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general_kalle
09-04-2008, 10:31 AM
just a quick question that came to my curius mind.

when air battles rages an awful lot of bullets is gonne be fired out but what about them after they have missed their intended target. what happens when they land?
No records of people, cars or animals getting hit by falling bullets? when the bullets are fired out they will loose velocity but they will also fall to the ground maintaining trajory and balistics which means they are going to be coming down at a certain speed with the tip first?
ok over the fields of England or France the risk of getting hit is probably not that big but over London or Berlin you'd think somebody would get hit.
for example battle of britain. if a Hurricane or spitfire opens up 8 light machine guns spits of bullets. just a few seconds burst gotta be a LOT of bullets.

M2morris
09-04-2008, 10:50 AM
I have always wondered about that too.
I mean all those rounds flying and missing, something or somebody on the ground has to get hit.

I often wondered what a dog fight would have sounded like as viewed from the ground. a 50. cal is loud, you can hear one from 8 or ten miles away, I can just imagine what a Jug sound like on a strafe.

But one time while I was on a drop zone at Fort Bragg NC I came across a bunch of .50 cal bullets that had been fired. Just bulltes with no brass case, they were scattered all over a wide area and just laying on the ground. they were undamaged accept for the rifling marks.
Some guy at a range somewhere on Bragg had let a burst go into the sky and in the wrong direction. I'm sure there was some a$$ chewing and finger crossing over that one. I have also seen some caseless bullets laying around in afghanistan and Iraq.

joejoemonkey
09-04-2008, 11:07 AM
After the rounds TTL value is exceeded, they despawn. no problem.

joking aside, i bet in the old buildings there will be a few metal deposits on exterior walls and such. come to think of it, early BoB was mainly fights near airfields, lots of open space i would imagine. during the bombing raids on britain, falling bullets would be indistinguishable.

on the other hand, casualties due to that sort of thing might have intentionally been left unrecorded, who wants to put that kind of blame on a fighter pilot who's charged with defending your nation, who is literally your only hope against a full on land invasion. it would kill me to think that when i miss a 109 i may have killed an innocent civilian. i could see how that sort of thing may be kept from the general public and the soldiers themselves.

M_Gunz
09-04-2008, 11:24 AM
Many highway patrol officers here pull under overpasses or bridges a bit before midnight on
New years just because of falling lead. It's like getting off hills and away from lone
standing trees during lightning storms, the chance is slight but you don't want to get hit.

noobisoft
09-04-2008, 12:40 PM
"landing bullets" - with their tiny little landing gear and flaps fully deployed...

Aaron_GT
09-04-2008, 01:22 PM
Mythbusters did some investigations firing guns up, and the rounds would reach terminal velocity before impact. Even rifle calibre stuff was judged to be unlikely to be lethal if it landed on your head. Most stuff in BoB would be .303 or 7.92mm so similar. I am sure being hit by a lump of metal from a great height would hurt like heck and split your scalp right open though, so I can see why you'd want to avoid it if possible.

Outlaw---
09-04-2008, 01:34 PM
Originally posted by Aaron_GT:
Mythbusters did some investigations firing guns up, and the rounds would reach terminal velocity before impact. Even rifle calibre stuff was judged to be unlikely to be lethal if it landed on your head. Most stuff in BoB would be .303 or 7.92mm so similar. I am sure being hit by a lump of metal from a great height would hurt like heck and split your scalp right open though, so I can see why you'd want to avoid it if possible.


The above only applies if the bullet is fired straight up. There were several civilians killed by stray rounds (although mostly AAA IIRC) during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

According to a doctor appearing on the Mythbusters episode noted, several people are killed each year in the US due to celebratory rounds being fired into the air.

Every 109 had 2 20mm cannons during the BoB so the expenditure of cannon ammo was not insignificant. I would estimate (admittedly with absolutely no calcs to back it up) that any solid round fired at less than 3000 feet of altitude would still be deadly when it reached ground level as long as it was fired on the level or below. Since the best position for a bounce is from above I bet there was a large amount of deadly lead striking around air battles.

--Outlaw.

thefruitbat
09-04-2008, 02:06 PM
Originally posted by Outlaw---:

Every 109 had 2 20mm cannons during the BoB so the expenditure of cannon ammo was not insignificant.

--Outlaw.

Not true, the E1 and the E4 were the most common variants of 109 during BoB, the E1 having 4 MG17's, with the E4 having the two cannons and 2 MG17's.

