Any other sources of pilots removing guns?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Broadside, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. Broadside

    Broadside New Member

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    In the Wiki page for the Macchi C.202 Folgore it says some pilots removed guns to save weight. Is there any other sources out there of other pilots doing the same thing?

     
  2. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    #2 Jabberwocky, Feb 19, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
    Plenty of occurences, although I'm not sure I can give exact sources.

    The RAF removed the .50s from its Brewster Buffaloes in Singapore/Malaysia, in an effort to improve performanace. RAF Thunderbolt IIs, flown in the PTO later in the war, were often equipped with six rather than eight .50s cals. The USAAF also flew P-47s with six rather than eight guns, but occurence of this appears to be less frequent.

    The Soviets similarly removed the wing mounted .30s (two or four per wing) from many of the P-39s they recieved, to improve rate of roll and cut weight (all up, four Browings and ammunition was about 90-95 kg). Not sure if it counts as 'removing' but the Soviets also stripped out the Hispanos from their Hurricane IIcs and replaced them with 2 x ShVAK and 2 x UBS, saving about 95 kg in the process.

    The RAF also removed the 20 mm Hispanos from some Mk IV and Mk V Spitfires, when they used them for very high altitude interceptions, relying just on the .303s. They also took the 37 mm out of the P-39, replacing it with a 20 mm Hispano. Similarly, the P-39D-1, D-2 and P-400s (P-39Ds repossesed by the USAAF instead of exported) were fitted with Hispanos.

    The Luftwaffe flew 190As without the outer-pair of wing guns. I know this was done with the A3 through A5, basically because the pilots found the MG FF maginally useful. Not sure on other models, as the A6 aadopted the MG151/20 in the outer wing position.
     
  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Pilots don't remove guns, maintainers do!
     
  4. Ioshic

    Ioshic New Member

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    Soviet pilots, as already said, often removed wing guns to lighten up their planes a little.

    "...1. P-40 was "dull" in acceleration; it would accelerate quite slow. Poor acceleration dynamics resulted in the low combat speed. It was hard to obtain speed necessary for the air combat. Speed is ultimate thing for a fighter.

    2. Poor vertical, especially Tomahawk.

    The first and second was the result of the lack of power. What we did was simple. First drawback we removed by holding higher RPM. We always flew it with increased RPM. Second: we took (wing-installed) guns off. That was it...
    "

    Taken from HERE
     
  5. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #5 oldcrowcv63, Feb 20, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
    I have previously posted on this topic regarding the P-40E in the early going in the South Pacific. According to W Bartsch, in Doomed at the Start, FEAF pilot John Brownwell removed 4 of his 6 HMGs to increase his P-40E's performance while he was employed as a recon pilot on Mindanao. 'He' took this action after a near fatal encounter with IJN A6M's during one of his early flights. He seems to have been satisfied with the aircraft's improved performance. However, considering the extensive modifications (removing radio and O2 system) he (had) made to the aircraft it is far more likely that he assisted or directed the ground crew in making all the changes than actually performing them by himself. During that phase of the war it seems the pilots frequently "got their hands dirty" due to necessity and lack of adequate ground support personnel.

    During the Java Campaign there appears to have developed among some of the pilots the practice of having their armorers remove two of the HMGs to improve the othewise sluggish P-40E performance. This practice apparently persisted among the three squadrons of the 49th FG during the Australian campaign according to the book Protect and Avenge) and there is some evidence (derived from Photos and data provided by Gordon Birkett) that the RAAF 75th Squadron engaged in reducing the fuel and ammo supply of their P-40E to improve the fighter's performance. Begining in the late Spring in 1942, the 49th FG undertook a somewhat more 'official' effort to reduce the weight of the P-40E, by implementing a number of modifications including the removal of two HMGs. It's not clear how widespread the practice became.
     
