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totalspoon
04-30-2007, 06:48 PM
Every wondered how good a hand held aircraft Machine gun was in real life. The following is for tests done using a Lewis Machinegun on a Scarff Ring in 1917. Hand held machineguns never changed much between WW1 and WW2 except for an improved rate of fire and better ammuntion supplies but neither of these would have made the gun any easier to use (possibly harder though). For these reasons I think the results for a RFC Lewis Gunner in WW1 wouldn't be that much different to a German He111 gunner with his hand held MG15 in WW2. Test were done from an aircaft flying straight and level. Imagine how much wilder the bursts would have been if the aircraft was turning and twisting as well...

From "The Text Book of Aerial Gunnery" published by the Royal Flying Corps in 1917

Minimum group size (i.e. the measurement of the greatest distance between shots in a burst) at low altitude is 15m at 230m with no traversing and 1.5 times as large with traversing. It was noted that "this size of group has often been exceeded, even by and experienced gunner.'

Totalspoon

WarWolfe_1
04-30-2007, 06:55 PM
but it makes you feel safer knowing that you can fire back.

unless you are IL2 AI gunners, then you could hit a penny from one klick out http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/53.gif. I've had it happen to me way to many times lol

Slickun
04-30-2007, 07:04 PM
Well, I dunno. The American M2 50 cal Browning has a higher muzzle velocity, and much MUCH larger bullet than any 30 cal round.

The US gunners were to the LW like German flak was to the bombers. They didn't get that many on a mission, but they got some nearly every time.

LStarosta
04-30-2007, 07:11 PM
Someone needs to pull up that PPSh battery on the Pe-2. Talk about hand-held machine gun (in)accuracy.

totalspoon
04-30-2007, 07:13 PM
Last week I was killed by a burst from the rear gunner of a TB-3 at 900m's in my Gladiator.

Just think about it though. The front of a fighter is say 1.5 meters across so at 230m's the gunners trying to hit a 1.5m target with a cone of fire 15m's wide (or 23m if he has to track the target). At 460m's he's still trying to hit the same 1.5m round target but his cone of fire would be at least 30m (or 46m). And thats only if his aircraft flies straight and level and his nerves are not affected my the tracer from the fighters guns...

At 920m's his cone of fire should be 60m's wide in perfect conditions.

Oleg owes me a Gladiator http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

Totalspoon

totalspoon
04-30-2007, 07:25 PM
The US .5" Machine Gun was almost always turret mounted so instead of some poor bugger trying to hold onto it and aim as it bounces and bucks from recoil, its screwed down tight to a heavy turret.

For those positons where it was hand held (like the side guns on a B17/B24 or the tail gunner of a TBD, Your chances of controlling the recoil and fighting the turbulence with such a powerfull and heavy weapon have got to be low.

As for US bombers, they did always get some of the enemy, but concentrated US bomber fire during both of the Schweinfurt raids only brought down 1 fighter for every two bombers lost (in each case, approximately 30 fighters for 60 bombers).

Totalspoon

horseback
04-30-2007, 08:26 PM
It was far worse than that. US bomber formations were very well thought out in terms of mutual support, something that apparently never occurred to anyone else. Even so, they were primarily dependent upon the sheer number of bullets thrown out into the general vicinity of an approaching fighter for defense.

While the example given by the first post is quite valid, you should consider that by WWII, bombers were traveling at least 50% faster, and fighters almost twice as fast as their WWI counterparts. There wasn't that great a difference between the top speeds of two-seaters and fighters back in the days of biplanes and puttees, which made a firing solution easier in WWI.

From the reading I've done, (and that would be a sh!tload over the last 40 years) the vast majority of German fighter losses at Schweinfurt I & II were due to the unexpected arrivals of fighter escorts. Schweinfurt II (Oct. '43) accounted for 60 bombers all by itself, an increased toll over Schweinfurt Is (that August) 36 (according to Freeman's The Mighty Eighth).

Very few losses were actually due to bomber defensive fire, although any sane pilot flying in their vicinity who heard a thump or bang would immediately head for base (and God help him if he didn't have a big hole to account for the noise he heard).

When you consider that most aerial gunners of WWII were NOT strapped into their positions (many stood, knelt or laid behind their guns), were not specifically trained for the gunner job (it was a collateral duty in most cases, something done when you weren't operating a radio, navigating, or bombardiering[?]), and manned single rifle caliber guns, the wonder is that they managed to shoot down any attacking fighters at all.

cheers

horseback

M_Gunz
04-30-2007, 09:30 PM
Some positions were powered turrets. Gunner pressed paddles to cause the turret to move.
Some were manual mounts as side guns on B-17 and yes they shook!

These were explained to me by a man who did all crew spots on a number of US bombers.
When they practiced in school hitting box cars the shots went all over. I asked if the ammo
was perhaps unbalanced, he said he didn't know. The shots went out a bit like shotgun which
ain't such a bad thing!

