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The Sounds of the Guns

Discussion in 'Artillery' started by Bolshevik, May 22, 2022.

  1. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Member

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    My Fellow Forum Members

    I used to have a unique record on vinyl that had tracks that gave you a listen to the sounds of different artillery pieces and small arms on the other side of the album.

    I was wondering if our members would know of anything similar on the internet or elsewhere?

    And if so, could we possibly post some serious links that would allow us to familiarise ourselves with the different and unique sounds of different artillery and small arms?

    I'm told, for instance, that the German MG 42 hard a "snarling" sound.
    The old reliable British "Bren" a "chug chug chug", and a Japanese Arisaka rifle had a definite "whine" to it.

    I noticed in documentaries that when combat footage is shown, the sounds of the small arms tend to be the same no matter what footage from any country. And the sound of artillery seems to have a "sameness" about it too.

    A 105mm piece would definitely not sound like a 25 pounder British fieldpiece, and mortars "cough", and the missile, I believe, is mainly silent as it falls.

    Anyway, if there's any link that our intelligent rogues here can provide, or maybe a description based on our reading, if we could put a catalogue of these sounds together, of both artillery and infantry small arms, maybe it would be a good resource thread and qualify as a "pinned" thread.

    What can we come up with? I think this will interest a LOT of our members and guests.

    Christopher (aka BOLSHEVIK)
     
  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    I know there are shooting range ‘games’…some have challenges some are just to fire…plenty of weapons to choose from and probably close to the real thing sound…Probably not exactly what you are looking for but a good place to start.
    You can find them in the App Store - Games section
     
  3. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Member

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    I'm not looking for video game sounds produced by some computer geek.

    I want to hear the real thing.
     
  4. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Member

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    The record I used to have had Great War artillery, both in single shot and barrage, and the other side had small arms.
     
  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Most video games nowadays record the actual weapons firing, with microphones placed at various distances from the weapon that is firing( to allow they player to judge range based on how loud weapon fire is around him).
     
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  6. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I don't know that many recordings capture the actual sounds. I can tell when I hear firing, generally the caliber and general classification of a weapon (Small arms, pistols, machine guns) and the general direction the round is travelling. Mortars are one weapon that I have heard that sounded like real on film. Artillery is another matter; I don't know that you can identify a particular gun or caliber by the sound when you're on the receiving end. You can tell visually and by the concussive effect from the size of the explosion, in a general manner. You can't tell if it's a Soviet 152mm gun or a US 155mm from the sounds except from the direction the round is coming from.
    I think CAC is right, if you really want to know go to a shooting range and listen, at the firing line and if possible, in the butts.

    This video on you tube sounds pretty close but not perfect: War Sounds Incoming Mortar Barrage Ambience - YouTube

    This one supposedly of mortars doesn't sound like any I've ever heard, I'd say inaccurate: Mortar fire incoming sound effect - YouTube

    This video has accurate firefight sounds, you can pick out the various weapons systems by their sounds. What A Firefight Should Sound Like - YouTube

    Now listen to this, then go back to the firefight video and you can pick out the .50 cal; M2 .50 Cal Machine Gun Fire • U.S. Marines Training - YouTube
     
  7. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Member

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    I thank my fellow rogues for their assistance.

    From my readings, a combat veteran develops an "ear" for incoming rounds and can tell if they are headed his way as "incoming", or if they are "outgoing".

    Large calibre shells wobble in the air, or even tumble end over end, producing certain sounds that a combat vet can then distinguish.

    Erich Maria Remarque mentioned his character Stanislaus Kachinski ("Kat") teaching new recruits how to distinguish the calibration and direction of rounds merely from the different sounds they make.

    And Sven Hassles Willie Bier ("The Old Man") performs the same service for new recruits to his unit. The Old Man is fiction, but what he is doing for the recruit survivability certainly is not fictional

    Bolshevik
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Oh

    I got wondering bout the mensheviks. What if they had fought the bolsheviks?
     
