Best aircraft cartridge ww2 - ww1


#1

If success is a measure of quality which of the WW2 aircraft cartridges was the BEST in terms of bringing down the most enemy aircraft ? .50BMG, 30-06,7.62 , 7.92 , .303 , 13mm , 15mm, 20mms ?

WW1 ?


#2

My humble opinion would be that the .50 BMG was the best and could probably claim more kills than any other caliber. However, the 20mm, being that it was often in HE form, was round-for-round more effective I’d guess.
More enlightened folks will surely have a better answer…

WWI would have to be a draw since all the calibers used were rifle sized right? All were pretty much equal with maybe an edge to the Germans and the 7,9 with more specialty loads?

Looking forward to hearing other comments!

AKMS


#3

For WW.2 I’d go with the MG151/20. JG


#4

How many enemy aircraft did the MG151/20 bring down ?


#5

“My humble opinion would be that the .50 BMG was the best and could probably claim more kills than any other caliber.”

I think that is correct. Tremendous numbers of Japanese aircraft were brought down by Wildcat and Hellcat fighters with .50s

I am interested in hearing if anyone else knows any figures related to the other calibers.

WW1 - .303 ?


#6
  • @ CSAEOD: It’s very hard to give an answer to your question since many factors were involved in the aircraft ammo used during WW1 & WW2. An interesting article about this subject can be read here at combatsim.com/memb123/htm/2002/10/whichgun/ Liviu 07/30/07

#7

In terms of the number of kills that inevitably has to be the .50 BMG, simply because that constituted about 99% of the armament of US fighter planes, whereas other nations used a range of different weapons in various calibres which changed as the war progressed.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that US fighters wouldn’t have done even better had they been equipped with a good 20mm cannon…IMO the .50 BMG was the definitive adequate gun for the purpose - as long as it was mounted in quantity (at least six per plane). Approximately the same level of destructiveness could be achieved by two 20mm guns (that was the USN’s conclusion).

You can find several articles on my website dealing with WW2 aircraft guns and ammunition, including one attempting an effectiveness comparison of the different cartridges, guns and installations.


#8

It has to be the .50 BMG . . . not only were so many Western Allied fighters so equipped, so were the bombers. I suspect the ratio per round fired would increase with the heavier MGs used by Germany and the Soviets in the later years of the war. Of course the rifle caliber weapons used in WWI and 1936 - 1942 period accounted for a huge number of downed aircraft also, but the biggest air battles of WW2 were after 1942 and these dwarfed those of WWI.

.


#9

Indeed - in fact, if you took the question to mean which was the most successful in both WW1 and WW2, then it would be a toss-up between the .303" and the 7.92x57.


#10

According to the excellent series “Dogfights” made by the history channel (brought to our attention by APFSDS) just the HELLCAT fighters alone brought down over 5,000 Japanese aircraft with .50s. That’s a lot of flying metal !

The Hurricanes and Spitfires were throwing lots of .303s over England and Europe. Does anyone know how many enemy aircraft which they brought down ?


#11

[quote=“Tony Williams”]In terms of the number of kills that inevitably has to be the .50 BMG, simply because that constituted about 99% of the armament of US fighter planes, whereas other nations used a range of different weapons in various calibres which changed as the war progressed.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that US fighters wouldn’t have done even better had they been equipped with a good 20mm cannon…IMO the .50 BMG was the definitive adequate gun for the purpose - as long as it was mounted in quantity (at least six per plane). Approximately the same level of destructiveness could be achieved by two 20mm guns (that was the USN’s conclusion).

You can find several articles on my website dealing with WW2 aircraft guns and ammunition, including one attempting an effectiveness comparison of the different cartridges, guns and installations.[/quote]

The Tony Williams site just keeps getting better and better- argueably the best on the web.


#12

Tony’s site is great, but I must put ina plug for his books too!
“Rapid Fire” is exceptional in treating the subject as an entire system with the gun, ammo, fire control and mounting all covered well.
“Flying Guns” likewise takes a more systemic approach and considers the advantages and disadvantages of the various options.
“Assault Rifles” looks promising as well, and although I am just through the introductory sections (explaining the basic action types, ammo calibers and internal ballistics and external ballistics) it sets the stage to explore the individual attempts to find a perfect solution from many imperfect options with severe tradeoffs for the choices to be made.
Tony is a master of the subject, and we are all indebted to him for his thorough understanding of the subject, and clear prose in explaining it to others. The fact that he has a house full of ammo shows that he loves the subject matter and is not merely a mercenary technical writer "doing his job."
Get his books. All of them!


#13

Wow…I am quite overwhelmed, gentlemen!

Thank you very much for your comments, they are greatly appreciated.

Basically, I just try to write the sort of books I like to read!


#14

For your speculative fiction : Ammunition which you can eat.


#15

And then fire out of your mouth - or elsewhere ;-) ? Aiming could be a problem…


#16

And then fire out of your mouth - or elsewhere ;-) ? Aiming could be a problem…[/quote]

Politicians shoot off their mouth all the time.

Ray


#17

And then fire out of your mouth - or elsewhere ;-) ? Aiming could be a problem…[/quote]

The ultimate GREEN ammo.