14/05/2021 at 15:23 #156332Sane MaxParticipant
My family were watching ‘Dunkirk’. I am doubly blessed – 3 daughters, and they all like a good movie regardless of what it’s about.
So youngest asked a question – ‘why don’t all those men with rifles shoot at the stuka? There’s a lot of them, wouldn’t it just possibly help?’
What’s the general answer? I know naff all about air warfare, but given how low and slow a stuka got, and given that it was diving AT them, so no need for deflection shooting, wouldn’t there be a fair chance of doing some harm?14/05/2021 at 17:03 #156337Stephen HolmesParticipant
The RAF considered 8 browning machineguns (1150 rounds per minute each) necessary to knock down enemy aircraft.
The bullet is the same as the PBI’s rifle, but you would need a lot of Tommies to match that volume of lead.
Light AA fire served more to hurry enemy aircraft and prevent them loitering over a target, there was little expectation of causing kills.
Only automatic weapons were provided with specialized AA sights.
Weird Fact: The Japanese service rifle (Arisaka) was issued with a crude anti-aircraft sight.14/05/2021 at 17:13 #156338Nathaniel WeberParticipant
I’m sure a freak bit of luck could happen (ground fire caused a lot of attrition), but infantry small arms then, mostly not automatic, probably aren’t gonna generate enough firepower to make it worth the risk to the troops, not to mention the nerve aspect of troops without cover standing and firing rather than hitting the deck.14/05/2021 at 17:48 #156341McKinstryParticipant
The ‘big sky, little airplane’ theory is usually pretty good except when enough stuff gets tossed into the air the opportunity for Murphy’s Law increases. When I was doing my Southeast Asian tour, I know pilots and crew used to refer to some fellow on the ground getting simply dumb lucky as a Golden BB.
Also the lower and slower the airframe getting shot at, the greater the effect of small arms. The US lost over 5,000 helicopters and the majority were not to traditional AAA.
The tree of Life is self pruning.14/05/2021 at 22:59 #156345
My understanding was that in the retreat to Dunkirk the BEF was cut off from a lot of its supplies: the ammunition that was available was redistributed to those troops defending the perimeter. The priority was getting people out, rather than delivering more ammo that would probably be lost, so most of the AA defence was from the RN off the coast and RAF inland. Once the army AA ran out of ammo it was ‘spiked’.
More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/16/05/2021 at 09:15 #156390MartinRParticipant
The answer to the OP is that, yes, there were drills for conducting AA fire with small arms with both rifles and LMGs. Whether anyone on the beaches at Dunkirk had the unit cohesion, inclination and surplus ammo to do this is anyone’s guess. It was recognised that it wasn’t going to be hugely effective, but plenty of planes were downed by SA fire in WW1. iirc 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment claimed to have downed two Argentinian jets in the Falklands with massed SLR and GPMG fire.
"Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke16/05/2021 at 12:50 #15639216/05/2021 at 16:17 #156397
Regardless of drill:
“As retreating units came into the perimeter, they were instructed to destroy vehicles and heavy equipment and in many cases, they were relieved of ammunition and automatic weapons by the rearguard soldiers to bolster the defender’s armoury.”
From here: http://dunkirk1940.org/index.php?&p=1_17
There’s the answer for your youngest. 😄
More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/17/05/2021 at 11:06 #156419
iirc 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment claimed to have downed two Argentinian jets in the Falklands with massed SLR and GPMG fire.
Since I have just been trawling through the excellent “Falklands — The Air War” by Burden, Draper, Rough, Smith and Wilton, I can fling in the factoid that two Argentine aircraft were downed by small-arms fire.
2 Para shot down a Pucara on 28 May 82; the pilot, Teniente Cruzado, ejected safely and was captured
Keith Mills’ RM detachment shot down a Puma at Grytviken on 03 Apr 1982; the crew were OK but 2 passengers were killed and others wounded.
Two out of 64 enemy aircraft destroyed may not seem a lot, but it is better than any of the British GBAD missiles. McKinstry’s point about lowness and slowness is borne out by the fact that neither small-arms shootdown was a fast jet.
[Edited to add…]
Having just had a gander at British losses, small arms are actually the best-performing air defence means the Argentines seem to have had. Of 8 air kills, the scores are Roland 1, Blowpipe 1, Pucara 1, 35mm AAA 2, and small-arms 3, bagging two Gazelles and a Harrier (although the Harrier was a long kill; Sqn Ldr Jerry Pook was eventually forced to bail out because a bullet had caused a fuel leak). Again, small arms do better than any of the GBAD missiles.
All the best,
John.17/05/2021 at 15:02 #156435Darkest Star GamesParticipant
Well, we know AKs can shoot down planes. In January of 1968 a pair of North Vietnamese AN-2 biplanes were knocked down when they attacked the secret Lima Site 85 TACAN radar in Laos. One one shot down by a Thai guard as it dove in to attack and the other was shot down when a UH-1 helo delivering supplies caught up to it and a crewman hosed it with an Ak-47. Probably some of the most rare aerial victories in history.
