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"We do not consider that aeroplanes will be of any possible use for war purposes."
The British Secretary of State for War, 1910.
    We had scarcely taken to the air when we started coming up with ways to use this new technology as a military asset. Early flying machines were first used to observe fixed enemy positions or troop movements. Inevitably flyers started shooting at ground positions and other aircraft using infantry small arms. Soon we advanced to more lethal weapons such as the 1" rapid fire buffered recoil cannon shown on the French biplane at right. By the time the Second World War ended, we had bomber crews of nearly a dozen men flying four engine heated and pressurized aircraft bristling with powered multi-gun turrets using advanced compensating sights, and capable of dropping bombs that could vaporize an entire city.
French Aeroplane - 200 HP engine, 80 MPH air speed

    This site was created to provide information on Browning aircraft gunnery used by American forces during WW2. It is, at best, an overview. I do not elaborate on the design intricacies of the weapons, for instance, nor attempt to explain the functionality of a particular turret's electrical or hydraulic drive system. Most of the information is provided in the form of images from relevant sources accompanied by brief comments. There should, however, be enough here to satisfy an interest in the basics of aircraft gunnery. If it whets your appetite for more you can find some further reading suggestions on the SOURCES page.
    The predominant aircraft weapon of the day was the M2 .50 caliber aircraft machine gun and so that is the weapon which will take a front seat here. The cal. .30 ANM2 saw limited use as a flexible aircraft weapon on a few two man fighter crews where there was both a pilot and a gunner, as in the Navy Dauntless, but the smaller caliber weapon was primarily used in training. There was such a daunting variety of aircraft and weaponry that I have chosen to cover only a representative group of weapons and planes, dictated in large part by my own whims. I have not attempted to cover fighters in detail because they all had much the same armament - remote fired fixed machine guns mounted in the wings or nose.
    Use the menu below to find out more about a particular topic. The BACK button in the upper left corner of this page takes you to the site and the link at the bottom of the page will take you to a menu of my other Browning MG sites. Most images will enlarge if you click on them.

Laredo Flexible Gunnery School
The aircraft .50 caliber Browning
The aircraft .30 caliber Browning
Just a header - not a link
Waist gunner on a heavy bomber
SAC 7 tail turret
The nose, or bow turret
Top turrets
The lower, or ball turret
Waist position gunnery - all types
Tail gunnery - all types Iron ring and reflector sightsMy sources with publishing information
Martin top turret
My father's gunner's wings

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