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Largest Gun in WW2 Aircraft?


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#1 Tomcat

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 12:44 PM

Hey guys\gals

I was looking at a thread which is talking about a 37mm cannon in a plane, I for one had never heard of it, and it got me wondering, as to what is the largest cannon or gun put into an aircraft and successfully make it work.

I know that 20mm and the 30mm cannon quite freguently as well as all the different types of machine guns but what is the largest ever, were any used in combat successfully?
For want of a nail the shoe was lost, for the want of a shoe the horse was lost, for the want of a horse the rider was lost, for the want of a rider the battle was lost, For want of a battle the kingdom was lost, and all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Robert,


#2 Joe

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 01:06 PM

There was a variant of the Hs-129 that had a 75mm cannon.

Henschel Hs 129 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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#3 Tomcat

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 01:15 PM

was it successful?
For want of a nail the shoe was lost, for the want of a shoe the horse was lost, for the want of a horse the rider was lost, for the want of a rider the battle was lost, For want of a battle the kingdom was lost, and all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Robert,


#4 montana a-10

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 01:27 PM

this page says the B-25G had a 75mm cannon in the nose

North American B-25 Mitchell - History, Specifications and Pictures - World Military Aircraft

and this one the Ju-88

Ju 88

the tupolev Tu-2

WW2 Warbirds: the Tupolev Tu-2 - Frans Bonné
Anothony 'Swoff ' Swofford : A story: A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands, love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper; his hands remember the rifle.

#5 Joe

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 01:43 PM

was it successful?

As successful as a ground attack plane can be without adequate fighter cover.
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#6 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 04:43 PM

50mm guns were used for "tank busting" by the Germans too. It was carried by the Ju-88,HE-177,HE-129. And Even the ME-262!!
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#7 montana a-10

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 04:48 PM

So was 75 mikemike the largest
Anothony 'Swoff ' Swofford : A story: A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands, love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper; his hands remember the rifle.

#8 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 05:03 PM

The largest would be the 105-mm cannon fitted experimentally to the Italian Piaggio P.108A.
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#9 montana a-10

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 05:52 PM

The largest would be the 105-mm cannon fitted experimentally to the Italian Piaggio P.108A.


but did they successfully make it work ?
Anothony 'Swoff ' Swofford : A story: A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands, love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper; his hands remember the rifle.

#10 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 07:50 PM

The Piaggio P.108 was a large four-engine bomber built in small numbers by Italy during World War II. A P.108A was also fitted with a 105-mm cannon, but only tested experimentally. The new design never made it into production and never saw service. I haven't found out how well it worked. The Japanese also had the Ki-102b 'Randy' with 1 57mm Ho-401 gun mounted.
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#11 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 07:51 PM

Mosquito Mk XVIII: 57-mm
The Mosquito was one of Great Britain's most successful attack fighters of World War II. The type was built in several variants, including the FB.XVIII fighter bomber. Also known as the "Tse Tse Fly," this particular model was armed with four 0.303-inch caliber machine guns and a single 57-mm cannon in the nose. The 57-mm cannon was based on a standard Army light artillery piece called the 6-pounder but modified with a Molins automatic loader. The entire system weighed about 1,800 lb (815 kg). The aircraft carried 25 rounds of ammunition, weighing 7 lb (3.2 kg) each, and the automatic loader could fire the entire magazine in just 20 seconds.
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Mosquito FB.XVIII armed with its 57-mm cannon
The aircraft was originally designed as an anti-tank weapon, but was instead used for anti-shipping and anti-submarine duties as well as to attack shore installations. However, rockets were found to be better suited to the task, so the cannon was later supplemented by an armament of two 500-lb bombs or eight 60-lb rockets. Only 27 examples were built, the first seeing action in October of 1943.
Me 410 Hornisse: 50-mm
The German Me 410 Hornisse (Hornet) was developed as a fighter bomber replacement for the Bf-110 and Me 210. The Me 410A-1/U4 was a dedicated bomber destroyer version with all of the nose armaments removed in favor of a single 50-mm BK 5 cannon taking up part of the bomb bay. The gun was based on the PAK 38 anti-tank gun used by the German Army. Fed by a 21 round cylindrical magazine, the cannon was aimed using a ZFR 4a telescopic sight located in the nose just above the gun itself. The BK 5 cannon weighed 1,190 lb (540 kg) and could fire up to 50 rounds per minute.
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Me 410A-1/U4 equipped with a 50-mm cannon
The Me 410A-2/U4 was an improved variant retaining the standard nose armament in addition to the 50-mm cannon. A total of 1,600 Me 410s were built, but it is unknown how many were of the A-1/U4 and A-2/U4 standards. The type began entering service in 1943.
Hurricane Mk IID and IV: 40-mm
Another British fighter that saw extensive action during World War II was the Hawker Hurricane. Later variants included the Hawker Mk IID equipped with two 40-mm Vickers Type S cannons in addition to two Browning 0.303-inch machine guns. The 40-mm cannons had originally been developed during the 1930s as defensive armament for British bombers. However, the gun was later adopted for use in anti-tank and ground attack missions. The gun could carry either armor piercing rounds for anti-tank attacks or high explosive rounds for other ground attack duties. Weighing 295 lb (135 kg), the Vickers S gun could fire its magazine of 15 rounds, weighing 2.5 lb (1.13 kg) each, at a rate of 100 rounds per minute. The 40-mm cannons were carried one under each of the Hurricane's wing.
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Hurricane Mk IID with a 40-mm Vickers S cannon under each wing The Hurricane IID first saw action in North Africa beginning in mid-1942. The type achieved considerable success by striking 144 enemy tanks, of which 47 were destroyed, as well as 200 other vehicles. Losses to ground fire were severe given the Hurricane's lack of armor protection, but the type also saw success in southeast Asia using high explosive shells to attack Japanese transportation routes. An improved model was the Hurricane Mk IV carrying the same armament as the Mk IID but also capable of carrying two 500-lb bombs or up to eight rockets. "

