Selectable Armament?

Discussion in 'Weapons Systems Tech.' started by SoD Stitch, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Messages:
    981
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Heavy Equipment Rental
    Location:
    Pine Mountain Lake, California
    Got a question for all of you armament experts out there . . . . . was it possible to select which guns you could fire in most WWII fighters? In other words, could you choose to fire only your machine guns and not your cannons if you were, say, pursuing a fighter instead of a bomber, thereby conserving your ammunition? Or did all of your guns fire all of them time when you squeezed the trigger, until you ran out of ammunition? I believe this question is aimed mostly at the Luftwaffe armament experts, as Allied aircraft tended to be armed with all of the same weapons (i.e. they had either all-machine gun armament, or all-cannon armament).
     
  2. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2006
    Messages:
    1,766
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Hi Stitch,

    >Got a question for all of you armament experts out there . . . . . was it possible to select which guns you could fire in most WWII fighters?

    All variants of wiring up the guns were possible ... Pokryshkin even mentioned that it was impossible to fire all guns at the same time in one of the machines he flew.

    The Luftwaffe had a selection by "A-Knopf" (trigger) or "B-Knopf" (pushbutton on top of the stick) by standard. Usually, they set up their aircraft to fire centreline guns with the A-Knopf and wing guns with the B-Knopf. For firing rockets and dropping bombs, there was the B2-Knopf (pushbutton on the side of the stick) on some machines. First steps towards HOTAS ...

    The British fighters' weapons were operated electro-pneumatically and, if equipped with different calibre guns, had a pushbutton valve that allowed selective or simultaneous use, too.

    The Navy initially had manually charged guns so that you could charge or lock individual guns by pulling and turning T handles on both sides of the seat. I'm not sure it was sensible to use these handles in air combat though, except maybe in an attempt to clear stoppages. Later Navy fighters might have had power-assisted systems too - I'm not sure of that right now. In any case, the idea was to have a way of making the guns safe for landing on a carrier deck, not to make them selectable in the air.

    The USAAF had a variety of systems, usually electrically triggered. The P-51 did not have any way to arm or lock the 12.7 mm wing guns in flight (or to clear stoppages), while the P-39 seems to have had manually operated arming handles in early models and power-assisted system in later models. I've been told that some P-47 units used a switch to cut out one pair of machine guns in order to save ammunition for an emergency, or possibly for targets of opportunity, but this seems to have been an unauthorized modification at squadron level, and I've never seen it mentioned in the books.

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  3. Fokker D21

    Fokker D21 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Occupation:
    Classified
    Location:
    Dordrecht
    Home Page:
    According to an interview with Franz Stigler (Luftwaffe pilot) the different guns were mostly fired together, but of course they could be fired separately.

    The Focke Wulf 190 A8's fire button A fired the wing root cannons and fusulage machine guns, the B1 button the outer wing cannons. Just as HoHun says.

    I wonder when it would be wise to fire only one group. Even against heavy bombers the lighter guns might do some damage. And heavy guns can be used against fighters.
     
  4. magnocain

    magnocain Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    I have read something like what Fokker D21 and HoHun said.
     
  5. dgk196

    dgk196 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    At times, on any given aircraft, the guns are aligned to converge on a target at a specific range. The smaller caliber guns usually had more rounds. It might be more aircraft specific and the type of targets it is engaging. Lets say for example you're flying your Ju 87G on the eastern front. Many tank targets, few anti tank rounds! How do you make each one count. Make your run, firing your MG, which are synced to your 37mm. When the 7.92's start hitting the tank you're on target, pull the trigger on the 37's!
     
Loading...

Share This Page