"I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."17/05/2021 at 16:00 #156439Sane MaxParticipant
all very interesting stuff – ‘they could have, might have worked but a long shot – but most of them had almost no ammunition’ – good general answer?17/05/2021 at 19:43 #156447MartinRParticipant
A brief google reveals that the Luftwaffe mounted almost 4,000 sorties over Dunkirk, and lost 100 aircraft, so presumably someone was shooting them down. I am sure that between them 300,000 soldiers might have managed to hit the odd plane with small arms.
Interestingly, the bulk of the 120 Stukas lost overall were lost to ground fire – ‘low and slow’.
"Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke17/05/2021 at 19:57 #156448
all very interesting stuff – ‘they could have, might have worked but a long shot – but most of them had almost no ammunition’ – good general answer?
A small and evil voice in my head is suggesting the anachronistic, doctrine-piggish and wildly misleading answer
“Because their weapon control state is Weapons Tight”
or, more wargamerly but equally wildly misleading
“Because the WRG 1925-50 rules say “Anti-aircraft fire is limited to proper flak weapons or pivot-mounted M.G. H.M.G, or cannon”, and you don’t want to argue with Phil Barker.”
All the best,
John.17/05/2021 at 20:23 #156449
Yes, Max. That’s the good general answer. The ammunition was of more use on the perimeter, as were Brens etc.
More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/18/05/2021 at 09:10 #156466deephorseParticipant
A brief google reveals that the Luftwaffe mounted almost 4,000 sorties over Dunkirk, and lost 100 aircraft, so presumably someone was shooting them down. I am sure that between them 300,000 soldiers might have managed to hit the odd plane with small arms. Interestingly, the bulk of the 120 Stukas lost overall were lost to ground fire – ‘low and slow’.
The problem with brief Googling is that it won’t necessarily give you the true picture. My attempt at this brought back figures of “under 100” German aircraft lost, and RAF Fighter Command claims of 97 German aircraft shot down. So from this can we conclude that no-one on the ground shot down any aircraft, and that the RAF got them all?
I think the 120 Stukas were lost during the course of the entire campaign, and it’s not particularly surprising when one considers their role, and the fact that they didn’t start to carry any armour plate until after the Battle of Britain IIRC.
Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen05/07/2021 at 14:34 #158487WhirlwindParticipant
wo out of 64 enemy aircraft destroyed may not seem a lot, but it is better than any of the British GBAD missiles. McKinstry’s point about lowness and slowness is borne out by the fact that neither small-arms shootdown was a fast jet. [Edited to add…] Having just had a gander at British losses, small arms are actually the best-performing air defence means the Argentines seem to have had. Of 8 air kills, the scores are Roland 1, Blowpipe 1, Pucara 1, 35mm AAA 2, and small-arms 3, bagging two Gazelles and a Harrier (although the Harrier was a long kill; Sqn Ldr Jerry Pook was eventually forced to bail out because a bullet had caused a fuel leak). Again, small arms do better than any of the GBAD missiles.
That is actually really, really interesting. Many thanks.05/07/2021 at 23:41 #158494Tony SParticipant
How interesting! I just was talking to a friend’s son on Saturday, who was talking about one of his tours in Afghanistan. As they were flying in, the pilot announced that they were under fire, but it was just from small arms AK47s, so they were in no danger. He said all his troops rushed over to the port side to watch. He said it was “kind of cool” to see the flashes, knowing they were at such a height that they were quite safe.
I’m now wondering, after reading the above posts, whether the pilot was telling them “the official line”, or whether it was indeed true that they were safe. I didn’t ask the altitude, but they were coming in to the airport, and taking fire from the surrounding hills, so probably not terribly high would be my guess?06/07/2021 at 05:17 #158495McKinstryParticipant
My son flew Apaches (AH-64-D) in Afghanistan and he said they were told to consider any small arms fire over 2,000 feet as ineffective and not qualifying as a threat to be prosecuted as a part of their ROE’s. That applied only to true small arms as any of the heavy machine guns were to be treated with extreme prejudice. I do believe that depending on mission and other factors, a surprisingly significant amount of small arms may have been received at 1,990+/- feet.
The tree of Life is self pruning.06/07/2021 at 12:45 #158523PatriceParticipant
The French like to believe they did – at least in a movie (at 0:47 in the video).
https://www.anargader.net/06/07/2021 at 15:34 #158538
That is actually really, really interesting.
Nothing to do with the original question, but to my diseased mind the most interesting thing about these losses is the Roland kill. The aircraft was SHAR XZ456 of 809 NAS flown by RAF Flt Lt Ian Mortimer (mentioned in dispatches). Mortimer ejected successfully, and spent eight hours in the oggin off Port Stanley before being picked up by a Sea King of 820 NAS. His return was marked by a drinking session around the piano in the wardroom of HMS Invincible, when a song recounting the incident was improvised. “Bring my Stovie Back” (to the tune of “Clementine”) now appears in the Fleet Air Arm Song Book. The lyrics indicate to the astute listener that a certain measure of inter-service rivalry continues in H M Forces even while collaborating in life-threatening operations:
“In a life-raft, off Port Stanley,
Sat a stovie, cold and drab;
He’d been shot down by a Roland,
What a stupid f***ing crab.”
All the best,
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