Aerospaceweb.org | Ask Us - Airborne Guns
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#12 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 08:04 PM

This is from Wiki. So always take it with a grain of salt. I have seen that the size of the gun has been quoted elsewhere as 102mm rather then 105mm.

P.108A
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P.108A in Luftwaffe service.


In response to a request in November 1942, the P.108A Artigliere "gunship" was developed for anti-shipping duties as an alternative to torpedo-bombers. It was armed with a modified high muzzle velocity Ansaldo 1941 model (90/53 mm) gun mounted in a redesigned nose. This was considered to provide the best combination of precision and range of all Italian artillery, and in several versions was used as an anti-aircraft and anti-tank gun by the Army and the Navy. To be more effective in its new role, the calibre of the gun was increased from 90 mm to 102 mm, a non-standard Italian artillery bore, and fired shells weighing 13 kg as opposed to the standard gun's 10 kg shells, with a muzzle velocity of over 600 m/s. This weapon has only been superseded in calibre, on aircraft, by the low velocity 105 mm modified M102 howitzer (23 calibres in length) carried on a mobile mounting in the flanks of the AC-130's 3.2 m width fuselage. The gun together with its recoil system weighed 1,500 kg.[6] Due to it being a re-bored smaller gun, its weight was relatively low for its calibre.
The P.108A wasn't particularly unusual at the time, as medium bombers and even smaller attack-aircraft like the Henschel Hs 129 were fitted with high-velocity 75 mm guns despite being one or two categories lighter.
The gun was mounted longitudinally in the fuselage centreline, at a depressed angle, and had a very strong recoil action which the 30 ton airframe was nevertheless able to absorb. The amount of ammunition that could be carried was around 50-60 rounds for the main gun, as well as up to three standard torpedoes or two radio-guided torpedoes (a secret weapon which was never used in combat), and finally the standard defensive weapons in the fuselage and wings. The 102 mm gun was intended to be fitted with a ballistic sight with an analogue computer, and a six or 12 rounds mechanical loader.[1]
Initial modifications were made to MM.24318 which on 16 December 1942 flew to Savona, Villanova d'Albenga airfield. The modifications were completed in February 1943, and testing commenced 3 March.
Testing of the P.108A was satisfactory, achieving a maximum speed of around 440 km/h due to the more aerodynamic redesigned nose. It flew to Furbara on 19 March, and later to Pisa on 16 April, where it carried out a series of firing trials at altitudes between 1,500 and 4,500 m to collect the ballistic data for negative angles of elevation that was required to allow the computing gunsight to be produced.[7] After totalling 24 h 40 min of flight and weapons trials, it returned to Albenga. Enthusiasm was high when it was presented as the new official attack machine at Furbara on 22 May, and it was planned to make five further P.108As, as well as convert another five or possibly all P.108s available. But on 29 June it was decided to produce no more than five aircraft, and in July, the order was limited to only two, and eventually cancelled. On 6 and 8 September the lone P.108A made other weapons tests over the sea, finally equipped with the S.Giorgio calibration/aiming system.[1] German forces took control of the P.108A and painted it with their insignia, but soon after it was damaged by Allied bombing. Repaired 7 April 1944, it finally flew to Rechlin where it was probably destroyed in one of the many Allied bombing raids.
Although the P.108A proved to be capable, and fired over 280 shells in testing, the Armistice and the never-ending change of priorities halted its development. The use of such large aircraft in a dangerous anti-ship role was however questionable (at sea level 360 km/h was the best safely achievable), the cost was even greater than standard bombers, and the improved naval anti-aircraft defences (Bofors 40 mm guns, P-F shells, and fire-control radar) led Germany to rely on (relatively) long-range missiles like the Henschel Hs 293 and Fritz X. These were much more effective, as demonstrated 9 September 1943, when the Italian Navy was struck by these missiles, launched by their prior allies. The Germans launched a number of missiles against the Italian battleships, sinking the Roma and damaging the Italia, causing over 1,300 deaths. The three armoured decks of RM Roma could withstand hits from battleship-calibre guns, with over 200 mm thickness overall, so such results were well outside the capabilities of a medium calibre gun, even when air-transported.

