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.50 Cal vs 20 mm Hispano - Ground Attack

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Leave jokes about .50s killing Panzers etc outside of this discussion. 
 

I’m looking to tap into the expertise on this forum regarding the strafe effectiveness of a set of .50s (6 or 8 ) vs the 20mm Hispanos (2 with 2x 50s like on our IX Spit, or 4x on the upcoming Tempest). 
 

Given the total number of bullets sent to the target, penetration (giggity) capabilities, and total amount of ammunition available, my guess would be [2x Hispano + 2x .50s] < [6-8 .50s] < [4x Hispano], but that’s a complete guess.

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This totally depends on the type of target and, in particular with the Hispano, on the type of ammunition used. A Hispano HE shell will work significantly better against unarmoured material than any solid round will, a tungsten core round could easily penetrate the armour of and therefore take out medium tanks, which is pretty much impossible with anything the 0.50ies have available. OTOH, a higher number of smaller rounds has its advantages on occasion.

 

But, overall, I'd wager the general sentiment that 1 Hispano equals 3 0.50ies to be true, again.

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It largely depends on the effect you're evaluating. The big thing with the .50's is the simple mass volume of rounds hitting the vehicle in question. 

There are countless stories of .50's obliterating pretty much anything under a Panzer IV. Trucks, half tracks, artillery pieces, etc...P-47's made short work of them with strafing runs. 

The book "Hell Hawks" is a great resource and testament to the destructive power of the .50 cals in ground attack

Edited by 357th_Dog

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Depends on the target: 20mm projectiles carried enough HE to cause proximity damage that a 12.7mm could not inflict. That means near misses count, which is a big, big deal.

These are all from wikipedia, so YMMV. HE carried by 20mm:

US/British HS.404: 0.03 lb (14 g) (HE and Incendiary filler)

MG 151/20: 18.6 g

ShVAK: 6.7 g (an HE fragmentation round?)

 

Here are some penetration tests for modern ammunition that's a fun watch.

 

 

 

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If I’m in a soft convoy and I have a choice of taking my chance with a single Tempest strafing run or a Jug, give me the Tempest.

 

The sheer amount of lead that a Jug spits means my vehicle is more likely to be one of trucks obliterated.

 

Hell Hawks is a great book.

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The Tempest is spitting out about 50% more lead than the P-47, though.

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Pretty much an open question: anything vague and  unarmoured is better hit by more rounds (dispersal etc) carried in Us fighters, but hitting something more precisely and killing it is possibly better with 20mm

 

Neither was intended for the purpose, so it really is open to debate and circumstance. Both configurations destroyed hundreds of enemy vehicles.

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18 minutes ago, JtD said:

The Tempest is spitting out about 50% more lead than the P-47, though.

 

Per round - not per second.

The Jug is sending many more rounds down range. 

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31 minutes ago, JtD said:

The Tempest is spitting out about 50% more lead than the P-47, though.

 

My quick calculations suggest about three times as much muzzle energy per second, per gun, before taking into account any HE effect.  The .50 cals only have slightly higher MV and RoF compared to the Hispano Vs.

 

When you look at the total load the Tempest V and P-47 can carry it is about equal, in KE terms (again before HE effects). The Tempest gets it out much faster.

 

If I were sure I was ground strafing soft targets behind the lines I would be happy with the P-47: but if there was any chance of having to fight aircraft or strafe a heavily defended target (ie only have one pass) I would go for the Tempest every time.

 

Feel free to correct if necessary - just done on a quick search. edit - I should not try to do these things quickly....

 

 

Edited by unreasonable
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6 minutes ago, Pre said:

Leave jokes about .50s killing Panzers etc outside of this discussion. 
 

I’m looking to tap into the expertise on this forum regarding the strafe effectiveness of a set of .50s (6 or 8 ) vs the 20mm Hispanos (2 with 2x 50s like on our IX Spit, or 4x on the upcoming Tempest). 
 

Given the total number of bullets sent to the target, penetration (giggity) capabilities, and total amount of ammunition available, my guess would be [2x Hispano + 2x .50s] < [6-8 .50s] < [4x Hispano], but that’s a complete guess.

