Why train infantry to shoot at aircraft?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Rufus123, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    I know, my posts have been about odd ball stuff but I have read what you guys say about common things.

    I have seen things giving instruction on how to engage aircraft with a service rifle. I remember looking at my fathers stuff there was even a booklet on shooting at aircraft with a 5.56 which can't be that effective.

    How much of a threat can infantry rifles be? I would guess if enough people are doing this once in awhile an aircraft can be damaged.

    I guess if flying low over a division and a few hundred start shooting at you someone might cause damage.

    I really don't know what the truth is here but I assume since there were training booklets on such a thing it is worth trying if the conditions are right.
     
  2. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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    Because one round, in the proper place, can bring down an aircraft.
    And there is the morale issue, also. It is better to fire back than to sit there and take it.
    Hope this answers your question.
     
  3. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    Has an aircraft beyond a WW1 type been taking down by a service rifle? When I saw the instruction booklet on it (Vietnam Era) I was astounded.

    It just seems the odds are so low of doing this that it seems better to find cover or not use up ammo. I know I am wrong on this since it was taught.

    I thought .50 was slowly starting to get iffy for this kind of work in an aircraft. .30-06, .303, and 8mm from a service rifle I think would be really hard. I cannot imagine .556 doing much but is must have been able to.

    Why I think this way was I have read many times that .50 was removed from naval ships as an AA weapon.
     
  4. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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  5. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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    Morale issues. Unless ordered, it is always better to fire back, than to sit there and take it.
     
  6. pattle

    pattle Member

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    A few years ago RAF ground crew pulled a Lee Enfield round out of a Helicopter in Afganistan, this was after the helicopter had landed safely.
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    It has a bit to do with numbers. A battalion or regiment has only a few real AA guns. It has hundreds of riflemen. Even if each individual rifleman has a very low effectiveness the total number does add up to something. And as has been said, firing back keeps up morale. Keeping up morale can be as important ( or more important) than actual damage done to the enemy. Morale has to be kept up for days or weeks at a time. Not just for the duration of an air attack.
     
  8. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    In Finnish army mid 70s
    Only group firing, ie a squad firing a single short burst on command of the squad leader, he gives the range and the ammount of deflection. Squad leaders were told to use their discretion before ordering the firing because the firing might reveal the position of the squad and fire only planes flying past at reasonable range never planes coming towards you because attack planes had awesome firepower and you will lose a head-on confrontation. He had RK 62s (the Finnish version of AK-47) and one lmg per squad. No talk of using our RPG aghainst Helicopters in that time. The tactics was inspired by FNL's use of this tactic against USAAF during the Vietnam War.

    Juha
     
  9. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Against unarmoured Hedge hoppers or strafers, Small arms fire could be effective, though even against close range targets targets the chances are still pretty slim. there is the morale effect, as previously mentioned, and then the disruptive effects on bombing accuracy. This is probably the most important effect arising from small arms fire.

    Against high flying targets, which in my book is anything flying much above 3000 feet, small arms ground fire is next to useless. worse than usleless really, since it gives away the troop positions. This is where rockets have it over aircraft cannons....they can use their rockets as stand off weaponary and fire outside the effective fire range of the ground troops' weapons.
     
  10. pinsog

    pinsog Member

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    In WW2, a Corsair flown by VF214, the Jolly Rogers squadron, disappeared without a trace over an island in the Pacific. In either the late 1990's or early 2000's that aircraft was found, in the jungle, pilot still strapped in the seat. A single 7.7mm Japanese rifle bullet had hit the aircraft from below and killed the pilot. The plane went into the tree tops at a very shallow angle and was relatively undamaged (please understand the term relative here). A single Japanese soldier had brought down this Corsair with a bolt action rifle.

    Now, think about any airplane you can think of, with the exception of the A10 Warthog. Could you kill the pilot with a 308/7.62x51 rifle if it was parked on the ramp? Probably.
     
  11. alejandro_

    alejandro_ Member

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    By firing back you also disrupt the enemy pilot and cause damage to the aircraft. It might be small, but still needs to be fixed. Some German pilots used to describe how Soviets would fire back with everything at their aircraft, causing damage.
     
  12. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    The VC had a very large number of different types of small arms taken in combat from the French such as 1911s, M1s, BARs, and even some Thompsons as well as old MAS36s and Japanese Arisaka rifles. Of course lots AKs were sent in by the Soviets and even some captured German WWII weapons. We actually picked up a few sturmgewehr 44s from the VC.
    I saw many aircraft brought down by small arms fire and the effect on moral cannot be overstated
     
  13. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Very few WW2 aircraft had complete armor coverage all around the pilot.
    Good to the front and rear, but pretty shoddy to the sides in most AC.
    And the pilot is the most vulnerable part of any aircraft.

    A considerable number of choppers were brought down by small arms fire alone in Vietnam, and a Huey was not unarmored.
    Anybody ever heard of the "golden BB' ?
     
  14. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Yup, that one-in-a-million shot. Though with modern highly complicated aircraft that has probably dropped
     
  15. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    When I've served in the armed forces, were told that at least 10 riflemen (section?) are needed to lay a worthwhile fire against aircraft, while it would be good to have a whole platoon to be dangerous for the A/C. The fire from the rifles should be opened under 500 m, the HMGs ( Browning, DSHK, NSVT), mostly from the tanks AFVs, were judged to be effective under 700 m.
     
  16. Coyote

    Coyote Member

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    Pretty sure that at least one of the Japanese losses at Pearl Harbor was credited to infantry fire.
     
  17. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    High firing rate of MG42 plus decent muzzle velocity makes it a good weapon for shooting at CAS aircraft. Not the most powerful weapon for the job but no pilot wants his aircraft peppered by 7.92mm rounds.
     
  19. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The Aa role was the primary reason for the High rate of fire of the MG 42. The high rate of fire was actually detrimental to it's role as a ground gun. However mounts like these:

    mgsling.jpg

    170_mg3_twin_aa.jpg

    Are in a different catagory than riflemen shooting their RIFLES even if full auto, at airplanes.
     
  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    :confused:
    Most WWII era infantry squads included a machinegun of some sort. So when a German Panzer Grenadier squad fire their organic MG42 at aircraft using the high angle mount locate on rear of Sd.Kfz.251 APC it's just normal infantry fire.

    This picture shows rear mount where German infantry squad MG42 was positioned when aboard their APC.
    251-lhs.jpg
     
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