Piaggio P.108 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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#13 Tomcat

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 10:27 PM

So this P.108A wins then.:)

105mm in a plane, the weight would be high, you would not really be ablt to attack anything except at a level flight, so that would make it diffucilt. right?
For want of a nail the shoe was lost, for the want of a shoe the horse was lost, for the want of a horse the rider was lost, for the want of a rider the battle was lost, For want of a battle the kingdom was lost, and all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Robert,


#14 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 11:27 PM

What amazes me, if true ,is that it was going to carry in addition to the 102mm gun "up to three standard torpedoes or two radio-guided torpedoes" and " eight Breda-SAFAT machine guns. One Breda "O" 12.7 mm machine gun and 450 cartridges was fitted in the nose, and a Breda "G" 12.7 mm in a retractable ventral turret, with 400-450 rounds per gun. In addition to these two fully hydraulically-powered turrets, there were two 7.7 mm guns in the flanks, with 500 rounds each. The wing armament, which constituted the main defence of the aircraft, consisted of two radio controlled, hydraulically-powered Breda "Z" turrets with 600 rounds per gun in the inner-engine wing gondolas, linked to one of the two cupolas in the fuselage "hump", with an operator in each."
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#15 Tomcat

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 11:29 PM

What amazes me, if true ,is that it was going to carry in addition to the 102mm gun "up to three standard torpedoes or two radio-guided torpedoes" and " eight Breda-SAFAT machine guns. One Breda "O" 12.7 mm machine gun and 450 cartridges was fitted in the nose, and a Breda "G" 12.7 mm in a retractable ventral turret, with 400-450 rounds per gun. In addition to these two fully hydraulically-powered turrets, there were two 7.7 mm guns in the flanks, with 500 rounds each. The wing armament, which constituted the main defence of the aircraft, consisted of two radio controlled, hydraulically-powered Breda "Z" turrets with 600 rounds per gun in the inner-engine wing gondolas, linked to one of the two cupolas in the fuselage "hump", with an operator in each."


Wow, how did it ever get of the ground? and what about rounds for the 'main' gun?
For want of a nail the shoe was lost, for the want of a shoe the horse was lost, for the want of a horse the rider was lost, for the want of a rider the battle was lost, For want of a battle the kingdom was lost, and all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Robert,


#16 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 11:45 PM

Wow, how did it ever get of the ground? and what about rounds for the 'main' gun?


From what I have read so far 50-60 rounds.


"The Piaggio P.108 B was the only heavy four-engine bomber to see service with the Regia Aeronautica during World War Two. Too few were built to play a significant role in the war, only 163 P.108 Bs having been built. The P.108 B was an all-metal cantilever low-wing monoplane with an retractable under-carriage, driven by four 1,350 hp Piaggio P.XII radial engines. The first prototype was finished in 10/39 and had a very advanced defensive armament for its day of two 7.7 mm machine waist guns, a 12.7 mm machine gun in the lower turret and a similar weapon in the nose turret, and two remotely-controlled twin gun turrets in outer engine nacelles. The first Allied bomber with a similar armament was the Boeing B 29, developed four years later. The bomb load of the Piaggio comprised of 7,700 lbs, all carried internally in the bomb bay. The only unit of the Regia Aeronautica ever to fly the P.108 B was the 274th Long-Range Bombardment Group. This unit was formed in 5/41 around the first machines that came off the assembly lines. The training of the crews lasted far longer than anticipated and in 6/42 the 274th became operational. The most spectacular raids with the P. 108 B were flown in 10/42 when several night attacks against Gibraltar were undertaken from Sardinia. Several versions were derived from the P. 108 B: such as the P.108A, which had a 102 mm anti-shipping gun in the nose; the P.108C airliner and the P.108T transport. The latter two versions had a larger diameter fuselage for transporting passengers or freight. They were hardly used by the Regia Aeronautica, the main user being the German Luftwaffe. In 9/43, after the Italian armistice, the Luftwaffe had captured all fifteen P.108 Cs and P.108 Ts built. They were used at the Russian front, as part of Luftflotte 2, where they performed sterling duties, among others during the evacuation of the Crimea in 1944."

