Author Topic: In regards to 50 Cal M2 and it's effectiveness on armor  (Read 357 times)

Offline -ammo-

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In regards to 50 Cal M2 and it's effectiveness on armor
« on: June 04, 2002, 06:32:17 PM »
In my reading time in recent days, I have been enjoying a good one that Sancho loaned me. Its called "ANGELS ZERO by Robert Brulle. It’s the one fighter-bomber pilot’s story of his role in WW2 in Europe between mid-June 44- wars end. Bob flew P-47's the duration of the war with IX TAC (9th Air Force). This is a highly recommended read for of us, not just the P-47 nuts, or the allied nuts.

On to the subject. I found this very interesting. I am going to just quote it straight from the book for you all to read.


After D-day, and a foothold was established in France, the pilot had a chance to inspect some rubble and damaged locomotives once they were moved to a temp field in France.

"We first noted that the cab (of the locomotive) had two inch thick steel plates welded around it to protect the engineer. It was obviously not armor as several 50 cal bullets had pierced it. I also followed the path of a 50 cal API round that went through the steel drive wheel several inches thick, ricocheted off the lower flange of the engine I-beam structure, and imbedded itself sideways in the upper flange. I had a hard time prying the round out for a souvenir, and it didn’t have a scratch on it. It was an amazing revelation of the power of a single armor-piercing round"

"A tiger tank was disabled by repeated strafing, and twelve trucks and a staff car were destroyed.

The reader may wonder how strafing a tank could disable it. Recall that our .50 cal API rounds pack a wallop that could penetrate several inches of soft (not hardened) steel. (Recall the story on our visit to the Laon railroad yard, where I followed the path of a .50 cal API round that went through a locomotives drive wheel.) During the war, we thought the penetration power of our API round was sufficient to disable a tank by shooting off the tracks. To research the issue and keep the record factual, I contacted several armored vehicle historians and specialists. Their collective views are summarized below*.

The .50 API round fired from fast moving AC does indeed have a high momentum but the German tank armor was very hard and massive and the round only dinged the armor. The most vulnerable area (least armor thickness) is the rear deck compartment and the top of the turret. The tracks are extremely hard steel and .50 API were shrugged off with little damage. A lucky hit was possible that might cause the tank to throw a track, but if they were on a hard surface they could keep moving on the road wheels. The Germans in 1944-45 had three main battle tanks in use. They were the Mark IV, which was a medium tank comparable to the American M4 Sherman tank, and two 50-plus-ton heavy tanks, the mark V Panther and the Mark VI Tiger. The Panther and the Tiger completely dominated the Sherman.

The Mark IV had a lightly armored rear deck that could be penetrated with our 50 API rounds and set the engine on fire, but the panther and the Tiger were mostly impervious to our strafing. In those tanks the crews would just button up and hope that we wouldn’t call in AC that had bombs since that would finish them. There is a case on record where a Panther tank was strafed by P-47's for an extended time. The massive strafing shot off all the equipment parts carried outside the tank, and entombed the crew by dinging the hatch lips, effectively welding the hatches closed.  If we could catch the tanks while on a road march far from the front lines they sometimes-carried extra fuel and ammunition strapped on the outside. In those cases strafing could ignite the fuel or ammunition, possibly destroying them.  Although we couldn’t be sure of damaging or destroying a heavy tank, our strafing was sure to affect the crew psychologically, having to stay cooped up hearing the constant rattle of our rounds hitting the tank and not knowing when a bomb or other heavy gun would finish them off. In summary, strafing a tank could do nothing or it could destroy them, depending on the circumstances.”

