Vertically-mounted machine guns

German Luftwaffe 1935-1945.
Ernest Penfold
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Vertically-mounted machine guns

Post by Ernest Penfold » Tue Dec 07, 2004 7:31 am

Hello all,

I'd read that the Luftwaffe had developed vertically mounted machine guns for attacking bombers from below. How effective were these weapons?

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derGespenst
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Post by derGespenst » Tue Dec 07, 2004 9:37 am

Are you perhaps thinking of "schräge Musik" (slanted music)? This was, as I recall, 2 cm cannon (quad?) mounted at a 45 degree angle in night fighters to allow the pilot to maintain a parallel course below and behind a bomber while taking it under fire.

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Post by Ernest Penfold » Tue Dec 07, 2004 10:08 am

Hello,

Yes, that's most likely it. Was it an idea that worked well or the sort of thing that never got beyond the development stage?

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Post by Paul_9686 » Tue Dec 07, 2004 10:26 am

Near as I can tell, Ernest, the "jazz music" installation (a more accurate translation of "schräge Musik") was pretty much standard in Luftwaffe night fighters. For example, the Dornier Do-217N-2/R22 had four 20mm cannon in a "schräge Musik" installation in the fuselage near the wing roots--and this in addition to its already powerful forward-firing armament of four 20mm cannon and four 7.9mm machine guns.

The He-219A-5 had a forward-firing battery of six 20mm cannon, and a "schräge Musik" installation in the rear fuselage just aft of the main fuel tanks, comprising twin 30mm cannon.

Looks to me like they were sold on "schräge Musik".

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Paul

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Post by Ernest Penfold » Tue Dec 07, 2004 1:29 pm

Thanks, everyone. Once I had the correct name, I was able to perform a Google search and learned a lot. I'm just a bit embarassed that I had never heard of this before.

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Post by Paul_9686 » Tue Dec 07, 2004 5:05 pm

No problem, Ernest. Just remember--the only "dumb" questions are those that are never asked.

Anytime I (or anyone else) can be of help!

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Paul

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Post by Erich » Wed Dec 08, 2004 8:58 am

the angle of the Schragwaffen was between 60 and 75 degrees not 45. Used with a reflector site mounted on the upper portion of the canopy.

Many of the Uhu's were not configured to have the SW installation of the 3cm and in fact MG FF was installed on quite a few of the variants.

The Bf 110G-4 of course had the MG FF installed in the rear gunners position, what a noise maker for that poor chap.

The Ju 88G series had this remidied in at least three different positions side by side in the MG 151/20 as well as in line off cant which was easier to help shear off the wing of an RAF heavy. Since the German fighter was position underneath the RAF bomber it was imperitive not to hit the bomb bay or fuel tanks but the inner wing or between the two engines of one wing, giving ample time for the bomber crew to escape as the flames would then spread over the wing surface and later to the tanks.
The German's perfected a very faint form of tracer for the Schragwaffen called Glimspur.
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Post by PaulJ » Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:02 pm

As various posters have atested, "schräge Musik" is generally considered to have been outstandingly effective.

Indeed, it took the Allies a while to realize what was even happening to their bombers. One of the key points behind the German idea was to sneak up on the bombers and shoot them down by surprise. Most never knew what hit them. Neither did others. For a time all that was known was that a distressing number of bombers were suddenly "spontaneously exploding" for no known reason. Eventually it was figured out that such events were the work of "schräge Musik", but you can imagine the psycological effect.
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Paul_9686
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Post by Paul_9686 » Thu Feb 10, 2005 8:47 pm

One thing, though--how difficult was it to aim the guns when using schräge Musik? Were tracers needed for this?

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Paul

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donwhite
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Schrage musik

Post by donwhite » Tue Feb 15, 2005 4:20 pm

Interestingly enough, some Japanese two engine fighters were also fitted with a version of Schrage Musik (37mm cannon?) for operations against American Bombers. I'm assuming that most US bombing operations were in daylight hours (as in ETO) so I'm not aware of their effectiveness in this case vis a vis the element of surprise.

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Détails About Schrague on my website

Post by MK108 » Wed Feb 16, 2005 3:15 am


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Post by Paul_9686 » Wed Feb 16, 2005 12:35 pm

Actually, Don, the Japanese had night fighters; they just lacked effective radar. They either used searchlights (some even mounted in their aircraft) or good old low-tech Eyeball Mark One to fight by night, if they didn't have radar installed or if the radar was in bad repair.

Yours,
Paul

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Post by Paul_9686 » Wed Feb 16, 2005 10:57 pm

Additional info--the following Japanese night fighters had oblique-mounted cannon:

Kawasaki Ki-45 "Nick" (twin 20mm cannon);

Mitsubishi Ki-46 "Dinah" (converted recon plane with a single 37mm cannon);

Nakajima C6N "Myrt" (converted recon plane with twin 20mm cannon);

Nakajima J1N "Irving" (four 20mm cannon--two firing upwards and two firing downwards).

Plus, some A6M "Zeros" and J2M "Jacks" were field-modified to carry a single 20mm cannon firing obliquely.

Yours,
Paul

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donwhite
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Schrage Musik

Post by donwhite » Thu Feb 17, 2005 3:24 pm

Thanks Paul, very informative!

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Post by Paul_9686 » Thu Feb 17, 2005 5:33 pm

No problem, Don; always pleased to help out.

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Paul

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