Discussion:
50 cal ammo
(too old to reply)
Malcom "Mal" Reynolds
2011-10-11 18:44:32 UTC
Permalink
Just watched a show about the Barrett M107 sniper rifle and it showed that the
ammo they are using is stamped as made in the USA 1943.

Hard to believe there could still be significant stores of the bullet all these
years later
William Black
2011-10-11 19:55:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malcom "Mal" Reynolds
Just watched a show about the Barrett M107 sniper rifle and it showed that the
ammo they are using is stamped as made in the USA 1943.
Hard to believe there could still be significant stores of the bullet all these
years later
Especially as the shelf life of that sort of stuff is usually under ten
years.
--
William Black

Free men have open minds
If you want loyalty, buy a dog...
Shawn Wilson
2011-10-11 19:56:06 UTC
Permalink
On Oct 11, 11:44 am, "Malcom \"Mal\" Reynolds" <atlas-
Post by Malcom "Mal" Reynolds
Just watched a show about the Barrett M107 sniper rifle and it showed that the
ammo they are using is stamped as made in the USA 1943.
Hard to believe there could still be significant stores of the bullet all these
years later
Not really, the US made a LOT of stuff for WWII that never got used.
Hell, we still haven't run out of the Purple Hearts made in
anticipation of invading Japan, after four wars...
The Horny Goat
2011-11-15 06:20:28 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 11 Oct 2011 15:56:06 -0400, Shawn Wilson
Post by Shawn Wilson
On Oct 11, 11:44 am, "Malcom \"Mal\" Reynolds" <atlas-
Post by Malcom "Mal" Reynolds
Just watched a show about the Barrett M107 sniper rifle and it showed that the
ammo they are using is stamped as made in the USA 1943.
Hard to believe there could still be significant stores of the bullet all these
years later
Not really, the US made a LOT of stuff for WWII that never got used.
Hell, we still haven't run out of the Purple Hearts made in
anticipation of invading Japan, after four wars...
You make that sound like a BAD thing!
Bill Shatzer
2011-11-15 19:04:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Shawn Wilson
Not really, the US made a LOT of stuff for WWII that never got used.
Hell, we still haven't run out of the Purple Hearts made in
anticipation of invading Japan, after four wars...
I believe they ran out of WWII era Purple Hearts during the Vietnam confict.

Awards since then have been of more recent manufacture.
Joe Osman
2011-10-11 21:38:34 UTC
Permalink
On Oct 11, 2:44 pm, "Malcom \"Mal\" Reynolds" <atlas-
Post by Malcom "Mal" Reynolds
Just watched a show about the Barrett M107 sniper rifle and it showed that the
ammo they are using is stamped as made in the USA 1943.
Hard to believe there could still be significant stores of the bullet all these
years later
I would imagine that they hand load rounds but use old brass.

Joe
Malcom "Mal" Reynolds
2011-10-11 22:48:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Osman
On Oct 11, 2:44 pm, "Malcom \"Mal\" Reynolds" <atlas-
Post by Malcom "Mal" Reynolds
Just watched a show about the Barrett M107 sniper rifle and it showed that the
ammo they are using is stamped as made in the USA 1943.
Hard to believe there could still be significant stores of the bullet all these
years later
I would imagine that they hand load rounds but use old brass.
Joe
no, these were old rounds. In fact, Barrett was discussing with some SSGT who
had a record 2,025 yard kill in Afghanistan the effects of using those loads was
the frequent cleaning of the mechanism OR polishing each round before loading a
clip
Jim H.
2011-10-12 15:22:37 UTC
Permalink
On Oct 11, 6:48 pm, "Malcom \"Mal\" Reynolds" <atlas-
Post by Malcom "Mal" Reynolds
Post by Joe Osman
On Oct 11, 2:44 pm, "Malcom \"Mal\" Reynolds" <atlas-
Post by Malcom "Mal" Reynolds
Just watched a show about the Barrett M107 sniper rifle and it showed that the
ammo they are using is stamped as made in the USA 1943.
Hard to believe there could still be significant stores of the bullet all these
years later
I would imagine that they hand load rounds but use old brass.
Joe
no, these were old rounds. In fact, Barrett was discussing with some SSGT who
had a record 2,025 yard kill in Afghanistan the effects of using those loads was
the frequent cleaning of the mechanism OR polishing each round before loading a
clip
Strictly a guess, mostly thinking aloud... the US must have a made a
_whole_ lot of .50 cal ammunition. At 6-8 guns per fighter, 10 or so
per heavy bomber, AA mounts on assorted vehicles & small craft, etc.,
there would have been tremendous demand right up to the end of the
war, even after V-E day There must have been enormous stockpiles
stateside, in rear areas, and in transit. I don't know if they buried
or dumped any in the ocean. I'm sure the production stats are
somewhere online, but I've no idea of where to start looking.