*= Conversations with Dr. William Atwater, Director, US Army Ordinance Museum, Army Proving Ground, Md., and Mr. Uwe Feist, historian and author of German Armored Vehicles.  Two of his books are recommended.  Ewu Feist and Bruce Culver ”Panzerkampfwagon Panther” and “Panzerkampfwagon Tiger”

Brulle is a good author, telling it like it was for a “Jabo” pilot in the days after D-day and through the war. I suggest it to all that enjoy WW2 aviation books.
Commanding Officer, 56 Fighter Group
Retired USAF - 1988 - 2011

Offline CptTrips

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In regards to 50 Cal M2 and it's effectiveness on armor
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2002, 07:05:57 PM »
>The Mark IV had a lightly armored rear deck that could be
>penetrated with our 50 API rounds and set the engine on fire,
Toxic, psychotic, self-aggrandizing drama queens simply aren't worth me spending my time on.

Offline Wilbus

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In regards to 50 Cal M2 and it's effectiveness on armor
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2002, 05:27:01 AM »
Roger, what Dejavu quoted, BUT like it is said, that was from the rear. And only from the rear where some tanks (not teh mark 4) even only had bars.

Hopefully 50 cal won't take out Tiger and Panther tanks when/if we get them.
Rasmus "Wilbus" Mattsson

Liberating Livestock since 1998, recently returned from a 5 year Sheep-care training camp.

Offline MrRiplEy[H]

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In regards to 50 Cal M2 and it's effectiveness on armor
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2002, 07:14:40 AM »
50 cal takes out the cruiser and the cv in AH, why shouldn't one small tank then? lol.

What we need is a reworked damage model..

Currently it takes much longer time to sink a cv with a shoregun than up a 110 and strafe it two times - down it goes.

One would think that the effect would be quite the opposite, heavy shoregun inflicting serious damage and 110 only scratching the surface.
Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. –W. Clement Stone

Offline Vermillion

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In regards to 50 Cal M2 and it's effectiveness on armor
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2002, 08:52:23 AM »
Well... I don't know about CV's or Cruisers, but there are recorded instances of Destroyers and lighter ships being sunk by strafing  aircraft (repeated and extended strafing).

Offline CavemanJ

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In regards to 50 Cal M2 and it's effectiveness on armor
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2002, 09:18:06 AM »
Quote
Originally posted by Vermillion
Well... I don't know about CV's or Cruisers, but there are recorded instances of Destroyers and lighter ships being sunk by strafing  aircraft (repeated and extended strafing).


Isn't there also some guncam footage of .50 armed kites killing destroyers by popping the boilers with strafing runs?

Offline Wilbus

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In regards to 50 Cal M2 and it's effectiveness on armor
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2002, 09:21:19 AM »
Destroyers won't go down by 50 cal unless you hit the ammuntion stores or some kind of fuel stores.

There are however, lots of gun camera fotage of 50 cal planes (pacific mostly) strafing ships and blowing them up, mostly light cargo ships. Got very nice fotage (in color even) from F4u's strafing ships in the Pacific, huge explosions but unless you hit something explosive you won't sink it.
Rasmus "Wilbus" Mattsson

Liberating Livestock since 1998, recently returned from a 5 year Sheep-care training camp.

Offline Vermillion

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In regards to 50 Cal M2 and it's effectiveness on armor
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2002, 01:36:56 PM »
One that I saw was a P-38 unit strafing a destroyer in the Med, it  blew up very nicely.

Offline DmdNexus

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In regards to 50 Cal M2 and it's effectiveness on armor
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2002, 08:36:47 AM »
yah but P-38s have cannons.

Offline Toad

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In regards to 50 Cal M2 and it's effectiveness on armor
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2002, 08:46:00 AM »
The part of the damage model that amuses me is the part where the tank commander stands in the hatch amidst a hailstorm of mg rounds and calmy plinks you out of the sky with his flex mount mg at 1500 yards.

Maybe the upper hatch should be controllable on our vehicles. Hatch open, firing is possible but crew wounding/death is possible. Hatch closed, no firing possible but no crew wounding/death either.

Just a thought.

Don't worry, I'm going to keep on playing because it doesn't bother me. After all, it's just a game.  :D
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!

Offline DmdNexus

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In regards to 50 Cal M2 and it's effectiveness on armor
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2002, 01:37:33 PM »
Toad,

Doh! The commander is wearing a helmet and he can just duck inside to avoid the bullwets!