OTOH in B-29 the guns were controlled from two remote stations and coordinated.

Ratsack
05-01-2007, 05:09 AM
Originally posted by horseback:
...
When you consider that most aerial gunners of WWII were NOT strapped into their positions (many stood, knelt or laid behind their guns), were not specifically trained for the gunner job (it was a collateral duty in most cases, something done when you weren't operating a radio, navigating, or bombardiering[?]), and manned single rifle caliber guns, the wonder is that they managed to shoot down any attacking fighters at all.

cheers

horseback

Most didn't, and that's something that I really have never liked about this game.

It will make BoB hopeless if the gunners are even a decent fraction as effective as they are in this game.

cheers,
Ratasck

stalkervision
05-01-2007, 05:56 AM
I believe most of you guys that get hit by aircraft gunners are "tail end charlies" flying at co-speeds to the bombers you are attacking and directly behind the tail gunner. No wonder you get hit so frequently. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif The problem of the b-17's defensive fire was a well known fact by the germans and considerable time, effort and money was expended in work on this problem. A early german study in fact showed that the 17 square foot surface area of the fw-190 bmw engine was capable of being hit at over a thoudand yards by the average b-17 gunner. Many many proposals were brought to the german airforce to try to solve this problem. Most had to do with reducing the surface frontal area of the fighters that engaged the B-17 formations.

some examples that were worked on to reduce this front surface area problem...

http://www.luft46.com/heinkel/3bh1077.jpg

http://www.luft46.com/heinkel/hep1077.html


http://www.luft46.com/aoart/aojul-2.jpg



Junkers Ef-127

http://www.luft46.com/junkers/3bj127.jpg

http://www.luft46.com/junkers/juef127.html


Berlin b-9 research aircraft.

a german research airplane design to investigate prone position flying as a way to decrease aircraft frontal area and also investigate prone g limits on pilots.

http://www.luft46.com/prototyp/3bb9.jpg


http://www.luft46.com/prototyp/b9-3.jpg

http://www.luft46.com/prototyp/b9-1.jpg
http://www.luft46.com/prototyp/berlin9.html

Aaron_GT
05-01-2007, 06:13 AM
The US .5" Machine Gun was almost always turret mounted so instead of some poor bugger trying to hold onto it and aim as it bounces and bucks from recoil, its screwed down tight to a heavy turret.

Depends on the bomber.

In a B17F the two nose guns, radio operator's gun (if fitted), waist guns, and tail guns were essentially hand operated. So that would be 6 or 7 handheld guns versus 4 turret mounted.

On the B17G the chin turret ups the turret mounted count by two, and some tail turrets did the same. That gives perhaps 4 or 5 handheld versus up to 8 turret mounted.

B24s, B26s, etc will all be different, but around 50% or a bit less handheld on a US bomber was fairly typical.

If you look at some of the dispersion figures from turret mounted guns it becomes obvious that even strapping a gun to a heavy turret didn't make it super accurate.

In IL2 the gunners are far too good, but then the game crawls if you set up a mission with a realistic number of planes for a bomber stream. IL2 isn't the right tool to simulate massed B17 raids over Germany in 1944.

luftluuver
05-01-2007, 06:15 AM
Testing done by the USAAF found that the bullet pattern from a B-17 during ground testing had the following results for 12 rounds to 600yds:

ball turret > dia. 15' - 8.3mils
upper turret > dia. 21' - 11.7mils
chin turret > dia. 23' - 12.6 mils
waist(closed) dia. 26' - 14.3mils
side nose > dia. 34' - 18.7mils
tail turret > dia 45' - 25mils

For the B-24 it was:

ball turret > dia. 15' - 8.3mils
upper turret > dia. 20' - 11.2mils
nose turret > dia. 23' - 12.9mils (Emerson)
nose turret > dia. 35' - 19.3mils (Motor Prod.)
waist(closed) dia. 23' - 12.9mils
waist(open) dia. 63' - 35.6mils
tail turret > dia 35' - 19.3mils

Aaron_GT
05-01-2007, 06:16 AM
They should have just put 4 ball turrets on the bombers and left off any other guns given those figures http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Feathered_IV
05-01-2007, 06:18 AM
Should have had the Natter in the 1946 expansion http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

stalkervision
05-01-2007, 06:33 AM
Originally posted by Feathered_IV:
Should have had the Natter in the 1946 expansion http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

Tell me about it... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/bigtears.gif

Kurfurst__
05-01-2007, 06:52 AM
Originally posted by totalspoon:
Every wondered how good a hand held aircraft Machine gun was in real life. The following is for tests done using a Lewis Machinegun on a Scarff Ring in 1917. Hand held machineguns never changed much between WW1 and WW2 except for an improved rate of fire and better ammuntion supplies but neither of these would have made the gun any easier to use (possibly harder though). For these reasons I think the results for a RFC Lewis Gunner in WW1 wouldn't be that much different to a German He111 gunner with his hand held MG15 in WW2.

