F8F guns

Discussion in 'Weapons Systems Tech.' started by comiso90, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Why did the Navy all of a sudden switch to 20mm on the Bearcat and some Corsairs?

    "For extra firepower" is not a good enough answer...

    Most of the adversaries either plane was likely to encounter in the Pacific would be shredded just fine by .50's. Except for some flying boats, there were no large bombers to be concerned with.

    Changing to 20mm that late in the game is almost like admitting they were wrong for the previous 4 years.

    I'm not saying that it was a bad decision but it is a significant change... what was the though process?

    .
     
  2. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Comiso,

    >Why did the Navy all of a sudden switch to 20mm on the Bearcat and some Corsairs?

    Two possibilities ... poor reliability of the 12.7 mm machine guns in prolonged bursts (something the US Navy had been complaining about at the Joint Fighter Conference), and - at least for the F8F - the intention to achieve the desired firepower at a reduced weight.

    Here is a weight and firepower comparison for a 4 x Hispano II battery (with 145 rounds per gun, like in the Sea Fury) and a 6 x 12.7 mm M2 battery (with 400 rounds per gun, as in the F6F):

    4x Hispano II - 145 rpg - 343 kg - 249% firepower - firepower per weight: 318%
    6x ,50 Browning M2 - 400 rpg - 438 kg - 100% firepower - firepower per weight: 100%

    You'll notice a substantial weight saving along with a massive increase in firepower.

    (The total energy of the 2400 rounds of 12.7 mm ammunition is 51.1 MJ, the total energy of the 580 rounds of 20 mm ammunition is 61.6 MJ, so the ammunition supply actually increases in destructive potential with the 20 mm cannon.)

    Acutally, if you were simply trying to preserve the firepower while aiming for the lightest possible weight, this would be a good option:

    2x Hispano II - 250 rpg - 223 kg - 125% firepower - firepower per weight: 246%

    This is a 215 kg weight saving at a 25% firepower increase.

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  3. KrazyKraut

    KrazyKraut Banned

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    As far as the Corsair is concerned I always thought it was due to the increasing use as an attacker aircraft.
     
  4. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Hola HoHun,

    The weight issue does make sense.. the Bearcat was a streamlined little beast.

    I didn't realize 12.7 had poor reliability.

    I'd rather see the pilots trained NOT to indulge in prolonged bursts

    .

    .
     
  5. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    The Brownings didn't have poor reliability per se. Having said that the 50's required burst management to prevent burning out the barrels.

    The feed system on the P-51B Did have poor reliability, particularly in manuever with high G's.

    I haven't seen the statistics lately, but IIRC but the 20mm cannon used by both the USN and USAAF experienced more stoppages and also firing pin strike failures than the Browning 50's and the issues continued into the Korean War.

    The Brits solved the Hispano Suiza 20mm Mk2 and above variants by shortening the chamber slightly but the US did not follow suit. The Corsair, the P-51A, the Lightning and P-61 all experienced issues with this weapon.

    In Korea the Mk3 was introduced, then the Colt Mk12.. after that the Vulcan dominated production US fighters.

    Net - the 20mm is a better choice than the .50 for aircraft combat, given the solution of the reliability issues. The US should have just used the German designs and paid them a suspended royalty.
     
  6. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    The P-51A (and the A-36) didn't have 20mm cannon. THe P-51A had the same armament as the P-51B/C.

    The Mustang I (NA-83) had 4x .30's and 2x .50's in the wings, and 2x .50's in the lower fusalage.
    The Mustang IA (NA-91) was armmed with 4x 20mm cannon, and NA-91's recevied by the USAAF (P-51's and F-6A's) retained the 4x 20 mm's.
    North American P-51/F-6A Mustang


    Don't forget about the M39


     
  7. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    Also, I believe the F8F didn't get 20mm's until after the war. (the F8F-1B model)
    The majority produced were armmed with 4x .50 M3's (high rate of fire).


    Grumman F8F Bearcat
     
  8. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    I didnt know that.

    50 cals were good enough for the F-86.
     
  9. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion MiGs got away because the the 86 didn't have weapons that detonated fuel above 35000 feet. Every 86 ace i talked wished they had 20mm at high altitude.
     
