PDA

View Full Version : Why were US troop transport planes unarmed?



Frankthetank36
11-26-2009, 08:26 PM
topic

jarink
11-26-2009, 08:57 PM
Because. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

Choctaw111
11-26-2009, 09:01 PM
This is to say that as a general rule, transport planes from other countries had defensive armament?
I really don't know why the US transport planes had no defensive weapons.
For starters, they would need more than a two man crew if there were defensive guns.

Frankthetank36
11-26-2009, 09:21 PM
The Axis transports had defensive armament. I mean, if bombers had turrets, why shouldn't C-47s? They would already be losing a bunch of soldiers if they got shot down, having a few extra crew members would make getting shot down less likely.

poymando
11-26-2009, 09:28 PM
Air supremacy.

Zeus-cat
11-26-2009, 09:46 PM
1) As poymando said, Allied troop transports rarely flew in areas where they did not have air superiority.

2) It probably was far more effective to provide fighter escort than to put guns on transports.

3) Gunners on planes have very limited coverage. Therefore, a single gun position is ineffective as attacking fighters can simply attack from an angle that the defending gun can't shoot at them. Allied bombers flew in mass formations that allowed the planes to defend each other and bring multiple guns to bear on a single attacking fighter.

4) The guns and ammo would weigh quite a bit and decease the load the transports could carry.

SeaFireLIV
11-26-2009, 11:38 PM
Originally posted by poymando:
Air supremacy.

Guns on transports do more to make the crew feel safe rather than actually protect them. Any decent fighter will chop down a transport with relative ease.

Skoshi Tiger
11-27-2009, 12:01 AM
In New Guinea (1942) there was an incident where an American C-47 that was flying some Australian soldiers to Kokoda was harrassed by Japanese aircraft.

The pilots got very angry at the Australians when they started knocking out the side windows of the transport so they could have a go at them with their Bren Guns!

Guess you can't please everyone!

megalopsuche
11-27-2009, 08:58 AM
Originally posted by poymando:
Air supremacy.

FTW.

K_Freddie
11-27-2009, 10:36 AM
Originally posted by Skoshi Tiger:
The pilots got very angry at the Australians when they started knocking out the side windows of the transport so they could have a go at them with their Bren Guns!
Way to go Aussies - Just don't take c.r-ap from stupid design ideas.... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

Treetop64
11-27-2009, 10:40 AM
Originally posted by megalopsuche:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by poymando:
Air supremacy.

FTW. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

For sure. That, and the fact that guns and ammo weigh a lot. You need to save some of that weight budget for the cargo.

waffen-79
11-27-2009, 11:57 AM
Originally posted by poymando:
Air supremacy.

Achieved on the ground..by the red army http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif FTW none the less

Frankthetank36
11-27-2009, 01:30 PM
Originally posted by Skoshi Tiger:
In New Guinea (1942) there was an incident where an American C-47 that was flying some Australian soldiers to Kokoda was harrassed by Japanese aircraft.

The pilots got very angry at the Australians when they started knocking out the side windows of the transport so they could have a go at them with their Bren Guns!

Guess you can't please everyone!

Lol, if a plane's going to be carrying 10-20 armed soldiers they aren't saving weight by preventing them from firing at the enemies. They should've just had windows that allow them to use guns like the turrets on bombers (those were mostly rifle-caliber guns anyway).

Gibbage1
11-27-2009, 01:45 PM
I think the Me-323 had ports in the windows for MG-42's.

The Russians did put guns in there C-47, but it didnt do them much good.

On the first USS Yorktown, they had two watercooled .30 cal's on each side of the bridge. Not that they would do much, but it made the captin feel better.

tater718
11-27-2009, 02:38 PM
C-47's also had small circular ports in the windows. You can see them in any plane made during the war.I never recall of hearing anything about them being used.

Viper2005_
11-27-2009, 02:45 PM
Because they were mostly requisitioned airliners.