This is not quite a good analogue - the gunner operating the said Lewis Machinegun on a Scarff Ring in 1917 would have been in an open position, exposed to slipsteam of what - a hundred kilometer per hour strong ?

As opposed to this, 99% of the WW2 bombers had enclosed positions, where the gunners were protected from the slipstream, only their guns being effected by it. This latter effect was vary varying, the most pronounced being in the beam positions, the least pronounced in the positions of the slipstreams shadows. The slipstream force was meadured against the guns barrels, and as per Fritz Hahn, the early MG 15 could be aimed even at the beam positions at normal angles ('querab') up to 400 km/h (rather unlikely for a bomber to travel at such speed), and later on the MG 81 with it's shortened barrel was good up to 470 km/h in similiar conditions.

I wonder if any test results are available between the accuracy of hand-held and turret hold munitions. The existing US data seems to suggest there's a huge difference in accuracy between open and enclosed gun positions, but the accuracy between turrets and enclosed hand held gun positions is not very different.

For me for example, turrets for small caliber weapons are rather questionable practice, for a lot of weight coming from the turret, several hundred kilograms perhaps, is added to support what is still just a twin RCMG.. ie. Does it worth it to have two MGs in a single turret, for 200 kg weight added instead of two MGs in hand held position with... 20 kg weight added...? Such weight is probably better spent on armoring vital parts and crew positions of the aircraft. Of course the case is becoming rather different as you go up in caliber because of weight and handling issues.

horseback
05-01-2007, 08:16 AM
A early german study in fact showed that the 17 square foot surface area of the fw-190 bmw engine was capable of being hit at over a thoudand yards by the average b-17 gunner.
I'd love to see how they gathered their data for that statistic in 1942/3, because I'd bet that it would be very difficult to hit the nose of a 190 at 923m/1000 yds from a <span class="ev_code_YELLOW">stationary</span> B-17 tailgun position. Add even a bit of movement on the part of bomber and attacking fighter, and the firing solution becomes vastly more difficult. Real-life aircraft are not nearly as stable as the AI/autopilot in the game, so you do the math.

I think that the Germans were just taking the pilots' word for it, myself. I'd point out here that the bigest problem the LW fighters had early on with the heavies was that they couldn't accurately estimate the range to target, because the B-17 was vastly larger than their 'normal' targets.

As for turrets, I think that paddles or pedals, it would be damned hard to track & lead a target moving across your aircraft's line of flight with any semblance of accuracy, regardless of how much wartime era 'training' they gave you. If your target isn't flying straight up your nose or tail, you have to add deflection for not only his movement relative to your aircraft, but also for your own aircraft's movement and speed...and unlike the game's AI gunners, the real life gunners didn't have a computer with precise knowledge of range speeds and angles involved to do the calculations for them.

As for the RAF's mediums and heavies, while they used .303s in their turrets, they usually mounted them in banks of 4 guns per turret. Still not a lot of hitting power at any extended range, but they generated a lot of muzzle flash and tracers, which achieved the defensive guns' primary useful function, which was dissuasion.

cheers

horseback

general_kalle
05-01-2007, 08:26 AM
well. on formations of Flying Fortresses (indeed fortresses 10 50. cal's!!) the machines were effektive.

jarink
05-01-2007, 08:39 AM
The main advantage of a powered turret is not accuracy...it's being able to more easily hold and/or move the gun(s) against the slipstream.

The other main disadvantage for flexible guns (in US bombers, at least) was that they typically had a small field of fire. This was especially true of the radio operator's gun on the B-17, which was often removed later in the war.


Originally posted by Aaron_GT:
They should have just put 4 ball turrets on the bombers and left off any other guns given those figures.

The YB-40 didn't work out as planned...
http://aeroweb.brooklyn.cuny.edu/database/aircraft/showimage.php?id=1288
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

LEBillfish
05-01-2007, 08:44 AM
Originally posted by stalkervision:
A early german study in fact showed that the 17 square foot surface area of the fw-190 bmw engine was capable of being hit at over a thoudand yards by the average b-17 gunner.

Yes, I find that very suspect......The average person if you handed them a scoped, sighted in, ranged, single shot, bolt action on a bipod, laying prone, at a firing range would have great trouble hitting that size at 1,000 yards.

Now add to that recoil, shake, plane bouncing all over, target all over, nerves, etc......and you'd be lucky to hit the barn let alone a hayloft opening.


On a side note ever wonder about the hail of bullets/shrapnel/shells/links/parts falling to the ground? Makes you wonder what it was like below these fights as all that metal hailed down. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif

Blood_Splat
05-01-2007, 10:12 AM
We made sure our B 17 gunners were duck/pheasant hunters. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

stalkervision
05-01-2007, 11:30 AM
Originally posted by stalkervision:
A early german study in fact showed that the 17 square foot surface area of the fw-190 bmw engine was capable of being hit at over a thoudand yards by the average b-17 gunner.