  10. Broncazonk

    Broncazonk Banned

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    The Hispano-Suiza HS 404 autocannon was licensed for use by the United States as the M1. Both the Army Air Corps and Navy planned on switching to the 20mm as soon as sufficient production was ready.

    In 1941, a massive cannon / ammunition production program was created. Unfortunately, the cannons proved to be extremely unreliable. By late 1942, the USAAC had 40 million rounds of ammunition stored, but the cannons were unsuitable.

    In April 1942, a copy of the British Mk II (2nd generation HS 404) was sent to the U.S. for comparison. The British version, using a slightly shorter chamber (and much looser tolerances) did not have the same problems as the M1.

    The U.S. declined to shorten the chamber of the M1, and loosen the tolerances. Nevertheless, they made other modifications to create the M2. The M2 was less reliable than the M1.

    The Navy had been trying to go all-cannon throughout the war, but for obvious reasons, the conversion never occurred.

    As late as December 1944, the Army's Chief of Ordnance was still attempting to modify the M2 to allow it to enter service. (All they had to do was loosen the machining tolerances...)

    The M3 came out on the F8F but reliability problems continued.

    After World War II, the USAF adopted a low machining tolerance version of the M3 cannon as the M24!!

    Bronc
     
  11. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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  12. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    incendiary rounds didn't ignite tanks above 35??
     
  13. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    North American P-51A Mustang

    And from: http://aerofiles.com/_noram.html

    P-51A
    [​IMG]

    P-51 (NA-91)
    [​IMG]
     
  14. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Bill Gunston, in "Aircraft of WWII" wrote:
     
  15. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Thanks - I was just looking at the 20mm installations on the p-51A bill of materials and they weren't referenced as Browning 50 's. Mustang about Edgar Schmeud and Gruenhagen's book also talk about the Hispano 20mm.

    The A-36 was a mod of the P-51A airframe and imbedded the two 50's in the fuse and scrapped the 20mm
     
  16. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    apparently 35-40 was the threshold that made API ineffective as far as enough air to combust to an explosion - you could get a burn but not sustained until the MiG went down to lower altitude.

    The USAF was experimenting with 15mm/60 caliber at Eglin when I was there as a kid in 1951, because the 50 explosive round was unreliable. My father's group had them in WWII and stopped using them very quickly in Sept 1944
     
  17. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    The Mustang Mk IA is the NA-91 had the cannon armament, it is not the same as the P-51A. (NA-99) The USAAF designation for the NA-91 was P-51 (no letter) or F-6A.

    North American P-51/F-6A Mustang
    -It was first, prototype/trial NA-73,
    -then Mustang Mk.I NA-83 (4x.30's + 4x.50's),
    -then Mk.IA NA-91 (cannon armmed), the USAAF retained some IA's as F-6A/P-51 tactical recon craft (retaining cannon armament),
    -then the A-36 NA-97 (with bomb racks, dive breaks, and 6 .50's -though fusalage .50's were sometimes removed) and with a different engine
    -Then came the P-51A NA-99, retaining the wing racks and 4x wing guns of the A-36, but lacked the dive brakes and fuselage guns of the A-36, it also had the V-1710-81 with 9.6:1 blower (opposed to the previous 8.8:1) with significantly better altitude performance. (1,480 hp at 10,400 ft, and 1,125 hp at 17,500 ft)

    See:
    Mustang I/IA for RAF
    North American P-51/F-6A Mustang
    North American A-36 Mustang
    North American P-51A Mustang
     
  18. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Comiso,

    >50 cals were good enough for the F-86.

    There were thought to be good enough, but Korean War experience showed they really weren't. As a result, eight Sabres were converted to 20 mm cannon and employed operationally in project GUNVAL in 1953: See Cannon-Armed F-86Fs at Baugher's.

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  19. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    This is correct and the F-89A was first of production USAF jet fighter equipped with 20mm instead of 50 cal. but the role was all weather interceptor - not air superiority

    The USN version of the F-86E (FJ2 Fury) had 4 Colt Mk12 20mm as standard armament
     
  20. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    Will anything detonate fuel above 35k? I don't think it will burn.
     
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