Armor Penetration - 20mm vs. .50 cal.

Discussion in 'Weapons Systems Tech.' started by DAVIDICUS, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. DAVIDICUS

    DAVIDICUS Member

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    Specifically, the 20mm Hispano II and the .50 BMG.

    1) What is the armor penetration of each with armor piercing ammunition?

    I believe the .50 BMG has a higher sectional density and roughly equal velocity at the muzzle. In adition, it's ballistic coefficient allows it to retain velocity better.
     
  2. DAVIDICUS

    DAVIDICUS Member

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    I have read that a .50 BMG AP round can penetrate .9" of face hardened armor plate at 200 meters and .5" of face hardened armor plate at 600 meters.

    I can't seem to find anything on the 20mm.
     
  3. CharlesBronson

    CharlesBronson Well-Known Member

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    Some old documents about this issue.

    .303, .50 and 20 mm Hispano included.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  4. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    LOL - was just about to post those. If I hadn't gone in and cut them down to save space, I'd have posted um first! :)

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  5. DAVIDICUS

    DAVIDICUS Member

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    Thanks. I'm always learning something new on this forum.
     
  6. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    wow that's great info, it's amazing to see how, at 0 degrees the difference between 20mm and .50cal is 7mm armour penitration, but by the time you get to a 40 degree angle the difference in armour penitration is 11mm!!!
     
  7. DAVIDICUS

    DAVIDICUS Member

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    Surprised me too.

    I thought the .50 would have greater penetration due to its higher sectional density. (At least head on.)
     
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  8. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    well it's never gonne beat a 20mm..............
     
  9. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Actually, if you think about it, it does. It penetrates 20mm vs. 27mm for the 20mm AP, but only has about 40% of the mass of the 20mm. "Head on", sectional density helps as the energy is focused on a smaller area, but once the angle starts diverging from perpendicular, the total mass becomes more relevant.

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  10. DAVIDICUS

    DAVIDICUS Member

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    I am trying to figure out whether eight .50 cal.'s would have been as effective as four 20mm's for ground attack against moderately armored vehicles and ground positions.

    I assumed they would have been but now I don't think so.
     
  11. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I think the answer is clearly yes. The area of coverage was higher, and the number of rounds carried was higher, typicaly 4 times as much. The .50's could easily destroy most half tracks.

    It should be noted however that the Japanese specifically created many of their bunkers and pill boxes to be resistant to .50 fire, and against such targets 20mm were much more effective. However, the Germans tended to reinforce most of their positions to be tough enough to withstand either weapon.

    Against most ground targets, the .50's were sufficient. Eight .50's with a total of 2400-3200 rounds had many advantages, and a few disadvantages, over four 20mm with 500-600 rounds.

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  12. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    but when it comes down to it there are targets that 8x.50cal can't take out that the 4x20mm can, that's when you wish you had the 20mm............
     
  13. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Yes but they are relatively few. Most targets that can be taken out with 4 x 20mm can be taken out with 8 x .50's, though in some cases it will take more time on target to do it.


    On the other hand, most targets can be taken out with 8 x .50's and the 20mm are just overkill. The reduced duration of fire means more sorties to achieve the same results. More sorties means lower odds of survival.

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  14. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    As soon as any significant slant is applied to the target-armor, the .50 cal quickly looses its advantage !
     
  15. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Most ground targets had less than 6mm of armor. Against that much armor the .50 is effective up to pretty severe angles. Also, most "armor" on most ground targets was not face-hardened plate, and the .50 cuts through softer steel pretty well even at high angles.

    Finally, while it is true that there are plates that a .50 will not penetrate that a 20mm will, very multiple .50 hits will penetrate that same plate. The beaten zone of the .50 BMG was much tighter than that of the Hispano 20mm, and with more guns firing, the chances of scoring multiple hits within a one foot radius were pretty good.

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  16. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    Yes a "Jeep" has that kind of armor, but not an AFV.

    The .50's were useless against German AFV's.
     
  17. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Lots of German halftracks and armored cars had very thin plates, especially on top.
     
  18. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    Yeah, but some actually exceeded 10mm.

    Anyway the .50's were "totally" useless against Germans Panzer's, wich commonly took up a big part of an advancing collum.
     
  19. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    They were not "totally useless", but they were of limited use. .50's weren't meant to take out tanks. They were very effective at taking out the infantry and the logistical support which are essential to effective armor operations.

    German 20mm were useless against a Sherman -- so what's your point?

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  20. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    No they were pretty much "Totally" useless.... German Pz's usually had 25mm of top armor, wich leaves the .50's a zero chance of doing any damage.

    RG the German MG151/20 was ment for Fighter vs Fighter or Fighter vs Bomber attacks, never was it intended for AFV's. The MG151 was good at ground attacks though, and the 30mm Mk103 was excellent at it.
     
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