Anybody watch The Lost Squadron last night on History Channel? (Gun Related)


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cslinger
March 4, 2003, 02:08 PM
Long story short they basically dug up one of the P38s that had been buried in 250+ feet of ice for the last 50 years.

They took either one of the .50s or the cannon out of the nose and using the original long since frozen ammo loaded it up and fired a shot they had bore sighted into an empty drum.

It fired like it was brand new. First shot. Pretty amazing stuff actually. Stupid but amazing. At least it looked like they were all behind some cover and back from the gun. :what:

Testament to the question of how long with this or that gun last. With care they should last forever.

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Dannyboy
March 4, 2003, 02:16 PM
I caught the end of the show, just before they got that baby airborne. I thought that was pretty darn cool.

NewShooter78
March 4, 2003, 03:10 PM
I've caught the show twice, but I always catch the last half! I never even got to see them fire off the guns! I'll have to keep a look out for when it comes on again.

Blackhawk
March 4, 2003, 03:39 PM
Yep. :neener:

cslinger
March 4, 2003, 03:56 PM
They only pop off one round but it was in a gun freshly dug out of the ice with ammo freshly dug out of the ice. I just thought it was a testimate to both the gun and ammo.

seeker_two
March 4, 2003, 04:11 PM
Can JMB design a gun, or can't he...:D

Dave Markowitz
March 4, 2003, 04:28 PM
The gun they fired was the 37mm cannon, not one of the .50s.

cslinger
March 4, 2003, 04:32 PM
I was pretty sure it was the cannon but It went by so fast I didn't get a good look. Sheslinger came in about that time.

Did they show the barrel after the shot?

cslinger
March 4, 2003, 04:34 PM
BTW if I remember my WWII aircraft the P38 was armed with 4 .50s and 1 20mm cannon, not a 37mm. I have been known to be wrong in the past and it has been a while but I think it was a 20mm.

Chris

Gewehr98
March 4, 2003, 04:52 PM
I did manage to see and touch parts of that P-38 at Oshkosh a few years ago. Sent a chill up my spine to witness that frozen piece of history being lovingly restored back to operational condition!

braindead0
March 4, 2003, 05:03 PM
I saw it, and yes..the barrel (the one they shot at) had a huge hole/rip in it...

Could it be possible that it had a round chambered, and they figured it would be safer to fire it off rather than try and unload it?

Definately impressive, 50yrs in a glacier...and boom.

alan
March 4, 2003, 05:13 PM
It was, as I recall, the Bell P-39 that carried a 37mm cannon, that somehow fired through the propeller shaft, which was of some length, given that the planes engine was aft of the pilot's position.

Mike Irwin
March 4, 2003, 05:21 PM
It was definitely the 20mm cannon. It didn't appear that the shell exploded, but it may have given the rip that opened up in the barrel. If it had exploded, though, that barrel was mighty close to the gathered polar wonks for comfort!

Made one hell of a boom, though. :)

The Bell Air Cobra and King Cobra both had a 37mm firing through the propeller hub.

The engine was, as alan notes, behind the pilot. The drive shaft ran under the pilot's seat, but did not drive the propeller directly. The drive shaft ran into a gear box, and the gear box drove the propeller shaft.

That's why the cannon could fire through the hub.

If I'm not mistaken, the 37mm was the largest cannon regularly fitted to a US fighter plan as part of its standard armament.

The US didn't use too many of them, but the Soviets really liked them. The 37mm was apparently fairly effective on German armor.


And finally, please.

Those clowns who started the process ran all the way to Greenland, on a glacier, to look for planes that had been there for 50 years and they didn't bother to learn one darned thing about Greenland's snowfall or glaciation?

Idiots.

XLMiguel
March 4, 2003, 05:26 PM
It was on late hereabouts, I conked out.

