Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

a very good reliable piece of kit that has stood the test of time,and i think it will still be around for a very long time..


For close range use against soft small targets maybe but not much use as anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-sub defense.

Last edited 9 months ago by ArtIng
Harry Bulpit

Yeah and a stingray torpedo can’t do much against a air attack. So what’s your point?


Yep and that is a big threat for modern escorts, asymmetric warfare is very much come of age…even large militaries are now using all sorts of drones etc.


Experiences in Ukraine have shown that it is hard to shoot down drones, especially in the dark with a 50 cal, for drones, a ship is a much bigger target,


I was talking about surface drones.


Not sure of it’s military effectiveness but it should definitely be kept in widespread service for morale purposes. Everyone is happier after cracking off a few rounds with a. 50 cal in training


Not sure of it’s military effectiveness

You stand in front of it while we all take turns then. 🙂 😉



Last edited 9 months ago by Sunmack

Hopefully the APS mount works as advertised. If not I think the RN will need to look at finding funding to upgrade at least some of the gun positions to use one of the RWS on the market. Theses systems significantly increase the hit percentage at longer ranges.


No need for RWS. The ships already have RWS in the form of the DS30M mounts which are obviously far more effective. Where manual mounts win out is response time, particularly in harbour/at anchor or in close. Thats the real utility of the .50, GPMG or Minigun.


Wont the 30mm have too much range in some restricted anchorages and even open ocean there could be other allies ships with 5km which puts them within the fire zone for a 30mm that could miss its target


It is the smallest calibre that allows all sort of exciting natures worthwhile.

Great cartridge.

Supportive Bloke


Any chance of that in the King’s English


Um. Yes. I don’t know why I said worthwhile. I should have said ‘possible’.

The only mitigation I can offer the court was that it was very busy around here these morning with tradesmen plus obviously it is Friday.

Does that help?


Different natures of .50 BMG…………..

comment image


I remember what I was saying now. .50 is about the right size to make things like AP work well. Yes there is 7.62 AP say, but the extra oomph and mass make .50 AP ‘better’.

David Steeper

It’s certainly stood the test of time. When you think what could replace it you realise just how good at it’s job it is. I can only think of a Mk19 AGL that could replace it. At least shipborne.


One advantage the minigun has over the 50 cal. Is the ability to walk effective fire onto the target. This is done by firing burst, watching the tracer and adjusting lead to hit the target. Its very effective. When firing the 50 cal does wander around the aim point, especially if it doesn’t have the shoulder brace fitted.

I am surprised the Navy didn’t explore looking at the GAU-19. This is a 50 cal three barrelled electrically driven minigun. With a selectable rate of fire between 1000 and 2000rpm. The thing is a beast, guess the Navy didn’t want its WEs having too much fun!

Supportive Bloke

Is it maranised?

Salt water is not kind to weapons systems!!


Gunnery is Funnery.

Except as the maintainer when you have to sort out the mess the operators leave behind!


“Gunnery is Funnery”

Classic quote!!!!

Last edited 9 months ago by Sean

‘three barreled electrically driven’ There’s the key.
That platform while fearsome when getting a steady diet of ammo and juice, if the ship takes any damage and you loose power, you’re just left with deck decoration.


7.62 Minigun is electrical. It has a huffing big rechargable battery on the deck next to the ammo bin. Same can be arranged for any mini gun. Even the 30mm mount is battery powered if you lose ships mains.


Lesser known fact. With the M134 and I suspect the GAU-19, even with no electrical power, if you turn the barrel and the gun is loaded, it will fire. The firing pins are mechanically cam operated.


I was on a RFA last week and it still has MiniGuns… Pretty sure the other RN ships I see most days have them as well.


It’s going out of service for some reason I cannot fathom.

Fat Bloke on Tour

Interesting stuff about the Vickers 50 calibre and the drivers that pushed its development in WW1 — heavy bullet to bring done wood and string aircraft.

Just wish the RAF / Treasury had read the reports during the interwar years.

WW2 — RAF with .303 onboard — Battle of Britain lasts 3 months.
RAF with 50 calibre onboard or 20mm cannon — Battle of Britain lasts only 3 weeks.
Conjecture of course but it should never have been such a close run thing.

From memory — talk at the time had the Luftwaffe squadrons running competitions for the crew that made it back with the most bullet holes.

You had to be in the low hundreds to make the top 3.

