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Thread: The Italian aircraft armament.

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  1. #1
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    Default The Italian aircraft armament.

    Probably the less know of all the aircraft armament of WW2. This is a topic that I had in my mind for a while, now after collecting some good info I think I am in the conditions to provide a good topic.

    And you know all my my topics are excellent so...


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    Default Re: The Italian aircraft armament.

    The FIAT M1928.

    The Fabrica Italiana Automobile Torino ( italian Torino car factory) is one of the Europes biggest car industries and it was in the ww1 one of Italy main suppliers of ground based and aviation machineguns, mostly the design of Revelli.

    After the great war the FIAT created in 1926 a subsidiary devoted exclusively to the machineguns, that was the Societa Anonima Fabrica Armi Torino, or anonymous society Torino guns factory, mostly know as its abreviated S.A.F.A.T designation.



    The first aircraft machinegun produced by the S.A.F.A.T was the M1928, this is a scaled up variant of the infantry light M1926, with a belt fed and increased rate of fire.

    However its main change was the adoption of the 8 mm Fiat cartrigde instead the usual M1891 6,5 mm ammunition.
    Worth to mention that the "8mm FIAT" designation was in fact a fancy name for the 7,7x56R, no other than the british .303 cartrigde, both types were completely interchangeable.

    The M1928 was installed in some biplane fighters of the late 1920s and early 1930s, but proven unrealible ( sometimes the case was fractured and parts remains left in the chamber !) and difficult to synchronizate so it was replaced by the better Breda designs.

    Fiat S.A.F.A.T M1928.

    Caliber: 8 mm Fiat.

    Type of action: mechanically delayed blowback.

    Charging: manually by wire.

    Rate of fire: no less than 720 rpm.

    Lenght: 1250 mm

    Weight: 16.5 kg unloded

    Muzzle velocity: 745 mps.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The Italian aircraft armament.

    FIAT light machinegun mechanism:

    This drawing of the internal components inside the infantry M1926 help to understand the delayed blowback mechanism in the M1928 MG, wich was basically the same.


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    Default Re: The Italian aircraft armament.

    Breda S.A.F.A.T 7,7 mm MG.



    The italian air force was by late 1920 clearly aware of the limitations of its late Fiat designed Mgs, in order to solve that problem it launched a specification for a new aircraft machinegun in 1929.

    Both Fiat and the Brescia based Breda factory responded the requeriments. but breda 7,7mm machinegun with Browning type of action proven more reliable and lighter.

    Disapointed with its failure to provide to the goverment the FIAT sold it weapons manufacture subsidiary to Breda. For that point and onwards the Breda aircrat machineguns were designated as Breda S.A.F.A.T guns.

    The Breda SAFAT 7,7 mm was a disintegable link belt fed, air cooled and recoil operated machinegun. After the trigger is depressed bolt and barrel recoiled togheters for 11 mm then the blot in disingaged by a cam milled in the receiver, opening the chamber, extracting, introducing a fresh cartrigde and repeating and the cycle again.

    The gun fired at closed bolt and with a lighter firing pin that the Brownings types, so it was very suitable for synchronizated mountings. Pneumatic charging was provided for wings mounting and some fuselage emplacements.
    It was also very popular as defensive machinegun in bombers and recce airplanes ip to 1942.

    Two views of the Breda S.A.F.A.T 7,7 mm side defensive emplacements in Fiat RS 14 recce seaplane. Note the neat layout wich included a roof mounted magazine and alluminium container for spent belt links.




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    Default Re: The Italian aircraft armament.

    Breda S.A.F.A.T 7,7mm, internal components, scans from the Spanish Air force handbook


























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    Default Re: The Italian aircraft armament.

    In Savoia Marchetti S-79 bomber.




    Wing emplacement, Reggiane Re-2001.



    Breda S.A.F.A.T 7,7mm in defensive turret, Breda Ba 88.



    Characteristics Breda S.A.F.A.T cal 7,7 mm

    Caliber : 7,7 mm Breda ( 7,7 x 56R)

    Type of action: short recoil, mascheroni muzzle booster.

    Rate of fire: 800-820 rpm ( 650-680 rpm in synchronizated emplacements)

    Lenght: 1190 mm

    weight 12,5 kg.

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    Default Re: The Italian aircraft armament.

    True, most MFG's of munitions did not consider the 12.7 or .50 cal projos to be worth the trouble of using an HE filling. this was flawed thinking, as in anti aircraft, and ground support roles this type of ammo would have been very helpful. There isnt alot to an airframe, or light skinned vehicle, so even a small amount of explosive could produce more damage than plain ball, or even incendiary.

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    Default Re: The Italian aircraft armament.