The wars we've fought or supplied since have been relatively small,
and the .50 hasn't been used in nearly so many roles or in such large
numbers since WWII ended. So I think I can believe that we have left-
overs, tho' I'm surprised that ammo that old is still in use, even for
training.

Jim H.
james
2011-10-12 18:11:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim H.
On Oct 11, 6:48 pm, "Malcom \"Mal\" Reynolds" <atlas-
Post by Malcom "Mal" Reynolds
Post by Joe Osman
On Oct 11, 2:44 pm, "Malcom \"Mal\" Reynolds" <atlas-
Post by Malcom "Mal" Reynolds
Just watched a show about the Barrett M107 sniper rifle and it showed that the
ammo they are using is stamped as made in the USA 1943.
Hard to believe there could still be significant stores of the bullet all these
years later
I would imagine that they hand load rounds but use old brass.
Joe
no, these were old rounds. In fact, Barrett was discussing with some SSGT who
had a record 2,025 yard kill in Afghanistan the effects of using those loads was
the frequent cleaning of the mechanism OR polishing each round before loading a
clip
Strictly a guess, mostly thinking aloud... the US must have a made a
_whole_ lot of .50 cal ammunition. At 6-8 guns per fighter, 10 or so
per heavy bomber, AA mounts on assorted vehicles & small craft, etc.,
there would have been tremendous demand right up to the end of the
war, even after V-E day There must have been enormous stockpiles
stateside, in rear areas, and in transit. I don't know if they buried
or dumped any in the ocean. I'm sure the production stats are
somewhere online, but I've no idea of where to start looking.
The wars we've fought or supplied since have been relatively small,
and the .50 hasn't been used in nearly so many roles or in such large
numbers since WWII ended. So I think I can believe that we have left-
overs, tho' I'm surprised that ammo that old is still in use, even for
training.
Jim H.- Hide quoted text -
I remember in the 90s, there was a store in Canada that sold old
surplus guns, and they were selling WWII Lee Enfields and Moisin
Nagants and ammo in cans from WWII as well.
It must have been well stored in low humidity environments. I'm sure
you can't buy it now.
Dave Smith
2011-10-12 18:41:01 UTC
Permalink
On 12/10/2011 2:11 PM, james wrote:
- Hide quoted text -
Post by james
I remember in the 90s, there was a store in Canada that sold old
surplus guns, and they were selling WWII Lee Enfields and Moisin
Nagants and ammo in cans from WWII as well.
It must have been well stored in low humidity environments. I'm sure
you can't buy it now.
My father somehow acquired about 20 boxes of .303 ball ammunition dated
1943 and passed in on to me years ago. I used to take my Lee Enfield to
the ranges once in a while and shoot off a box or two. I finally used it
up about 6 months ago. I had never had any trouble with it. Every round
fired and I never noticed any accuracy problems. I confess to be a
rotten shot, but I was getting surprisingly good groupings.
Space Captain Kurt Kosmic
2011-10-12 23:08:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Smith
My father somehow acquired about 20 boxes of .303 ball ammunition dated
1943 and passed in on to me years ago.
In my re-enactment group, we use still sealed .303 blanks from 1941.
They come in greaseproof paper packets of 20 rounds, and are tied in
string.
Rich
2011-10-12 21:44:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim H.
Strictly a guess, mostly thinking aloud... the US must have a made a
_whole_ lot of .50 cal ammunition.
Yep, just a few, 10,035-million (yes, that number is ten-thousand and
thirty-five ***million*** or 10,035,000,000) rounds during the
"war" (1 July 1940 - 31 August 1945). Or, to put it another way, a
heck of a lot. :)

Cheers!

