Damaged 50 CAL Barrel With Stuck Projectile From A A26 Korea


#1

Here is an interesting item that I freaked on when I saw it. I can only imagine the intense bravery of so many men that surrounded its history. Part of the projectiles copper jacket is pealed away exposing the AP Core.

The story I was told that is a damaged barrel from a 50 CAL machine gun used on a B-26 during the Korean War. The pilot was assigned to an attack unit, typically flying night missions against North Korean troop and supply columns, which moved at night to avoid detection. The pilot reported missions flown at extremely low altitude to maximize hits; reported aircraft being hit on many occasions. He supposedly took this barrel section as a personal souvenir.

The seller I bough this from did not have much information on it. I am curious if anyone can tell if this damage was from the gun being fired or the gun being hit from enemy fire?

Hard to see clearly, but it looks like there is a ceramic type liner on the inside of the barrel under the projectile. (Can’t Figure Out What That Is About)

Deformed


#2

Perhaps the stellite liner failed, it is clearly missing. JH


#3

Are you sure it was a B-26 and not an A-26? The B-26 was a WWII era bomber, the A-26 was an attack airplane with .50 cals in the nose and fuselage. Pretty sure the B-26 was not used in Korea.

I’ve seen .50 cal barrels that got so hot they sagged and the projectiles would go through the side, leaving similar looking damage, but not that close to the chamber.

What happened to your piece was catastrophic. Perhaps a barrel obstruction followed by a round cooking off behind it and the gun going off out of battery. I’d bet the gun was VERY hot when whatever happened happened…

Very cool item!

AKMS


#4

Looks to me like the barrel failed, perhaps overheated from long bursts. That’s the chamber end of the barrel, with no sign of damage from enemy fire that I can see (although it’s possible that such damage could’ve occurred in the portion that was cut off).


#5

The B-26 of Korea was the Douglas A-26 of WW.2. The WW.2 B-26 was the Martin Marauder. This came about through consolidation of aircraft type designations in the USAAF/USAF in the immediate post-1945 period. It was possible to change the A-26 to B-26 because the original Martin plane was no longer in service, hence confusion would not result, at least not until years later. Jack


#6

After WWII, the B-26 was removed from service, and the A-26 was renamed B-26.


#7

AWESOME information! Thanks everyone big time. I was wondering about the B-26 reference and thought it was decommissioned before Korea. You guys know your stuff :-)

haak48, what do you mean by “stellite liner”? Is that the ceramic liner thing I tried describing? What is its purpose?

I bet it was a result of a crazy hot barrel or obstruction or both and not enemy fire.

AKMS, it must have be freaking scary seeing a 50 cal barrel drooping until a round shot out the side! CRAZY! Hope no one got hurt.

Jason


#8

[quote=“APFSDS”]AWESOME information! Thanks everyone big time. I was wondering about the B-26 reference and thought it was decommissioned before Korea. You guys know your stuff :-)

haak48, what do you mean by “stellite liner”? Is that the ceramic liner thing I tried describing? What is its purpose? If you look at the barrel were it has been cut off in front of the projectile, you will notice it is unrifled and smooth, as well as being over sized. There is a liner used in some MG barrels which is pressed into the barrel to make the barrel last longer, especially in the throat and lead area… It generally extends a few inches past the front of the chamber. The liner in your barrel appears to be missing, leaving the over sized unlined tube exposed. Interesting. JH

I bet it was a result of a crazy hot barrel or obstruction or both and not enemy fire.

AKMS, it must have be freaking scary seeing a 50 cal barrel drooping until a round shot out the side! CRAZY! Hope no one got hurt.

Jason[/quote]


#9

I think the “Ceramic” part I am describing is not ceramic at all, but the liner you are talking about or what is left of it behind the projectile. I am going to try to take a better picture of it. I was just looking at it and was thinking to myself that this barrel is a lot wider then a 50 cal projectile. Your explanation make perfect sense. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Jason


#10

Hope these pictures show what I think is the “Stellite Liner” separating from the barrel below the projectile.