Frankthetank36
11-27-2009, 07:58 PM
Well against the Japanese planes I'm sure .30s would work fine

triad773
11-27-2009, 08:14 PM
Mindset of the time as I had read different places:
It was a bus or it was a vehicle of war with not much in between.

Purpose-driven design, priority-given allotment of payload.

Specialist aircraft fair better IMHO. Weigh it down with armour or armaments and you have a less effective transport http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Frankthetank36
11-27-2009, 08:22 PM
But if soldiers are already carrying guns they aren't weighing it down more if they have a way of firing them in-flight

jarink
11-27-2009, 08:39 PM
It's not just weight, but also drag. If you put a turret on a cargo plane (hand-held guns sticking out of windows are next to useless, especially if a fighter is on your tail), it can create a not inconsiderable amount of drag. Drag causes lower speed and lower fuel economy, which results in lower payload. Cargo planes are all about moving as much weight as possible with the greatest economy, so guns, ammo and armor all go against that idea.

Gibbage, you're correct about the Me-323. Like the Yorktown, it was more about making the soldiers on board feel safer than actually making them safer.

The only armed C-47 that was any use was the AC-47, but it's mission wasn't transport. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/AC-47_gunship_-_one_gatling_gun_points_out_the_cargo_door%2C_and_ one_each_points_out_of_the_two_windows_forward_of_ the_door.jpg

Buzzsaw-
11-27-2009, 08:46 PM
Originally posted by Frankthetank36:
The Axis transports had defensive armament. I mean, if bombers had turrets, why shouldn't C-47s? They would already be losing a bunch of soldiers if they got shot down, having a few extra crew members would make getting shot down less likely.

The defensive armament of the Axis transports was not enough to deter any fighter attacks.

Any examination of the record of the Germans flying transports in through enemy fighter interception show disastrous results.

In particular, the Germans suffered horrendous losses during the attempt to supply Stalingrad, and during the air supply phase of the Tunisian campaign. The result of those two events was the loss of a very large percentage of the German transport fleet.

The Allies looked at the efficacy of having a gunner assigned, with the additional manpower requirement, and the weight of a turret and ammunition, and determined it was far more sensible to simply not bother, and to instead focus on achieving air superiority over the drop zone.

There is also the fact that most parachute drops made by the Allies during WWII occurred at night when the chance of fighter inteception was low.

The exceptions were the Arnhem drop, and the drop which supported Montgomery's crossing of the Rhine which were both in daylight. In the first there were some losses of transports to fighters, but most losses were due to flak. The decision in the Arnhem case was that the chance of ending the war in 1944 justified the losses. In the Crossing of the Rhine, I am not sure any aircraft were lost to fighters, by that time, the Allies were able to screen the drop zone effectively with fighter cover.

Waldo.Pepper
11-27-2009, 10:32 PM
Originally posted by Buzzsaw-:
In particular, the Germans suffered horrendous losses during the attempt to supply Stalingrad ...

Most of these losses were due to flak, just as in the Arhnem operation. And as we all should know, no amount of defensive bb guns would have saved these aircraft/crews.

SeaFireLIV
11-27-2009, 11:07 PM
Well look at what happened to the B17s when they first started flying over Europe. They were bristling with guns and thought the B17s could protect themselves, but they got slaughtered there and back by fighters.

In the end they HAD to have escorts for the bombers.

How much less a chance would transports have?

Frankthetank36
11-28-2009, 08:45 AM
But the B-17s managed to down a lot of fighters as well. The B-29s even had a favorable kill-to-loss ratio against Japanese fighters. Defensive guns aren't very effective against a decent fighter pilot, but I'm sure they did save some bombers from the newbies who attacked from dead six. You need to have some sort of backup in addition to the escorts.

