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Old October 22, 2010, 11:27 PM   #51
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In my humble opinion the real magic of the .50BMG is not blowing stuff (or living critters) to tiny pieces (or a red mist). It's the incredibly high B.C. and all that comes with it.
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Old October 22, 2010, 11:42 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by Mike Irwin
The Germans also had very capable artillery, in many cases equal to or better than US artillery. US artillery held no special fears for them.
While the German artillery was at least as good as if not better than the American during WWII, US forces did have something in the later stages of the war that the Axis did not. That something was the proximity fuse. It was absolutely devastating when used against infantry in open areas. In that situation the proximity fuse was considerably more effective than the impact and timed fuses which had been around for decades prior to its development.

The Germans did indeed fear the American artillery and for good reason.
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Old October 23, 2010, 12:11 AM   #53
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........somewhere long enough to shoot it regularly
well try the army LOL just kidding

there was always opportunity in the Army because the m2 was so heavy that soldiers few soldiers wanted the hassle of lugging it in and out of trucks ect...

I was always ready for the crew served weapons specially the m2. I can still hear the chuggachuggachuggga
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Old October 23, 2010, 12:37 AM   #54
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In my humble opinion the real magic of the .50BMG is not blowing stuff (or living critters) to tiny pieces (or a red mist). It's the incredibly high B.C. and all that comes with it.
I will have to disagree with this statement to the same extent that I agree. YES there are some BMG rounds out there with high BCs that top 1.0 perhaps even 1.1 and those BCs might be the highest of any readily available bullet on the general market; BUT considering the size of the bore, those #s don't completely impress me.

Correct me if I'm wrong, I am No expert, but in general the bigger the diameter of a perfect sperical ball of the same density the higher its BC will be. If I apply this line of thought to a .510 bore than I think its not that impressive to get the BCs we see in BMG ammo.
I think perhaps the BCs are limited by the maximum practical weight of the bullets.
I will even theorize further to say that IF a cartridge similar to the 416 barret were to have been invented some 90 or so years ago in place of the 50bmg than by this point we would probably have some custom built rifles out there designed to chamber Very long .416 bullets with weights in the mid 4xx grain range and BCs significantly higher than anything we currently see today.

Please don't misunderstand, I am not trying to knock the 50bmg, I'm a fan. I'm just a little tired, a little drunk (sorry) and I felt like having a short rant about how it seems there is a lack of super high BC bullets available for large bore rifles comparted to the very high (for caliber) BCs that we see in the smaller calibers.
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Old October 23, 2010, 01:25 AM   #55
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Unless the History Channel is of their programs reported that
the temporary wound cavity of the Big 50 is larger than the human body is wide.
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Old October 23, 2010, 01:38 AM   #56
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Mike Irwin, I have to disagree...

... the Germans did have significant fear of our artillery, as well as our armor - even though their equipment was superior to ours.

They really feared our trucks and jeeps even more.

The reason they feared our gear was not that it was better, on an individual level - it's that there was so much more of it, and much faster resupply to keep our numeric superiority going strong.

The Germans had better artillery, but couldn't make enough ordnance for it.

The Germans had much better tanks, but couldn't keep them in fuel or spare parts.

The Germans had better aircraft, at first; even later in the war, their planes didn't give up much to the P-51 or P-47. But they couldn't make enough, as the war went on.

And most of their supply lines, once off trains, were run via horse-drawn carts. They simply didn't have enough trucks.

More powerful or better doesn't help if there just isn't enough of it.

The Germans were not awed by the quality of our artillery, but you can read any number of interviews where German officers said they were in awe of the sheer volume of shelling our forces could keep raining down on them.
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Old October 23, 2010, 03:45 AM   #57
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Deepcore is absolutley right!!!! the cavitation caused by the hydrostatic shock is wider than the human body.....
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Old October 23, 2010, 06:39 AM   #58
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"They really feared our trucks and jeeps even more."