    Italians, japanese, Germans and Russian employed rifle calibre explosive ammunition during ww2. Incidentaly the modern Raufoss "mark 211" used by the US Army and USMC snipers in their 50 calibers rifles is also a explosive-incendiary with armor pirecing capabilities.

    The problem in ww2 was the fuze technology wich occupied a lot of space in the bullet leaving litttle to the explosive content.

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    Default Re: The Italian aircraft armament.

    Mauser MG 151/20

    One of the most bizarres topic of WW2 italian aircarft armament of how they failed to provide a 20mm gun. The Regia aeronautica purchased some Oerlikon "L" cannon in early 1930s for seaplanes, but just in small quantities.
    They have also two army/navy AAA full automatic guns, both chambered for the german 20x138B cartrigde; the Breda 20/65 and the Isotta-Fraschini (Scotti design) 20/70, however there were no attemps to convert that weapons in airborne guns.

    In lieu of a modern fast firing 20 mm cannon indigenous design for aircraft the italian purchased the Mauser reliable MG 151 and adapted it to several types of fighters.

    For detailed information on the MG 151/20 and its ammunition:

    http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/show...?t=4127&page=3

    http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/show...?t=4127&page=4


    Reggiane Re-2001 CN, 2 Mausers under wings.


    Reggiane Re-2005 2 x 20 mm Mauser in wings plus one in the engine.




    Servicing the starboard Mauser in a Fiat G-55.

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    Default Re: The Italian aircraft armament.

    -Long and short gun cover in Fiat G-55 of the ANR.

    - Squematic of engine and wing emplacement in Fiat G-56

    - 6 x MG 151 in project Fiat G-58









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    Default Re: The Italian aircraft armament.

    Breda dal 37/54



    This was the standard Italian close-range AA weapon used on larger ships during World War II. The guns used in the Model 1932 mountings were gas operated, water-cooled with a recirculating pump, but the others were air-cooled. The magazines held only six rounds, but it was possible to load them one after the other and thus maintain a high rate of fire.
    The adaptation for aircraft was first requested in 1941 and took place in 1942.

    A single Fiat BR 20 was equipped with a 37mm gun in a solid nose, it was designated BR 20Ca ( ca for Cannoncino, aircraft cannon) . More serious attemp took place in the Fiat Cansa C 20 and Savoia Marchetti SM 89 attack bombers, wich were designed to be the italian Henschel Hs-129s but faster and with better bomb load. The prototypes of this models first flew in 1940, however the 37mm armed variants did it in mid 1943 when the final was close for Italy and they only remained as a experimental airplanes.



    Last edited by Panzerknacker; 12-07-2008 at 09:32 AM.

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    Default Re: The Italian aircraft armament.

    Hello Panzerknacker, it is an excellent post that you made here, but I would like to bring a supplementary information has those that will read it, it is that all this beautiful weapons had a big default, them n' were not particularly efficient, because most suffered overheating and a lack cruel from rate of shooting, besides they were sensitive to their environment and stopped themselves easily. Yet their munitions were effective, but most these weapons endured old conception and especially of uselessly complicated breech mechanism. There is what I could bring you like information while hoping that it helps you a few more.
    Fred regards
    He who asks a question remains ignorant five minutes, who does not ask remains ignorant of his life.

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    Default Re: The Italian aircraft armament.

    Quote Originally Posted by fredl109 View Post
    Hello Panzerknacker, it is an excellent post that you made here, but I would like to bring a supplementary information has those that will read it, it is that all this beautiful weapons had a big default, them n' were not particularly efficient, because most suffered overheating and a lack cruel from rate of shooting, besides they were sensitive to their environment and stopped themselves easily. Yet their munitions were effective, but most these weapons endured old conception and especially of uselessly complicated breech mechanism. There is what I could bring you like information while hoping that it helps you a few more.
    Fred regards
    Wich weapons in particular you are talking about ? the 50 caliber breda is quated as a reliable machinegun in most sources.


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    Default Re: The Italian aircraft armament.

    Hello Panzerknacker, yes indeed it was relatively a good weapon, but its main default was that its munition was a lot less fast than one 12.7mm American and that the performance of its munition was also least, if the shell made well 12.7mm of diameter, on the other hand its length was least that the American munition and by lighter consequence. What caused less damages to the impacte.
    Fred regards
    He who asks a question remains ignorant five minutes, who does not ask remains ignorant of his life.

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    Default Re: The Italian aircraft armament.

    Less damage because the lower muzzle velocity ?, yes that is correct, but in my opinion it was not so important, M2 had 850 mps, and Breda ( and scotti) 12,7mm had 775 mps. The problem for the italian was they had only a pair of heavy machineguns of their fighters (sometimes complemented by 2 light machinegun), simply wasnt enough, remember the USAAF used at list 4 or 6 even 8 heavy machineguns and without synchronization in order not to dimish the rate of fire.


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