M_Gunz
11-28-2009, 09:11 AM
They didn't armor the deuce-and-a-halfs either. The main idea being not running supply transport under enemy guns.
As far as the paratroop planes, there were some bad mistakes made in their employment including Sicily and Arnhem.

thefruitbat
11-28-2009, 09:26 AM
Originally posted by Frankthetank36:
But the B-17s managed to down a lot of fighters as well. The B-29s even had a favorable kill-to-loss ratio against Japanese fighters.

I'd be interested to see some sources for that, i've always been led to belive that there kills were massivly overclaimed, certainly the B17's in the ETO, don't really know about B29's in the PTO. I suppose it also matters as what you define as lots of fighters as well.

jarink
11-28-2009, 11:16 AM
Originally posted by M_Gunz:
They didn't armor the deuce-and-a-halfs either. The main idea being not running supply transport under enemy guns.
As far as the paratroop planes, there were some bad mistakes made in their employment including Sicily and Arnhem.

Strangely enough, there were a number of deuce-and-a-halfs that had M2s on ring mounts.
http://www.dday-overlord.com/img/vehi/gmc_cckw_353.jpg
This arrangement would most often be seen only on trucks belonging to line units, since they would be in proximity to enemy ground troops.

Still in use today, even on larger trucks.
http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/photos/uncategorized/2007/04/30/gulfphoto11.jpg

M_Gunz
11-28-2009, 03:26 PM
Now find the armored trucks used for supply transport please. Armed is one thing, armored is another.
I know about APC's, the M3 and like IIRC that were used up at the front but those were not 2 1/2 ton
trucks (and their drivers) that were even bigger unsung heroes of the US side of the war than IMO the
C-47's as supply transports.

The Russians porteed AT guns on the backs of trucks right up to the front line at times. The British
also used 2-pounders on trucks for AT work but IIRC only in the early war and not on the front line.
I think the difference may be one of desperation, the Wehrmact never marched on British home cities.

Zeus-cat
11-28-2009, 03:29 PM
Originally posted by Frankthetank36:
But if soldiers are already carrying guns they aren't weighing it down more if they have a way of firing them in-flight

1) The typical foot soldier didn't carry that much ammunition to be effective against an enemy fighter.

2) Also, many G.I.s were armed with rifles and not automatic weapons making them fairly useless against an enemy fighter.

3) They were also trained to shoot enemy soldiers and not high speed aircraft. As we all should know, arial gunnery often requires deflection shooting (up, down, left, right, etc.). It is a lot different than being on the ground and shooting at someone else on the ground.

4) If they use all of their ammo to shoot at enemy fighters, what good are they when they finally get on the ground?

SterlingX
11-28-2009, 03:45 PM
Originally posted by jarink:
It's not just weight, but also drag. If you put a turret on a cargo plane (hand-held guns sticking out of windows are next to useless, especially if a fighter is on your tail), it can create a not inconsiderable amount of drag. Drag causes lower speed and lower fuel economy, which results in lower payload. Cargo planes are all about moving as much weight as possible with the greatest economy, so guns, ammo and armor all go against that idea.

Gibbage, you're correct about the Me-323. Like the Yorktown, it was more about making the soldiers on board feel safer than actually making them safer.

The only armed C-47 that was any use was the AC-47, but it's mission wasn't transport. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/AC-47_gunship_-_one_gatling_gun_points_out_the_cargo_door%2C_and_ one_each_points_out_of_the_two_windows_forward_of_ the_door.jpg

There is one occasion in North Africa where a bunch of lightnings attacked a group of troop-carring Ju-52s. As it turned out, everyone inside seemed to have been waiting for just that and every window was ablaze with MG fire. Two lightning went down immediately and the rest withdrew.
(I don't have a link, read it in a magazine long time ago, narrated by a lightning pilot)

The point is that if there are more than one transports, as it is usually the case, you get most of the surrounding space covered, plus the weight of fire is actually much bigger than that of a bomber with fixed turrets.

jarink
11-28-2009, 06:22 PM
Originally posted by SterlingX:
The point is that if there are more than one transports, as it is usually the case, you get most of the surrounding space covered, plus the weight of fire is actually much bigger than that of a bomber with fixed turrets.