Rich
Dave Smith
2011-10-12 23:08:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich
Post by Jim H.
Strictly a guess, mostly thinking aloud... the US must have a made a
_whole_ lot of .50 cal ammunition.
Yep, just a few, 10,035-million (yes, that number is ten-thousand and
thirty-five ***million*** or 10,035,000,000) rounds during the
"war" (1 July 1940 - 31 August 1945). Or, to put it another way, a
heck of a lot. :)
The US was using a lot of .50 cal for aircraft. A number of bombers used
.50 cal machine guns for defences and increasing numbers of fighters
were using them. Aircraft could carry larger amounts of ammunition than
foot soldiers could carry into battle, so they air forces probably
accounted for most of the anticipated demand. Due to increasingly rapid
advances in aircraft development, the demand for .50 cal would have
dropped off as jet aircraft resorted to cannon and missiles.
Rich
2011-10-13 05:00:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Smith
The US was using a lot of .50 cal for aircraft.
Yep again...the USAAF expended 459,750,000 rounds of all types of
ammunition; 448,732,000 of them .50 caliber. A whopping 4.5% of the
total produced. :)

Cheers!
james
2011-10-13 17:56:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Smith
The US was using a lot of .50 cal for aircraft. A number of bombers used
.50 cal machine guns for defences and increasing numbers of fighters
were using them. Aircraft could carry larger amounts of ammunition than
foot soldiers could carry into battle, so they air forces probably
accounted for most of the anticipated demand. Due to increasingly rapid
advances in aircraft development, the demand for .50 cal would have
dropped off as jet aircraft resorted to cannon and missiles.
The US was still using .50 cal in fighters in Korea, presumably
drawing on WWII stocks. The F86 had 6 .50 cals. The Canadian Sabres
used a different engine, same guns. It wouldn't be until the Sabres
were replaced that cannons became standard in the US.
Rich Rostrom
2011-10-13 18:16:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich
Yep, just a few, 10,035-million (yes, that number is ten-thousand and
thirty-five ***million*** or 10,035,000,000) rounds during the
"war" (1 July 1940 - 31 August 1945).
Cite?? I'm sure you have a good source, but that seems
incredible.

The bullets alone are over 40 grams each. 10 billion
such bullets would mass over 400 billion grams, or
400,000 tonnes of lead. The total U.S. lead supply
for 1941-1945 was 5,683,097 short tons (Bureau of
Mines stats), which is 2,580,126 tonnes.

Did 15% of all lead production go into .50 cal bullets alone?

Looking at it from the other side:

A bit over 1M .50 cal guns were mounted in US aircraft of
all types. (Number calculated by noting total production
and .50 cal MGs carried by major a/c types: B-17, B-24,
B-29, B-26, B-25. DB-7, TBF, SBD, P-38, P-40, P-39,
P-63, P-51, P-47, F6F, F4F, F4U. The four types with
the most .50s were the B-24, P-47, B-17, and P-51, which
had over half.)

There was a .50 on every Sherman, every Chaffee, every
M10, M18, M3 scout car, M3 halftrack, M7 Priest. Tens
of thousands of Jeeps carried a .50 cal. Thousands of
halftracks carried quad .50 Maxon Mounts.

Making a WAG, about 350,000 vehicle-mounted .50s.

Infantry use may have been more limited - one to each
heavy weapons company in a battalion or regiment.
A typical US division had about 240 .50s for AA and 90
"heavy machine guns". There were 54 infantry divisions
in Europe in 1945, and 21 in the Pacific (including airborne
and cavalry). Let's say 100 divisions all up, including troops
in the U.S., attached battalions, unattached battalions, etc.
So only about 33,000 with the ground troops.

(That's a surprise. But the .50 was really too heavy for
infantry use.)

