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Go Back   The Aerodrome Forum > WWI Aviation > Games and Flight Sims

Games and Flight Sims Topics related to Red Baron, Dawn Patrol and other WWI aviation games

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Old 8 August 2007, 01:22 PM   #1
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Question SE5a Armament

I am in the throws of revamping our home-brew WW1 Aerial Wargames Rules, and a query has arisen regarding the firing of the Lewis and Vickers guns on the SE5a (and some Camels for that matter). Please bear with me and I'll try to explain.
Being drum fed, the Lewis is given four shots per drum. Each move, an aircraft can fire up to three bursts. So, in theory, the Se5 can fire three bursts, from two guns per turn. Likewise, an Albatross can fire three bursts from two guns per turn.
Now the complications. The Vickers is given a minus one factor for its slower rate of fire. The Albatross will receive a plus one factor for two guns firing. These factors are used on the die rolls assessing the damage done by the guns.
If say, a two gun (Vickers) Camel fired, it would receive both factors, therefore cancelling each other out.
Are you still with me?
So if the SE5a fires both its guns at the same time, should it receive the plus one factor for two guns firing, and/or the minus one factor for slower rate of fire. They cannot be fired (diced for) independently, as you would then have possibly twice the amount of damage (up to six bursts, three from each gun, as against up three bursts of two guns from the Albatross).
So, I suppose my questions are, what was the rate of fire for the Lewis Gun, the Vickers and the Spandau (excuse my ignorance). Did the French use British weaponry, or if not, what were their rates of fire.
And another thing. Did having a Lewis or Vickers installed on Nieuport 17, affect its flying abilities in any way?
I thank for your patience, and eagerly await any responses.
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Old 12 August 2007, 08:40 AM   #2
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I'm no expert, however

I don't know why people here keep saying the Lewis had a slow rate of fire!!!!

According to my data source (Ritterorden website) the Lewis looks like the following:

Manufacturer: BSA
Barrel:26.25in, 4 grooves lefthanded twist
Magazine (aerial): 97 rounds
RATE OF FIRE:550 rpm
Muzzle Velocity:2,450fps/745mps

The comparable data for the Vickers/Maxim/Spandau is:

Manufacturer: Vickers Armstrong/Spansau Arsenal
Barrel:28.5in/28.3, 4 grooves righthanded twist
Magazine (aerial): 400-500 rounds per belt
RATE OF FIRE:450 rpm
Muzzle Velocity:2,450fps/2925fps

What people try to adjust/account for is the Lewis gun reload time!

Well friend if your locked in an aerial combat and your gun jams or you run out of ammo and need to reload, you better hope your in the FASTER of the two machines so you can DISENGAGE and fix your problem with no one on your six firing his fully loaded / unjammed machinegun at you!!!!

There is no way you can ASSUME you could reload and restart firing of the Lewis gun while locked in combat(I speaking of the single seat scout aeroplane). A rear seat observer could of coarse reload.

So the actual ROF for the Lewis is 550rpm/9.2rps. A good gunner pilot would probably have a 1-2 sec window to fire a BURST at the flying/moving target ahead of or crossing in front of his SIGHTS.

This means if he's using 2sec bursts that he can fire the Lewis gun 10.5 times before running out of one drum of ammo. Or if he's an expert shot and only uses 1sec bursts he can fire 21 times.

WELL, if he's in a single combat sequence that takes more then 21 bursts from his Lewis gun and more then 33-66 bursts from his Vickers gun he better consider getting !@#%^&* out of DODGE (as they say)!!

A game or sim should allow one to fire the Lewis gun 10-20 times each combat sequence at which point it is out of ammo and cannot be used until the plane is disengaged (completely) and has time to reload.

Slowing the rate of fire is not really how it was DONE!!!!

P.S. the actual rate of fire of the Vickers/Spandau was somewhat slower then the reported 450rpm because of the interrupter gear sequence it had to adhere to shooting thru the prop.

Anyway just a few of my toughts on the subject!
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Old 12 August 2007, 10:02 AM   #3
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Yes so basically, after 97 rounds the Lewis should be effectively empty (until another combat) as there is no way to reload when actively in combat.

One other complication, the Vickers had quiet a good rate of fire but this was reduced to inferior sync gear. The sync gear was modified to produce nearly 2000 rounds per min in 1917 (although throttled back some) (!) but I am not sure if the Se5 benefited from this, probably given the numbers and the fact it was in use right through late in the war.

I did have the detail in a doc somewhere on this but misplaced at the moment

The WWII Fighter Gun Debate: What preceded

The other point is the Lewis had no prop to fire through being on the top wing, so would have no reduction assigned to it - so if you use 1 list for figures then you have to deduct something from maxim and vickers for prop sync.
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Old 13 August 2007, 11:29 AM   #4
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Thanks Chums

Some food for thought in both replys, for which I'm very thankful and better informed. I must admit that our rules differ for a Lewis being reloaded by a two seater observer as against a single seat scout. If the odd spare drum was carried by scouts, then we wargamers assume (cos we're flying the kite that night) it's going to be used I suppose. But thinking in the hard, cold, light of combat, hardly anyone is going to have time to reload!
So another novice question: what is the difference between a synchronised and interrupter mechanism and how did these affect rates of fire.
Thanks again.
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