If B-17s and B-24s armed with up to 13 .50 cal MGs many of which were mounted in powered turrets and flying in combat boxes of up to 48+ planes couldn't adequately defend themselves, how would transports "armed" with rifle-caliber MGs sticking out of windows and manned by infantry not trained in air-to-air gunnery be any more effective?

Frankthetank36
11-28-2009, 07:14 PM
Well imagine how much greater the bomber losses would have been if they had been completely unarmed. Sure, they are still vulnerable of enemy fighters, but they are not as vulnerable as they would be if they had no guns whatsoever.

SeaFireLIV
11-28-2009, 07:25 PM
Originally posted by Frankthetank36:
But the B-17s managed to down a lot of fighters as well. The B-29s even had a favorable kill-to-loss ratio against Japanese fighters. Defensive guns aren't very effective against a decent fighter pilot, but I'm sure they did save some bombers from the newbies who attacked from dead six. You need to have some sort of backup in addition to the escorts.

The B17 guns obviously helped a little, but not enough to be of any real use. The B17 campaign was bought to a halt for a shortwhile because the losses were so great. Certainly not enough enemy fighters were bought down to make up for the B17s over europe that were bought down.

Had the USAF continued without escourt it`s almost guaranteed that nearly every B17 would`ve been destroyed\taken out of service and the bombing campaign stopped by the Luftwaffe.

jarink
11-28-2009, 09:23 PM
Originally posted by Frankthetank36:
Well imagine how much greater the bomber losses would have been if they had been completely unarmed. Sure, they are still vulnerable of enemy fighters, but they are not as vulnerable as they would be if they had no guns whatsoever.

And so we go back to the point that adding the weight of turrets, guns, ammo etc. to transports is not worth the effort. The space and weight is much better used for carrying cargo, which is the whole purpose of transport a/c in the first place. As for protection from enemy a/c, resources are much better spent on fighter aircraft that can gain and maintain air superiority, so your transports can fly with little danger of being intercepted.

Before we go back to "well, the Luftwaffe and others armed their transport planes, so there must be some value to it", let's not forget that early in the war, they had air superiority more often than not. Thus, their transports didn't need to be armed. Later on when the Allies had air superiority, arming the transports made absolutely no difference in them being vulnerable to fighters, so it still made no difference. The USAAF and RAF just learned this lesson before the Luftwaffe did.

Gibbage1
11-28-2009, 09:38 PM
There was a report I read on North Afrika. A group of 6 P-38's found a pack of about 20 JU-52's, with about 4 109 escorts. The end result was 14 JU's just, 2 of the 4 109's lost, and the loss of 2 P-38's. There were several reports like that. The other groups were un-escorted, but there was still losses on the P-38, but the losses on the Ju side was always significantly more.

Even if you made the cargo aircraft bristle with guns like a B-17, there would still be significant losses without air superiority. Also you need to consider that the more guns you bolt on, the less cargo you can fly.

BillSwagger
11-28-2009, 11:01 PM
i might suggest that the guns used on some c-47s might've also helped protect troops while loading or unloading the plane, particularly in combat zones.

SterlingX
11-29-2009, 01:15 AM
Originally posted by jarink:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by SterlingX:
The point is that if there are more than one transports, as it is usually the case, you get most of the surrounding space covered, plus the weight of fire is actually much bigger than that of a bomber with fixed turrets.