The Navy had .50s too, but it's harder to tell. By WW II,
any weapon that small was often omitted from ship
descriptions. Larger warships carried them only for AA,
and as the war went one the Navy dropped smaller
caliber weapons for 20mm and 40mm cannon, though I
have heard that a lot of light weapons including .50s
were added informally in response to the kamikaze threat.

Now, some of these weapons were fired a lot. For instance,
the B-25 was adapted as a ground support plane, with up
to 14 .50s firing forward. Such a plane would fire as much
of its ammo as possible on every mission. OTOH, the
defensive armament on heavy bombers would only be
fired if the plane was attacked by interceptors - not all
the time. (One could probably dig out figures for ammo
consumption by the heavy bomber groups - it could be
interesting, as it would give a pretty good insight into
the strength of enemy fighter opposition.)

Ground-based AA weapons fired a lot when engaged, though
in the last stages of the war that wasn't very often, I'd think.

The .50s on halftracks were mostly intended for defense,
rather than combat support, I think, but Idunno.

Gun-armed Jeeps did a lot of patrolling, skirmishing, and
recon including recon by fire.

Ammo usage by armored forces is another possible source
of insight. One could compare MG usage and main gun
usage.

However - it doesn't seem likely that there were more than 1.5M
.50s in service of all types; and 10B rounds would be 6,000
per gun. That's a lot. If a P-47 carried 200 rounds for each gun,
it would have to fly 30 missions, and use all ammo on each of
them to get to that amount. Strafing missions, maybe, not
air superiority missions.

Well, food for thought, I hope.
Bill Shatzer
2011-10-13 19:58:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
However - it doesn't seem likely that there were more than 1.5M
.50s in service of all types; and 10B rounds would be 6,000
per gun. That's a lot. If a P-47 carried 200 rounds for each gun,
it would have to fly 30 missions, and use all ammo on each of
them to get to that amount. Strafing missions, maybe, not
air superiority missions.
Well, food for thought, I hope.
Total .50 cal. MG production (all types) from 1940 through 1945 was 1.96
million. There would have been some additional numbers available from
pre-1940 production.

http://www.pt103.com/Browning_50_Cal_M2_History.html

I would rather think the vast majority was "in service" at one time or
another.
Shawn Wilson
2011-10-13 20:28:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
However - it doesn't seem likely that there were more than 1.5M
.50s in service of all types; and 10B rounds would be 6,000
per gun. That's a lot.
Actually it isn't. A rate of a thousand rounds per machine gun per
day is nothing. Not even two minutes of firing. If you want 100 days
supply readily available somewhere in the supply chain, that's 100,000
rounds per gun.

Heavy bombers could easily average expending 1000 rounds per sortie
(averaging a few where they expend everything with many where they
don't fire a shot). That's a million rounds for every thousand bomber
raid.

Fighters probably expend 1000 rounds per sortie on average as well,
and there were tens of thousands of fighters and probably millions of
sorties total.
Rich
2011-10-14 03:14:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Rich
Yep, just a few, 10,035-million (yes, that number is ten-thousand and
thirty-five ***million*** or 10,035,000,000) rounds during the
"war" (1 July 1940 - 31 August 1945).
Cite?? I'm sure you have a good source, but that seems
incredible.
U.S. War Production Board, Official Munitions Production of the United
States by Months, July 1, 1940 - August 31, 1945, Washington, D.C.:
War Production Board, May 1, 1947. :)

And, to save you asking, the citation for the expenditure by the
U.S.A.A.F. is U.S.A.A.F. Office of Statistical Control, Army Air
Forces Statistical Digest, NP: U.S.A.A.F. Office of Statistical
Control, December 1945.

