Quantcast

How Effective Are Machineguns vs. Tanks?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by HGM22, Aug 30, 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Nom de Forum

    Nom de Forum Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,756
    Location:
    Arizona
    With a few accessories attached machineguns are effective against tanks

    Many interesting posts here. My thanks to the former tankers who contributed. So apparently machineguns are effective against tanks as long as they have the following attached accessories: 120mm gun, thermo/optical computer controlled fire control system, serveral hundred horsepower engine, surrounding cover of ceramic and depleted uranium armor, or the equivalent.;)
     
  2. alexander45

    alexander45 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2013
    Messages:
    696
    Location:
    really hot place
    They stopped being any thing but annoying to a tank fairly early in ww2
    With the steel of the time 50s were good for about 7 or 8 mm worth of pen and once every one was out of the tanks they built to refight ww1 (very quickly) every thing had 36mm+ of armor every were short of some very light tanks like the m22 locust or the sides of the m10 wolverine but if you were close enough to the front line in a m10 to get machine gunned you weren't doing it right
     
  3. 45_auto

    45_auto Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,168
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana
    Audie Murphy + Machine Gun > German tanks.

    From Audie Murphy Medal of Honor Citation:

     
  4. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    3,162
    Location:
    Colorado
    Bofors 40mm heavy machine guns were used on some of Great Britain's small tanks. Did well against small enemy tanks. As did the same HMG's on smaller ships close to beaches.

    Those are probably the largest caliber machine guns.

    Regarding movies about man and his gun against tanks in WWII, my wife's older half-brother served in one a short time in WWII. He and I talked once about Audie Murphy's MOH citation and he said there were several incidents of that nature back then. Sometimes that of a U.S. Army single tank and its crew against enemy tanks and foot soldiers. I learned from his daughter after his passing that he was awarded the Bronze Star saving his own tank crew in such action. After seeing the movie "Fury," I recalled the citation he got with that award.

    They all parallel some stories my older brother (Ssgt, Medic) got from wounded allied tank crew members and foot soldiers in his ward at a big hospital in London during WWII.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  5. Sunray

    Sunray Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2003
    Messages:
    11,573
    Location:
    London, Ont.
    The Rat Patrol was the biggest fairy tale ever told. Jeeps were used as command vehicles and nothing else. Too small and cannot carry enough of anything. LRDG used pick up trucks of assorted sizes.
    Tanks since W.W. I have been bullet proof. MG fire bounces off.
    You will immediately have a whole bunch of PO'd, trained, eyeballs earnestly looking for you. Point blank range for a tank gun is 1,000 yards.
     
  6. Nom de Forum

    Nom de Forum Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,756
    Location:
    Arizona
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  7. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    3,162
    Location:
    Colorado
    The TV series Rat Patrol was inspired by and loosely modelled on the New Zealand/British/Rhodesian Long Range Desert Group, which used modified trucks armed with machine guns as their transport through the treacherous desert terrain, and Popski's Private Army.

    The worst error in movies depicting WWII events I know of was "The Imitation Game." It portrayed Alan Turing as the man who broke the German Enigma code used in messages. All Turing did was design a machine using telephone switches to decode messages using the formulas Polish Cipher Bureau cryptologist Marian Rejewski designed to break the Enigma messages it took them a few weeks to do. The "Bombe" Turing designed did it in an hour or so. Bombe is the Polish word for 'cryptologic bomb.' An original refurbished Bombe in the Benchley Park Museum was used in the movie.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  8. wideym

    wideym Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Messages:
    929
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Old WWI and WWII tanks were vulnerable to "spalling". When a large caliber MG round would hit a rivet or bolt on the outside of the hull, sending the "inside" portion of the object bouncing around inside the hull, usually at .45acp speeds.
     
  9. The Exile

    The Exile Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    221
    Location:
    Minnesota
    As I recall the primary mode of dealing with tanks as a machine gunner was to aim for the view port and 'button' blinding it with the powers of suppression. Of course this not only reveals your position but it only works if you're close enough to reliably put fire directly on the view port which would only be a few square meters in area; and then the belt runs dry...

    If you were using something a little meatier like 50 BMG or 12.7 soviet than possibly you could smash the treads of some tanks. This is mostly archaic and probably wouldn't work on a modern tank unless it was some old hand-me-down soviet piece of crap.
     