  6. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    According to Chris Shores, Far East units of the RAF and RAAF removed HMGs from their export Brewster Buffalos and replaced them with LMGs. He also states that the Hurricane Mk IIBs that arrived in Java were armed with 12 .303 LMGs for ground support had 4 of the guns removed when they were pressed into service as interceptors.
     
  7. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #7 oldcrowcv63, Feb 20, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
    Double post
     
  8. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    Sound like they removed the 4 Wing Mounted LMGs of the early P-40 Tomahawk series: P-40B/C…
     
  9. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I'm gonna guess that the Soviets weren't lining up for the Fulmar then :)

    Steve
     
  10. Broadside

    Broadside New Member

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    Very interesting. : ) I wasn't really meaning that the pilots themselves did the work of removing guns, but ultimately I think it was their choice to remove them or not. Thanks for the info I hope to see more. : D
     
  11. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    It depends. Sometimes it was the pilot, sometimes it was at the unit-level. For example, only the Buffalos of 21/453 Sqn in Singapore had the wing guns changed for .303s. There's no record of that modification being applied to the other Buffalo units at Kallang or Mingaladon.
     
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  12. eagledad

    eagledad Member

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    Gentlemen,

    According to the book “Fighters of the Mighty Eighth” by William Hess and Thomas Ivie, the 356th Fighter Group modified a flight of their Thunderbolts into Superbolts to counter higher flying Me-109’s. The modifications included removing 4 of the 8 50 caliber machine guns, and limiting the ammo load to 200 rounds per gun. Further modifications included removing paint from the leading edges of the wing and tail surfaces, a complete wax job, and the use of higher octane fuel which allowed a higher manifold pressure. The Superbolts made their debut May 19, 1944. I do not know how often or how long these modified P-47’s were used, or if more than a flight was modified.

    Eagledad
     
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  13. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    i remember reading an interview/story of one of the german aces who received a brand new 109. when he went to check it out it had the gondola guns on it. he told the mechanics to take them off.
     
  14. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I believe the Finns and Greeks did the same thing.
     
  15. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    Tac(R) Hurricane IIc aircraft often (perhaps most often?) flew with only one cannon in each wing.

    When carrying bombs, one of the Brownings in the Hurricane IIb was directly over the bomb gear and was an immense pain to service both the machine gun/ammunition and the bomb gear. A common solution was to simply leave one of the six guns in each wing out.
     
  16. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Great info guys. Thanks.
     
  17. LDSModeller

    LDSModeller Member

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    In last Stand Singapore, the author Graeme Clayton, relates that one of 488 sqaudron's
    flight leaders (Flt Lt Mackenzie) had the amourers remove one of the fuslage mounted
    .5 MG's and both wing mounted .5 MG's.
    This was to allow his 339E Buffalo a major weight saving, to hopefully allow him to gain
    sufficient altitude to shoot down a pesky Japanese Recon aircraft that flew over almost daily.
    The Recon aircraft was so fast and at such altitude, that was able to fly rings around the AA bursts.

    The story relates to one 339E Buffalo, with one .5MG, with one determined Kiwi pilot that whilst gaining
    altutude, the Japanse Recon pilot sailed off into the never never, leaving a frustrated pilot and a
    labouring 339E Buffalo.

    As an add on, 488 Squadron retained the Buffalo's 4 .5MG's through out the fight over Malaya/Singapore,
    the Kiwi pilots prefered the larger calibre for a kill, even though the guns didn't always work.

    Regards

    Alan
     
  18. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I read recently where the PT boat crews in the Solomons used to "appropriate" the cannon from the Army's P-39 to supplement their PT boat's armament.

    How they got their hands on the cannons is anybody's guess. Perhaps salvaged from cannibalized airframes or from the ordnance depot.
     
  19. Lefa

    Lefa Member

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  20. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Small series of MiG-3 fighters was outfitted with pair of underwing gondolas, each with UB HMG. The gondolas were promptly deleted once shooting started.
     
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