A-26 Guns
Randy Ryman
This story comes from Project Big Eagle, arriving at NKP in June 66.
One of the first (and most serious) problems we encountered when the
26's started shooting at real targets was gun jamming! Each time an
aircrew would come back, they would be complaining (and rightfully so)
about the .50's jamming. They would roll in on a target with 8 good
guns, and till they got done they were lucky if sometimes they had two
left firing. They never had this problem back in the states during
training.
Come to find out, for training, the crews were only given 100 rounds
per gun, instead of a full load. About one burst at a target on the
range and you were done. The .50 could only stand a continuous burst of
between 180-200 rounds (if memory serves me) before it would become so
hot the rounds would start "cooking off" before they got chambered all
the way. When the pilots encountered real moving targets, they would get
carried away with long bursts and the guns were jamming. No one had ever
told them any different. After some simple math to determine the maximum
time they could hold the trigger before giving the guns a break, the
fire out rate improved dramatically. The .50's were also very sensitive
to "Headspace", and things like that. I read somewhere that we went
through about 775,000 rounds of .50 cal. while we were there, and I
NEVER saw any of it that was produced later than 1944!
Randy