  9. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Member

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    Lots of different groups fought Bolshevism.

    Anarchists.
    Poles. Poland invaded the country in 1920-21
    The Western Allies had troops in Archangel
    White Russian groups like Kolchak.
    Cossacks.
    The Russian civil war lasted pretty much from the fall of the Kerensky administration to the Polish invasion, and that was stopped by Russian bungling outside of Warsaw in 1921.
    Thuchachevsky was blamed for the fiasco, and he paid for it years later as one of the principal victims of the Great Purge in 1937
     
  10. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Member

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    Trotsky, after reorganising the RedArmy was pushed out of the picture. He fled the country and was murdered with an ice pick by Stalin's secret service
     
  11. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Depends upon the rounds you're speaking of, small arms, and machine guns you can usually tell more than just incoming and outgoing, you can often determine across your front and diagonally. You can often also tell if it's coming towards you or going away from you. IDF (indirect fire) often depends upon too many factors to predict reliably.

    Not necessarily so, it depends upon a lot of factors, atmospherics, the actual firing platform, angle of fire, velocity of the shell, etc., there is a reason that "you never hear the one that gets you" is a well known phrase commonly used in WWI (and later). I've been on the receiving end of IDF, I spent a year as a mortarman, I worked about two years as an FO and have had thousands of fire missions fired over me. Sometimes you hear them sometimes you don't. Most modern artillery doesn't tumble end over end unless something is wrong.
    A story to illustrate. I was in an infantry company, dug in on a hill during an exercise at MCAGCC 29 Palms as part of a regimental exercise. We had a reserve artillery battalion of 24 guns firing in support, I believe they were all M-109 probably the A5 version, SP 155mm howitzers, plus our own intrinsic 81 and 60mm mortars. They were firing on a long ridgeline at least a mile across a valley from us. We were all standing outside of our holes watching the explosions erupt on the far ridge, you'd see the explosion blossom and then several seconds later the crump sounds of the explosions. You could hear the mortars thumping away as they fired. The 155's were about ten miles back so you couldn't hear them firing, but you could occasionally see the shells passing overhead and every once in a while a faint whooshing sound as a round passed. Then we heard a whoop-whoop-whoop sound and someone screamed hit the deck. As everyone scrambled for their holes several rounds impacted in our perimeter and the radios all lit up with people yelling "check fire". Turns out someone from an El Paso Texas reserve battery had managed to get the propellant powder wet out in the middle of a freakin' desert. The shells, lacking the proper velocity started wobbling in flight, which led to the whoop-whoop sound. The rounds fell on us about a mile short of the target.
    You can think of artillery as just a really big rifle bullet. Like a rifle bullet the shell has a spin imparted upon it from the rifling in the barrel (the shells actually have copper driving bands to grip the rifling). The spin is necessary from an aerodynamic perspective in order for the shell to hit it's target accurately. End over end or a wobble would cause the trajectory of the round to be less predictable, of shorter range with much less accuracy.
    Because rounds are supersonic you most often don't hear them before they're past you. When you do hear them it is because they're travelling at a higher arc and the sound travelling in a straight line can actually reach you slightly before the round. The flatter the trajectory, the less likely you are to hear it before it arrives at your location, hence "you don't hear the one that get's you".
     
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  12. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Member

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    Thankyou Mr Price for those expert comments .

    Your experience gained in the heat of conflict is valuable to me. One reads and reads, but some knowledge in the world of firearms and explosives must be gotten from personal use or by simply being there.

    Sound is something that defies description in word format, and can only be passed on by recording it and listening to the said recording.

    I very much appreciate you sharing the fruits of your labours. My only regret is that I can reward you only with a "like", and a very inadequate reward it is too.

    Bolshevik
     
  13. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Member

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    Mr Price...

    Does a howitzer have any rifling?

