FN 13.2mm production in 1940


#1

Gentlemen
While reseracjin the Swedish rearmament I started to go into the Swedish Air force archives now and I have a question to the board:

The Swedish Air force bought 13.2mm guns and ammo from FN during the first months of 1940.
The thing that puzzles me are the use of “Övningspatron” - (Target?) Practice round.
Have anyone heard of something similar for 13.2mm ?
The “combat” rounds listed where AP and HE, but they did not list any standard Ball ammo ordered from FN (Belgum)
Could it be as simple as this is a “plain Jane” ball ammo?
Or could you produce a cheaper ammo?

There might also be some political reason, as “practice” ammo might been easier to transfer through Europe in early 1940?
And if I got it right the target practice ammo where the only 13.2 FN ammo to arrive in Sweden during 1940.

I found this photo of a 13,2 Övningspatron,

And a list of three rounds:


While the tracer round did not fit into that source (But the Tracer and Incendiary rounds where later delivered from Italy)

Any hints appreciated.

The only indication I got is that the 12,7mm ammo bought with the Fiat CR.42, contained 20% FMJ, 40 % AP and 40% HE
And that happens to be the same quota as used in the FN order, (but the 20% where labeled Practice rounds”)

Any Advice appreciated.
John T
Stockholm


#2

Is it clear whether the CR.42 were armed with Breda-SAFAT guns, or perhaps armament adapted to the Browning or Hotchkiss “half inch” caliber? Jack


#3

Jack, what would be the “half inch” Hotchkiss then?


#4

The CR.42 used Breda-SAFAT guns designed around the Vickers export 12.7 x 81SR round, much smaller than the .50 BMG or the 13.2mm Hotchkiss.


#5

EOD: I used “half inch” because I wanted to skirt the issue of 12.7 m/m and 13.2 m/m. The Breda SAFAT is nominally a 12.7, but the Hotchkiss is a 13.2. I figured both are close enough to a half inch to further the discussion without bogging us down in metric fractions. The cartridge illustrated in the opening question doesn’t appear to be the Breda SAFAT round, so it’s probably either the inch system Browning or the metric Hotchkiss. Jack


#6

Yes it is clear for me now, they kept their Bredas.
While the FN (and later LM Ericsson copies) where 13.2x99 later converted to 12,7x99

But it is a relevant question that has caused confusion in this matter, so far even the most detailed Aircraft historians in Sweden muddles it up.

And one cause of confusion is the parallel import of 12.7 x 81SR and 13.2x99 from Italy to Sweden.
To arm Air force and the two torpedo boats equipped with a 13.2 AA-gun each that where bought from Italy before Italy entered the war.

Cheers
/John


#7

Yes, the only reason for my reference to the CR.42 was that in that procurement the quota between ammo types
(1 FMJ, 2 HE, 2 AP)
was an indication of the “övningsgranat” was a standard FMJ round.

So my question is if anyone heard of FN produced 13.2 target practice ammo?
And in such case would it be “any way” usable as a combat round?

Kind Regards
/John


#8

The term “target practice round” is generally applied to cannon ammo with inert projectiles, i.e. no HE or incendiary components, and without armour penetrators. To be useful, these projectiles must be a ballistic match for the standard warshots, so need to be more or less the same weight and shape, but are made as cheaply as possible. So in .50 cal, a standard ball might well be used as a target practice round; so might a tracer round, with the benefit of revealing aiming errors.

A few TP cannon rounds (esp. Swiss) have had projectiles with a flash compound in the nose to indicate the location of a hit. So have some “spotting” rounds used for aiming anti-tank weapons: a small-calibre spotting rifle is fired until a hit on the target is observed, at which point the main weapon is fired. Examples of these are the 9mm SMAW / MK217 and the .50 Spotter / M48 spotter/tracer. Similar “Observing” rounds have also been used in rifle calibres, such as the 7.92x57 Beobactungspatrone. However, such ammo is complex and expensive to make so is unlikely to be used as a general practice ammo. Note that the .50 Spotter also had a cheaper T249E2 TP version which gave off a small puff of powder when hitting.

So I would say that ball ammo is the most likely type to be used for TP in HMG calibres, as it is much simpler and cheaper than anything else.

I am reminded of the RAF’s little difficulty with 20mm Hispano HE ammo early in WW2 - the impact fuze acted too quickly, exploding the shells on the surface of the target rather than inside. So for a while they used plain steel “Ball” ammo instead, which was originally made for training purposes!


#9

Are there any known FN catalogs, brochures or advertising from the late 1930’s listing/picturing ammunition produced by FN ?

Some 13.2mm FN headstamps from the old forum pages including a 1940 headstamped cartridge: http://iaaforum.org/forum3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4060


#10

Thanks, it fits nicely with all other swedish "övningsgranat"
I pondered if the HE round had a significant different weight and thus needed something different.
But it seems like a political labeling on the Swedish AF side in the internal battles for resources during 1940.

And by labeling it granat (grenade) instead of projectile is seems like someone intentionally tried to blur the picture.

Kind Regards
/John


13,2 mm Hotchkiss bullets
#11

Peter


#12

Peter, great drawing, thanks a lot!


#13

According to a scanned page i have of a 13,2 mm brochure the regular “Balle service” which is the standard type bulled is the same av the Swedish training bullet. Considering that it doesnt have any anti aircraft effect such as incendiary and lacks a tracer i think its fairly logical that the Swedish army would just use it as a basic training round for target practice. Ive seen some footage of Saab J 21’s firing their guns at a concrete target and no tracers where visable.