Love them old warbirds. If any of y'all ever get to the DC area, after the Air & Space Museum, try to get by the Garber Restoration Facility In Silver Hill, MD (Used to be an old Nike base just inside the beltway). It's where they restore the planes that to into the A&S, and they have about twice as much stuff on display and you can get closer to the exhibits. Best time to go is Spring or Fall, as it's not heated or a/c. Most of the work is done by voluteers, some are vets who actually flew, very knowledgeable/interesting to talk to.

Vrooooooooooom-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack (M2 flying around the room, annoying the cat) ack-ack-ack-ack . . .:cool:

blades67
March 4, 2003, 05:29 PM
Those clowns who started the process ran all the way to Greenland, on a glacier, to look for planes that had been there for 50 years and they didn't bother to learn one darned thing about Greenland's snowfall or glaciation?

Idiots.

Since when have you known people who work in television or other media to bother learning anything? They don't even check their "facts" before opening their cakeholes.:barf:

XLMiguel
March 4, 2003, 05:33 PM
Seems like an aerial fly-over with some groud-penetrating radar might have been a good investment prior to pulling on one's galooshes, yes?

Mike Irwin
March 4, 2003, 06:09 PM
"Since when have you known people who work in television or other media..."

It wasn't the media people who kicked this off!

It was the gray haired architect with glasses and his buddy from Atlanta who decided to go up there and do this.

The media didn't get interested until they actually found the planes.

I think they went up there twice before they got any guidance from a geologist on the nature and characteristics of glaciers.

Those things were buried 250 feet down, from about 75 feet down it was pure compacted ice.

75 feet of snow and 175 feet of ice doesn't equal 250 feet of snow.

Over those 50 years that likely would have been more along the lines of 400 to 500 feet of snow fall.

And at that deep, I don't think a fly over with GPR would have worked. I think when you're talking those depths you need a ground presence.

An ultra sensitive MAD might have worked better.

George Dickel
March 4, 2003, 06:18 PM
The P-38 is a twin engine aircraft. There is no engine behind the pilot and no centrally mounted propeller. All the guns were mounted in the nose with the 37mm in the center with the 4 .50 cals in an half circle over the top of the 37mm. It was an excellent show.

Detritus
March 4, 2003, 10:54 PM
P-38, and p-39 two completely different aircraft.

the specs go as follows


P-38: "Lightning" the plane found in greenland

Twin turbo-supercharged allison V-12 enginges

4-.50 cal Browning machine guns.
1-20mm cannon
all arranged as you stated, in a "gun pod"

P-39/P-63: "Airacobra/Kingcobra" WW2 US employment was mainly in the pacific. but most came under use as a half step between a T-6 and a "real fighter" (Chuck yeager learned dogfighting and ground attack in a P-39), and the majority of all made we sent to the USSR on lend-lease.

Single "castrated" (no super or turbo chager, same was done to brit lend-lease lightnings at first) allison V-12 of eariler design mounted behind cockpit. SUCKED at everyting but low level, made plane a GREAT Ground support platform though.

Armed with between 2 adn 4 .50 cal Brownings

and one 37mm cannon made by i believe Cadilac!! (or may have been Olds) fired through Propeller Hub.

armament arangement (2-50's and the 37mm clustered in the nose) allowed ground attack to be done buy co-witnessing all three guns and using the 50s as a "donkey sight" for the cannon. I.E. "when you hit armor with the 50s, hit the cannon trigger" the russians decimated german Panzer coloms this way.

hope i've cleared things up

p.s. a 37mm WAS tried in the P-38 in one testbed config but found to not be of much improvement over the 20mm in aerial combat. and there were dedicated ground atack craft by that time more suited to the job than the lightning.

alan
March 4, 2003, 11:10 PM
Re mention of the King Cobra aircraft, I couldn't remember what it was. When I saw mention of the P-63, I believe it jelled. I actually saw one once, during the summer of 1943, when I was staying with relatives in Youngstown, OH. It had been on a ferry flight, and developed engine trouble. There was an armed guard around the aircraft, which was sort of "secret". As I recall, it was painted black, looked like the P-38, but bigger, and had, as I recall, what looked like a 4 gun, rear turret. From what I had read later on, it was supposed to be some kind of a night fighter. 1943 was a long time ago.

