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20mm or 50 cal (~12-13mm) for Anti-personnel use?

Discussion in 'Weapons & Technology in WWII' started by Wolfy, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. Sentinel

    Sentinel Member

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    Thanks, Razin, that pretty much answers my curiosity about canister rounds in WWII.

    I don't want to drag this thread off topic, but I haven't been able to find a thread for the discussion of ammunition in general, only specific types. It might be interesting to start one.
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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  3. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    The .50 cal is an excellent and reliable machine gun. In single shot mode, it was used in Vietnam to terrorize NVA troops by taking out targets up to a mile away. Early cannons were slow firing and not as reliable. If they hit, they had excellent kill tendency. The .50 cal could put a lot of metal out in a short time. Most other countries used a mix of light machine guns which were mainly ineffective, and cannon was their primary weapon.

    The M2 is too heavy and powerful for any role where it is not vehicle mounted or delivered by vehicle. And training with it is extremely limited because the risk of ricochet makes most firing ranges inadequate. The simplicity of the mechanism makes it reliable. Any soldier with a basic amount of training can take one apart and rebuild it. The only thing that is required is to set the head spacing and timing. A quick process that requires a small gauge tool.

    From experience, I would suspect that convoy use of .50 cal mounted on 2-1/2 and 5 ton trucks would be very useful in Korea. A lot were used in Vietnam and afterwards for convoy protection. In the mountainous terrain of Korea, it would provide a lot of protection fire for the troops.
     
  4. Sentinel

    Sentinel Member

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    lwd -- Thank you for that advice. It looks like an excellent site!

    Seadog -- I still wonder why the Germans didn't mount an equivalent heavy machinegun, or even a straight copy of the M2, on every vehicle from 1944 onwards. After they lost air superiority, the Germans also lost a great many vehicles and ammo dumps to low-level attacks by Allied fighters -- yet they had no effective defence except for specialised Flak vehicles which were few and far between. The light machineguns used by German infantry would have little likelihood of damaging a heavily-armoured late WWII Allied fighter from head-on.

    Yet any vehicle with a .50 cal M2 or 13mm MG131 would have at least some chance of defending itself, and if they had all been so equipped the war would have been much more difficult for allied pilots in the ground attack role.

    Just one of those 'why-didn't-they' questions, such as why didn't they build more U-boats and fewer battleships. I guess the Allies were lucky the Germans made some of the decisions they did.
     
  5. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    The Germans also used a lot of 37mm guns on halftracks, trucks, tank chasis as well as the single/quad 20mm. I've actually read that the 20mm was actually starting to become obsolete against Allied fighters in the last year of the war, so they emphasized using the 37mm as the below 88mm caliber.

    13mm German SPW (triple)

    [​IMG]

    37mm Anti-aircraft "Ostwind"

    [​IMG]
     
  6. razin

    razin Member

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    Your right I've ****** up, I didn't check the script over when I posted- too much cut and paste from my notes.

    I will correct the original the standard 20 AP round equivilent to PzGr 39 was 2cm Pzgr Patr L'spur m Zerlegung. Which is a standard HE shell without the direct action fuse (fuse pocket blanked off and capped) and with a heat relay self destruct).

    Again sorry for the error and thanks for tellling me.

    Attached is a photo of a Sherman from the Concord book 7036, showing a Sherman said have been shot up by 20mm Flak. However no mention is made of the missing rear bogie (mine damage?) or the two large calibre shot through the hull aerial mount.

    I don't know the rounds of the MG131 MG151 15/20mm only have details for some for the 30mm flak 103/38 used the following

    3cm Sprgr L'spur El o Zerl AZ 1504 fuse (Direct action).
    3cm M-Gesch Patr L'spur El o Zerl AZ 1504 fuse High capacity shell

    AP rounds
    3cm Pz Sprgr Patr El L'spur o Zerl Base fuse probably Kpf Z Zerl FG.
    3cm Pz Br Sprgr Patr L'spur El o Zerl Base fuse probably Kpf Z Zerl FG -additional incendary capability.

    Code
    El = Electric primer.
    L'spur = Tracer
    Zerl = self destruct
    o Zerl = without (ohne) self destruct
    M-Gesch = Minengeschoss high capacity shell
    m Zerlegung = with (mit) heat relay self destruct
    Br = explosive incendary filling

    steve
     

    Attached Files:

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  7. billswagger

    billswagger Member

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    not to stray too far off topic, but i know that some aircraft were fitted with .50cal guns. In particular, the p-47 had eight.....50cal (12-13mm)

    Did they use similar ammunition as the quad 50s???
     
  8. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    I am possitive on the tungsten. This is a modern round, of course.

    The weakness of this round seems to be that it could not be primed to explode at set distances like a beehive round. This is just the modern grape shot.
     
  9. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    AFAIK All .5 (12.7mm) brownings used the same family of 12.7x99 rounds. I believe the mix of solid shot/tracer/incendiary/AP rounds in the belts was different for ground based weapons and planes but the rounds themselves are fully compatible.

    BTW the 12.7 Browning was used by practically all army planes and most navy ones, though most had 6 not 8 like the P47, and was also part of the armament of the later Spitfires.
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It as even less standard than that. Some pilots prefered their own mixes. Some didn't like tracer. Some used 4 tracers at the end of a belt. So there was considerable difference in mix. I'm not sure how the belts came from the factory or if they got a mix of belts and loose ammo.
     
  11. W Marlowe

    W Marlowe WWII Veteran

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    Gentelmen:
    I am a 87 yr old former officer in the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment. I WW II I jumped in Normandy and Market-Garden. Each rifle company has one jeep with an M2 .50 cal. Machine gun delivered by glider. We used this gun to thicken up our auto weapons fire. It was often used as the ranging gun for the other guns in the company and was very effective.

    As Ever,

    Walter L. Marlowe

    ( Airborne All The Way)
     
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  12. macrusk

    macrusk Proud Daughter of a Canadian WWII Veteran

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    Thank you for your expertise on this, Mr. Marlowe. You participated in difficult operations. I hope you will share more of your knowledge and experience with us.
     
  13. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    There is a bit of German film that shows up on the Military/History channel showing a quad 2 cm mounted on a half tract parked on an incline to allow it to fire on the Allied landing at the Straits of Messina. The elevation seemed quite high and I imagine the quad was very devastating as a landing would be covered with landing craft and vehicles that would detonate the HE rounds.

    GB
     

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