So why is it "incredible"? Production for .45 caliber was 4,080-
million and .30 caliber was 25,014-million., while production of odd
calibers included 6.1-million og .60 caliber, 5.1-million of .455
caliber, 187-million of .38 caliber, 552-million of 9mm, 799-million
of 7.92mm, and 1,068-million of .303 caliber. :)
Post by Rich Rostrom
The bullets alone are over 40 grams each. 10 billion
such bullets would mass over 400 billion grams, or
400,000 tonnes of lead. The total U.S. lead supply
for 1941-1945 was 5,683,097 short tons (Bureau of
Mines stats), which is 2,580,126 tonnes.
Did 15% of all lead production go into .50 cal bullets alone?
Looks like...and probably about the same amount to make up the other
calibers. There is a reason that military small arms firing ranges at
sites under BRAC need to be remediated - there is literally tons of
lead leeching into the ground from the backstops.
Or, you could look at the expenditures for the U.S.A.A.F. I just gave.
Somewhere I think I have the Navy Department expenditures too, but
have to dig...I just moved so much of my stuff is still being found.
Post by Rich Rostrom
A bit over 1M .50 cal guns were mounted in US aircraft of
all types.
<SNIP>

There were 1,453,779 M2 Aircraft, 50 M3 Aircraft, 79,498 M2 W/C AA
(fixed & flexible), 350,517 M2 A/C HB (fixed & flexible), and 79,681
M2 W/C (turret type) produced.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Infantry use may have been more limited - one to each
heavy weapons company in a battalion or regiment.
A typical US division had about 240 .50s for AA and 90
"heavy machine guns".
The M2 HB in the Heavy Weapons Company was at Company HQ in the Admin
Group and was mounted on the 3/4-ton Truck for AA defense. There was
also one M2 HB in each Rifle Company Weapons Platoon HQ mounted on a
1/4-ton Truck for the same purpose, as well as one each in the Rifle
Battalion A&P Platoon HQ (on a 1 1/2-ton Truck) and the AT Platoon HQ
(on a 1/4-ton Truck, so six total in the Rifle Battalion, all for AA
defense. In the Infantry Regiment there was one M2 HB for each AT
Platoon (3 total), one each the Cannon Platoon (3), ten in Service
Company, one with the I&R Platoon, and one in the Regimental HQ Admin
Group, so 18+(3x6)=36 for each Infantry Regiment.
Post by Rich Rostrom
So only about 33,000 with the ground troops.
(That's a surprise. But the .50 was really too heavy for
infantry use.)
There were also 22 M2 W/C and 32 Quad tralier mounts in each AAA AW
Battalion (Mobile), 5 M2 W/C and 32 Quad trailer mounts in each AAA AW
Bn (Semi-Mobile), and 32 Quad and 32 Twin SP mounts and 22 M2 W/C in
each AAA AW Battalion (SP)...nominally at least, the actual
organization varied quite a bit by period and theater. The AAA Gun
Battalions also had them, 39 single and 16 Quad trailer mounts in the
Mobile BN and 14 single and 16 Quad trailer mounts in the Semi-Mobile
BN.

<SNIP>
Post by Rich Rostrom
Well, food for thought, I hope.
Yep, as I said, a heck of a lot. :)
David H Thornley
2011-10-14 11:32:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
The bullets alone are over 40 grams each. 10 billion
such bullets would mass over 400 billion grams, or
400,000 tonnes of lead. The total U.S. lead supply
for 1941-1945 was 5,683,097 short tons (Bureau of
Mines stats), which is 2,580,126 tonnes.
You've got a figure or conversion wrong here. A short ton
is 2000 pounds, while a metric ton (megagram) is about
2204. Therefore, 5.6 million short tons is about 5.1 million
metric tons, about twice what you've got there. (Did you
use 1000 pounds for a short ton?)
--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
Rich Rostrom
2011-10-14 16:17:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by David H Thornley
You've got a figure or conversion wrong here.
You're right. Somewhere I got the idea that a "ton"
is 2,000 lbs, a "long ton" is 2,240 pounds (20
hundredweights), and a "short ton" is 1,000 pounds.

So the lead supply was 5.2M tonnes, and the .50
cal bullets used up 7%-8% of that.
WaltBJ
2011-10-30 01:13:32 UTC
Permalink
Service life of ammo? I've got some unfired 45 ACP dated 1942. Yes, I
have had a dud or two out of a box of 50. Not bad for 68 year old ammo
The big problem is the chlorate primers which means I 'boil' the
pieces of the piece after firing. My 1945 M1 carbine ammo has non-
corrosive primers, fortunately.
US miitary ammo is pretty well weather-proofed. Come to think of it,
we were using some WW2 ordnance in Vietnam.

