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Thread: .50 cal guns on Lancaster

  1. #1
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    Default .50 cal guns on Lancaster

    Hi all
    Can anyone help?

    When were .50 caliber guns fitted to Lancasters as i know some were converted? The reason for asking is at the crash site of DV329 lost 23/11/43 along with .303 rounds there has also been a .50 cal round and what is left of the casing found. Would a Lancaster have a mixed bag of .303 and .50 guns?
    Anyone know where i can foind out what armament was fitted to the aircraft?
    Cheers
    Fred

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    Hello Fred,

    From a web page for ROSE BROTHERS (GAINSBOROUGH) LTD who produced the Rose rear turret with twin fifties for Lancasters "....two turrets were fitted to 101 Squadron Lancasters in May 1944 at Ludford Magna; and ten turrets were produced by June 1944 after which production was steadily improved... " Based on this it would rule rear 0.5" turrets out in 1943. However had any of the 44 sqdn Lancasters been fitted with ventral hand held 0.5" perhaps ?

    One for the experts.

    Regards,

    Ian

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    Hello Fred,

    As far as I can see, DV329 was lost before the Rose Rice twin 0.5 turret came into operational trials.

    ...Firing trials were conducted on the first of the two prototypes in November 1943, and the second was finished in January 1944...

    ...In May 1944 Two Lancasters of 101 Sqn. based at Ludford Magna, were fitted with Rose turrets for operational trials....

    Source:

    British Aircraft Armament Volume I by R Wallace Clark

    Page 154

    Do you have any stamps and year from the 0.5 cartridge case?

    Regards

    Finn Buch

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    Just a thought, but this could easily be an example of a "contaminated" crash site. Between mid-1942 and May 1945 there must have been increasing and continuous showers of .50 calibre Browning machine gun casings and links falling from the skies all over Europe as squadrons, then groups, then whole wings of B-17s, B-24s, B-26s, then P-38s, P-51s, and P-47s expending belts of ammunition in dog fights and strafing of ground targets. The RAF would have contributed to this deluge of metal falling form the skies, as they also operated US-built aircraft fitted with these guns, including many of the types listed above, but particularly B-25s and P-51s, and many Spitfires were also fitted with .50 Brownings. Think about it.
    David D

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    Thanks all,
    some questions:
    Were the ventral guns .5cal or were they .303 if indeed it was fitted to DV329. THe loss card does not mention anything about armament and in the special equipment only shows Gee and other basic oboe type stuff.
    I guess we can rule out the aircraft having .5 cal in the rear and mid upper turrets in November 43.
    I have only a picture of the .5 round casing and the .5 head which is seperate from it. I will ask my German friend to try and supply the details from the base of the casing.
    I think perhaps it is a case of comtamination of the site as it is on a wel known "lane" into Germany.
    Kind Regards
    Fred

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    If you have found the head as well as the casing this could suggest that the round is indeed from your aircraft. Are there any stamps on the round and does the casing show any signs of damage?

    Jim
    Jim Corbett

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    Hi Jim

    Well confusing to say the least. The bullet head/round is black in colour and a little pitted with corrosion - to be expected after almost 70 yrs. The casing or what is left of it is about an inch long as it appears to have been spilt open or exploded. Luckily it is the last part that is remaining and this should show what markings are on it.
    Firstly the strange thing is, if it were from other action surely the casing would have been whole and not damaged when ejected from the spent chute and not damaged as if it exploded?

    Secondly the other rounds found are .303 and include the belt clips too but these being made of steel are very corroded. The rounds are whole apart from the last 3 or 4 which exhibit the same damage as the .5 cal shell casing.

    DV329 was shot down on the way to Berlin and as a result was consumed by fire and exploded at about the time it hit the ground after dumping the cookie a mile or so from the site and some of the incendiaries. Hence why some of the .303 have exploded. The .5 case looks like it exhibits the same damage - weird.

    Questions, questions. I have asked my friend Volker to try and let me have the info from the base of the casing to get a positive ID.

    Anyone else got any ideas?

    Fred

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    Sorry all
    I got it wrong, the casing/cartridge is from an exploded .303. All we have is the bullet head from the .5cal.. It has now been cleaned up and shows no signs of being fired from a gun as although corroded it has no rifling marks on it even under magnification. If fired it would be expected to have at least some rifling on it from its path down the barrel.
    Any ideas?
    Does anyone know if the RAF Museum would hold any info into the armament on DV329 or anywhere else come to think of it?

    A quandary to say the least.

    Kind Regards
    Fred

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    How certain is the identification of the crash site as DV329? Could it be a later crash mistaken for DV329?
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    Hello Fred,

    "The bullet head/round is black in colour and a little pitted with corrosion"

    If we take the .50 bullet tip. The black color will indicate the bullet to be/come from an Armour Piercing (AP) cartridge.

    I can not tell you more for the moment. If this is a crashsite of an aircraft, very strange no .50 cartridges is found in the area, only one bullet tip.

    Any stamps or color on the .303 cartridges (year, type and manufacturer)?

    Regards

    Finn Buch

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