If B-17s and B-24s armed with up to 13 .50 cal MGs many of which were mounted in powered turrets and flying in combat boxes of up to 48+ planes couldn't adequately defend themselves, how would transports "armed" with rifle-caliber MGs sticking out of windows and manned by infantry not trained in air-to-air gunnery be any more effective? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

If it happened on regular basis it wouldn't be more effective, but probably just as effective, meaning there would be losses. In the case of the story, the lightnings didn't expect it, and probably didn't engage from a long enough range. I also suppose there were not that many lightnings.
I wondered myself how untrained gunners could down anything after reading it; I suppose its because of saturation - trained gunners with powered turrets may all fire in one spot which is not where the target is, meaning that they will consistently make the same aiming mistake (when they miss) due to having the same training. Untrained gunners on a moving airplane would just saturate the target space with fire and something will connect.
Extra turrets on a transport are not worth their weight, that's true, but if the transport is caring troops they may actually be used as gunners with a moderate degree of success.

Gibbage1
11-29-2009, 04:07 AM
Originally posted by BillSwagger:
i might suggest that the guns used on some c-47s might've also helped protect troops while loading or unloading the plane, particularly in combat zones.

The only C-47's I ever heard of in a combat situation dropped there troops off via the silky sky road, and never landed. Its not like todays choppers that land in hot situations, or the CV-22.

jarink
11-29-2009, 10:46 AM
Originally posted by SterlingX:
If it happened on regular basis it wouldn't be more effective, but probably just as effective, meaning there would be losses. In the case of the story, the lightnings didn't expect it, and probably didn't engage from a long enough range. I also suppose there were not that many lightnings.

Gibbage's story is missing one critical piece of information: What shot down the 2 P-38s that were lost? If they were downed by the escorting Bf-109s, then the story doesn't really say anything in favor of arming transports, does it?

SterlingX
11-29-2009, 11:41 AM
Originally posted by jarink:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by SterlingX:
If it happened on regular basis it wouldn't be more effective, but probably just as effective, meaning there would be losses. In the case of the story, the lightnings didn't expect it, and probably didn't engage from a long enough range. I also suppose there were not that many lightnings.

Gibbage's story is missing one critical piece of information: What shot down the 2 P-38s that were lost? If they were downed by the escorting Bf-109s, then the story doesn't really say anything in favor of arming transports, does it? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

This is clearly a different incident, as there were escorting fighters and 14 lost Ju-52s, and there were no downed Ju-52s in the one I am apocryphally referring to.

K_Freddie
11-30-2009, 02:42 PM
I'm with SterlingX on this one...

If any fighter gets in too close, it is going to get nailed by a determined defence, no matter the calibre of weapons, Also I wouldn't dismiss ground troops aiming abilities just because aircraft are involved... We all know about AAA/Flak http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

All it needs is one bullet to the head, which is feasable with saturation defense fire at close range..

To get a good idea of this.. play Red Orchestra online - you get a big fright about how hectic this can be, and I can imagine why the other P38s pulled back.
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

Gibbage1
11-30-2009, 04:20 PM
There was losses of P-38's in the mission's without escorts, but the reports do not state the causes. One can assume its due to the Ju-52's, but they were armed with 7.62's. I can see a P-51 being taken down easy due to a 7.62 into the engine or radiator, but we have a twin engine aircraft. Ill try to find the reports. But the point is, even with defensive armorments, it was a slaughter. These sorties were all over North Afrika, and we all know how well supplied the Germans were in the end of that campaign.

On another note, there was a report of 4 P-38's being ferried from England to North Afrika that found a formation of 4 Ju-88's. Each P-38 only had 10 rounds in each gun (typical ferry config) and thet managed to shoot down most of the Ju's, and they were a lot better armored the Ju-52's.

Simply put, you cant put enough guns on an aircraft to stop a deturmined fighter. The US found that out the hard way. So it makes no sense to put guns on cargo aircraft and send them to the front un-escorted.

Bremspropeller
11-30-2009, 04:21 PM
Because the troops were issued with cal 50 BARs.

Frankthetank36
11-30-2009, 06:02 PM
Originally posted by Gibbage1:
So it makes no sense to put guns on cargo aircraft and send them to the front un-escorted.

The issue here is not whether to allow transports to be armed and then flying around unescorted, the issue is why didn't they arm the transports AND escort them.

M_Gunz
11-30-2009, 06:27 PM
It's about logistics is why.