Back to the topic, not completely related i know, but i'm a tree surgeon, and have come across spent bullets in the middle of old trees i've been cutting down before, which i can only assume came from WWII. (i live in south east kent, england, BOB was fought above where i live!). This would be of more interest to me, if it didn't result in a completly blunted saw http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_mad.gif

cheers fruitbat

MB_Avro_UK
09-04-2008, 02:30 PM
Hi all,

And don't forget the spent cartridges tumbling earthwards http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif.

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

Aaron_GT
09-04-2008, 02:38 PM
The above only applies if the bullet is fired straight up.

Given the loss of forward velocity through drag most rounds flying around at typical BoB heights of around 15,000 feet are going to be falling vertically by the time they hit the ground so firing straight up as a test works for the Batlle of Britain. Low level stuff over houses is another matter of course.

Aaron_GT
09-04-2008, 02:40 PM
And don't forget the spent cartridges tumbling earthwards Blink.

Less mass and greater surface area and so lower terminal kinetic energy. 20mm catridges might be a risk, though.

berg417448
09-04-2008, 02:44 PM
If you watch a lot of gun camera films and concentrate on where the bullets go instead of watching the target plane you will notice a lot of bullets striking the ground, often striking houses and buildings on the ground.

I bet the people on the ground would assume they had been intentionally strafed instead of being the victims of rounds that missed a plane.

Aaron_GT
09-04-2008, 02:44 PM
US Army tests in 1920 - terminal velocity of a vertically falling 150g bullet is 90m/s. Typically muzzle velocity is around 750 m/s. So a falling bullet at terminal velocity will have about 1.5% of the muzzle energy.

buddye1
09-04-2008, 02:54 PM
What about all the flak over Germany and England that fell back to earth. It was not a bullet but it was different sizes/weights and had sharp pointed ends (sometimes).

Those air rade shelters must have saved many people plus staying inside.

Outlaw---
09-04-2008, 03:53 PM
Originally posted by buddye1:
What about all the flak over Germany and England that fell back to earth. It was not a bullet but it was different sizes/weights and had sharp pointed ends (sometimes).

Those air rade shelters must have saved many people plus staying inside.

AAA should have detonated in the air so unless it was a dud it was most likely fairly small jagged pieces. As you said, if you weren't in an air raid shelter or indoors they were certainly good for cuts and bruises but probably no serious injury unless you take a piece in the eye.

--Outlaw.

M_Gunz
09-04-2008, 03:59 PM
Originally posted by Aaron_GT:
US Army tests in 1920 - terminal velocity of a vertically falling 150g bullet is 90m/s. Typically muzzle velocity is around 750 m/s. So a falling bullet at terminal velocity will have about 1.5% of the muzzle energy.

That's still over 200mph, if it hit you in the head you'd could end up just as dead.

Aaron_GT
09-04-2008, 04:32 PM
That's still over 200mph, if it hit you in the head you'd could end up just as dead.

It's likely to be tumbling so it's unlikely to hit point first at least, and so unlikely to penetrate the bone.

Put it another way, it's about 5 times the muzzle energy of a BB gun, but 1/16 that of a Luger.

I wouldn't want to run the risk of one landing on my head though - I bet a fracture would be possible.

PanzerAce
09-04-2008, 04:43 PM
Well, on the 20mm question, most cannon rounds were fused to detonate after a certain distance(I think it was 2-3km), which in higher altitude fights would negate any real danger.

WTE_Galway
09-04-2008, 05:03 PM
There is a very amusing anecdote in one of my BoB books from a woman describing a fairly intense airbattle over a British coastal town and how her neighbour was standing in the back yard with an apron over head (because of the empty cartridges and spent rounds falling everywhere) trying to get her young son (who was standing on top of a shed cheering the RAF on)to get inside before he got hit by something more substantial than spent ammo.

M2morris
09-04-2008, 05:08 PM
Originally posted by MB_Avro_UK:
Hi all,

And don't forget the spent cartridges tumbling earthwards http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif.

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

Ohhh, good point. And the links too.
That would be a curious sight to see raining down on your roof.

M_Gunz
09-04-2008, 05:18 PM
Originally posted by Aaron_GT:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">That's still over 200mph, if it hit you in the head you'd could end up just as dead.

It's likely to be tumbling so it's unlikely to hit point first at least, and so unlikely to penetrate the bone.

Put it another way, it's about 5 times the muzzle energy of a BB gun, but 1/16 that of a Luger.

I wouldn't want to run the risk of one landing on my head though - I bet a fracture would be possible. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

A sling stone traveling slower can ruin your whole day and cause the Fat Lady to sing.
It depends on where it hits and whose head. Mine could bend a crowbar.