Today — leave the 50 calibre for Somali technicals.
Looks a bit cheap / low rent for tip of the spear naval uses.
We need more hulls in the water rather smaller and smaller guns to deal with low cost DIY threats.


The .303 browning used in the early Spitfire/Hurricane wasnt a single gun , it was 4 guns in each wing designed to concentrate volume of fire at the same predetermined distance or aim point.
At the time the target was an enemy bomber and they assumed only 1 or 2 sec so it was higher rate of fire of .303 against 50 cal. Testing showed the 50 cal didnt do much more damage
Having real world air to air battles showed that going to fewer explosive 20mm cannon shells was better not because Treasury had stiffed them- your schtick you make all the time, (are you sure it wasnt freemasons or worse)-
US fighters preferred 50 cal over .303 for the same reasons but with their much much bigger fighters than the diminutive Spitfire/Hurricane

Last edited 9 months ago by Duker
Fat Bloke on Tour

Nugget on show — MOD analysis vs real world results.

Some people learn from their mistakes — the MOD just keep repeating them every 25 years.

4 gun mania took over the MOD / UK defence thinking during the 30’s with the usual disastrous results.

With the RAF it was the perceived need to put a specific number of bullets into planes / targets that were improving rapidly regarding speed / performance with the move towards 1000hp engines and better monoplane aerodynamics.

Then you have the old wives tale regarding the calcs that pushed the 8 gun warload on the 1933/35 fighter designs — great story but lacking in the depth of analysis needed for a useful armament.

The faster targets came with a much more robust structure needed to cope with the greater speeds / higher aerodynamic loads so .303 was old thinking.

Plus the move towards greater defensive sophistication — armour / self sealing tanks — made the situation even worse. Cue real world failure with the .303 armed units that needed some crash course engineering to get 20mm cannons onto 1930’s era fighter designs that we took into WW2.

Not good.

The RN had similar issues — 4 gun turret on the KGV class was an engineering marvel but real world disappointment in a world of idiotic / idealistic rule following that was very close to self hatred.

I think you will find that the Treasury was involved.
Phew — the Belfast class cruisers had a lucky escape.

Although the same flawed thinking was involved.
Lots of old school light shells instead of the latest thinking / something bigger.
Super heavy was the way to go but it was not for the likes of us.


It seems that you have never heard of the actual constraint in that era , the various naval Treaties. The rest of your claims have no substance nor backed by research

Fat Bloke on Tour

Naval treaties …

The Treasury loved Washington.

The US read our diplomatic cables and made their proposals Treasury friendly to generate acceptance.

The Treasury wrote the London proposals to save money — battleship limit of 25K tones / 12″ main guns — they ran it up a flagpole and no-one saluted.

Common knowledge that people were cheating on the Washington Treaty limits — Japan started it with heavy cruisers and Germany followed with “pocket battleships” then Italy and Germany followed suit with their battle ship designs.

The RN was held back by politics and economics.

Escalator clause came in allowing 45K ton units — the Treasury would only sign off 40K tons for the Lion Class although they missed the last 550 tons to the rounding allegedly.

So 30’s MOD / RN thinking was poor and the Treasury made things worse

The Treasury thought that the 1940 RAF was in a good place — all monoplanes in.production — lasted 30 minutes in combat to see the challenges ahead.

I fear we are in a similar place today.


Germany wasnt signatory to either 1922 Washington nor 1930 London Naval treatys, so pocket battleships were not designed under those restrictions

1922 Treaty provision for UK wasnt *saving money* as they were the only one allowed to build new battleships

‘2. The RN was allowed to build two new 16in gun ships to match similar American and Japanese ships. No other new ships were to be built by any country for 10 years. Until the two new British ships were complete, four older ships could be retained.

Brown, David K.. Nelson to Vanguard: Warship Design and Development, 1923–1945 (p. 569). Pen & Sword Books. Kindle Edition. 

Im sure the UK made the most of home ground advantage in decoding signals in 1930 London treaty.
Admiral Chatfield said the treatys biggest effect was discourage innovation and lock in Britains post WW1 status quo.
The 1935 UK-Germany naval treaty was cunning in that it allowed more battleships and cruisers – which would be easiest for Britain to defeat ( as happened) and diverted money from an even larger pre WW2 U boat fleet which was the real threat

Last edited 9 months ago by Duker
Fat Bloke on Tour

Cherry-picking the points you want to answer.

