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View Full Version : A bit OT - Location of guns



smurfo2007
04-08-2007, 09:09 PM
Hey all,

One thing that has interested me for a longtime is that most axis (and soviet) aircraft had the bulk of their guns mounted centrally (i.e. through the prop spinner, in the cowlings or if in the wings pretty close to the wing root).

Most allied fighters though had the guns in the wings and a looong way from the centre line. (Yes there were exceptions like the Lightning but overall is what I am looking at).

The end effect of this is that the Axis (and Soviet) guns would have had a less dispersed bullet placement than the Allies.

Does anyone know if this was a deliberate strategy, since the Axis had to take on more heavy bombers etc and needed a lot of concentrated hitting power while the major targets of the allies (except Soviets) was fighters that were better served by less concentrated cones of fire, and wider hit regions.

Any refernces on the net you can point me to would be great.

smurfo2007
04-08-2007, 09:09 PM
Hey all,

One thing that has interested me for a longtime is that most axis (and soviet) aircraft had the bulk of their guns mounted centrally (i.e. through the prop spinner, in the cowlings or if in the wings pretty close to the wing root).

Most allied fighters though had the guns in the wings and a looong way from the centre line. (Yes there were exceptions like the Lightning but overall is what I am looking at).

The end effect of this is that the Axis (and Soviet) guns would have had a less dispersed bullet placement than the Allies.

Does anyone know if this was a deliberate strategy, since the Axis had to take on more heavy bombers etc and needed a lot of concentrated hitting power while the major targets of the allies (except Soviets) was fighters that were better served by less concentrated cones of fire, and wider hit regions.

Any refernces on the net you can point me to would be great.

FE_pilot
04-08-2007, 09:37 PM
Considering the fact that most British And American planes carried a variety of .50cal and 20mm cannons.

They guns had to be placed on the wings because they were no way to fit 8 .50cal on the Cowling's, without moving the engine behind the pilot like the P-39 arrangement.

FritzGryphon
04-09-2007, 03:06 AM
I'd guess they just want more guns, and without having to synchronize them.

Especially when, for whatever reason, many US aircraft have only machine guns. You couldn't fit enough in the nose to be useful, and certainly not enough ammunition. Then there's the risk of these few guns jamming.

Imagine a P-51 with 3 MGs in the hub and cowl with 200RPG, two of which are synced. I'd rather have 6 unsynced wing guns.

MoPai
04-10-2007, 10:36 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by FritzGryphon:
Imagine a P-51 with 3 MGs in the hub and cowl with 200RPG, two of which are synced. I'd rather have 6 unsynced wing guns. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Im surprized that no one at this forum has jumped on this yet..... The A36 (original incarnation of P 51) Had two Cowl mounted mgs , 50's i think, Early P 40's also had cowl mounted mgs

GerritJ9
04-11-2007, 03:22 AM
Several other US fighters with guns mounted in the engine cowling spring to mind- Seversky P-35, Curtiss Hawk 75A/P-36, Brewster Buffalo, Curtiss-Wright CW-21B Interceptor to name a few.

smurfo2007
04-11-2007, 05:53 AM
So why did the US move away from cowl guns but the Axis / Soviets keep them?

In game I find it easier to hit with the concentrated pattern of axis and soviet planes while with british and US planes you have to be pretty much at convergance to get solid hits.

XyZspineZyX
04-11-2007, 09:49 AM
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

The A-36 is the subject of a common misconeption that the aircraft was the original P-51.

It is just that, a misconception. Not trying to drag anyone over the coals, just trying to debunk a myth http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

XyZspineZyX
04-11-2007, 10:03 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by smurfo2007:
So why did the US move away from cowl guns but the Axis / Soviets keep them? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Firing through the propeller was considered an old-fashioned approach, and it had the downside of reducing rate of fire. The weapons the US decided were best suited for air to air combat were weapons that had a high rate of fire, and they didn't want to sacrifice that. Moving guns from the cowl allowed a closer fitting cowl. Reducing the frontal areas of the engine was a common practice. This is why the inline engine found much favor in the late '30s and the '40s- less frontal area, so the aircraft is easier to streamline. In the case of planes like the P-51, making an aerodynamically efficient aircraft was the whole point to increasing performance. So the cowl guns took up space they would rather not devote to things like guns- remember, adding guns to the nose equals a larger, less closely fitting and potentially much less aerodynamically efficient cowl. Compare the P-40B's nose to the P-40E. Which would be the more aerodynamic one? Probably the "E"

So the guns went to the wings, and the cowls got closer-fitting. US doctrine stressed the use of these machine guns, and the wings were considered better to keep ROF up, and engine frontal area down. In naval aircraft, the environment is quite harsh, and undoubtable the wing guns simplified maintainance, despite the USN's (proper) affection for air-cooled aircraft engines which require less maintainance in terms of cooling systems


<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by smurfo2007:
In game I find it easier to hit with the concentrated pattern of axis and soviet planes while with british and US planes you have to be pretty much at convergance to get solid hits. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Two things:

1) don't forget about gravity and muzzle velocity. Nose maounted weaposn are still not laser beams http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

2) discipline while firing is desireable for all fighter pilots. Your style of play prefers the nose weapons. You could easily change your style to understanding the wing weapons- but there's really no reason to, after all. We have the ability to pick and choose whatever plane we want, so it's not an issue

VW-IceFire
04-11-2007, 05:40 PM
Some of the reasons for this have to be driven by engine design and available weapons. The US was working on mostly just .50cal heavy machine guns and then some more exotic 37mm cannons. They skipped the 15mm and 20mm area almost completely...although there was a 0.60 heavy machine gun trialled as well. The Soviets spent most of the 20's and 30's working on guns and the Germans weren't far off and made up ground pretty quickly. The British didn't even progress beyond the .303 light machine gun.

Thank goodness for the French and Hispano-Suiza which managed to get the designs of the Hispano 20mm to the British and the Americans before France was overrun or there probably would have been even more delays in bringing a cannon to bear in the Western Allied arsenal. I wonder if they would have adopted the ShVAK from the Russians http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Neither the Merlin nor the Allison engines seemed to have any provision for hub mounted cannons either except with the P-39 but that was unusual to start with.

smurfo2007
04-12-2007, 04:31 AM
Thanks a bunch for the answers guys. I appreciate it! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

hendrix1998
04-14-2007, 06:28 PM
got to remeber two british aircraft had their cannons fitted in the nose the Mosquito and Beaufighter both 4x hispo 20mms the only differnce is that on the mosi the .303cals are placed midway in the nose grouped and the Beaufighter it has 2x .303 cal on each wing

Platypus_1.JaVA
04-16-2007, 09:25 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by hendrix1998:
got to remeber two british aircraft had their cannons fitted in the nose the Mosquito and Beaufighter both 4x hispo 20mms the only differnce is that on the mosi the .303cals are placed midway in the nose grouped and the Beaufighter it has 2x .303 cal on each wing </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Beaufighter had 2 .303 guns in one wing and four of them in the other. I know it is weird, it was just the way it was. Anyways, the Westland Whirlwind also had quad 20mm cannons in the nose.