Package guns

Discussion in 'Weapons Systems Tech.' started by Maxrobot1, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. Maxrobot1

    Maxrobot1 Member

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    Package guns were the .50s on the fuselage side of B-25s and B-26s. I know that B-25s in the Pacific used them on strafing runs but what about the B-26s over Europe? Were they used at all?
    I would think that the weight saved by removing them would help. On those medium-altitude missions they couldn't strafe. Were they used to deter head-on attacks?
    I couldn't find the source but I recall reading years ago that Luftwaffe pilots were very wary about going after B-26s. Was the foward firepower and speed a factor?
    In a related manner, were the cheek guns in A-20s ever used in combat?
     
  2. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    #2 Capt. Vick, Feb 22, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2010
    You know, I have wondered about the B-26 cheek guns being used also... I'm interested to hear what people have to say about this.
     
  3. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    :?: Strafing and very low-level bombing was what the A-20 was designed for and did in the PTO. Acc. to J. Baugher´s website they even replaced the bomb aimer with additional machine guns.
     
  4. Maxrobot1

    Maxrobot1 Member

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    The A-20's (Bostons) in the European theater and the B-25s in the Med Theater most likely had no chance to use their forward-firing nose guns but some of them did do low-level missions.
    I am still puzzled by the B-26 package guns though.
     
  5. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Hi,
    Why do you think A-20 B-25/26 could not strafe in Europe?
     
  6. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I believe some B-26s with package guns used them to shoot down JU 52s and other transports over the Med.
     
  7. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    German triple-A made it very costly, so attackes were made from a higher altitude instead. Obviously Japanese triple-A must have been a lot weaker. ... Wait, unlike the Germans they did not have an automatic, medium AA-gun.
     
  8. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    P-47, Typhoon/Tempest strafed in Europe on regular basis, so there is no difference for twin engined planes in that regard.
    German light (15-37mm) AAA was fielded in much greater numbers then Japanese, I agree with that.

    What 'automatic medium AA-gun' had you in mind for Germans?
     
  9. Maxrobot1

    Maxrobot1 Member

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    It appears to me that in the Pacific,at least for single engine and twin engine aircraft, attacking aircraft flew long distances at relatively low altitudes then made quick dashes over enemy held areas. Of course there was no AA over the water to worry about. In Europe, as soon as the coast was reached AA followed the planes.
    Fighter bombers flew mostly from advanced airfields and attacked areas closer to the front lines and did not spend two or three hours subjected to AA and fighters.
    The Brits did some low-level raids with Bostons and Mosquitos from England but they were not on a regular basis. They tried not to be predictable.
    One of the reasons the B-17 was used in Europe was that it routinely flew 1 mile higher than B-24s so was a little further away from the AA.
    I think most B-26 missions were medium altitude there-and-back missions without detours to stafe.
     
  10. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    single engine fighter bomber and twin engine bomber are not same the second are larger and slower target so easiesto to shoot down.

    i've read a report (table) over 2/3 of mission/man was flying from 23k" to 25k" so pratically there are less of 1 mile of difference from B-17 and B-24 in common mission
     
  11. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Think we disagree about the ways of usage of US twin-engined bombers; in my eyes those were used in roles that are more like the roles of Typhoon/Tempest/P-47/A-36. So the nice pack of forward-firing .50 cals would've been a great asset.

    The brits did quite a lot of ground attacks via the Rhubarb operations, and suffered greatly. They used mostly Spits Typhoons at the time, two types not very suitable for such operations.
     
  12. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    While smaller bombers were harder to hit, the bigger ones had one engine more, so they could limp home in case an engine is destroyed. Those were sturdier too and did have two pilots (not A-20).
    As for speed, I don't think extra speed of P-47 and Typhoon was used during the attacks vs. ground target.
     
  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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  14. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    I was thinking of the 37mm gun. The Japanese had nothing to fill the gap between the 20/25mm and 3/4inch guns.
     
  15. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I don't think the package guns were of much use in Europe. B25/B26 aircraft flew to high for the guns to be of any use and the opportunities of using them in air to air combat are almost negligable given the US tactics of staying in formation.

    Re the use of speed in GA mission the Typhoon certanly went in as fast as they could. It obvously depended on the target but something like an airfield would be attacked as fast and as low as possible. A Medium bomber trying such a tactic would stand little chance.
     
  16. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Yep, Japanese AAA really lacked something in 30-40mm range, since the planes that were against them were tank-like when we look at sturdiness.
     
  17. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    So I've figured out - it was doctrine that prevented it, not a technical issue.

    The airfield (the runaways stuff) is rather a big target for strafing, and strafing would do little damage anyway. In case the target is a plane, cannon or truck, partly or completely camouflaged, the 400 mph pass would make much less chance to find target aim accurately.
     
  18. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I have read that when the RAF used Hurricanes for attacking V1 sites with rockets they were shot to bits by the AA fire and quickly withdrawn. A Hurricane with rockets probably had a similar performance to a B25/B26 and was a lot smaller so I wouldn't fancy their chances.
     
  19. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Hurricane was void of any advantage medium bombers possesed (second engine, resilience, second pilot), and was void of main advantage contemporary (2nd part of WW2) fighter-bombers had (speed). So comparing the venerable plane with any member of those two categories is not fair :)
     
  20. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    When they tried to use the B-26 for ground strafing over Europe they suffered heavy losses to flak and soon had to abandon this tactic in favor of medium altitude bombing. The somewhat famous Ijmuiden disaster killed any further attempts at using B-26s for low-level sweeps at the presence of plenty and well trained German light and medium AA. 10 out of 11 B-26s that made it to the target were lost.
    17th May 1943 Mission Target Ijmuiden
     
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