I sincerely doubt the average German combat soldier "feared" our trucks and jeeps because they had little to no ability to kill them. German high command feared the US ability to mass produce weapons of war, but that's not what we're talking about here.

You're missing the point, MLeake.

Of course the Germans feared US artillery, they (just as our troops did) feared ANYTHING we had that could kill them.

What happens, though, is that when an army doesn't have an equivalent weapon to something the enemy has (the M2 for the Americans, the MG42 for the Germans), those items taken on quasimythical characteristics and there's more than a certain amount of dread associated with facing them.

Direct comparisons can't be made, so through rumor and gossip the item starts starts to be imbued with characteristics that it doesn't have, and legend based on fear develops around it.

"Hey Hans, that's an Amerikaner M2! It can shoot through 950 Nazis, and if the bullet passes within 5 feet of you, your head will exploden!"

It is, essentially, a fear of the unfamiliar and the unknown.

"Unless the History Channel is wrong"

Gee, that would NEVER happen!
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Old October 23, 2010, 06:51 AM   #59
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They really feared our trucks and jeeps even more.
A good point that is often overlooked. Our logistics and production capacity brought material where it was needed. The most dangerous Allied aircraft was the C-47, speaking strategically!

But I feel that this:

even though their equipment was superior to ours
Is a generalization based on superlatives, not overall ability. Yes, their Panther was better than a Sherman in a one on one duel. Shermans had better overall build quality, and panthers had suspension problem If I recall. Tigers were better than Shermans, but Tigers were so heavy they were defensive weapons used by an Army that was made famous for it's offense. The Mauser was a fine rifle that served well as a main battle rifle. The M1 rifle was a marked improvement for a battle rifle and did the same job better overall. The kubelwagen was a good light command truck; the jeep was better. The MG 42 was a fearsome machine gun. The M2 was it's superior in all but portability. The bf109 was a great design that was actually versatile enough to be re-designed during the war. It was also a pre-war obsolescent design that necessitated that redesign. The FW-190 was a great plane. The Spitfire traded superiority back and forth with it as each was up-revved. By comparison, the P-51 was a better design than the bf109 in almost any category. i suppose that will prompt a "Schmued was a German" comment but I have parried that one easily many times! Schmued was an American and merely the chief designer. The list goes on

So it really depends on what aspect of the 'thing's' design you're talking about. It rankles a little that it's so accepted that Germany made superior things just because they were German, but it's a common perception. In some things yes, the German item was superior. In other, it was the American item. The Soviets felt that the best thing to ever come from America was the Studebaker truck!

back on topic, I am very curious now about testing one shot from a BMG (and at what range) versus what the US military expects in terms of how many strikes the weapon is expected to make against that same target: do they assume one bullet hits, or three? Ten?

In the aircraft application, the guns were angled inboard slightly to converge the bullet paths, chewing up even an armored aircraft target with multiple hits from multiple guns. Documented instances of P-51s with only one MG firing exist, with the result of a downed bf109. At the same time, the Germans relied on cannon. While it would be foolish for me to suggest that means one BMG does the job of one cannon, it does illustrate the potential of the BMG against an aerial target

This is a pretty interesting discussion
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Old October 23, 2010, 06:55 AM   #60
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I've never heard such mythical qualities...

... being lent to the M2.

They are kind of fun to shoot, I'll give them that. Although, honestly, I liked the M240G better. Nowhere near as much power, but in my very limited experience (IE a couple fam-fires) I found that it was really nice to be able to look through a peep sight, and put the first round of each burst dead center on target, as opposed to walking the dust or water puffs into the target.

What I do find neat about the M2 is that it's still in common use, despite having been designed by a guy who started designing guns in the 19th century.

Kind of like I thought it was pretty neat that the A4 Skyhawk, which flew into the 80's as a warplane, and early 2000's as a trainer, was designed by Lord Thomas Sopwith, of WWI Flying Camel and Scout fame.
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Old October 23, 2010, 07:21 AM   #61
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Here is an idea a 45-70 will put a dent in the surface of this steel plate about an 1/8” deep. A 50 bmg will pass right through the one inch steel plate after going through an 8” diameter Oak tree and over 3’ deep into a red clay embankment on the other side.