Gibbage1
11-30-2009, 07:57 PM
Originally posted by Frankthetank36:
The issue here is not whether to allow transports to be armed and then flying around unescorted, the issue is why didn't they arm the transports AND escort them.

US C-47's never flew front line missions unless they had air superiority. So there was very very little threat of an attack from the air. Thus, no need to arm them.

Buzzsaw-
11-30-2009, 08:02 PM
Salute

Anyone who takes the time to read "Fighters over Tunisia", by Christopher Shores, Hans Ring, and William N Ness can find out the facts re. the Tunisian losses quite easily.

This book details day by day the aerial combats and losses over Tunisia. All the original loss records were examined, from German, British, American and Italian sources.

Re. the event Gibbage may be referring to:

Monday April 3rd 1943

O625 20 P-38's of 96th Squadron, 82nd Fighter Group were escorting B-25's on a Naval attack mission when they encountered 31 Ju-52's escorted by a higher force of 10 Bf-109's and 6 Bf-110's, along with the transports was a ground attack force of 4 Ju-87's, 1 Me-210, and 1 FW-190.

The 109's attacked the P-38's from above as the P-38's attacked the transports and ground attack aircraft. The B-25's were screened and made their escape.

Losses reported by the Germans:

14 Ju-52's
1 Bf-109
2 Bf-110's

Losses reported by the Americans

6 P-38's

In addition, that day the Germans reported an additional 2 Ju-52's and 2 Me-323 transports attacked and shot down while landing at Tunis.

The attacking P-38 pilots described the fire coming from the Ju-52's as ineffective and all the losses were attributed to enemy fighters.

<<<

Oleg has done a nice job overall with IL-2, with one exception.

The way he has modelled AI gunners on bombers is very optimistic. G forces and other issues do not seem to be taken into account.

In reality, it was very difficult for a gunner to hit an enemy fighter moving at high speed, unless the gunner had a powered turret, they fighter was moving at zero deflection and the bomber was not maneuvering at all.

The way that in the game a single LMG equipped bomber can tear up attacking fighters is not very realistic. Historically that kind of defensive firepower had neglegible effects.

Gibbage1
11-30-2009, 08:08 PM
Thanks for the correction Buzz. I was going to look it up tonight in my books. Later on was another report about a similar intercept were they list a FW-187 in with the Ju-52's? I dont think the 187 ever got into service. I think it was a type for a FW-189 or something.

Frankthetank36
11-30-2009, 08:21 PM
How many bullets would it have taken to down one of those Me-323s? They look absolutely huge and they had a whopping six engines and the P-38s just had one cannon and some MGs that don't do much structural damage (I would think systems damage would be negligible since if they lost one engine they "only" had five left).

Buzzsaw-
11-30-2009, 08:46 PM
Salute

Here's another one, this time the more experienced RAF makes the intercept, and manages to tie up the escort with their own high cover.

Thursday April 22nd 1943

II/JG27, (three Staffels) and Italians fighters were ordered to escort two groups of transports to Tunis. One group of Ju-52's, and one group of Me-323's.

The Ju-52's reached Tunis safely except for one aircraft lost, the Me-323's, being two Gruppen of Transportgeschwader 5, numbering 20 aircraft, took a slightly southern course, were spotted and intercepted.

1st SAAF Squadron, flying Spitfire V's, sent two sections to intercept the Me-323's, the remaining section of Spitfires engaged the 109 escort. In addition, 6 Spit IX's of No. 145 Polish Squadron also intercepted, and attacked the escort.

Following behind, Kittyhawks of No. 4 and 5 SAAF Squadrons, originally tasked with ground attack, also spotted the Me-323's, jettisoned their bombs, and attacked.

Finally, as the battle was nearly over, No. 250 Squadron RAF, also flying Kittyhawks, also tasked with ground attack, attacked the remaining transports. They did not bother jettisoning their bombs.