Walt BJ
The Horny Goat
2011-11-19 15:31:52 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 14 Oct 2011 12:17:53 -0400, Rich Rostrom
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by David H Thornley
You've got a figure or conversion wrong here.
You're right. Somewhere I got the idea that a "ton"
is 2,000 lbs, a "long ton" is 2,240 pounds (20
hundredweights), and a "short ton" is 1,000 pounds.
So the lead supply was 5.2M tonnes, and the .50
cal bullets used up 7%-8% of that.
I've always just thought of a metric ton as being 1.1 tons - it's not
but good enough for an 'in your head approximation'!

Mario
2011-10-12 22:04:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim H.
Strictly a guess, mostly thinking aloud... the US must have a
made a
_whole_ lot of .50 cal ammunition. At 6-8 guns per fighter,
10 or so per heavy bomber, AA mounts on assorted vehicles &
small craft, etc., there would have been tremendous demand
right up to the end of the
war, even after V-E day There must have been enormous
stockpiles stateside, in rear areas, and in transit. I don't
know if they buried
or dumped any in the ocean. I'm sure the production stats
are somewhere online, but I've no idea of where to start
looking.
The wars we've fought or supplied since have been relatively
small, and the .50 hasn't been used in nearly so many roles or
in such large
numbers since WWII ended. So I think I can believe that we
have left- overs, tho' I'm surprised that ammo that old is
still in use, even for training.
Jim H.
Vietnam war consumed a lot of material.
--
H
Jim H.
2011-10-13 15:08:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mario
Post by Jim H.
Strictly a guess, mostly thinking aloud... the US must have a made a
_whole_ lot of .50 cal ammunition. At 6-8 guns per fighter,
10 or so per heavy bomber, AA mounts on assorted vehicles &
small craft, etc., there would have been tremendous demand
right up to the end of the
war, even after V-E day There must have been enormous
stockpiles stateside, in rear areas, and in transit. I don't
know if they buried
or dumped any in the ocean. I'm sure the production stats
are somewhere online, but I've no idea of where to start
looking.
The wars we've fought or supplied since have been relatively
small, and the .50 hasn't been used in nearly so many roles or
in such large
numbers since WWII ended. So I think I can believe that we
have left- overs, tho' I'm surprised that ammo that old is
still in use, even for training.
Jim H.
Vietnam war consumed a lot of material.
--
H
I know. I was there. It was still a very small war compared to
WWII. And it used both a smaller percentage, and much smaller number,
of .50 caliber weapons.

Jim H.
Mario
2011-10-13 17:56:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim H.
Post by Mario
Post by Jim H.
Strictly a guess, mostly thinking aloud... the US must have
a made a
_whole_ lot of .50 cal ammunition. At 6-8 guns per
fighter, 10 or so per heavy bomber, AA mounts on assorted
vehicles & small craft, etc., there would have been
tremendous demand right up to the end of the
war, even after V-E day There must have been enormous
stockpiles stateside, in rear areas, and in transit. I
don't know if they buried
or dumped any in the ocean. I'm sure the production stats
are somewhere online, but I've no idea of where to start
looking.
The wars we've fought or supplied since have been
relatively small, and the .50 hasn't been used in nearly so
many roles or in such large
numbers since WWII ended. So I think I can believe that we
have left- overs, tho' I'm surprised that ammo that old is
still in use, even for training.
Vietnam war consumed a lot of material.
I know. I was there. It was still a very small war compared
to WWII. And it used both a smaller percentage, and much
smaller number, of .50 caliber weapons.
I was thinking to air bombardments.

I found this data:
<http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Total_number_of_bombs_dropped_by_us_during_a_World_War_1_b_World_War_2_c_Korean_War_d_Vietnam_War>

Answers.com > Wiki Answers > Categories > History, Politics &
Society > History > War and Military History > World War 2 >
Total number of bombs dropped by us during a World War 1 b
World War 2 c Korean War d Vietnam War?