Mike Irwin
March 4, 2003, 11:47 PM
OK, a little more information on the P-38's armament.

A very few early P-38s had a 37mm cannon in the nose. It wasn't very satisfactory, apparently, as it was then replaced in a few with a 23mm cannon of the Madsen design before the 20mm was standardized.

From what I can tell, no Lightnings armed with 37 or 23mm cannons ever saw combat -- they were rearmed before the war actually broke out.

The first 20mm-armed Lightnings were ordered by the British in 1940.


Alan,

You didn't see a P-63 King Cobra with dual engines and a 4-gun turret...

You saw a North American P-61 Black Widow. VERY effective night fighter later in the war, and the first American plane to be specifically designed as a night fighter.

You also apparently saw an early Black Widow, probably a P-61 or a P-61A. The turret caused too much buffeting and was deleted (although a few B and C models were made with the turret).



George,

I pretty clearly said Bell Air Cobra and King Cobra had an engine mounted behind the pilot.

The Cobras aren't even remotely like a Lightning.



Detrius,

Good pull on the Oldsmobile 37mm cannon!

alan
March 5, 2003, 12:01 AM
Mike Irwin:

You are correct, it was the Black Widow I saw so many years ago. Thanks for the historic refresher.

alan

Detritus
March 5, 2003, 12:02 AM
Alan sounds more like a Northrop P-61 "black widow", was the size of a medium bomber. was the first purpouse built night fighter, made from the outset with a nose mounted Radar and heavy "bomber busting" armament.

had a top turret with 4-50BMGs in it and 4 20mm cannons in the belly. the turret could be controlled by two of the three crew men, (pilot, radar operator, rear observer/gunner/radioman) or locked forward and fired by the pilot.

a P-61 made the last confirmed air to air kill of WW2 .

mind if i ask your age at the time, and yes i can see how someone would think of the Black widow was a P-38 on SERIOUS steriods.

here's a link (http://www.acepilots.com/planes/p61_black_widow.html) to a page about the "widow"

as for the P-61 "king cobra" it was a (very) slightly larger version of the P-39 with larger tail surfaces, upengined adn reinforced to deal with higher stress, it also received a turbo-supercharger, but still was mainly a ground attack aircraft. (there is a flying example owned jointyl by a private party and the "comemerative [fka "confederate"] Air force", really neat plane to see)

and yes folks you ARE dealing with an aviation freak :D :D :evil:

DERN IT got beat out by two guys :) teach ME to make muffins while answering a post lol

a note ont eh turret buffeting, first batch had em, caused trouble. deleted for most of the run of P-16As deign flaw found and fixed, turret reinstated about half way through B model production.

444
March 5, 2003, 12:15 AM
"Those clowns who started the process ran all the way to Greenland, on a glacier, to look for planes that had been there for 50 years and they didn't bother to learn one darned thing about Greenland's snowfall or glaciation?"

The guy actually said in the show that he expected to go up there and find the planes sitting there parked, they would dust off the snow, put some fuel in them and fly them back.

I can't believe that anyone or any group would spend that kind of money on a project like that. Especially when after getting it up from the depths of that ice, they ended up having to fabricate a significant amount of parts. If I am not mistaken, I believe it took them 10 years to rebuild the aircraft. I was sitting here thinking that it would have been a heck of a lot easier and far cheaper to get the drawings, tech manuals, microfilm and all that and just build one from scratch and what parts they could scrounge. I guess I was naive when the show started, I guess I expected them to pull a fairly intact plane out, I didn't expect them to make all the new parts.
One thing that caught my ear was the old guy from Kentucky that put up most of the money, said briefly and in passing; the guns are at the factory now being completely rebuilt. Then they didn't mention the guns again. Which of course leaves me wondering if the aircraft has fully operational guns and if so, how did they pull this off with ATF ? Since these guns were not registered NFA weapons and there has been no amnesty period in the last 10 years that I know of.