    I believe it's like a big mortar, with shells that don't spin but make lots of noise.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Those large German mortars of the WW2 period ( present at Sevastopol in 42 and Warsaw in 44), they were just big mortars with no rifling, and only had an effective range of seven miles, not very far at all for an artillery piece of any description.

    Very bad accuracy as well. At Sevastopol their effect was VERY limited as to be almost not worth the time and expense of getting them there. At Warsaw, they were used to bombard and flatten the Old Town quarter, which made fine propaganda for the newsreels, but not much of a contribution to the military situation.

    I'm sure the sound of those unrifled projectiles would have been heard long before they landed, but you can correct me if I'm wrong there too.

    The larger rail gun "Dora", had rifling I believe, and better range and more accurate. But the effect at Sevastopol was also limited by the need for a ranging shot or two, and then a "walk" onto target before a "Fire for effect" order could be given, and the bombardment would have been strictly singular, rather than a "barrage" effect. In any case, accuracy, while better than the mortars, still left something to be desired, rendering the gun as another exercise in gigantism that was great for propaganda, but had little to effect on antje tactical situation
     
  14. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Modern howitzers are rifled, the original field howitzers of the 1700's were smooth bore. The modern weapon (modern starting in late 19th-early 20th century) are more similar to the archaic category of gun-howitzer, for example, the famous US civil war artillery piece the 12lb Napoleon was actually the Model 1857 12 pounder gun-howitzer. The "Napoleon" was a smooth bore, bronze piece (it was still muzzle loaded) but combined many of the traits of, and replaced the Model 1941 6-lb Field Gun and the Model 1841 12lb Field Howitzer. The more modern definition of howitzer is it uses variable charges and is capable of fire from 0 degrees to 90 degrees elevation (guns are 0 to 45 degrees elevation and mortars are 45 to 90 degrees elevation).
    As proof, here is a picture of a WWII era US howitzer showing the rifling:

    [​IMG]

    As I stated in the earlier post the rounds have copper driving bands that grip the rifling. The M-109/M-198/M-777 155mm artillery pieces use M3A1 Green bag and M4A2 White bag propellant charges. Green bag has 1-5 increments (you always fire the base increment/charge 1, plus at least one other increment so a charge two green bag would be your least powerful/shortest range charge) White bag M4A2 has increments 3-7 (again you fire the base plus at least one other increment) so there is some overlap on charge 4 and 5 with White bag delivering slightly more velocity. The base charges, charge 1 Green bag and charge 3 White bag contain the igniters. There is also a charge 8 White bag (M119), single charge containing the igniter and there is a single charge 7 red bag which I can't remember the nomenclature for.
    Mortars are smooth bore but, if you notice the rounds are fin stabilized.
     
  15. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    It is true that different weapons have different sounds.

    There was/is an "incoming fire " range at Lydd Ranges. You listen to small arms fire close overhead from different directions and different weapons. When I passed through in 1979 the weapons were those commonly used by the IRA.

    One of the best descriptions of incoming artillery fire is in Canadian journalist turned FOO George Blackburn's "Guns of Normandy."

    There are some limitations with recordings of small arms and artillery fire. A gun firing and the passage of the round through the air generates energy across the spectrum across both ends of the audible range. Some of the unique sounds might be hard to capture.
     
  16. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    If you want some noise try standing "danger close" to an Arclight raid. (By "standing" I mean doing your best imitations of a mole.)

     
  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Is it any true that if the shell come straight at you there will be no extra sounds? No actual need to listen if it is coming truly close because nothing can be done??
     
  18. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Depending on the distance between shooter and shot, yeah bullet goes "splat", then the report from the gun.
     
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  19. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Theres no dodging bullets once they are fired…ever. And yes you never hear the bullet that hits you because the bullet is travelling faster than sound, so the bullet arrives first…Of course if the bullet hits you in the leg…you’re still going to be able to hear the shot as well.
     
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