Answer:

Approximate total ALLIED aerial bomb dropping tonnage:

1. WW1- 16,000 tons

2. WWII- 2.7 million tons (US dropped 1,613,000 tons)

3. Korean War-678,000 tons

4. Vietnam War-7.8 million tons



Regarding .50 ammo, I think you are right. As others wrote, in
WW2 most of .50 ammo was used by airplanes, that in Vietnam
didn't use them anymore.


If they made 10 billions cartriges, and used half a billion,
that means 9.5 billions were still there. I suppose part had
been sold to other countries.


I am wondering why they made so many of them: 20 times those
used.
--
H
e***@yahoo.com.au
2011-11-05 15:20:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim H.
On Oct 11, 6:48 pm, "Malcom \"Mal\" Reynolds" <atlas-
Strictly a guess, mostly thinking aloud... the US must have a made a
_whole_ lot of .50 cal ammunition. At 6-8 guns per fighter, 10 or so
per heavy bomber, AA mounts on assorted vehicles & small craft, etc.,
there would have
If the US actually had to defend itself against bomber streams it
would've used 20mm rounds, which at least had a self destruct to
protect civilians.
Alan Nordin
2011-11-06 04:40:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
If the US actually had to defend itself against bomber streams it
would've used 20mm rounds, which at least had a self destruct to
protect civilians.
The only use made by the US of 20 mm AA was by the US Navy, who didn't
need self destructing rounds since misses fell in the ocean.

One of the reasons the US Army specifically decided against using 20
mm AA was the non-self destruct shell, the other {and main reason}
being the theaters were satisfied with the 40mm and .50 cal in the AA
role.

Now, what use are you referring to?

Alan
Michele
2011-11-08 15:50:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Nordin
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
If the US actually had to defend itself against bomber streams it
would've used 20mm rounds, which at least had a self destruct to
protect civilians.
The only use made by the US of 20 mm AA was by the US Navy, who didn't
need self destructing rounds since misses fell in the ocean.
One of the reasons the US Army specifically decided against using 20
mm AA was the non-self destruct shell, the other {and main reason}
being the theaters were satisfied with the 40mm and .50 cal in the AA
role.
Now, what use are you referring to?
Presumably to a hypothetical use where the USA have to defend themselves
against massed air bombing.

But anyway, the claim above sounds like a false problem spiked with
inaccuracy.

The inaccuracy is stating that 20mm rounds came with a self-destruct device
as a matter of fact. They _could_ have such a device; not all 20mm rounds
had it. Specifically, not all 20mm rounds produced in Germany had it.

The false problem is with the self-destruction to protect civilians. Sure,
20mm rounds could "self-destruct" - in the sense that they exploded in the
air after a couple of seconds of flight even if they hit nothing. Because,
of course, 20mm rounds were mostly explosive; 12.7mm rounds mostly were not.
Now, the purpose of the explosion of a 20mm round is to throw around
fragments inside an aircraft. fragments that are big enough to cause serious
damage to the aircraft; if on explosion the 20mm rounds magically
disappeared, that would be self-defeating. So the "self-destruction" of a
20mm round didn't make it disappear; it turned it into a number of smaller
but still potentially harmful fragments.

If that happened in the air, of course the fragments would fall. Given the
height of the average air-to-air engagement, they'd reach terminal velocity.
And if a civilian was stupid enough to be out in the open during an air
raid, they could hurt him if they fell straight on his head - just like he'd
be hurt by the fall of a spent 12.7mm ball round.

Of course it still made sense for the Germans to have that
"self-destruction" setting in their 20mm rounds, not to protect civilians
but to protect property. If a live 20mm explosive round fell fuze first into
a tiled roof, it could cause significant damage. If only spent fragments
fell, they might break a tile or two - just the same damage that a spent
12.7mm ball would cause.
e***@yahoo.com.au
2011-11-09 06:33:01 UTC
Permalink
The 20mm round of the FLAK 30/38 self destructed after about 3.8
seconds.

The smaller an object the less kinetic energy then also the less
dangerous.

Shell fragements are less dangerous than a much larger bullet.

The smaller an object then the smaller its terminal velocity because
the drag to mass ratio is less. Hence also less dangeous.
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