Military Review

First armament on airplanes

History development aviation weapons began from a rather unpleasant moment. So, according to the Hague Convention of 1907, all types of aviation weapons were banned. All aviation activity at that time was limited to adjusting ground artillery firing and reconnaissance of remote fortifications and enemy positions. Eight years earlier, in the 1899 year, the Hague Convention imposed a fundamental constraint on the development and use of small-caliber automatic guns. In particular, the firing of explosive shells was allowed only from guns with caliber 37 mm and above, and the weight of the combat charge was to be at least 410 gr. In Russia and several other countries, a projectile having a weight less than 410 gr. Was considered a bullet, up to 16,4 kg. - a grenade, and from above - a bomb. After 1914, in most countries, the projectile and the bullet began to be distinguished by the type of plunging into the grooves made in the bore, and not by weight. So, the bullet hit the shell, and the projectile leading belt.

First armament on airplanes

In 1913, the engineers Soline and Schneider patented a new synchronous machine-gun drive scheme, which made it possible to strengthen the machine gun on the fuselage directly next to the cabin and fire through the plane, outside the screw zone. However, this innovation was not implemented then.

Immediately at the beginning of the First World War, most of the aircraft of the warring countries did not have machine guns on combat weapons. At the same time, the very first days of the war showed how necessary it is to arm planes for air combat and attack ground targets.

Of course, when choosing weapons for aircraft, the most effective was the installation on aircraft of army machine guns and light machine guns of caliber 7-8 mm. Initially, during the 1914-1915 period, these machine guns were mounted on airplanes without making changes. Later, during the 1915-1916 period, army machine guns were slightly modernized before installation. So, in manual machine guns instead of the original wooden butt was installed one or two handles. The air flow during the flight cooled the body of the machine gun much better than on the ground. With this in mind, it was decided to abandon water cooling in aircraft machine guns. Most of the aviation machine guns, as a rule, were equipped with sleeve catchers.

Modernized aircraft machine guns were installed on the turrets for firing in the rear hemisphere of an aircraft with a pulling propeller and in the front hemisphere using a pushing propeller, as well as provided that there are two or more engines.

For firing on top of the screw the shooter was forced to stand on the seat in order to reach the machine gun set at height. It is clear that this was extremely inconvenient, and from 1915, this method of shooting was replaced by machine guns, firing through the screw. In February, the French army pilot Lieutenant Garrot first used the 1915 in the form of a triangular prism made of steel and mounted on the propeller blades with an angle of 45 ° at the intersection of the blade line with the barrel of the machine gun. In this case, the machine gun was installed in such a way that the bullets in firing fell only on the established edges of the steel triangles and did not pierce the screw. Of course, from this innovation, along with the advantages, there were a lot of disadvantages. Thus, the useful power of the screw was reduced by 10%, a large number of bullets did not reach the goal, but at the same time, the main goal was achieved - the machine gun could fire through the screw. This was a revolutionary step, which allowed the French to dominate German aircraft in the first time after the introduction of a new method of firing.

During the 18 air battle on April 1915, the fighter Garro was hit by anti-aircraft fire and was forced to land at the rear of the German army. The Germans removed weapons from the French aircraft and immediately transferred it to their designer Anthony Fokker for a thorough examination. After 10 days, Fokker proposed to install a synchronizer for firing through a screw. In the new version of the synchronization mechanism was the link between the shaft of the engine and the trigger set machine gun. As a result, was produced only in the absence of a screw blade in front of the barrel of a machine gun. Of course, while at 30%, the rate of fire decreased, but all the bullets sent reached the target.

In Russia, the first aeronautical synchronizer was designed and manufactured by Lieutenant of the Russian Army GI Lavrov in the autumn of 1915. The first fighters on which Lavrov's synchronizers were installed were the S-16 designer Sikorsky. Since April, 1916, they installed Vickers machine guns with a new synchronizer. Later in the Russian army began to equip the American machine guns Colt system. As a protective weapon on the C-16 used Madsen light machine gun model 1900 of the year.

Unlike foreign armies, the Russian machine guns, which were mounted on airplanes, were not altered. The same Vickers was installed with water cooling. The rate of firing machine guns Vickers and Colt was about 500 rounds per minute, and Madsen - 400. In Vickers and Colt, the supply of cartridges was tape, and in Madsen - shop supply, with a capacity of 25 cartridges. These machine guns, as well as 7,62-mm domestic Maxim with water cooling for a long time remained the main armament of aviation of the Russian army.

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  1. Alex
    Alex 24 June 2014 10: 34
    Nice article, thanks.