Yes, I find that very suspect......The average person if you handed them a scoped, sighted in, ranged, single shot, bolt action on a bipod, laying prone, at a firing range would have great trouble hitting that size at 1,000 yards.

Now add to that recoil, shake, plane bouncing all over, target all over, nerves, etc......and you'd be lucky to hit the barn let alone a hayloft opening.

Battle experiance reports on attacking large b-17 formations coming from luftwaffe pilots..


these "average fellows" you mention aren't operating a 50 caliber MACHINE GUN and correcting for their mistakes continually with each burst using tracer ammo from a fixed mount either.. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

LEBillfish
05-01-2007, 12:07 PM
Originally posted by stalkervision:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by stalkervision:
A early german study in fact showed that the 17 square foot surface area of the fw-190 bmw engine was capable of being hit at over a thoudand yards by the average b-17 gunner.


Yes, I find that very suspect......The average person if you handed them a scoped, sighted in, ranged, single shot, bolt action on a bipod, laying prone, at a firing range would have great trouble hitting that size at 1,000 yards.

Now add to that recoil, shake, plane bouncing all over, target all over, nerves, etc......and you'd be lucky to hit the barn let alone a hayloft opening.

Battle experiance reports on attacking large b-17 formations coming from luftwaffe pilots..


these "average fellows" you mention aren't operating a 50 caliber MACHINE GUN and correcting for their mistakes continually with each burst using tracer ammo from a fixed mount either.. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Yet you imply that the gunners had the skill to hit accurately.....Yet if 1 or 2 rounds of 1,000 from 4 planes hits yoour engine, I'm sure it would "seem" to LW pilots that they were "capable"......Yet that's almost equivalent to saying the A-Bomb was a smart weapon due to it's accuracy.

Look above if you want to use quotes....From a gunners mouth they had trouble hitting anything.

Also, don't use IL2 as an example...Planes here don't show a fraction of the motions of flight or turbulance....It would not surprise me if waist gunners spent half there time getting up off their butts and knees from being knocked to them by it.

horseback
05-01-2007, 12:26 PM
How many B-17s were flying formation in a single box? Eight or more, I believe, and all eight plus tail gunners, plus side gunners able to see an approaching fighter on the other side of the formation targeting the guys on the edges.

That's a lot of tracers and steel coming at you, and as I have said in the past, any sane man drops out of the attack as soon as he feels or hears a hit. The pilots' accounts of attacks on the heavies all accentuate the dangers of attacking the American heavy bomber formations, but the statistical records indicate that they were in far greater danger of colliding with each other than of being shot down by the bombers' guns. As I said earlier, the main job of the gunner was dissuading the fighter from pressing his attack, not shooting him down.

From the record, the greatest dangers for LW fighter pilots attacking the B-17s and B-24s were, in order, weather, takeoff and landings, collisions, friendly fire from aircraft or flak, enemy fighters, and only then, defensive fire from the bombers.

The tactical problems of attacking the unescorted heavies were endemic to a long tail chase under fire, a target whose range was difficult to judge accurately, a tendency for unit cohesion to disintegrate, and a reasonable fear. Hit a man almost anywhere on his body with a .50 caliber round, and he is badly wounded and in need of immediate medical care.

One chance in fifty sorties of that kind of injury and all but a very few pilots are going to be very cautious about entering a situation where their skills are irrelevent.

As to gunnery skill, LeBillfish posits a stationary gunnerfiring at a stationary target. In the air, even the best pilots cannot approach the stability of even a truck on a road.

For example, look at all those air to air videos of the elite flight demonstration teams flying the tightest formations around. Looks like the neighboring aircraft are wobbling and rocking relative to the camera, don't they? Keeping a B-17 in formation was a LOT more work than doing so in an F-18.

cheers

horseback

Aaron_GT
05-01-2007, 12:29 PM
good post!

erco415
05-01-2007, 01:21 PM
A good friend of mine (now deceased) was a tail gunner on SBD's and other types in the South Pacific. In speaking with him, I formed the impression that the gunner's position was relatively protected from the slipstream, and that handling the guns wasn't affected much either. One story he told was how when he was coming back from missions with a gun barrel almost, but not quite worn out, he would remove the gun from it's mount, stand up in the cockpit, and lay the gun on the pit sidewall and shoot one long burst downward until the barrel was finally burned out. He said the tracers would make big lazy circles as they flew down. From this, and other stories, it would seem that it wasn't terribly difficult to handle the tailguns, at least in a SBD.

His logbooks also showed a great deal of training on air to air gunnery. I suspect that these guys were pretty good.

Blutarski2004
05-01-2007, 01:55 PM
Originally posted by erco415:
His logbooks also showed a great deal of training on air to air gunnery. I suspect that these guys were pretty good.


..... U S Navy paid attn to air gunnery. The only service I know of that actually taught deflection shooting to fighter pilots.