Article by JDG

Model Piaggio P 108
Horsepower 1350 x 4
Engine Piaggio P.IIX RC 35
Max Speed 420 km at 3,900 m
Range 3,520 Km
Max Elevation 8,050 m
Wingspan 32 m
Height 7.70m
Weight 17,320 Kg
Max Weight 29,885 Kg
Length 22.92m
Crew 6
Payload 3,500 Kg
Armament 6 x 12,7 mm + 1 x 12,7 mm + 2 x 7.7 mm
Comando Supremo: Piaggio P.108 Heavy Bomber
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#17 Tomcat

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 11:47 PM

Thats amazing, to bad it is the weight of a tank:)
For want of a nail the shoe was lost, for the want of a shoe the horse was lost, for the want of a horse the rider was lost, for the want of a rider the battle was lost, For want of a battle the kingdom was lost, and all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Robert,


#18 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 11:50 PM

LOL Yep. It was definately a "Heavy" bomber :). It seems to have been quite advanced in some ways.
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#19 Vanir

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 05:29 AM

Soviets also loved to experiment with ground-attack/anti-tank armaments. They fitted 23mm, 37mm and 45mm guns to single seat fighters like the LaGG-3 and Yak-9, though apparently 37mm was the limit for any kind of accuracy due to recoil effect. The 45mm was a very powerful, high velocity gun and tried to stop the aircraft mid-flight when fired. As it was its combat record involved air to air kills at extreme range (in excess of 1km), which gives an impression of what Russians liked to do with big guns in planes (make big explosions out of German planes).

The British were fairly conservative with cannon fitment, at the start of the war they didn't even regard the Hispano as proven as the Browning, so stuck with multiple machine guns rather than switching to 20mm combinations like air forces on the continent. At least until the mid-war period.

The two-pounder field gun (AA) was modified by vickers for the Hurricane and the six-pounder by Molins for the 57mm used on the Tsetse-fly. Their penetration is around 50mm and 68mm respectively at close range.
Meanwhile the German Bk 7.5 could slice through up to 150mm of case hardened armour with its tungsten core rounds but needed to be mounted on a suspension rig to allow 1.5m of travel so the plane carrying it could keep flying. The twin Bk 3.7 mounted to the Ju-87G was much like the Vickers 40mm, being modified from a flak gun for short range high penetration fire and probably had very similar performance, it was enough to knock out a line of T-34's.

What had been found increasingly towards the end of the war was heavier armour and a high attrition where attacking bombers at point blank range. To those ends high velocity guns were added to aircraft like the heavy interceptor and attack models in Germany, light anti-tank guns were added to Soviet single engine fighters and attack planes (though rockets were at least as popular) and the British and American forces experimented and relied most heavily on rockets.

It is said a combined salvo of eight British 60lb rockets from a Typhoon has the striking power of a Battleship broadside. Armour piercing rockets tended to also use deadly shaped charges (penetration 140mm and up).

German aerial cannon for fighter use generally evolved the MG FF with its slow fire rate, poor reliability and sledgehammer recoil, to the MG-151/20 which was unmatched in its class (at 800 rpm cyclic, good muzzle velocity and faultless reliability). The Mark 101 30mm was developed as a belly pack for light anti-armour work on attack aircraft like the Me-110E. The Mark 108 30mm was developed as a low velocity aerial cannon with a comparatively high rate of fire and a heavy charge (called a "motor gun" due to its operation). It was absolutely deadly in aerial combat and was probably the final word in that arena, being the perfect compromise between weight and sheer hitting power, but was slightly too heavy for use against nimble fighters (the MG-151/20 dominating this field utterly). The Mark 103 was also developed as a medium velocity equivalent for use in the ground attack role (with a light armour penetration), and was often interchangeable for Mark 108 mountings on the final aircraft types like the Ta-152C and others (ammunition capacity was reduced in the switch).

Interestingly aircraft guns developed in the US like the 37mm Oldsmobile cannon (T-9, etc.), weren't intended for the anti-armour role with only about as much penetration as a good anti-tank rifle in AP form. It was however a stable weapon and performed beautifully in light ground attack or enemy harassment. Nevertheless many aircraft initially mounting the weapon were switched to license production Hispano 20mm aerial cannon (most notably the P-38 and P-400).

In ground attack the USAAC followed a different philosophy to that in Europe which probably worked most effectively in the Pacific arena. As skip bombing became the norm in New Guinea, new modifications to the B-25 used by American forces were made (RAAF used mostly Bostons and Kittyhawks at this stage). First the bombardier station was removed and the nose cone taken up by banks of .50" cal strafing guns, later a 7.5cm modification was made, making this variant of the Mitchell the most heavily armed aircraft used in regular front line service by any side during the war.
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