  10. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    14,008
    Location:
    Georgia

    Early in the war the Long Range Desert Group used Chevy trucks as their primary vehicles. This was before the US got involved in the war and before the Jeep was invented. Later Jeeps were utilized by them as well as other vehicles. With 50 cal machine guns they were very effective against light armored vehicles. Probably not tanks even of the day.

    Their primary purpose was as scouts and as observers, but they did participate in raids well behind enemy lines and were quite effective.

    It isn't surprising that a TV show showed the Jeeps in Rat Patrol in an unrealistic light. But they were used effectively. They were modified, stripped down and loaded with every bit of gas they could carry.

    Rat%20patrol%202_zpsy1yevanc.gif
    rat%20patrol_zpsnzs8zax9.gif
    Rat%20patrol%203_zpsk8wqox7w.gif
    rat%20patrol%204_zpsjli70i8u.gif

    One of the Chevy trucks


    Rat%20patrol%205_zps5kwvcyws.gif
     
  11. Havok7416
    • Contributing Member

    Havok7416 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    3,176
    Location:
    Kentucky
    As a slight technical note, 40mm guns are not machine guns, they are cannon. As a general rule, anything above 15mm is a cannon, while anything below is considered a machine gun.

    In any event, a machine gun would likely be used on a modern tank mostly for main gun sighting and infantry suppression. My uncle was an M60 tank gunner in Vietnam and has recently opened up a bit to me. I will see what else he might have to offer on this subject. Hopefully a good story or two!
     
  12. bobmcd

    bobmcd Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Messages:
    132
    Location:
    Alexandria Virginia
    Depends on the branch. In WW2, the US Navy considered 20mm and 40mm guns to be "machine guns."

    I remember a WW2 memoir by a USN enlisted man that commented on how small the USMC machine guns (.30 and .50) were compared to the USN machine guns (20mm and 40mm).
     
  13. HankB

    HankB Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2003
    Messages:
    5,258
    Location:
    Central Texas
    Some very early tanks could be damaged or penetrated by large machine guns from certain angles. The British Boys anti tank rifle of the late 1930's was .55 caliber, not so different than .50 BMG, and was useful against some light tanks of that period.

    By the time WWII was in full swing, the main structure of most tanks was impervious to .50 and smaller machine gun fire, but I recall reading that a handful of early German light tanks were actually vulnerable to .50 BMG from aircraft. And of course, an HMG could well damage vision blocks, thermal imagers, antennae, etc. I've no idea if an HMG - say, a Raufoss round - would have any effect on reactive armor . . .

    I wouldn't scoff at this next machine gun no matter what tank I was in.
    GAU-8_meets_VW_Type_1.jpg
     
  14. Malamute

    Malamute Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Messages:
    3,168
    Location:
    Rocky Mts
    Its been interesting reading this. I guess RPG's add another aspect.

    Watching vids of the fighting in Syria and Iraq recently, the Kurds have been killing some of the Russian and US tanks that ISIS has. Besides RPG's, theyve received some Milan's from Germany. Pretty spectacular when they connect with one of those, especially the suicide vehicles packed with explosives. Machine guns and most of the RPG hits seem to have little effect on some of the home made armored vehicles they have used.

    Theyve been using various AA guns as direct ground fire weapons also. I dont know how they do against armor.

    I dont think ISIS uses proper techniques of infantry support for armor all the time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
  15. Havok7416
    • Contributing Member

    Havok7416 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    3,176
    Location:
    Kentucky
    No, it doesn't. Just because someone wrote a memoir doesn't mean they know their proper terminology. There is a distinct difference between autocannon and machine guns, but the main difference is the size of the shell.

    The official definition (yourdictionary.com): A rapid-fire projectile weapon with a larger calibre than a machine gun.
    Or Merriam-Webster if you prefer: a : a large heavy gun usually mounted on a carriage
    b : a heavy-caliber automatic aircraft gun firing explosive shells
     
  16. blindhari

    blindhari Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    553
    In 1968 while in Berlin Brigade I asked why Her Majesty's Highlanders were in Berlin. The color Sgt took me into the unit library and sat me down with a diary from a 51st Highlander covering 1938 through part of his internment up to 1942. His unit was ordered to surrender out side of Dunkirk. I remember reading a part where they were ordered to high ground to improve the angle of rifle fire on German armor. The prism blocks on the tank scopes were the primary target. Evidently the scope glass would reflect light and could be disabled under massed fire.
    Long live the Ladies from Hell.