BOA_Allmenroder
05-01-2007, 01:59 PM
One of the main misunderstandings of those who have never fired a machine gun, aerial or otherwise, is the notion that the weapon is like a sniper rifle (this is particulary true in all the convergence discussions). In fact, any machine gun is more an area fire weapon due to the fact that the vibration of the weapon (recoil etc) results in the weapon having a 'beaten zone' which is basically an elongated 'conish'area placed upon/along the spot you are shooting. Rounds impact in that beaten zone which can be quite wide at long ranges. Don't confuse this with a 'shotgun' pattern because it's not the same thing.

Another factor effecting 'aerial' accuracy is the realization that the direction your target's nose is pointing, is not necessarily to actual path through the sky. At the altitudes the 8th AF flew, the as yet unknown effects of the jet stream etc, could and did effect the aerial accuracy since the target plane is flying in a column of air, not necessarily in the direction the nose of the target is pointing.

Finally, as has been discussed, the whole point of the 'combat box' was to maximize the weapons of the box that could be brought to bear upon any given area so that said area would be saturated with projectiles that the attacker would have to fly through in the theory/hope that some would hit and drive off the attacker.

The aerial gunners of the 8th were well trained (I say this because my father was an Naval aerial gunner in a Privateer, and his descriptions of their training were probably as rigid as the Air Corps). The .50 cal was a very reliable weapon, with a good rate of fire and long effective range.....all dependant upon the skill of the operator.

stalkervision
05-01-2007, 02:11 PM
I knew a former luftwaffe pilot that told me facing a formation of b-17's was a very unnerving experiance. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif Remember he was facing actual 50 caliber tracer rounds coming directly for him from possibly hundreds of guns. I dare say who of us here wouldn't feel the same way if faced with this situation.

jarink
05-01-2007, 02:38 PM
Originally posted by LEBillfish:
On a side note ever wonder about the hail of bullets/shrapnel/shells/links/parts falling to the ground? Makes you wonder what it was like below these fights as all that metal hailed down. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif

I remember reading in some after-action reports about pilots complaining that crews were not unbundling the window (chaff bundles) before throwing them out. Apparently a brick of aluminum strips can cause some damage when it hits your plane!
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif

luftluuver
05-01-2007, 02:43 PM
I know a WAG* who got a 10% hit rate while training. The instructer made a note in his log book as this was at twice what the other trainees were shooting. He was shooting from a turret in a Bolingbroke.

* wireless air gunner

M_Gunz
05-01-2007, 09:46 PM
So when planning is fixating to the pound with small margin, ammo and fuel, they also say hey
let's risk a few extra lines and waste the carrying capacity for 4 extra gunners and 8 to 10
MG's, ammo and mounts even though they are no real good at all?
Count it up how many tons of bombs per 100 bombers and figure what doesn't get pounded this
mission means having to return for. They only daylight bombed for how long?

My peeve is being pk'd by a bomber I see through my armorglass windshield. Why does't the
windshield stop a bullet? It should at least star up. Bullets ain't refraction.

lowfighter
05-01-2007, 10:13 PM
You probably noticed the following strange behaviour of the game gunners: sometimes, when attacked they fire bursts in a direction where no enemy fighter can be seen, they fire at nothing. If you haven't seen it, just do a QMB test, set a lot of fighters to attack you, set yourself invulnerable to have enough time to observe, go into a gunner position and let the AI man the gun. I can't understand why is it happening.
The other thing I can't understand is why the intensity of the ai fire increases when the AI level increases. It's easy to see, if you attack a formation of rookie bombers they fire considerably less, than if you attack the same formation of veterans. I would expect the rookie to fire like crazy and of course with bad accuracy. I'm not sure the rookie is so much ineffective in game due to bad accuracy or because shooting so seldom, pretty puzzling http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/compsmash.gif

horseback
05-01-2007, 11:19 PM
To answer the question, Why did they commit so many resources to gunners? there are several answers, but let's try the most obvious:

1. It was part of prewar doctrine. Aerial gunners had been effective in WWI; some very effective fighters and light bombers had been two seaters, with an 'observer' manning a flexible gun during the Great War. Most of the bombers and attack aircraft were designed to specifications set in the 1930s, when the idea of bombers fast enough to outrun fighters or heavily armed enough to break through had great currency among prewar military theorists. The gun positions were already there on the bombers, and by God, somebody was going to man those guns.

2. Obviously, they did have some effect. All that steel sent flying about, muzzle bursts, tracers arcing past your windscreen could be quite distracting for an attacking fighter pilot. As I said, their function was not to destroy enemy fighters but to make them keep their distance, or attack in a less effective manner. To a degree, they were successful. Just not very successful.

3. During the war, they had very little idea of how ineffective the gunners actually were. Lord knows that the gunners were always claiming to have destroyed X number of fighters, and the intel officers merely divided by Y to come up with a 'more reasonable' figure. Who knew they should have cubed Y?