Schwarz.13
09-04-2008, 06:08 PM
This is a very interesting thread...

I know that certain German Minengescho▀ shells, late in the war, were fused to self-detonate after a certain range, in order to prevent civilian casualties (as by this time all air battles were being fought over Reich territory). There is a good site on WWII air-to-air munitions to verify this at:

www.quarry.nildram.co.uk (http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk)

However, i have always wondered about this too TBH. When you think about the sheer volume of bullets/shells fired in the air during furballs, and over civilian areas, it is a wonder there is not some sort of grim casualty list!

Furthermore, i've always wondered about when you see people 'celebrating' in the Middle East etc - i.e. firing their Kalashnikovs in the air; surely, what goes up, must come down (and hurt people)!!!

PanzerAce
09-04-2008, 08:18 PM
Originally posted by M_Gunz:
A sling stone traveling slower can ruin your whole day and cause the Fat Lady to sing.
It depends on where it hits and whose head. Mine could bend a crowbar.

a stone from a sling also ways ALOT more than bullets do.

Schwarz: It comes down to the laws of probability. Rounds fired, square mileage, density per sq mile, all that generally comes together to prevent much in the way of casualties from raining lead.

Cajun76
09-04-2008, 08:39 PM
IIRC, there were some guys (in the Pacific, I think) that were receiving close air support, and complaining about the spent casing raining on their position. I'm sure someone on the board remembers this.

greybeard307
09-05-2008, 04:59 AM
Having read a few accounts of life in London during the Blitz and spoken to people who lived through it, including my elder sisters, you often hear about the habit of London schoolboys collecting bits of shrapnel from the streets after an air raid, and comparing/swapping bits in the school playground aftewards. You never hear about bullets or belt links or cartrige cases. I get the impression that bomb shelters were to protect people from blast, falling masonry and "shell splinters" as everybody realised there was no defence against a direct hit.

ali19891989
09-05-2008, 06:01 AM
I know there was a case during a V1 intercept mission where a stray bullet drilled a hole straight through a sleeping airman's hand. Unfortunately I don't have any more info than that http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

general_kalle
09-05-2008, 06:08 AM
wow 2 pages..didnt expect that..
indeed an interesting thread...i think the reason as to why theres no records os such thing is that it was ignored as to now blame the airmen to not hitting the target.

we really should praise ourself lucky to live in a time where the world war's a past.

TheCrux
09-05-2008, 06:48 AM
Originally posted by M_Gunz:
Many highway patrol officers here pull under overpasses or bridges a bit before midnight on
New years just because of falling lead. It's like getting off hills and away from lone
standing trees during lightning storms, the chance is slight but you don't want to get hit.

Got a bullet hole in my roof from some yahoo's form of New Year's revelry. Heard a noise on the roof and thought it to be a spent sky rocket. Couldn't find one the next day and didn't know it was a bullet hole till a heavy rain caused a leak. Saw where the round punctured the roof but it didn't go through my sheetrock ceiling. Looked like a the size of a 16 guage shotgun "slug". If it fell a bit short and I was on my back patio instead of inside, it would have layed my head open for sure.

Blutarski2004
09-05-2008, 07:28 AM
It is sobering to think of the millions of 50cal rounds [not self-destructing] that rained down from the skies over Germany during the air war.

general_kalle
09-05-2008, 10:11 AM
exaktly..not just from fighters but also the bomber gunners gotta have fired alot of rounds.

M_Gunz
09-05-2008, 10:20 AM
Originally posted by TheCrux:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by M_Gunz:
Many highway patrol officers here pull under overpasses or bridges a bit before midnight on
New years just because of falling lead. It's like getting off hills and away from lone
standing trees during lightning storms, the chance is slight but you don't want to get hit.

Got a bullet hole in my roof from some yahoo's form of New Year's revelry. Heard a noise on the roof and thought it to be a spent sky rocket. Couldn't find one the next day and didn't know it was a bullet hole till a heavy rain caused a leak. Saw where the round punctured the roof but it didn't go through my sheetrock ceiling. Looked like a the size of a 16 guage shotgun "slug". If it fell a bit short and I was on my back patio instead of inside, it would have layed my head open for sure. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The lead might not be as heavy as stone but it hits on a smaller area. The cops take cover
because there's enough wisdom in the act.

I moved to Newark Delaware in 1979 and from the local paper a student in a tennis match died
because a kid firing a .22 long missed a bird some 2 miles away. That's a 50gr bullet that
started out maybe 1000ft/sec on a low angle trajectory. It hit the student in the side of
his head as he leaped to make a shot and he was dead before he landed in a heap on the
ground.