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Old October 23, 2010, 07:22 AM   #62
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It was designed for taking down Zeppelins,balloons and planes,it isn't no .22.
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Old October 23, 2010, 07:59 AM   #63
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"It was designed for taking down Zeppelins,balloons and planes,it isn't no .22. "

No, no it wasn't.

It was, like many other heavy machine guns of the time, designed primarily as a way of dealing with the new tanks and other mechanized vehicles that were making an appearance on the battlefield.
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Old October 23, 2010, 11:25 AM   #64
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One reason Ma Duece was so "feared"...

Is that we put them on everything that could physically carry them. Planes, tanks, trucks, halftracks, scout cars, even jeeps (although a .30 was more common on jeeps).

One huge advantage we had during the war was that our industrial base was secure from attack. Another was its sheer size. Although it took nearly two years, when the US was fully ramped up as the "Arsenal of Democracy" only the Soviets came close to matching our production, and then, only in a few areas (like numbers of tanks), but they could do that because of the support they were getting from us.

When you look at the amount of material we send them as aid, you can see that allowed them to use their own resources for other things. When you are getting a lot of your trucks from someone else, that means those factories can make tanks, for example.

The Germans had some fine engineers (although they did suffer from tunnel vision alot), and a very, very capable industry. However, to balance this, they also had the Nazi regime, which often forced their industry down exactly the wrong road at critical times.

When you consider the size of pre war Germany (several of our states are larger), even looking at the amount of area they controlled at the height of their conquests, versus the size, and production capacity of the Allies, the fact that they kept the issue in doubt for so long is amazing.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old October 23, 2010, 06:28 PM   #65
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I still want to see a quad .50 in action before I kick the bucket. The brass that thing spits out alone is something to be in awe of.
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Old October 24, 2010, 12:25 AM   #66
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Everyone is scared of artillery.
American artillery was superior to that of any of the other WWII combatants. But that wasn't because the individual guns were superior. I do think the American 155mm was a better gun than any other similar gun. But we could have swapped that for a German 150mm or a Soviet 152mm and American artillery would still have been superior.

It was our ability at communication and our computers.
By the end of the war just about any American on the front with access to a phone or radio could call in accurate fire from dozens if not hundreds of guns.

Americans used mechanical computers that allowed them to be very accurate. without knowing the land and pre-plotting coordinates as the Germans on defense did. Basically they were rolls of paper that adjusted for range, altitude, and all of the other computations needed to put projectiles where they wanted them. All of those calculations had been done in the US by a bunch of human computers.

My point is that when the Germans were afraid of American artillery it wasn't any specific weapon such as the M114 155 mm that they were afraid of.
Not in the same way allied troops feared the German 88mm.

With the M2 machine gun it was that specific weapon that the Germans feared, not how well it was used.

Another weapon the Germans feared was the flying dustbin. The Churchill AVRE tank with the 290mm mortar. German command issued a destroy on sight order for those tanks. German soldiers were less than happy at the thought of 40 pounds or high explosive dropping in their laps.
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Old October 24, 2010, 08:58 AM   #67
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A friend that I work with spent time in the sand box and is now retired. He told me a story of how impressive HE thought the 50 BMG was.
He was setting on a hill top with a radio man waiting for a bad guy to show up that was selling munitions. They (?) didn’t want him killed (I have no idea why) just scared.
The bad gun showed up and they waited for the buyer to show up. As both got out of their cars they were told over the radio that they were the ones and to scare them.
At over 800 yards using a Barrett he put one round through the side of the car.
The buyer jumped in his car and took off and the seller ended up walking (10 miles +) back from ever he came from.
After several hours my friend went to check out the car and see if anything was left in it.
The car was empty but he noticed the entry and exit hole. He popped the hood and the engine was in pieces.
It was a front wheel drive V6 and it took one whole side off the motor and the crank was visible.
I had the pleasure of shooting 25 rounds through a M2 several years ago at Knob creek.
All I can say is PLEASE God PLEASE don’t ever let me be on the down range side of a 50.
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Old October 24, 2010, 09:48 PM   #68
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Nothing to add that has been said yet but..