4. Morale. Would you want to fly for hours in freezing cold, sucking oxygen for most of that time, holding steady in your formation while every friggin' gun and aircraft that could carry a gun or rocket launcher in Germany blasted away at your aircraft without some means of defending yourself? Had they stripped away the gun positions, I would have expected crewmen to have blasted away at attackers with their sidearms or Tommy guns smuggled aboard most of the slower bomber types.

6. Sheer bloody-mindedness. This is a British expression that refers to a near self destructive stubbornness due to the inability to admit that you were incredibly wrong. Senior military officers, just like senior administrators everywhere who have championed an idea or concept and forced it into being after years of skepticism, are very susceptible to this malady.

Part of the concept of strategic bombing was the idea that the bombers would be able to defend themselves, so admitting that they couldn't would have resulted in some embarassment and not a little recrimination.

cheers

horseback

Dagnabit
05-02-2007, 12:30 AM
Originally posted by horseback:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">A early german study in fact showed that the 17 square foot surface area of the fw-190 bmw engine was capable of being hit at over a thoudand yards by the average b-17 gunner.
I'd love to see how they gathered their data for that statistic in 1942/3, because I'd bet that it would be very difficult to hit the nose of a 190 at 923m/1000 yds from a <span class="ev_code_YELLOW">stationary</span> B-17 tailgun position. Add even a bit of movement on the part of bomber and attacking fighter, and the firing solution becomes vastly more difficult. Real-life aircraft are not nearly as stable as the AI/autopilot in the game, so you do the math.

I think that the Germans were just taking the pilots' word for it, myself. I'd point out here that the bigest problem the LW fighters had early on with the heavies was that they couldn't accurately estimate the range to target, because the B-17 was vastly larger than their 'normal' targets.

As for turrets, I think that paddles or pedals, it would be damned hard to track & lead a target moving across your aircraft's line of flight with any semblance of accuracy, regardless of how much wartime era 'training' they gave you. If your target isn't flying straight up your nose or tail, you have to add deflection for not only his movement relative to your aircraft, but also for your own aircraft's movement and speed...and unlike the game's AI gunners, the real life gunners didn't have a computer with precise knowledge of range speeds and angles involved to do the calculations for them.

As for the RAF's mediums and heavies, while they used .303s in their turrets, they usually mounted them in banks of 4 guns per turret. Still not a lot of hitting power at any extended range, but they generated a lot of muzzle flash and tracers, which achieved the defensive guns' primary useful function, which was dissuasion.

cheers

horseback </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif
It must have had quite a psychological impact on young german pilots to see all that fire in such close proximity, no matter the calibers. I figure I would have just had my britches preloaded before a flight, to save the time of chitting while I was in action. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

Dag

Aaron_GT
05-02-2007, 02:05 AM
4. Morale. Would you want to fly for hours in freezing cold, sucking oxygen for most of that time, holding steady in your formation while every friggin' gun and aircraft that could carry a gun or rocket launcher in Germany blasted away at your aircraft without some means of defending yourself? Had they stripped away the gun positions, I would have expected crewmen to have blasted away at attackers with their sidearms or Tommy guns smuggled aboard most of the slower bomber types.

In the end the bombers that did the best in terms of low loss rate were generally those that were the fastest (B-26, A-26, Mosquito) irrespective of armament, although employed in the wrong way even these could have unacceptably high loss rates too.

There were moves to put turrets or handheld Vickers K guns, or remote control guns and all sorts on the Mosquito, but they were ultimately resisted.

The B-26 had excellent defensive firepower for its size, but I do wonder if its loss rate wouldn't have been just as low without them (more shot down when caught, but faster so less likely to be caught).

Aaron_GT
05-02-2007, 02:07 AM
It must have had quite a psychological impact on young german pilots to see all that fire in such close proximity, no matter the calibers. I figure I would have just had my britches preloaded before a flight, to save the time of chitting while I was in action.

This is something we can't reproduce in the game. Well, the only way I can think to do it is to have the a confidence level built into the system and so if things gets dangerous the AI takes over the plane and flies your plane away from danger.

BOA_Allmenroder
05-02-2007, 06:51 AM
I forget which famous German pilot said something to the effect of "to dogfight a Spitfire or a gaggle of Russians is pure joy. To roll into a flight of B17s is to see your whole life pass in front of you."

horseback
05-02-2007, 07:57 AM
Exactly. Confronting a Spitfire or a gaggle of Soviet fighters gave him a measure of control. Against enemy fighters, he was able to match his skills and his aircraft's strengths against his opponents, and that was a bet he was confident he could win.

Attacking bombers, it rapidly became a matter of time before he would collide with his intended target or a wingman, or get caught looking the wrong way when the escorts showed up. Flying through a massed formation of B-17s took a LOT of your attention, never mind trying to shoot one bomber down out of that mass (and you thought rush hour in LA was a b!tch; imagine navigating the 405 North to the Ventura Freeway merge with everybody moving at 200 to 350 mph, ya big wienie).