There's a lot of ways of looking at it And then there's the issue that the sim is not going to produce everything exactly like RL so there's also that to consider.

We'll assume a soft target. A tank, IMO, is a dubious target for any of these armament packages. I'm skeptical a 20mm round could penetrate enough to knock out a WWII tank - if it did, no one would ever have went to bigger cannons for 'tank killer' aircraft. Perhaps with enough hits you could do it, but with limited time on target I feel like its probably a waste of time. Ditto for .50 cals, dubious anecdotes aside. Lightly armored and soft targets are the order of the day.

Both the M2 .50 cals and the Hispano 20mm have roughly the same rate of fire (m2 has an edge of 50 rounds/minute or so IIRC) and roughly the same projectile speed. So the amount of rounds on target per gun is similar and the amount of kinetic energy delivered per gram of ammunition is about the same. Given that the hispano round is about 130 grams and the M2 is 42 grams, the Hispano is going to produce roughly 3 times as much kinetic energy. This is before taking into consideration explosive payload. 

Both armaments are wing mounted and that brings limitations. Rounds from all guns will only hit a particular point at one set distance. IRL convergence was done in most USAAF to produce a 'pattern', basically a cloud of hits over a certain area to maximize probability of a hit. But in-game we have only point convergence, so that can be disregarded.

Taking these factors into consideration, the 4 x Hispano armament must come out on top. Even without explosive rounds its delivering more energy onto the target in a given amount of time. The explosive potential just adds to it. 

The 2x Hispano and 2 x .50s does OK, but with different bullets come different trajectories so its harder for all rounds to hit a target simultaneously. If we go by my rough calculations of the proportion of kinetic energy delivered, this armament is equivalent to 8 x .50 cal. For me, the 8 x .50 cal edges it out just because all the rounds will hit the same area at the same point, maximizing damage, and the more guns firing at once increases the chance of a hit slightly when outside convergence.

The six .50s comes in last for sure. Its just the 8 .50 cals with less punch. 

The only advantage the .50s convey is the potentially higher ammo load and therefore higher 'trigger time'. This allows you to walk your fire more, or open up from longer range to suppress AA, or make more attack runs. 

 

20 minutes ago, Gambit21 said:

If I’m in a soft convoy and I have a choice of taking my chance with a single Tempest strafing run or a Jug, give me the Tempest.

 

The sheer amount of lead that a Jug spits means my vehicle is more likely to be one of trucks obliterated.

 

Hell Hawks is a great book.

The overall amount of lead, by weight, is going to be more from a 20 mm, with the added bonus of at least some of the rounds causing explosive fragments. This means a narrow miss is going to pepper you with shrapnel from the shell casing as well as from whatever it hits. IMO its a toss-up for the individual soldier, maybe twice the .50 cal bullets in the air but more danger from explosions from the 20mm. 
 

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3 minutes ago, unreasonable said:

 

My quick calculations suggest about three times as much muzzle energy per second, before taking into account any HE effect.  The .50 cals only have slightly higher MV and RoF compared to the Hispano Vs.

 

When you look at the total load the Tempest V and P-47 can carry it is about equal, in KE terms (again before HE effects). The Tempest gets it out much faster.

 

If I were sure I was ground strafing soft targets behind the lines I would be happy with the P-47: but if there was any chance of having to fight aircraft or strafe a heavily defended target (ie only have one pass) I would go for the Tempest every time.

 

It’s not a 20mm vs .50’s equation.

It’s how many of either is pointed down range from a particular aircraft.

 

1 20mm vs 1 .50 - no contest.

 

4 20mm vs 8 .50’s - now given firing rate, dispersion sheer kinetic energy - Jug.

 

 

Took the Devestator or A-10 to come along and unseat that kind of air to ground gun platform.

 

That said they’re both devestaing and fun to use in the sim. The dispersion of the .50’s seems to be a bit less than it should be however.

11 minutes ago, RedKestrel said:

 

The overall amount of lead, by weight, is going to be more from a 20 mm, with the added bonus of at least some of the rounds causing explosive fragments. This means a narrow miss is going to pepper you with shrapnel from the shell casing as well as from whatever it hits. IMO its a toss-up for the individual soldier, maybe twice the .50 cal bullets in the air but more danger from explosions from the 20mm. 
 

 

There’s a velocity/energy component as you know.

 

Too many variables - they both do the job.

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22 minutes ago, Gambit21 said:

Per round - not per second.

 

~200% more per round, ~200% per gun per second, ~50% more per aircraft per second. The Tempest easily outguns the P-47.

Edited by JtD
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3 minutes ago, JtD said:

 

~200% more per round, ~50% more per second. The Tempest easily outguns the P-47.

 

Given the 8 guns on the Jug and the firing rate I find your math less than convincing.

 

 

 

I have to attachment and totally open to you being correct BTW.

Just not my current understanding all things considered.

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4 minutes ago, Gambit21 said:

 

Given the 8 guns on the Jug and the firing rate I find your math less than convincing.

 

 

 

I really should not be trying to do this after midnight my time, but have a look at this. This is for KE excluding any HE effect.

 

189373148_TempestvsP-47.thumb.JPG.ff204e49adf2d6e98d13c2e85400fd74.JPG

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21 minutes ago, Gambit21 said:

 

 

There’s a velocity/energy component as you know.

 

Too many variables - they both do the job.

Bullet velocity for both guns is nearly identical from what I have seen. 

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Nice - I’ll look more closely later on my big screen. :)

Just now, RedKestrel said:

Bullet velocity for both guns is nearly identical from what I have seen. 

 

Which is interesting - always thought the cannons were somewhat slower.

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Just now, Gambit21 said:

Nice - I’ll look more closely later on my big screen. :)

 

Yes, sorry: this is a side effect of my 4K screen which I have not yet found an easy way to get round.

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The firing rate of HispanoV and M2 are nearly the same. As is muzzle velocity. As unreasonable and RedKestrel already pointed out.

 

It leaves you with 8 guns spitting out 42g projectiles vs. 4 guns spitting out projectiles 3 times the weight. And since 4*3 is 12 and 8*1 only 8, it's a 50% advantage in total armament.

 

The Tempest is and always has been the hardest hitting single engined WW2 fighter aircraft, (if you leave out MK108 in the wings of a Fw190A-8).

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2 minutes ago, Gambit21 said:

Nice - I’ll look more closely later on my big screen. :)

 

Which is interesting - always thought the cannons were somewhat slower.

I always thought so too, until I looked it up a little while ago when I was trying to compare the various 20mm and HMG armaments for the soviets, germans and western allies. I was quite surprised,  I just assumed an HMG would have a faster bullet than a cannon.

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6 minutes ago, unreasonable said:

I really should not be trying to do this after midnight my time, but have a look at this. This is for KE excluding any HE effect.

 

Looks good to me, even though I've seen around 130g for the 20x110 round and 750 rpm for the Hispano V. So I'd arrive at roughly 130% if I did it properly.

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The only caveat I would add is that the P-47 has a higher load per gun. So if you think that 8 .50 cals are enough for the target - a road full of soft vehicles, horses, etc, and you can make more than one pass, then a P-47 might be a perfectly good ground attack weapon in that context, simply because it can fire for longer.

 

If you want the maximum concentrated fire on one spot as quickly as possible - say an enemy aircraft or even a heavily defended train - the Tempest every time. 

 

2 minutes ago, JtD said:

 

Looks good to me, even though I've seen around 130g for the 20x110 round and 750 rpm for the Hispano V. So I'd arrive at roughly 130% if I did it properly.

 

 The average weight of the Hispano round is going to depend on your belting: I assumed 50-50 HE and AP, but this is just a rough pass to illustrate the point. I am not wedded to these precise numbers!

 

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Counterpoint to the above: If you fill all the extra space in the P-47 cockpit with hand grenades, you just pop open the canopy and chuck them out the window as you pass on by, thus making up for the lack of HE power in the M2. Sure, its a little cozy, but you gotta make sacrifices if you want to win the war!

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Counting such parameters like KE, mass/s, momentum is interesting but in practice will be enough if the round is just lethal enough on hit.

Do you care if you would get hit by 0.50" or 20mm? The cannon 20mm can have some fragmentation but 0.50" can go thorough more than one soft-target and ricochet.

 

The Jug will throw twice as many rounds - twice the probability that something important will get hit and light armor which could stop 20mm fragments won't (probably) protect from 0.50" AP.

The Jug carry much more (twice I think?) rounds for every gun so you can start your strafing burst earlier and keep it for longer.

The Jug had tough big radial engine in the front - IRL you would be more (if only a just) aggressive doing strafing run than in the Tempest exposing the much more delicate inline and the radiator in the front.

 

Now how it'd look from the point of view of usual Wehrmacht troop column on foot with horse drawn carriages?

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Thusly:

- Most targets of general fighter-bombers are not tanks and therefore can be destroyed by .5s or 20mm

- The 20mm has far more destructive power

- The 20mm has similar RoF to the .5

- They have similar muzzle velocity

- Since most targets are equally vulnerable  to both weapons, the amount of firing time is probably a key factor

- Larger ammo load probably wins over destructive power per shell

 

None of the 1944-45 fighter bombers were designed for that task, but taking into consideration what they did and its effect then the .5 with a large ammunition load is possibly the best solution against the kind of supply columns / infantry / trains / barges.

 

But I’d rather fly a Typhoon or Tempest.

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This has turned into a great discussion. I did not realize the Hispano’s muzzle velocity and rate of fire was so closely matched to the .50, nor did I appreciate the weight difference per bullet/shell. 
 

Thanks for the interesting comparison! 

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I think 4 Hispanos mk V are better than 8 m2 because  

1 hispanos have more penetration 

2 high explosive hispano shells are much more effective at incapacitating personel . Acording to an article in wikipedia , a high explosive round from the m 61 Vulcan ( though not a hispano mk V , its a 20 mm cannon ) has a 2 meter effective lethal range ( although  this doesnt mean the hispano does the same damage , but it allows us to make a  approximation of the damage)

a 50 cal , on the other side just penetrates without explosive damage . 

So , in a anti convoy  mission , I think the hispanos , firing less rounds but possesing higher damage potential will be more effective 

 

Also , I dont think that we should calculate the total kinetic energy , and momentum of theese shells/rounds because many of them will just go through the vehicle , without expanding their entire kinetic Energy and momentum . The proper method to follow is to calculate the change of momentum and kinetic energy of the projectiles at their target , but this is near to imposible , as there are unlimited scenarios with different results 

Edited by INVADER_WARHAWK

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I guess this gun is more comparable to the VYa-23 than the Hispano, but it shows the amount of damage autocannon explosive rounds can do to unarmored vehicles, notice it also has a rather slow rate of fire, so a similar result could happen with a quick burst of multiple high rate of fire aircraft cannons.
 

 

Edited by -=PHX=-SuperEtendard

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Both suck (in game) for ground attack, but mg151s, mk103/108s and HE yva23’s can destroy buildings (that’s right, even hangers and factory’s).

 

Ive tried strafing buildings with hispanos and its a waste.  Me trying to hit trucks and soft targets with cannons on the wings is pitiful as well. .50s can kill everything they can and with more ammo carried it’s an easy choice.  However, my preference is for the cannons above for ground attack against soft targets.  Hispanos are still the best choice for dropping aircraft imo.

 

Edited by Hajo_Garlic

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Japan Damage test on a boat by aircraft machine gun:

https://www.jacar.archives.go.jp/das/meta-en/C14020309000

 

The Target boat was made of the 3.2mm mild steel plate.

 

Bullet holes by 20mm HE  (area unit is cm^2)

iW16Omw.jpg

QeHT6bR.jpg

 

 

Bullet holes by 13mm HE

xyHtWDs.jpg

 

It can be seen that 20mm HE is quite destructive against the light-armor target. By the way, Japanese 20mm HE has less energy and explosive than Hispano HE.

