Remote weapons versus manual

Discussion in 'Weapons Systems Tech.' started by GrauGeist, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I know that defensive gunner's accuracy has been discussed here over the years, and I even recall some charts that showed the accuracy of the various gun stations aboard the B-17 and B-24 at range, but what I'm wondering, is just how accurate the remote controls were versus manual MG control.

    In otherwords, swinging a .50 on it's pivot has real-time control and is up to the gunner to make the aiming true. But with a foot pedal or hand switch control, was there lag time as the motors traversed the turret or adjusted the elevation? Also, was the remote turret's motion smooth like a manual ball-pivot mount, or was it jerky, creating the possability of skewed aiming on the target?

    This could apply to Allied or Axis, as the Luftwaffe had remote defensive turrets as well (example: dorsal turrets on the Me410).
     
  2. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    I recall us having a discussion about the Me 410 guns.
    And also about the B-29 guns unable to follow the fast MiG-15s.

    Kris
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    A half frozen gunner on a moving aircraft is not going to be terribly effective. Making them effective requires a gun turret with decent ergonomics and climate control.

    Or you can put the entire crew in a climate controlled pod that (hopefully) includes a bit of armor protection. This requires a technically more advanced weapons and fire control system. But you need fewer crew as one gunner can operate more then one weapons position.

    Remote control weapons are the way to go provided you can make the fire control system work.
     
  4. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    It took me a long time to find it and I still haven't found the exact discussion. But I remember it was member Udet who made a case for the Me 410 barbettes.
    He did provide this link: Me-410 - Heavy Fighter - Luftwaffe
    A lot of great info on these guns.

    Kris
     
  5. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Good info on the 410, thanks!
     
  6. magnu

    magnu Member

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    Another point to consider is that a power operated turret is capable of being fitted with multiple guns providing a greater amount of firepower than a hand held single or twin mount.
    I don't know for certain but would assume it would be a prerequisite of any powered turret that it's operation be smooth and without too much input lag or it becomes just extra weight.
    Once the RAF switched to night bombing the gunners were used as observers to warn the pilot of the approach of a NF. so he could take avoiding action rather than open fire and give away their position, only opening fire when under direct attack.
     
  7. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I doubt that the defensive guns on any bombers were very effective except for laying down a "barrage" which attacking fighters had to plow through. The exception would be when it was a low or no deflection shot, especially in a rear quarter attack. I would think that the remote control guns would have trouble also except on low deflection shots. To me the most ineffective guns would be the waist gunners. I had a friend who was the top turret gunner on a B26 and he said they seldom or never hit anything. This guy was an experienced hunter also.
     
  8. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    I once posted an illustration which shows the efficiency of the gunners on a B-17. So how many percentage each gunner had for the total of kills. The obvious ones were the ball, top and rear gunners but also the waist gunners were taking their share. Dont remember the front gunners though.

    Kris
     
  9. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I remember your chart. The question I have is that I suspect that the kills reported by gunners in bombers were very difficult to verify and badly exaggerated so how accurate can a comparison of gun positions be. A firing solution on an attack made anywhere from a full deflection,(which would be rare) run on down had to be extremely difficult.
     
  10. glennasher

    glennasher Member

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    I knew a gunner on a Mitchell, in the Pacific. Flew mostly over Rabaul, etc. He claimed they rarely even saw Zeros, but when they did, there just wasn't much chance in hitting them. Usually, they were hauling tail after dropping their bombs, and the Zeros couldn't catch up with them anyway. Apparently, they were going pretty fast heading home......................
     
  11. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    You have to understand that in the 1940's a turret computer was nothing more than tube amps, relays and step motors. The electrical latency between commands and output is measured in fractions of milliseconds. One has to assume a powerful enough motor for weapon traverse/elevation for most reasonable engagements and that relationship is system dependent. Yet a good design would not allow a significant mechanical delay associated with low motor torque vs weapon mass. What is interesting is the design of the sighting system which typically included a need for input of the wingspan of the target (or a generic assumption) to allow for parallax between the sighting system and the weapon alignment. This to me seems to be the weak point in the system.

    In general we are talking about electo/mechanical reaction times that are extraordinary compared to human reactions and motor skills hefting 50-100lbs of weapon(s) around.
     
  12. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    I totally agree with that. However, I believe that with enough data the innacuracies for all gunners would end up to be equal for all gunners. So the claims would still give you an accurate breakdown as their relative weight would be the same as the actual kills.

    Kris
     
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