Very ironic given the subject matter involved — Cherry Tree Class anyone …

Main point:
Properly armed RAF in 1940 — 20mm cannons — then the Battle of Britain would have lasted 3 weeks and not the three months that it did.

Highlights flawed MOD analysis — something we need to re-learn for today and that would include the RN’s AAW capabilities.

Providing the Luftwaffe with an inexhaustible supply of targets for 3 years was not the start to WW2 that we needed.

No matter the treaty involved — Versailles vs Washington vs London — the “panzer kruiser” design was well over its allotted displacement and the MOD / RN knew it and did nothing.

They stuck rigidly to rules of their own making and we paid a heavy price for their rank stupidity — the whole episode flagged up the societal pressures towards a re-run of the Great War in Germany and we did nothing.

Revoking the 10 year rule would have been a start even if it was even by then already too late.

Washington — the Treasury was playing the long game.
It wanted a 15 ship battlefleet not an 18 ship / 20 ship / 22 ship one that was needed for “Empire” defence and that is what it got.

The resulting Nelson Class were a cheap parts bin special that makes even the current QE class look good — low effort re-heats of the 1920 battlecruiser design with their failed light shells and their narrow main belt.

Too slow from the off — two knots slower than the existing Mutsu class — and destined to be tail end Charlie’s for their entire career.

Much better if they had given up X turret and doubled the installed power for a much more usable ship with the added benefit that they might have been able to build more of them to equal the USN’s total of 24 x 16″ guns afloat.

An extra couple plus HMS Tiger and things would have turned out differently when the bullets started to fly. But that was not what the Treasury wanted.

London Treaty — you are having a giraffe.
Nobody took a blind bit of notice of it apart from us and our 14″ guns — the 1930’s MOD obsession with the “power of 4” writ large,
Plus the code breaking fantasy — not good.

Anglo German Naval Treaty — some sort of MOD swizz?
Sick joke more like.

Ask the Glorious?
Ask the Hood?
Ask PQ17?

RN — 12 attempts to sink the Tirpitz — all failed.

Huge pantomime in the Arctic Ocean trying to fight battles we had already lost — thank heavens for Iran.

If that counts as a success then you must have a stiff upper lip made out of cast iron.


You’re missing out the st Petersburg declaration. In which it was against international law to use with explosive rounds of less that 400g this actually made it against international law to use 20mm cannons…the UK government knew others were exploring cannons against treat but decided not to break the treaty themselves so they were late to the cannon game.

the raf did actually have a number of cannon armed aircraft in 1940 including the spitfire Mrk1b armed with 2 20mm cannon and they did not perform very well at all..infact they were pigs and 19 squadron requested they have there browning armed Mrk1s back,

Also the BF109 of 1940 has no armour at all and was completely vulnerable to the 8 Brownings 303.

another key point was that the reason 8 Brownings were used was accuracy of gunnery…simply put your average pilot struggled to hit another fighter in a dog fight and if they were in a cannon armed aircraft it reduced their accuracy even more. So cannons and lower rate of fire weapons with high impact only really helped those pilots with very very good gunnery skills or against slow easy targets.

where the 303 struggled vs a good cannon armament was against larger multi engined bombers that on average needed thousands of rounds…

So to say say the 8 gunned spitfire and hurricane lenghed the battle of britian is not right…if they had armed every spitfire with the 2 20mm. Cannons of the Mk1b Britain would have lost the Battle of Britain as they were shite.


Considering this fantastic firearm has been used to shoot down aircraft from the ground and in the sky…it will remain a firm favourite of mine. If it isn’t broken….don’t fix it 😀

John McGee

Perhaps would be wise to have both the 50 cal and the Mini gun in addition to the GPMG !! Mini gun as a back up on case the 50 cal doesn’t quite do the job !

Phillip Johnson

Simple question, to what extent are we going to have to expand the close in armament of Naval vessels?
There is absolutely no reason that in not more than half a decade we will be facing various types of autonomous drones with ability to recognize particular classes of vessels and attack particular parts of those vessels.


I hear the Spanish are fitting pods to the Juan Carlos.

Oh dear

Nothing wrong with the weapon -if it ain’t broke etc…..
Has any thought been given to upgrade the ammo this gun fires? Like rocket propulsion ?
The GyroJet pistol had a similar system. With better manufacturing it could give the 50cal more bite.