Losses reported by the Germans:

17 Me-323's
4 109's

Losses reported by RAF

1 Spitfire
4 Kittyhawks

Here is the personal account of James Francis Edwards of No. 250 Squadron, a Canadian Ace who shot down an Me-323 with his .50 calibre equipped Kittyhawk III. (P-40N) The Me-323 was a converted glider, and very fragile.

"...I saw a large aircraft directly in front. AT approximately 250 yards, I fired a long burst and the Me-323 folded up like a stack of cards and fell into the sea. Twenty-plus 109's were patrolling high above but did not attack - it looked like they lost heart."

In IL-2 the Me-323 is modelled as being very tough, and its defenses make it nearly as good as a dedicated bomber, not the reality.

Gibbage1
11-30-2009, 09:06 PM
In reality, most Me-323's didnt have all the firepower. Only a few rare models did.

Frankthetank36
11-30-2009, 09:12 PM
I think the cargo had something to do with the Me-323's level of durability

"In terms of aircraft design, the Me 323 was actually very resilient, and could absorb a huge amount of ene my fire, unless loaded with barrels with fuel - the Afrika Korps' nickname of Leukoplastbomber (Elastoplast Bomber) was somewhat unfair."

http://www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/LRG/me323.html

Zeus-cat
11-30-2009, 09:13 PM
I looked up the numbers on the Browning M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun.

Weight of gun - 84 pounds

Weight of 100 rounds - 35 pounds (I believe B-17s carried 400 rounds per gun, so lets assume that) - 140 pounds.

Weight of simple mount - just making this up, so let's say 26 pounds.

Weight of gunner - 150 pounds.

Total weight is 400 pounds and we are assuming a simple window mount and not a turret as was originally suggested. 400 pounds is 8% of the typical 5,000 pound cargo capacity of a C-47. And a single fixed mount MG doesn't offer much protection.

Skoshi Tiger
12-01-2009, 06:04 AM
Also if you get a nice clean aircraft like the C47, cut a hole in it and stick a machine gun mount in it, you'ld have to do bad things to the aerodynamics which would effect the top speed and range of the aircraft. IF speed is life then even a drop of 5 mph, could be a matter of life or death.

M_Gunz
12-01-2009, 06:13 AM
The space of 1 gunner plus gun and ammo could hold easily 2 barrels of fuel plus ammo/food/medical supplies.
That's per plane per trip when most of the time no enemy fighters would be seen. Weigh that against 1 gun
in defense when many guns didn't adequately protect the 4 engine bombers.

Outlaw---
12-01-2009, 06:22 AM
Originally posted by Frankthetank36:
...and the P-38s just had one cannon and some MGs that don't do much structural damage...

Definitely a candidate for understatement of the year. The P-38s central concentration of fire was ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATING when on target.

It's obvious that hanging a few guns on a dog slow and unmaneuverable cargo plane is not going to increase the chances of survival by any amount. Sure, an individual may escape here and there but, statistically, over the long haul it will make 0 difference to the fleet. When you're involved in a large scale war, you have to play the odds. Adding a few % more pounds of cargo to several thousand aircraft is by far the better choice than adding a few useless guns.

The loss of a few more cargo aircraft is well worth the additional supplies/personnel delivered.


--Outlaw.

M_Gunz
12-01-2009, 06:39 AM
You do get to ensure an extra man per gun is required, per plane per trip, who could be useful elsewhere.

Frankthetank36
12-05-2009, 11:14 AM
Well I think the B-17s got shot down because even though they had a ton of guns, they were still MGs. I think the Japanese were the only ones that really had well-armed heavies. The Betty had a 20mm tail cannon that was devastating against fighters who approached from the rear (the problem was that it had no armor or self-sealing tanks). The H8K had 5 20mm cannons (as well as 4 7.7mm peashooters), so I think there was a reason it was referred to as the "flying porcupine" by American fighter pilots. 50cals might have better firing rate, lighter weight, AP, and systems damage than the larger cannon, but they lack range and don't do much if you just poke holes in parts of the fuselage or wings that aren't near the pilot, engine, ammunition, non-self-sealing fuel tanks, etc. Cannons hurt no matter where they hit. When you want to cripple something and maintain good performance, take the MGs; when you need to take them out NOW take something with cannons. In the case of heavies I would think the latter would be more useful since a crippled fighter can often still aim and fire (unless the pilot is killed); one without its wings cannot. Also the more range, the better.