    Sgt.
    3rd Btn., 6th US Inf.
    Berlin Brigade
     
  17. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2004
    Messages:
    4,708
    Location:
    TEXAS!
    I wonder what a incendiary bullet would have done to all that gas?

    Deaf
     
  18. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    59,076
    Location:
    Eastern KS
    Armor spalling was the real deal during the Cold War tank era.

    The HEPT 106mm RR round I mentioned earlier was not much more then a shell full of plastic explosive with a base detonating fuse.

    When it hit armor, it splattered out against the side of the armor and detonated.

    The resulting explosion did not penetrate the armor.
    What it did do was cause spalling on the back side of the armor inside the tank.

    And filled it with thousands of steel splinters traveling at tremendous high speed.

    Devastating inside a tank.

    More modern stuff has anti-spalling Kevlar type liner inside the vechicle to stop & trap all the spalling splinters.

    No protection against penetrator rods, or shaped charges that burn clear through though.

    rc
     
  19. Nom de Forum

    Nom de Forum Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,756
    Location:
    Arizona
    A weapon is considered "effective" when it can be relied upon to destroy a type of target if properly deployed. Machineguns are not effective against the type of tanks deployed after WWII. They were not effective against the types of tanks most used by the belligerents of WWII. Despite claims by a limited number of pilots and internet gamers even the eight .50 caliber machineguns of a P-47 Thunderbolt or the four 20mm cannons of a Hawker Typhoon firing simultaneously were effective in destroying tanks even though they were hitting the least armored areas of the tanks. The U.S and U.K. military analysis of this massed machinegun and light cannon fire clearly showed it was ineffective in destroying tanks. The claims of some pilots and gamers that machinegun bullets could be ricocheted to penetrate the bottom of tanks to destroy them is ridiculous.

    Thank you Havok7416 for setting the record straight for the generally accepted definition of at what point the divide between machinegun and cannon occurs.
     
  20. Nom de Forum

    Nom de Forum Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,756
    Location:
    Arizona
    I am sure the best answer would come from any surviving members of the Auto-avio-Sahariane Compagnie, the Italian equivalent of the LRDG. In the one encounter they had the Italians destroyed 3 LRDG vehicles for the loss of one.
     
  21. ExTank

    ExTank Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    358
  22. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    3,162
    Location:
    Colorado
    My first jobs and GQ battle stations aboard my first USN ship in late 1956 were maintaining and operating the radars and gunsights controlling 40mm quad and twin heavy machine guns on USS Cushing DD-797. Their documents called them HMG's as did my service record and the gunners mates operating and maintaining them. The Browning 50 caliber on board was called a light machine gun.

    Autocannons at that time were automatic guns firing exploding projectiles which the 40mm's did. The 3"/50 naval guns were someties called autocannons, but more often called dual purpose guns.
     
  23. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Messages:
    20,090
    If a tank commander is out of his hatch and he's taken out, there goes the eyes of the tank. He's supposed to direct both the gunner and the driver. His loss or disablement reduces the effectiveness of the tank crew.

    It would take a lucky hit to hit the vision blocks for the driver or gunner or tank commander. Otherwise, machine guns won't harm a buttoned up tank.
     
  24. Nom de Forum

    Nom de Forum Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,756
    Location:
    Arizona
    I don't think anyone doubts that is true. It is however a U.S.N. thing and not what is the most accepted international designation for weapons with bores 15mm and larger. I am reminded of what the Marines call a "cover", the Army calls "head gear", and every one else calls a "hat".
     
  25. lindy

    lindy Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Central California
    In 1958 I did a demonstration firing of the then new Vulcan 20mm M/G at a
    M48 Tank sitting 1500 yards down range (Aberdeen proving grounds MD.)
    I fired 5000 rounds of 1/1 tracer in just under one minute. It took the track off
    the tank and set the road wheels on fire. the damage to the exterior of tank was enough to totally disable the tank, it tore the machine gun off the commanders Hatch and destroyed all vision devices on one side, the bore evacuator on the main gun was destroyed as well as the coaxial machine gun
    on the main gun. It left enough dents on the 90mm gun barrel to make it unsafe to fire.

    Good shooting

    Lindy
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice