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Exploding bullets

Placing my DREADCO boffin's luminous trilby squarely atop my balding head, I would venture the opinion that a 20mm conventional rifle is too big to be consistently man-portable and man-usable, much as the WW2 Boys Rifle was a ferociously recoiling useless pig of a gun.

Rather, I would revive the Vietnam era gyrojet concept and update it. Gyrojet was a pistol that was near-recoilless and was effectively a very small rocket launcher. The rounds didn't leave the barrel at a very high velocity, but burned propellant to get up to speed external of the barrel. The velocity thing worked, the accuracy was on the lines of "Over there, somewhere".

Updating Gyrojet to contain a guidance system of some sort, and basically ending up with a small rocket launcher is to my mind the only way to make anything much over .50 workable as a man-portable hand-launched weapon. From this point onwards, the weapon is only going to get more effective and disheartening to an enemy, especially if an attacking group discovers that their hated enemy all seem to be incredibly good shots.
It's called Javelin..!
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
It's called Javelin..!
Again a hammer for a walnut, if Javelin is all you have then fine its still cheaper than flying a bomb in at the target but a precision rifle should be able to deal with dickers on motorbikes! Buildings require HE and lots of it, 20mm, 30mm and I dare say even 40mm will only be useful if it explodes inside.
120mm Hesh is obviously the answer, now where is the target!
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
Citizen Soldiers by Stephen Ambrose p287 but references seen elsewhere as well
Hang on my little picnicker, the book, while a good read is full of warry stories.
Don't have a copy here but there's no direct evidence supported by German docs that it was a "standard German tactic."
Besides, it would entail a troopie to pull every fifth rd from the factory issued belt and replacing it with ball for the guns firing at the lower level.
While neither the SADF nor the British Army have patent rights on fcuking okes around for little reason, that tends to fall away when it comes to working two way ranges.

Anecdotal evidence always sounds good, but like the Garand 'ping' doesn't often stand up to examination.
 

MoleBath

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Hang on my little picnicker, the book, while a good read is full of warry stories.
Don't have a copy here but there's no direct evidence supported by German docs that it was a "standard German tactic."
Besides, it would entail a troopie to pull every fifth rd from the factory issued belt and replacing it with ball for the guns firing at the lower level.
While neither the SADF nor the British Army have patent rights on fcuking okes around for little reason, that tends to fall away when it comes to working two way ranges.

Anecdotal evidence always sounds good, but like the Garand 'ping' doesn't often stand up to examination.
1523819437701.png


The US source is also here

"Double rows of German base fire, at night, involved a heavy unidentified line of fire approximately 3 feet from the ground and a high, arching line of fire, amply identified by tracer bullets. Evidently the Germans hoped to create the impression that the principal fire was high and inaccurate, and also to discourage night bayonet attacks."
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
Did they issue both 4B1T & ball only belts ?

Honestly not knocking what you're read, but I'd really like to see some Box gen supporting it.
Some years ago I spoke to German and other veterans but none mentioned this, maybe because it didn't occur to me to ask.

During research I read a number of MG pamphlets from the time, and while other interesting facts cropped up, that particular use wasn't mentioned. I'd expect to see some comment in them.
 
View attachment 331067

The US source is also here

"Double rows of German base fire, at night, involved a heavy unidentified line of fire approximately 3 feet from the ground and a high, arching line of fire, amply identified by tracer bullets. Evidently the Germans hoped to create the impression that the principal fire was high and inaccurate, and also to discourage night bayonet attacks."
I doubt it was a deliberate tactic. More likely down to the fact that tracer is lighter than ball and tends to fire high, which on the receiving end might give the impression of two separate guns.
 

MoleBath

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Thinking back to days of .30 Browning and GPMG in turret roles the trace did not seem to be enormously higher than ball except at long range? Any thoughts?
 
Hang on my little picnicker, the book, while a good read is full of warry stories.
Don't have a copy here but there's no direct evidence supported by German docs that it was a "standard German tactic."
Besides, it would entail a troopie to pull every fifth rd from the factory issued belt and replacing it with ball for the guns firing at the lower level.
Weren't German link belts also filled at unit level? IIRC they issued a link filling device and packets of loose patrone were stocked
 
Thinking back to days of .30 Browning and GPMG in turret roles the trace did not seem to be enormously higher than ball except at long range? Any thoughts?
Wouldn't you expect the tracer to be lower than the ball?

The lead-filled ball is heavier than the phosphorus tracer round to start and the phosphorus burns in flight. The air resistance reduces the rounds' kinetic energy (and so velocity), the lighter tracer has less KE and so slows down more, takes longer to reach any given distance and has dropped further vertically by the time it gets there.

Unless the tracer has some rocket-like propelling feature. ISTR a certain CSM being chased around the butts by a fizzing tracer round.

Any thoughts?
 
Weren't German link belts also filled at unit level? IIRC they issued a link filling device and packets of loose patrone were stocked
I believe their standard belts as used by infantry were re-usable metal belts rather than disintegrating link, so your take on things sounds like the correct one.
 
Wouldn't you expect the tracer to be lower than the ball?

The lead-filled ball is heavier than the phosphorus tracer round to start and the phosphorus burns in flight. The air resistance reduces the rounds' kinetic energy (and so velocity), the lighter tracer has less KE and so slows down more, takes longer to reach any given distance and has dropped further vertically by the time it gets there.

Unless the tracer has some rocket-like propelling feature. ISTR a certain CSM being chased around the butts by a fizzing tracer round.

Any thoughts?
Tracers are designed as far as possible to match the trajectory of ball rounds, however it is impossible to achieve this for the complete trajectory. This is down to a number of reasons.. firstly the density of the projectiles are different, secondly the shape and ballistic coefficients are different, the weight of the tracer reduces as it burns, and finally the gas efflux actually reduces the drag on the bullet so that it retains velocity better..

There is no perfect solution, and it is impossible to design a tracer that will match the whole trajectory, so you select a combination of characteristics that match for the bit of the trajectory you are interested in. This may be different for land and air use and for urban and long range applications. You also need to decide if you want your tracer to light immediately, or have a so called "dark ignition" pressed last so that you do not blind the crew or give away their position. You can also (within reason) select the colour of the trace. Tracer compounds do not usually contain phosphorus, they are usually a conventional oxidiser/fuel mix with a metal salt such as strontium to give colour.

Tracer usually ends up climbing at the end of it's trajectory as it is getting lighter for the same KE and the drag is reducing by "base bleed" so that the velocity is retained. On impact the now almost hollow bullet is easily deformed, and the still burning tracer capsule is often thrown out as anyone who has witnessed a night shoot will know.

.. as i have said many times in the past, tracer projectiles lack kinetic energy and, apart from a potential incendiary effect, are less lethal than ball. I had a running battle with some units who were always trying to scrounge 1BIT which is half as lethal as 4BIT despite being prettier..

We also had a 5.56 urban tracer round in service for a while, which was issued in Iraq in 2004. This was originally procured for use in NI as it had a green trace which showed up better in sodium lighting and no dark ignition so it lit up almost at the muzzle.. I thought the orange/green colour scheme nicely reflected the cultural context...!
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
Weren't German link belts also filled at unit level? IIRC they issued a link filling device and packets of loose patrone were stocked
I've been told that ammo was issued factory belted, it'd certainly make sense.
Any empty DM1 belts may possibly have been gathered after a successful action, but while it can be reloaded, the idea was they should be backloaded.

While belt loaders certainly exist, they're not a common item, and I'm presently unsure of their level of issue.
It would surprise me if belts were reloaded locally during any advance, but by the time they were being pushed back, then yes possibly, especially if resups were not forthcoming.
Besides, when retracing the contact to find errant link, DM1 isn't as resillient as many think, and a size ten, (don't know what that is in wog,) crunching down on it will render the belt US.

The packeted rds were for the K98's, ie. a lower loading and therefore not ideal for the MG group.. But hey, when needs must, and as long as it cycles the MG, then no problem.
 
Buildings require HE and lots of it, 20mm, 30mm and I dare say even 40mm will only be useful if it explodes inside.
I thought that buildings need MOAB. Highly spectacular and very effective. Or for that retro look try RAF Bomber Command, 4000lb blockbusters plus incendiary.
I just love big bangs.
 
20 round bursts would do it if you didn't have a 20 round gap between. I have destroyed barrels with 50 round bursts, well destroyed gas regulators and plain ruined the barrels but orders are orders
The old armourer in me says "Twunt".
 

ugly

LE
Moderator

ugly

LE
Moderator
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