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herman2
01-04-2010, 02:33 PM
Re: Article below
So I was wondering if anyone can tell me first of all, if it was the Germans or the English who used the tracers and how long they continued the practice . If the tracers were so inaccurate then I really donít understand why the air force used them in the first place. I really donít believe this article is accurate. I am sure the use of tracers had more advantages than disadvantages?I am sure that engineers with PHD's developed the idea of tracers for a reason and 80% miss rate seems a bit hard to beleive!~:neutral:
http://www.5ad.org/AmazingFacts.htm
It was a common practice on fighter planes to load every 5th found with a tracer round to aid in aiming. That was a mistake. The tracers had different ballistics so (at long range) if your tracers were hitting the target, 80% of your rounds were missing. Worse yet, the tracers instantly told your enemy he was under fire and from which direction. Worst of all was the practice of loading a string of tracers at the end of the belt to tell you that you were out of ammo. That was definitely not something you wanted to tell the enemy. Units that stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rate go down.

Deaf Smith
01-04-2010, 05:45 PM
Tracers at longer ranges do have different flight profiles, but at the closer ranges, 200 yards or so, they are quite close to POI.

As long as the pilot waited till he was close, then tracers were ok (and had some incendiary effect.)

And with the advent of the K-14 sight, tracers became unnecessary.

What was more wanting, at least to the USAAF, was more incendiary ammo, especially in the PTO.

Deaf

Munchausen
01-05-2010, 09:15 AM
Re: Article below
Worse yet, the tracers instantly told your enemy he was under fire and from which direction.
Granted but I think this undervalues the achievement of instantly putting the adversary on the defensive. If you're throwning rounds downrange, that's half the job right there. The other half is putting them where you want them, obviously. The fact that he knows can work in your favour. You could flush him into your wingman's arc of fire, for instance.

Worst of all was the practice of loading a string of tracers at the end of the belt to tell you that you were out of ammo. That was definitely not something you wanted to tell the enemy. Units that stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rate go down.
I don't think this would be as bad as lining up your foe and finding that your out of ammo. Sure it would be better if some boffins came up with an accurate ammo counter, which I'm sure they did by now. But as a pilot, your situational awareness should be at its peak in combat which usually means that your distracted from counting off rounds. So some cue must be devised in order to stridently communicate this important detail when it arises.

forager
01-14-2010, 08:48 PM
Tracers work in both directions.
They were the 5th round in every MG belt I ever saw.
I don't know if that is still true.
They are quite useful in ground applications, but the bad guys also see where they're coming from.

Saxon
01-15-2010, 08:01 AM
It was a common practice on fighter planes to load every 5th found with a tracer round to aid in aiming. That was a mistake. The tracers had different ballistics so (at long range) if your tracers were hitting the target, 80% of your rounds were missing. Worse yet, the tracers instantly told your enemy he was under fire and from which direction. Worst of all was the practice of loading a string of tracers at the end of the belt to tell you that you were out of ammo. That was definitely not something you wanted to tell the enemy. Units that stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rate go down.

I read that RAF pilots were 'religious' about loading tracers. Each pilot would request his own exact preference for what colour/type tracer in what sequence.

Most RAF pilots would have a particular colour to indicate when they were ALMOST out of ammo, on that particular weapon. So the German pilots had no idea what tracer indicated that, and even if they did, they wouldn't know how much ammo the RAF plane had left (10%? 25%) and even if they knew that he's almost out of 20mm, it doesn't mean the plane doesn't have plenty of .303 MG left. And then there's the RAF pilots wingman...

Most dogfights in WW2 took place at ranges of under 300yds, so I doubt the trajectory of tracer rounds would differ enough - from regular rounds - to hamper aim, as you pointed out. I would think in stressful confusing dogfights, tracers would assisit more than harm accuracy.

Therefore, I am very sceptical that units that abandoned tracers doubled their success rate. Very sceptical.


Saxon