Zeus-cat
12-05-2009, 11:52 AM
If arming cargo planes is such a great idea, then 65 years later why do we not see modern cargo planes loaded up with MGs, cannons and missiles so they can defend themselves?

jarink
12-05-2009, 01:23 PM
Originally posted by Frankthetank36:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Gibbage1:
So it makes no sense to put guns on cargo aircraft and send them to the front un-escorted.

The issue here is not whether to allow transports to be armed and then flying around unescorted, the issue is why didn't they arm the transports AND escort them. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Because arming them didn't make enough of a difference in how well they could survive enemy fighters. If it makes little or no difference, why bother? (Especially since arming them would have a noticeable negative effect on the primary mission of carrying cargo.)

jarink
12-05-2009, 01:33 PM
Originally posted by Frankthetank36:
Well I think the B-17s got shot down because even though they had a ton of guns, they were still MGs. I think the Japanese were the only ones that really had well-armed heavies. The Betty had a 20mm tail cannon that was devastating against fighters who approached from the rear (the problem was that it had no armor or self-sealing tanks). The H8K had 5 20mm cannons (as well as 4 7.7mm peashooters), so I think there was a reason it was referred to as the "flying porcupine" by American fighter pilots. 50cals might have better firing rate, lighter weight, AP, and systems damage than the larger cannon, but they lack range and don't do much if you just poke holes in parts of the fuselage or wings that aren't near the pilot, engine, ammunition, non-self-sealing fuel tanks, etc. Cannons hurt no matter where they hit. When you want to cripple something and maintain good performance, take the MGs; when you need to take them out NOW take something with cannons. In the case of heavies I would think the latter would be more useful since a crippled fighter can often still aim and fire (unless the pilot is killed); one without its wings cannot. Also the more range, the better.

IL2 gives the wrong impression of what the gunner's job was on a US heavy bomber. They weren't supposed to shoot down enemy planes, they were supposed to keep the enemy fighters from shooting down the bomber. Any kills resulting from that mission were just gravy. On the long penetration missions, B-17 and B-24 crews would regularly carry 6-8,000 rounds of .50 cal ammo on a mission. It was more shoot-to-suppress rather than shoot-to-kill.

There were several attempts to mount 20mm cannon on these bombers, but they failed for a variety of reasons. Among those reasons were the fact that the cannon were much heavier than the MGs and produced much stronger recoil forces that the mounts on the planes were not designed to withstand. Also, much less cannon ammo could be carried for the same amount of weight, which was very important. (Kind of similar to the 7.62mm NATO vs 5.56mm NATO ammo argument.)

Here's one experiment:
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1/jarink/Jack.jpg

Frankthetank36
12-05-2009, 06:17 PM
If only the dive bombers in IL-2 had 6-8000 rounds of ammo for the tail gun...

M_Gunz
12-05-2009, 11:19 PM
Getting enough supplies and surplus to your fighting units to keep them able to sustain fire is a war in itself.
Units with surplus can afford to fire at a heavier rate than those without. A stack of cartons the size of a
defensive position per plane per trip really adds up.

If they were going to run transports into harm wouldn't it make sense to have special transports for the job
since the big sky miles for those planes is spent far behind contested airspace?

SkyPiggies
01-15-2010, 05:38 AM
The pilots got very angry at the Australians when they started knocking out the side windows of the transport so they could have a go at them with their Bren Guns! Great story http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif Where can I read more about this?