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38 minutes ago, -=PHX=-SuperEtendard said:

I guess this gun is more comparable to the VYa-23 than the Hispano, but it shows the amount of damage autocannon explosive rounds can do to unarmored vehicles, notice it also has a rather slow rate of fire, so a similar result could happen with a quick burst of multiple high rate of fire aircraft cannons.

 

The 25mm in the video is much bigger round if we compare (roughly) volumes - (25**3)/(20**3) -  about 1.95x more than 20mm. Sure it packs a punch.

 

The gun in the video shoots for 10s - in the same time the Jug would fire +1000 rounds of the 0.5". In both cases it would be a massive overkill; to stop the vehicle and incapacitate crew just fraction would be enough.

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2 minutes ago, [CPT]Crunch said:

So, is the Tempest gyro sight kitted?

No.

 

Only Tempest II got them along with later models. Pilots also didn‘t want that bulky thing right in their face. There was hardly a plane with a better view than the Tempest with bubble canopy and the sight projection on the windscreen.

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2 minutes ago, s9723 said:

It can be seen that 20mm HE is quite destructive against the light-armor target. By the way, Japanese 20mm HE has less energy and explosive than Hispano HE.

 

Yes it is more destructive but if the plate is punctured and the projectile hit you the end result would be pretty much the same.

 

Dead is dead - doesn't matter in how many pieces the corpse is.

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No, they wanted only pilots that already completed one tour of duty. But they lost a lot of pilots and sometimes had to take what was available.

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3 hours ago, RedKestrel said:

This is before taking into consideration explosive payload. 

 

It's really hard to underestimate this. The vast majority of (non-civilian) casualties in WW2 were due to HE (almost all from arty). Rifles give infantry the sense of imaginary power they need to expose themselves while calling in artillery. :)

 

The number of rounds isn't a fair comparison at all, as the HE rounds fragment upon explosion.

Edited by cardboard_killer
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9 minutes ago, cardboard_killer said:

 

It's really hard to underestimate this. The vast majority of (non-civilian) casualties in WW2 were due to HE (almost all from arty). Rifles give infantry the sense of imaginary power they need to expose themselves while calling in artillery. :)

 

The number of rounds isn't a fair comparison at all, as the HE rounds fragment upon explosion.

Its hard to quantify the explosive power of the rounds without a deeper analysis than I am qualified to do. I'm satisfied the 4 x 20mm is the more destructive loadout on KE alone. I think the 'trigger time' advantage due to carrying more rounds can be given to the P-47 but they were not always loaded with extra ammo IIRC, so a standard loadout may not even convey that advantage. Not to mention that when attacking defended targets one run may be all you get. Any ammo you bring home is useless. Better to dump more destruction in a short run than to have to risk your life even more by coming back around to attack...

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The "one pass and haul ass" was always a possibility, however there are many, many accounts of groups of P-47's working over entire convoys in a chainsaw pattern and absolutely devastating them up one side and down the other...

Rarely were convoys protected as heavily as a fixed location, like say..an airfield. 

Both the 20mm and .50 cals would have their place depending on the target, however the jumping through hoops trying to justify one over the other is really kind of pathetic and just reeks of trying to make the facts fit the conclusion you want, not letting the facts determine the conclusion 
 

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I think that the question is interesting, but the main conclusion I come to is that the munition that the plane carries is moot. The .50s and the 20mm don't have wildly differing capabilities as modeled in game. In capable hands, they will wreck soft ground targets. Perhaps, if there are no enemy fighters, the P-47 is slightly better because of its ammunition count. Perhaps if there are enemies present the Tempest is better able to defend itself air to air. But these factors are so subtle and random, they are impossible to plan for.  

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I love the .50s as they're featured on the P-47. Maybe not the satisfying explosive effect of the 20 or 30mm but devastating none the less. As was historical, the USAAF fought mostly single engine fighters with the very incendiary Japanese bombers as the most numerous multi-engined enemy aircraft they'd meet in WWII. I'd take the advantage of more rounds of .50 cal per gun as opposed to the more powerful but fewer RPG of a cannon armed fighter.

 

This might be my best shot ever. A two second burst, shredded Bf-109 and a PK to boot. I couldn't ask for more.  

 

 

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