Deflection Shooting

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by PipsPriller, Jun 21, 2006.

  1. PipsPriller

    PipsPriller Guest

    I know that US naval aviators were taught deflection shooting prior to 1939 - although I don't know from what year it started. In that the USN was unique.

    It was not taught in the Luftwaffe, RAF, USAAF, Regia Aeronautica or JAAF/JNAF in 1939.

    My question is was it adopted officially by any of the above air forces? If so, does anyone know what year it was?
     
  2. Jank

    Jank Member

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    Isn't deflection shooting really just a technical term for the common sense idea of leading your target when it is both moving and at a distance?
     
  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ IP/Mech THE GREAT GAZOO
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    One name - Hans Joachim Marselle!!!!
     
  4. Nonskimmer

    Nonskimmer Active Member

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    Another name - George Frederick Beurling.

    Not as high scoring as Marseille, but he was a natural at the deflection shot.
     
  5. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ IP/Mech THE GREAT GAZOO
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    Yep!! :thumbright:
     
  6. PipsPriller

    PipsPriller Guest

    All the men mentioned above were, it seems, natural shots. And to add to that list you could include 'Sailor' Maln, Gunther Rall, Saburo Sakai to name just a few.

    But what I'm after is whether Air Forces other than the USN actually taught deflection shooting. As far as I can ascertain the answer is no, but conformation one way or the other would be nice.
     
  7. Sal Monella

    Sal Monella Member

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    Yes Jank. That's it. All pilots were taught the concept in one way or another. All infantrymen knew about it too. Really more art than science because it involves a great deal of guesstimation in determining a firing solution for the intersection of armament and target.

    Most pilots learned its application on the job so to speak. Sheer experience is what gives you a feel for the trajectory and time to distance of your rounds.
     
  8. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    My Grandfather who flew with VMF-214 was also taught deflection shooting during his initial fighter training, but never was it practiced till actual combat...
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ IP/Mech THE GREAT GAZOO
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    The USAAF taught deflection shooting to pilots later in the war. Marseille and Beurling were renouned deflection shooters.
     
  10. Twitch

    Twitch Member

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    I think it is in error to to say that deflection shooting wasn't actually taught in flight training Germany or Japan.

    The American aces were 5% of all the US pilots and they scored 95% of the kills. One big thing I took from every one of them was that in their youth and in civilian life they knew how to handle firearms of all types. They knew deflection shooting way before they ever got into a cockpit from hunting. Many of these guys had to put food on the table with their weapons and they got naturally good. The ones that didn't do much shooting/hunting were the few who simply had a natural gift to comprehend the dynamics of flying and shooting.

    It is a common term used in nearly every tale the aces relate, "I pulled about 30 degrees deflection and snapped out a quick burst," for example.
     
  11. Marshall_Stack

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  12. delcyros

    delcyros Well-Known Member

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    You may trace deflection shooting back to ww1 and great Ace Albert Ball.
    He even made a habit of it. DonĀ“t know in how far this was teached outside the RAF. in the interwar period.
     
  13. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I suspect that it isn't a matter of if it was taught, I am sure it was. Its more a question of how difficult it is to learn and the reply is very difficult.
    The RAF realised that the key was practice and nearly every RAF base was given a supply of shotguns and clays. All fighter pilots and gunners were encouraged to practice on or off duty to try to hone this difficult skill.
     
  14. Dac

    Dac Member

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    Probably the best airial gunner ever and the most deadly. Reports from other pilots say that in most of his kills his bullet strikes started at the nose of his opponents aircraft and traveled back to the cockpit.
     
  15. R988

    R988 Member

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    He was also incredibly economical with his ammunition.
     
  16. wmaxt

    wmaxt Active Member

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    I think that it needs to be noted that prior to and during WWII arial gunnery was taught by having an aircraft tow a target sleeve, like a big wind sock. To fire from directly behind was not allowed because of the likleyhood of shooting the tug aircraft down and scoring the shots. Scoring was done by giving each aircraft bullets with a different color dye on them and counting the number of marks of a given color. They normaly started their runs from an angle of about 30deg, judging from the accounts I've read, so deflection shooting was more or less taught.

    This changed with the P-63 and "Frangable Bullets" (they shatter on contact with any resistance) which had a light bulb that flashed whenever the aircraft was hit. I don't know how many there were or if it was an experimental project or how widespread it was if it was used.

    wmaxt
     
  17. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ IP/Mech THE GREAT GAZOO
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    [​IMG]
    pwafb museum


    This WW II fighter was developed from the P-39 Airacobra which it closely resembles. The Army Air Forces never used the P-63 in combat, although some were used for fighter training. Many P-63s were exported as Lend-Lease aircraft; the Soviet Union recieved 2,456 and Free French forces obtained 300. P-63 performance was adequate for low-level fighting and P-63s were widely used by the Soviets for such missions as "tank busting." Bell produced 3,305 P-63s, 13 of which were -Es.

    The most unusual P-63 variations were the RP-63A and RP-63C "pinball" versions developed late in WW II. These manned target aircraft were fired at by aerial gunnery students using .30 caliber lead and plastic frangible machine gun bullets which disintegrated harmlessly against the target's external skin of Duralumin armor plating. Special instruments sent impulses to red lights in the nose of the "pinball" aircraft, causing them to blink when bullets struck the plane.

    The P-63E on display (S/N 43-11728) was donated by Bell Aircraft Corporation in 1958. Although it lacks the armor plate and other "pinball" features, it is marked and painted in the unusual color scheme of an RP-63A.
     
  18. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Cool! Interesting post Joe!
     
  19. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Interesting sidelight on this drogue stuff the drogue operator was the only guy in RCAF/RAF to recieve flight pay and not have a set of wings also the lowest ranked for recieving flight pay I was introduced to a guy who operated drogues from Battles and he had over 900hrs flight time and was an LAC
     
  20. Tony Williams

    Tony Williams Member

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    I believe that the principles of deflection shooting were well understood from the earliest days of air combat, and pilots were instructed in them. Why shouldn't they be? As has been pointed out, shotgunners practice deflection shooting every time they aim at a target, and this was indeed used as a type of training method for pilots and air gunners. The few pilots who were naturally skilled in deflection shooting generally came from hunting backgrounds.

    The problem was the lack of any really effective practical training methods (a modern combat sim would have been a wonderful aid). The RAF discovered in pre-war exercises, using fighters armed with camera guns in mock attacks on bombers, just how bad the aiming skills of the pilots were, so they started the development of the gyro gunsight, eventually perfected in late 1943 and adopted immediately by the USAAF and USN as well as the RAF, as it was reckoned to double the chance of scoring kills. Until that arrived, the general advice was "assume the target is twice as far away as you think, and use twice as much lead as you think you need".

    Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and discussion forum
     
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