J

Looking down threw the barrel


#11

Stellite is a cobalt-chromium alloy, and the stellite liner is in the forward end of the chamber where the heat is the greatest.

Did anyone see “Pawn Stars” yesterday? A guy brought in some kind of mechanical computer used in WWII bomber turrets to allow convergence of the twin .50 barrels onto the target. I had never heard of anything like that, but I don’t know much about WWII bomber turret guns either, as my only experience is with ground guns. I had assumed the .50 barrels were just set parallel, and were not continuously variable in their alignment with each other. Can anyone explain how those computers would have been used during combat?

Lots of interesting stuff on “Pawn Stars” They were firing a 37mm Hotchkiss revolving cannon a few weeks ago and a Hotchkiss breechloader before that.


#12

And this is what happens when a .50 cal. round is fired (deliberately for test) with the barrel obstructed by a previous bullet!

But at least the action held!.

Regards
TonyE


#13

Notice that the Barrel on the .50Rifle split right along the rifling grooves
( area of high internal stress from formation of the rifling ( ie, by “Button forming?”)

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics


#14

Jason,

Very cool relic you have there! Thanks for sharing.


Does anyone know when the liners were first used in the M2 barrels?

Perhaps the liner failed first in the over heated barrel and caused an obstruction leading to the catastrophic failure seen here?

TonyE,

Are you sure that’s not just a new design for a high performance flash suppressor?..(smiley thingy here)
Wow! Would be interesting to see that event happening in super slow motion!

Dave


#15

DocAV,

This was a fluted barrel. I think the barrel split along the flutes rather than the rifling.

The exit of a projectile from the side of a barrel is(as has been noted) normally nearer the muzzle.
Having seen a sectioned barrel from a range incident it showed that as the steel softened the projectile began to allow gas to leak and cause it to deviate. The deviation progresses faster and faster as the ‘S’ in the barrel gets worse. Eventually the projectile turns and exits the barrel.

Sandy


#16

I recall an ordnance memo back when I was in the Marines that specified unserviceable .50 cal. barrels were to have the chamber end of the barrel cut off so the stellite liner portion could be returned to the upper level ordnance depot. Either the stellite was of high value or somehow re-usable…

Interestingly enough, when I worked at a sawmill many years later, I discovered that “stellite” was used on the tips saw blades! As I recall, it was more expensive than the tungsten carbide tips normally used…

AKMS


#17

Dennis: I don’t think the guns in the turrets of second war airplanes were designed to alter their angle with respect to one another, but the B-29 did have a form of analog computer sighting for its defensive turrets. At least one web site, Glenn’s Computer Museum, appears to have a good account of the computer and the gun sights themselves; the computer and the sights are shown. The sights were not located in the turrets but rather were rather located in separate manned clear plexiglass sighting domes. Jack


#18

I went to the Glenn’s Computer Museum site, and it’s very interesting. It has a section on military electromechanical analog computers used in bombers (gunsights and bomb sights), and I would say the one on “Pawn Stars” appears similar to the pictures of the Sperry K-3 or K-4 computer on the website (The Pawn Stars computer was stated as having been made by Sperry). This is how the computer is described on Glenn’s website:

"The K-3 is a computing gunsight used in used in Sperry upper gun turrets used on the B-17 bomber. The K-4 is the same device with a different mount used in the Sperry lower gun turrets on the B-17.

The gunner inputs range information by estimating the size of the plane and adjusting its image in the attached optical sight so that the image fits within reticles. The gunner then tracks the target with the optical sight by moving the K-3 (mounted on a movable head) keeping the plane image centered in the reticles. The sight movements cause the computing unit, which, based on the range information and built-in ballistics data, to calculate the deflection, or lead, for aiming the guns and moves the turret accordingly."

I wonder how well it worked? Nothing is said about converging the twin .50 barrels. Nonetheless, it’s something that I didn’t know could be done with B-17 turrets. I don’t remember seeing anything like that in any of the old WWII B-17 movies.


#19

So can anyone ID the exact 50 cal by its projectile? Haha! I wonder what the headstamp was :-)

Jason