Detritus
March 5, 2003, 12:47 AM
444 said: leaves me wondering if the aircraft has fully operational guns and if so, how did they pull this off with ATF ? Since these guns were not registered NFA weapons and there has been no amnesty period in the last 10 years that I know of.
end quote

i'll take a shot at this

the guns were being restored to, pristine but NON-operative condition.

i've heard many versions of HOW, from simply having the firing pin raceway welded up and the bolt face smoothed to having the acess to the feed tray blocked, welded shut ect.


but personally i'm betting on the permanent removal/etc of the actual firing Mechanism. b/c many of the flyable "warbirds" you see are still displayed with inert ammo in the cans and feed ways


there are so many WW2 and Korea Era planes out there ont eh display and show circuit that there are actual small companies that specialize in find rare parts or making "found" aircraft weapons legal and displayable.

and there are companies out there that do the same for ground based FA weapons to, there is a company that does browning a vickers guns that are non-firing but other wise functional. advertises in G&A.

alan
March 5, 2003, 11:41 AM
Re automatic weapons that the SALVAGED P-38 was armed with, whatever sad songs the ATF might sing, they have quite a song book, I'm curious as to what the laws on SALVAGE might say.

Notwithstanding the fact that originally, the aircraft was military equipment, it was obviously abandoned by it's "crew" and "owners". I'm not any sort of legal expert, but from what I understand of Salvage Law, at least respecting ships, assuming that the vessel is ABANDONED, that is no members of the ships company are present, anyone interested and able, may enter the vessel and remove any or all of the ship, or it's cargo they are able to.

I believe that the original owners are able to lay claim to what had been their property, however they need to do so, with checkbook in hand.

444
March 5, 2003, 11:52 AM
They may very well be able to enter the vessel and remove any or all of the ship, or it's cargo they are able to. But that does't mean the can legally own what they find. If you found a derilict ship at sea and found that it was loaded to the brim with cocaine doesn't mean you can legally have the cocaine once you get badk to the US.

ball3006
March 5, 2003, 02:29 PM
We all know the Ruskies don't throw anything away, like all of those Mosins and Mausers, maybe they have some P39/63's stashed someplace. That would be cool......chris3

Detritus
March 5, 2003, 04:37 PM
read somewhere that the majority wound up in places like the bottom of the port of Archangel. that the Russians were bound by the same deal as the Brits and the planes were scrapped or sent to a watery grave.

now considering numbers i'd think that SOME of them stayed intact on land. but by now the weather and scavengers (of the souvineer and spares kind) would have stripped them to a non-salvageable point.

it's a great dream. along with the one that someone from the US will be able to one day get rights to the P-61 Black Widow sitting ont eh grounds of a Chineese technical school (one of 10 or less still survinging in ANY shape). but the odds are WAY against it.

Dave Markowitz
March 5, 2003, 07:03 PM
BTW if I remember my WWII aircraft the P38 was armed with 4 .50s and 1 20mm cannon, not a 37mm. I have been known to be wrong in the past and it has been a while but I think it was a 20mm.

You're sort of correct. :-)

The earlier versions of the P-38, including those in the Lost Squadron, were armed with four .50 caliber Brownings and one 37mm cannon. There were problems with the 37mm and so it was replaced with a 20mm gun. Most P-38s had the 20mm.

Mike Irwin
March 10, 2003, 02:59 PM
Frodo,

You're incorrect. The Lost Squadron planes were NOT armed with 37mm guns.

The 37mm gunned P-38s never made it into standard production. From what I can tell, there were fewer than a dozen P-38s made with the 37mm cannon.

The British requested rearming with the 20mm cannon in late 1940/early 1941, IIRC (references are at home) and the USAAF at that time decided a change to the 20mm was the way to go.

All P-38s in US combat service were armed with 20mm guns -- none of the 37mm gunned planes saw combat.

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