In this kind of situtation, it is <span class="ev_code_YELLOW">chance</span> that decides whether you live or die, not your skills or superior weaponry, and a good fighter pilot would hate that, regardless of how low that chance of being killed in any single phase of the operation is.

The quote Allmenroder uses was from a letter by a notable East Front experte (I can't remember his name either) in the spring of 1944, when the escorts over Germany were rapidly becoming more numerous. A few weeks after posting that letter to a friend, he was caught by the escorts (P-38s, I believe) and killed.

cheers

horseback

LStarosta
05-02-2007, 08:49 AM
Horseback, I find your attempt to make your post more extravagant by adding "e" at the end of "expert" quite flamboyant.

horseback
05-02-2007, 09:05 AM
I'll ignore the insinuation, and address the distinction:

An 'expert' is someone knowledgable about a subject, as in "Kurfurst is an expert on the 109."

An 'experte' is someone who is or was an acknowledged master pilot in the LW, and quite often an 'ace' several times over, as in "Erich Hartmann was an experte in the Me 109G."

cheers

horseback

jarink
05-02-2007, 09:26 AM
I found this tidbit in a lengthy study called "Wound Ballistics (http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/wwii/woundblstcs/frameindex.html)" done by the Medical Department, US Army in 1962.

Chapter X,
Survey of Battle Casualties, Eighth Air Force, June, July, and August 1944


Of the casualties due to missiles from fighter aircraft, 88 percent were produced by 20 mm. shells. The tail gunner was found to be the most vulnerable combat position, while bombardier and navigator were the least vulnerable to enemy fighter aircraft. This is the reverse of the relative vulnerability of the same combat positions to flak and is in accordance with the findings of the Operational Research Section, Eighth Air Force, that <span class="ev_code_yellow">enemy fighter aircraft usually attack heavy bombers from the rear</span>.

The data this report was based upon was gathered from June-August 1944. Not the biggest time for fighter interceptions, but it was before the total collapse of the LW day fighter force.

By the way, the Ball Turret gunner was statistically the safest position. Waist gunners were 4 times as likely to be wounded or killed (mainly by flak).

horseback
05-02-2007, 09:55 AM
Makes sense to me. While there is much made of the headon pass' effectiveness, it required a great deal of piloting skill and nerve to fly through a bomber box, let alone the split second marksmanship to hit the fuselage of your target bomber at closing speeds in excess of 500mph.

A rear approach may have been more dangerous, but it was much more effective for the average LW fighter pilot, especially after the spring of 1944's heavy casualties.

cheers

horseback

LEBillfish
05-02-2007, 10:07 AM
Semi-related......

Met a man by the name of Ralph Wahls(sp?) once (r.i.p.) who my husband knew....If I "remember correctly", at the beginning of the war he was in the merchant marines.

3 ships later sunk from under him by U-Boats in the N.Atlantic, when the U.S. fully joined the war decided there was no way he would EVER join the Navy sick of being shot at......So, being a mechanic joined the Army Air Corps wanting a safer job and was sent to england fully expecting to be turning wrenches as part of a ground crew.

Because he was so small/short.....The USAAC had a better idea mechanic skills be da*ned...As they had a shortage of people who could fit into a particular spot on a particular plane...

So from being sunk in the N.Atlantic 3x, gained a new job one he had hoped would be safer.......Tailgunner in a B17.

If I recall correctly he was shot down (perhaps even more then once), and captured.....

He laughed through the whole telling....amazing.

(hope I got all that right hard to remember a single brief meeting)

faustnik
05-02-2007, 10:11 AM
A good friend of my fathers, who recently passed, was a radio man in a B-17. He said that his hand held gun was useless. He fired it, a lot, in the general direction of enemy fighters, but, though that there was no way he could actually hit anything because of the recoil. The power turrets, in his opinion, were an completely different story. He thought they were accurate and effective weapons.

One13
05-02-2007, 11:24 AM
I remember reading about some tests done by the RAF which concluded that hand-held guns were ten times less accurate than guns in a power operated turret. Also that guns in a power operated turret were ten times less accurate than the fixed guns in a fighter.

So in conclusion hand-held guns were one hundred times less accurated than fixed guns on a fighter.

BOA_Allmenroder
05-02-2007, 11:36 AM
Originally posted by horseback:
Makes sense to me. While there is much made of the headon pass' effectiveness, it required a great deal of piloting skill and nerve to fly through a bomber box, let alone the split second marksmanship to hit the fuselage of your target bomber at closing speeds in excess of 500mph.

A rear approach may have been more dangerous, but it was much more effective for the average LW fighter pilot, especially after the spring of 1944's heavy casualties.

cheers

horseback

I think Spitz has a great graphic in one of his "aces" books where he 'counts down' via a gunsight 'sight' picture the head on pass you mention.

The size of the B17 at his 'ceasefiring and break' last drawing is quite remarkable. I think the whole thing from initial line up to cease firing is only a matter of seconds, certainly under 10.

