger calibers.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 8:40:00 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By sirensong:

  that was an evolution though, correct?  i seem to recall that britain began the war with a "weight on target" paradigm--more small-caliber projectiles rather than fewer large ones--which resulted in the 8x.303 arrangement for the early spits.  this thinking was gradually superseded as lessons were learned about the value of larger calibers.
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Originally Posted By sirensong:
Originally Posted By Rogue-Sasquatch:
Originally Posted By Mal_means_bad:
Nobody liked heavy MG's except for the US, everybody else either used rifle caliber MG's or cannon for air, ground, and sea.  Sometimes both firing at the same time (fighters), which had to pose ridiculous aiming problems.  So the Brits probably never considered heavy MG's at all.  But I can't explain why the Europeans didn't like heavy MG's.

Their perverse disinterest for 50 BMG proves that we were right to revolt.


Every UK and colony combatant in WWII used the .50 BMG.  Quite a few Spitfires mounted .50s and 20mm Hispanos.


  that was an evolution though, correct?  i seem to recall that britain began the war with a "weight on target" paradigm--more small-caliber projectiles rather than fewer large ones--which resulted in the 8x.303 arrangement for the early spits.  this thinking was gradually superseded as lessons were learned about the value of larger calibers.


Everybody did.  The Bf-109E, which started the Blitz and was the main fighter in Op. Barbarossa, was unusual for having twin 20mm cannons (wing mounted MG/FFs).  That was primarily a result of the Condor Squadron's experiences.

The main fighters in 1939 were almost all solely MG armed.  British Spits and Hurricanes, Soviet I-16s and early MiG-3s and LaGGs (some had 20mm ShVAKs through the prop hub), Italian G.50s, IJAAF Ki-43s and IJN A5Ms all used .30 or .50 cal equivalents.  The US was unusual in that we were putting multiple HMGs - four or more - on our fighters even as early as mid 1940.  It wasn't until the war hit full swing in late 1940 and early '41 that you really started to see 20mm and 23mm cannons become very frequent.

Even the early Fw-190A production variants were solely armed with 7.92mm guns.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 8:42:45 PM EDT

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Originally Posted By slama682:


Bomber Command pretty quickly decided that darkness was a better defense than machine guns of any caliber.
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yes, yes they did.



 
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 8:51:13 PM EDT
We were pretty unique across the board with our aircrafts pretty 'standard' arrangement of 4-8 50-cals.

Most everyone else used a mix of 30's and cannon. We really didn't use cannon in general, though some aircraft (P-38 and P-39, notably) had mixed armaments.

It served us well. It might not have done as well had we been in the business of downing, and not flying, heavy Bombers.

The Brit all-30's armaments were odd, as well, but it seemed to get the job done, at least early in the war. As the war went on, the lack of punch, even against fighters, became pretty noticeable.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 8:51:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/26/2014 8:53:12 PM EDT by Tosis]
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Originally Posted By ArmyInfantryVet:
Such as Hitler trying to get shotguns internationally banned for battlefield use.
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Hitler?   I thought it was the earlier WWI era Germans that were so upset by presence of shotguns on the battlefield?


OT:
I assume it was weight savings.  The Brits were more into night bombing with lighter, faster aircraft IIRC.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 9:04:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/26/2014 9:05:16 PM EDT by sigp226]
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Originally Posted By RV8guy:
Sometime early in the Spitfire development a test was conducted on various gun packages.  The early set up was 8 .303 machine guns. It could deposit a lot of lead when it hit. Later in the MK V Spitfire 4 of the .303's were replaced with 2 20mm Hispano cannon. A good use for machine guns at that point was to aim the cannon. When the .303s start making hits, touch a few rounds of 20mm and jerry goes swimming. MK XVI spits had the 20mm replaced with .50 Brownings.
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We had a thread about the Spitfire a few days ago, concerning this video:

























The .303s in the Spitfire were a pain in the ass, but mostly that's what they used. The actions froze at altitude. The field expedient to this problem was to cover the muzzles with cloth and use airplane dope to hold the cloth in place. You can see it when they fire the guns at 3:19.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 9:08:34 PM EDT
Probably lack of data presented in an appropriate manner.  
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 9:16:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/26/2014 9:18:42 PM EDT by Stlkid]
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Originally Posted By Tosis:


Hitler?   I thought it was the earlier WWI era Germans that were so upset by presence of shotguns on the battlefield?


OT:
I assume it was weight savings.  The Brits were more into night bombing with lighter, faster aircraft IIRC.
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Originally Posted By Tosis:
Originally Posted By ArmyInfantryVet:
Such as Hitler trying to get shotguns internationally banned for battlefield use.


Hitler?   I thought it was the earlier WWI era Germans that were so upset by presence of shotguns on the battlefield?


OT:
I assume it was weight savings.  The Brits were more into night bombing with lighter, faster aircraft IIRC.


I think it came down to recourses. Brits took the night because they couldn't produce the amount of aircraft needed or suffer the lost of men as much as the US could. Shitty ticket but it is what it is. Day light raids were more effective though.

As for shotguns I think they are just part of Americana. The US learned the value and versatility of a shotgun at mid to close ranges during our expansions west. That's something that was unique to our experience.  Europeans didn't consider a shotgun a weapon of war, just a bird gun or hunting tool.  We also had john browning, which gave us the 1897 winchester.  John browning alone is something of a force multiplier unto himself.

I can't say early on but I know cannons were very popular by all countries in ww2.  The difference is that the m2 was very versatile, most other countries HMGs were always used in armored vehicles or aircraft. While we used them dismounted,and on light vehicles.
Link Posted: 4/26/2014 9:17:34 PM EDT
It was their main MG cartridge.  One went from machine-guns to autocannon.  There was no piddlefucking around at heavy machine-guns between them.

It wasn't a bad cartridge either.  Well explored and known with a variety of propellants and bullet weights, well thought of in terms of accuracy.  The rim is a theoretical advantage in every context save magazine feeding.  

They shot down fucking zeppelins with .303 in the great war, one can excuse some satisfaction with it's capabilities.
Link Posted: 4/27/2014 12:00:34 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By WinstonSmith:
It was their main MG cartridge.  One went from machine-guns to autocannon.  There was no piddlefucking around at heavy machine-guns between them.

It wasn't a bad cartridge either.  Well explored and known with a variety of propellants and bullet weights, well thought of in terms of accuracy.  The rim is a theoretical advantage in every context save magazine feeding.  

They shot down fucking zeppelins with .303 in the great war, one can excuse some satisfaction with it's capabilities.
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Incendiary bullets meeting hydrogen gas results in something rather spectacular.
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