Posted 03 January 2012 - 10:40 PM
It's often said that the USN were the only fighter force in WW 2 to teach deflection gunnery. The statement presumably originates with some unique aspect of their training. I'm curious about what that might be.
The reason is that the statement is nonsensical. Most fighter forces used towed windsocks for gunnery practice. It's highly inadvisable to attempt a zero deflection shot on a towed target, the possibility of hitting the towing aircraft would be enormous!
Then there's the design of the periods gunsights- they made allowance for deflection. In the British reflector sights those were referred as 'rings'; 'one ring deflection' ect. That can get confusing, though! The targets wingspan was physically dialled in on one ring, range on another. The 'ring' referred to was the glowing target reticule. Thus:
I've found a few references to training units. This one for the RAF Fighter Leader School, for instance:
But so far, nothing like a tactical publication or manual. My search fu is weak, can you guys help?
Posted 04 January 2012 - 01:31 PM
Posted 04 January 2012 - 01:54 PM
I don't think it's quite 'twaddle', just posters on a number of boards not familiar with the concepts involved. I think either the design of USN fighters or some aspect of their training has generated a belief that the USN were experts at deflection shooting. I'm curious about where the belief originated, not whether poster 'a' or 'b' has a handle on what's involved.
Meantime, can anyone think of some training asset the USN possessed that was unavailable to their Army colleagues or the Europeans?
Posted 05 January 2012 - 04:20 AM
I laughed so hard it hurts, because it brings to mind things ... other than deflection shooting for me! A "shaved twaddle" makes me think of things other than a near-miss in combat gunnery!
Posted 05 January 2012 - 10:28 AM
Posted 05 January 2012 - 03:56 PM
Posted 05 January 2012 - 10:33 PM
IMHO it appears to be;
a) The Irish who came up with the idea of a reflector gunsight,
The Germans who developed it and then didn't bother to introduce it till too late
c) The British who develop the first production versions
d) The Americans who perfect it and shoot everyone else.
I think we have been here before! Apart from, possibly the Irish getting the ball rolling!
Also, coming back to the other topic - surely it refers to the Orkneys
Famed for Eric Browns exploits with his Martlets at HMS Tern
Posted 06 January 2012 - 12:33 AM
(Flo tries to fake looking shocked...)
Posted 06 January 2012 - 04:32 AM
They also had a 12 barreled motor driven rotary aircraft machine gun.
Posted 07 January 2012 - 12:48 AM
Just what I've read guys...
Posted 07 January 2012 - 10:57 PM
Posted 10 January 2012 - 10:37 PM
AFAIK the US Navy studied the European air war very closely (ie self sealing tanks etc.).
So it would be reasonable for them to pick up on this "discovery" and do something about it.
John B. Lundstrom's book - The first team: Pacific naval air combat from Pearl Harbor to Midway ISBN-10:159114471X - comments on page 467 that; when dealing with nimble aircraft like the Zero, US navy pilots had to be taught to take snap shots whenever the opportunity permitted.
"Given the fast-paced. unpredictable nature of aerial combat, it often was impossible for the pilot to choose the type of attack or counter-attack he would make. Perhaps he lacked the initial altitude advantage or speed that would have vouchsafed him such latitude. The Navy's gunnery training with its emphasis on deflection shooting equipped its pilots to make successful attacks from almost any position relative to the target. Once the pilot began his run, he could base his estimate of target speed and deflection on his previous experience in making the four standard approaches. Because of this training, the target presented to him a recognisable aspect in his sights, and he could adjust his lead accordingly.
Given Zeros and other nimble enemy aircraft, the naval pilot most often had only a snap burst, full-deflection shot. He had to score with his first bullets or he might not have a second chance to shoot. Thus it was matter of â€œshooting from the hip," where skill in deflection shooting made most of the difference.
The pilots of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps were virtually the only fighter pilots trained from the beginning to utilize and regularly succeed in deflection
shooting. With the partial exception of the Imperial Japanese Navy, no other air forces during World War II taught their pilots how to make full deflection shots.