Yet a few years back an almost 80 year old man here took several larger caliber shots through
the back of his head and lived. When your time ain't up, it ain't up!

WholeHawg
09-05-2008, 10:37 AM
Any metal object falling from the sky can be lethal. A guy at work here got struck in the by a falling AK round in Iraq a day before he was set to come home. He was a civilian contractor and was wearing a vest. The bullet passed through the gap between the shoulder protection and his neck and logged in his left lung. He told me the Dr said if it had hit him in the head that would have been it.

Phas3e
09-05-2008, 02:34 PM
I remember reading about pilots in normandy soon after the invasion used to sleep under flak jackets or even under the wings of their planes because falling bofor splinters used to put quite a few holes in there tents when firing at German bombers at night.

M2morris
09-05-2008, 02:39 PM
Debri from artillery ilumination rounds can be a hazard too. I dont know if they used em in ww2, but I have seen them alot, and ther debri is big enough to mess ya up.

Is3Starsis
09-05-2008, 03:02 PM
How about falling duck and turkey after being shot by hunters... lol http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/53.gif

Sillius_Sodus
09-05-2008, 03:17 PM
I remember reading an account of the 1943 Schweinfurt and Regensburg raids where some of the surviving crews described having their B-17's damaged by falling brass.

M2morris
09-05-2008, 04:19 PM
I once read about the earliest known human conflict in that members of both forces were wounded by falling pterodactyl turds.
This report can be questionable since humans and pterodactyls are not known to have existed together. However, research continues on the
T-turd inflicted casualties theory.

Aaron_GT
09-05-2008, 05:25 PM
I moved to Newark Delaware in 1979 and from the local paper a student in a tennis match died
because a kid firing a .22 long missed a bird some 2 miles away. That's a 50gr bullet that
started out maybe 1000ft/sec on a low angle trajectory. It hit the student in the side of
his head as he leaped to make a shot and he was dead before he landed in a heap on the
ground.

That's really unlucky given the range, the chances of being hit and how little energy it would have (I'd estimate in the 15-25J range based on those 1920 US Army tests), or about 1/100 the energy or less of the muzzle energy of 30 cal MG round from an aircraft. And of course it is tragic too http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

M_Gunz
09-05-2008, 06:21 PM
Firearms safety courses do try an underline the immense power even "popguns" have.
I was watching Robert Kennedy on TV when he was shot by .22 shorts point-blank.

I knew one man who had been shot through the left eye, assassinated, and lived but wasn't all
there by a huge longshot. It was hard to deal with except for being nice to him as possible.
It's not just piercing the bone, it's damage caused after that matters. Most people hit like
that die. Might rather die than be like that, I tell ya true.

backseatgunner
09-07-2008, 02:08 PM
yes, every year there are deaths in the Middle East from "happy fire", and we've had incidents of illegal fishermen being hit a kilometer away from the end of a military rifle range here in Australia. (the range points out to sea for a reason!)

I think one of the reasons we have no figures for this kind of casualty is because of the other causes going on at the same time. When thousands are dying in a bombing raid, no one has the facilities to track the few that may be killed by stray rounds, but I'm sure there would be the occasional casualty. The Battle of Britian would be a unique case, certainly until the Luftwaffe switched to civilian targets.

In Antony Beevor's book "Berlin" he mentions women lining up for water. Occasionally one would be killed by stray rounds, and the women would calmly move up to fill the gap in the line.

He also mentioned wounded soldiers waiting for evacuation by sea from the northern Prussian pockets, being hit and wounded again by stray rounds.

I suspect it happened, but was a statistically insignificant event. Insignificant, unless you're the one being hit!

JTFM
09-07-2008, 03:06 PM
During Richthofen's final flight 21 April 1918 he chased Wilfrid May at treetop level and below. An Australian field kitchen reported that Richthofen's bullets "from the air had struck the mobile stove; one of them had holed the stew-pot and part of [the] platoon's mid-day meal was streaming out through it onto the ground." (source: Franks and Bennett, The Red Baron's Last Flight, p.45) There is record of another such incident occuring during this flight, when spent bullets landed around a Lt. Col in Vaux-sur-Somme, although he was not struck by any of these bullets.

BAG.LordDante
09-08-2008, 10:41 AM
Originally posted by Is3Starsis:
How about falling duck and turkey after being shot by hunters... lol http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/53.gif

exactly that happend to me in november 1998
the guy next to me shot a duck. the stupid bird hit me square in the face http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif┬┤

Every year when im invited to hunt with those guys i get to hear that story over and over again http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/88.gif