108,000 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition

While researching the the circumstances surrounding the death of my Great Uncle during WWII, I found an interesting bit of information that puts into perspective the massive amount of ammunition production that had to take place during the second world war. The January, 1945 war diary for Navy amphibious patrol aircraft squadron VPB-27 lists the crash of a PBM-5 Mariner float plane and the associated loss of life (my great uncle being one of the crewmen killed). The last line item of the report is as follows:

“4. During the period 108,000 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition were expended and 696 one hundred pound water filled bombs were dropped.”

It is amazing to me that just one squadron alone, out of hundreds maybe, in just the U.S. Navy, in just one month of training, expended over 100,000 rounds of ammunition.

I wonder if more ammunition was expended in training during WWII ( or any war) than in actual combat…


AKMS–Here is a listing of munitions expended in Europe from D-Day to the end of the WW-II in Europe. The 10 Million+ rounds of .50 BMG puts your quote of 108,000 rounds into perspective.

As for amounts of ammo expended for training, I can give you some information. At one point in my U.S. Air Force duties I was the crew chief of a load crew for weapons on 60 F-4E Phantoms. The gun pod held 648 rounds, if I remember correctly. Each day that we held firing practice (at least 3 days per week) each plane would fire the entire amount. So, 60 planes x 648 rounds each = 38, 880 per day x 3 = 116, 640 rounds of 20 x 102 mm Vulcan rounds per week. And this was just one of a number of Air Force bases. So, 108,000 rounds of 50 BMG sound entirely plausible.

amazing. I wonder how many many times more that is than what we have used in Afghanistan and Iraq so far?

No wonder US forces in Europe after D-day were famed as firing forces.