Too bad/lucky for my side they didn't have the 'sight zoom' feature....... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/inlove.gif

horseback
05-02-2007, 12:05 PM
A combined closing speed of 500mph yields a closure rate of about 220m/sec. Starting at a mile (approximately 1608m) away, that gives you less than 6 seconds to line up on your target and begin firing at 400m for about 1 to 1.3 secs, and still avoid collision...with only the first aircraft in the box.

That's a task with a lot more hair on it than I would voluntarily handle.

cheers

horseback

Aaron_GT
05-02-2007, 12:11 PM
And now recalculate with the closing speeds (true) for a Me 262 versus B17s or B24s.

DmdSeeker
05-02-2007, 04:05 PM
Much is said of close formation flying and torrents of lead flying in all directions.

I wonder how many of those waist gunners were killed by other waist gunners?

M_Gunz
05-02-2007, 06:33 PM
Originally posted by BOA_Allmenroder:
Too bad/lucky for my side they didn't have the 'sight zoom' feature....... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/inlove.gif

Until you figure out that OUR completely zoomed in view is the REAL normal view width.

How a big a plane looks in zoomed all the way is how big it would look in reality.
We have zoomed out to try and get some width of view angle while reality still has more is the
difference. Blame it on PC monitor window.

Klemm.co
05-03-2007, 12:46 AM
Originally posted by DmdSeeker:
Much is said of close formation flying and torrents of lead flying in all directions.

I wonder how many of those waist gunners were killed by other waist gunners?
I think that thats a number which would be too embarassing for the USAAF to publish, if they even did keep track. I'd really like to know, too, though.

Kurfurst__
05-03-2007, 03:32 AM
Originally posted by horseback:
I'll ignore the insinuation, and address the distinction:

An 'expert' is someone knowledgable about a subject, as in "Kurfurst is an expert on the 109."

An 'experte' is someone who is or was an acknowledged master pilot in the LW, and quite often an 'ace' several times over, as in "Erich Hartmann was an experte in the Me 109G."

cheers

horseback

You're too kind if you mention me on the same page as Hartmann..

Expert, me ? Nah, a mere happy 109 enthusiast who keeps learning from and with the help of the more knowledgable 'old foxes', some of them who were publishing their stuff on the Bf 109 before I was even born..

horseback
05-03-2007, 11:14 AM
Hey, Kurfurst, for these forums, you are the go to guy when the subject of the 109 comes up; although maybe I should say the guy who invariably shows up with relevent info whenever the 109 is mentioned.

There's an expression in English about mentioning the Devil's name and you'll soon smell the brimstone & hear the clatter of his cloven hoofs... and I'm a great believer in giving the Devil his due.

cheers

horseback

Kurfurst__
05-03-2007, 12:20 PM
I'll remember that when I am gonna rave at the 'Stones concert this summer. I am sure you know which song.. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/metal.gif

Cheers mate! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

Zoom2136
05-03-2007, 12:53 PM
Yep I would be happy with a cone of fire instead on the pin point accuracy we now enjoy... we got to realise the limit of a computer simulation...

Also I would like gunners to be influence by G forces... because as it stands now... its always fun to get PK by a gunner of a JU88 after you have ripped off one of his wings and sent him spirreling down...

horseback
05-03-2007, 03:31 PM
Actually, I've always wanted to rip the little bastages' arms off, if you know what I mean. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_mad.gif

The ai gunners' accuracy is overdone in every way in the current game engine; I'm convinced that it is due to the original concept of Il-2 being a single-plane simulation in the mode of Falcon 4 and so on, rather than the cornucopia of mostly fighters we have today.

It just wouldn't have been much fun or very marketable for the player to be getting shot to pieces by attacking FWs and 109s on every mission. It may even have been borderline treason in the intended Russian market, given the Il-2's iconic status in the Great Patriotic War, so the creators developed a much more forgiving gunnery model (and apparently DMs to match) for the defensive gunners.

In any case, it is apparently buried so deeply in the basic code that it couldn't be fixed. Hopefully, the new engine for BoB will allow a more realistic gunnery model for the defensive guns (at least for the ai in offline missions).

cheers

horseback

ake109
05-03-2007, 10:35 PM
Does the AI setting affect the gunner accuracy much? Even at rookie settings, the damn B17 gunners keep shooting up my expensive Jumo-004s.

lowfighter
05-03-2007, 11:08 PM
Originally posted by ake109:
Does the AI setting affect the gunner accuracy much? Even at rookie settings, the damn B17 gunners keep shooting up my expensive Jumo-004s.

Not sure if accuracy, but effectiveness yes, it depends a lot on skill. Fly very fast when attacking and even going 6 o'clock you'll mostly survive when the bomber is set to rookie. If you use the right fast attack dive (not the flying straight at6 o'clock) the chance to be hit by rookie is almost 0. At average skill, going 6 o'clock will much often result in gunners hitting you. Using dive/sidewise attacks the chance to not being hit is quite big.