For the U.S. Army Air Forces, the Royal Air Force, the Luftwaffe, the Red Air Force, and all the rest, stem and head-on approaches with their minimal deflection angles comprised the primary attacks. Only a tiny minority of their pilots realized the potential of deflection shooting and taught themselves the techniques, usually after extensive combat experience."
Sounds like this is where the idea came from IMHO
Posted 11 January 2012 - 03:08 PM
Posted 11 January 2012 - 06:45 PM
That comment's pure tosh, though. (The RAF part.) It's not possible to train in stem or head on approaches against the aerial targets used by the RAF.
A towed target is too small for long range shooting. A head on attack would put both aircraft at risk of collision, a diving attack is potentially dangerous to the attacker and a zero or near zero deflection shot puts the tow at risk. It jars with the descriptions we've been hearing all last year of the RAFs' slashing attacks, too.
It reads like the USN fought the way they trained. The RAFs pre-war notions of area attacks against unescorted bombers turned out to be a cruel fantasy...
Posted 12 January 2012 - 06:10 PM
A 'one ring' deflection shot was roughly comparable to skeet station high 2, or low 5 in near level flight.
A 'three ring' was a near 90 degree deflection shot (or station 4)
Later the P-39/63 was modified with armor to be able to take hits from frangible 30 cal bullets and the pursuing a/c could shoot at a real fighter rather than a fabic sleeve.
I have a pic of my father's P-40 with a chunk of sleeve imbedded in the wheel fairing where he collided with it..
Posted 19 April 2012 - 05:00 AM
The Navy training BEFORE the WAR was for up to 90 degrees angle off. No other force was even remotely close at that time.
The Navy used to shoot at the moving shadow of the target plane on the water. That training was unique and very effective.
The sight you mention came along late in the war, '44 IIRC, and required at least two seconds of steady tracking after the range and aircraft type was dialed in. The sequence went something like this.
1. ID the Target and set the type on the site dial.
2. Twist the range knob until the target's wing span filled the outer ring on the reticule. In some planes this was located on the throttle handle. P-38/47/51 for sure.
3. Track the target while keeping the wing size setting right and the target centered for TWO WHOLE SECONDS.
3A. Some times you could see the sight "Settle down" or stop jiggling to know it was now tracking the target. Count "One thousand one-One thousand two.
4. Open fire.
There are degrees of deflection and you have to be careful what you are talking about. The Navy was so good at it that some of the Japs they shot down early in the war were at 90 degrees angle off. I have watched thousands of hours of gun camera film and have yet to see any Non Jap plane bursting into flames at 90 off.
Hope this helps.
Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:29 AM
Posted 19 April 2012 - 11:58 AM
Posted 19 April 2012 - 03:00 PM
Maybe he was describing a K-14 gyro sight, as you seem to assume, maybe he was describing an N-2A reflector, maybe even a Brit or Commonwealth sight; not unknown in P-40s of all marks?
Either way, there's no need to be so rude.
Before you try to patronise drgondog again, it might help you to know a wee bit of background. He is an aerodynamic engineer. His father was a distinguished pilot, a combat veteran flying Mustangs. He has actually flown a Mustang, with his father demonstrating some basic fighter manoeuvres in company.
So if he states that the USAAF taught deflection shooting, I'd consider that a verified fact, not mere opinion.
Or, to put it another way, your post following his wasn't just rude, it was embarrassing to read.
DrG, thanks for sharing that, mate. I'd love to see that photo!
Ricky, Edgar, from Neos post, that sounds like a continuation shoot, not a basic training tool. The 40's equivalent of post war/modern era towed, water borne targets? Useful for practising low level drills and anti surface tactics, less so as a method of teaching aerial gunnery...
Posted 19 April 2012 - 06:44 PM
Edited by Edgar Brooks, 12 May 2012 - 06:40 PM.
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