A platoon once had shirts that read, "Heavy Machine Platoon, Professional Drive-by's since 1921"

Oh Yeah, and IIRC it is in the books as "2 inches of homogenious steel at 90 degrees"
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Old October 24, 2010, 10:49 PM   #69
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ChrisB and .44AMP.

The range was 150 yards, tilted downward at a SLIGHT....angle. As in a few degrees just to prevent a straight-back ricochet.

there was roughly 6 ball ammo hits on the one piece of iron, at least 2 inches apart. None did more than "dent" it and make a tiny dish.

We fired 3 API rounds at the same plate. 2 heavily dished and dented the back, the third actually popped a teeny bit of metal out the back, making a pinhole. I am not positive, but I suspicion that it hit where a ball round had already impacted.
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Old October 25, 2010, 11:29 PM   #70
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My experience with the power of an M2

involved chopping down 12 inch to 24 inch diameter teak trees outside our perimeter in Vietnam (1966).

About a dozen of us, manning a counter mortar flash base, became bored during the daytime (enemy confined their activities to hours of darkness, mostly). So, we took turns, during the day, with our M2, chopping down teak trees. It was a competition to see who could chop down the biggest tree with the fewest rounds. Usually took only 5 or 6 rounds (ball ammo) to get the job done.

Each shot would result in pieces of tree trunk about the size of a 6 to 8 foot long 2x4 splitting off and sailing 10 to 20 feet into the surrounding jungle! The final, felling shot would usually be at a 6 or 8 inch diameter fragment of the tree trunk stubbornly holding up the tree canopy. At 200 yards, or so, it was a challenge to hit that small a target, but Ma Deuce was up to it! It was a sight to see a teak tree (as tough as our American Bois de'Arc, but much taller, thicker tree) collapse to the ground.

We stayed in that location for 30 days, just 11 of us, 5 clicks from the nearest supporting position, and never were attacked by Viet Cong. Guess they respected a weapon that could chop down huge trees with 5 or 6 shots.

Oh, and we had M-16's, too.
Artillery lends dignity to what would otherwise be but a vulgar brawl.

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Old October 26, 2010, 12:29 AM   #71
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I've seen a Barrett 82 put a BMG round through a 9 inch poured concrete wall and still have enough energy to bury itself nearly halfway through the poured wall on the other side of the building. And that was from 600yds out.

Last edited by Borch; October 26, 2010 at 04:31 AM.
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Old October 26, 2010, 02:54 AM   #72
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See. the 50 really will explode you....not complete pink mist...but pop your torso right in half..
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Old February 14, 2013, 11:25 PM   #73
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This is what my 82a1 will do to a deer at 104 yards. Shot placement was bad but that's what happens when you shoulder fire a monster like this. I did it to say I can and now it is retired as a deer rifle. What the video shows is the gut wound from the cavitation and the exit wound. The entry wound was about .50 so the comments that they leave huge entry wounds is false. The bullet was never closer that 4 inches from the belly yet it split it clean open. The exit wound hit the rear hip bone mostly destroying everything. The deer moved about 3 to 4 feet. I'm sure it was just the recoil from the bullet.
WARNING WARNING WARNING. Blood guts and gore.
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Old February 17, 2013, 06:27 AM   #74
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A .50 bmg is so powerful, even if you get shot in your little finger, your whole hand will hurt.
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Old February 17, 2013, 11:28 AM   #75
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Hunter Guy, SOP for a quad-.50 was two at a time. That let the two loaders keep up. The "can" for each gun held two 105-round belts.

If the solenoids are properly set, they can run about 450 rounds per minute. The shooter saying (or thinking), "Fire a burst of six," holds for them, just as with a .30.
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