MG FF cannon

MG FF cannon

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The MG FF was a drum-fed, 20 mm aircraft autocannon
Autocannon
An autocannon or automatic cannon is a rapid-fire projectile weapon firing a shell as opposed to the bullet fired by a machine gun. Autocannons often have a larger caliber than a machine gun . Usually, autocannons are smaller than a field gun or other artillery, and are mechanically loaded for a...

, developed in 1936 by Ikaria Werke Berlin of Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. It was a derivative of the Swiss Oerlikon FF F
Oerlikon FF
The FF were a series of 20mm autocannon introduced by Oerlikon in the late 1920s. The name comes from the German term Flügel Fest, meaning wing mounted, fixed, being one of the first 20mm guns to be small and light enough to fit into a fighter aircraft's wing...

 cannon, itself a development of the German World War I Becker 20 mm cannon
20 mm Becker
The 20 mm Becker was a German automatic cannon developed for aircraft use during World War I. It was first mass produced in 1916 and was installed in a variety of aircraft; the only German autocannon to actually see service in the air during the war....

, and was designed to be used in fixed or flexible mountings, as both an offensive and a defensive weapon. It saw widespread use in those roles by the German Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

, particularly during the early stages of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, although from 1941 onwards it was gradually replaced by the 20 mm MG 151/20
MG 151 cannon
The MG 151 was a 15 mm autocannon produced by Waffenfabrik Mauser starting in 1940. It was in 1941 developed into the 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon which was widely used on many types of German Luftwaffe fighters, fighter bombers, night fighters, ground attack and even bombers as part of or as...

.

Compared to rival designs, such as the Hispano-Suiza HS.404
Hispano-Suiza HS.404
The Hispano-Suiza HS.404 was an autocannon widely used as both an aircraft and land weapon in the 20th century by British, American, French, and numerous other military services. The cannon is also referred to as Birkigt type 404, after its designer. Firing a 20 mm caliber projectile, it delivered...

 - which had been developed from the larger Oerlikon FF S - the MG FF had some disadvantages, such as low rate of fire
Rate of fire
Rate of fire is the frequency at which a specific weapon can fire or launch its projectiles. It is usually measured in rounds per minute , or per second .-Overview:...

 and low muzzle velocity
Muzzle velocity
Muzzle velocity is the speed a projectile has at the moment it leaves the muzzle of the gun. Muzzle velocities range from approximately to in black powder muskets , to more than in modern rifles with high-performance cartridges such as the .220 Swift and .204 Ruger, all the way to for tank guns...

, as well as limited ammunition storage in its drums. On the other hand, it was much lighter and shorter. Wing installation on the Messerschmitt Bf 109
Messerschmitt Bf 109
The Messerschmitt Bf 109, often called Me 109, was a German World War II fighter aircraft designed by Willy Messerschmitt and Robert Lusser during the early to mid 1930s...

 and Focke-Wulf Fw 190
Focke-Wulf Fw 190
The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Würger was a German Second World War single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft designed by Kurt Tank in the late 1930s. Powered by a radial engine, the 190 had ample power and was able to lift larger loads than its well-known counterpart, the Messerschmitt Bf 109...

 fighters was not easy, as the drum required substantial space, and as a consequence the ammunition storage was initially reduced to 60 shells per drum. An ammunition drum of 90-round nominal capacity was developed for the Fw 190 A-5, and retrofitted to some earlier variants. There were also experiments with belt feedings.

The MG FF was adapted to fire a new type of high-capacity, high-explosive mine shell, called Minengeschoss that featured a projectile with thinner walls that allowed increased explosive charge. This projectile was lighter and generated less recoil than earlier projectiles requiring a modification of the recoil mechanism. With this modification it could fire the new mine shell, but accidentally using the heavier MG FF ammo could damage the gun. The now-called MG FF/M was introduced with the Bf 109 E-4 and Bf 110 C-4 in Summer 1940.

The MG FF and FF/M saw widespread use in fighters such as the Bf 109 E-3 to F-1, Bf 110 C to F, and Fw 190 A-1 to A-5. The Fw 190 was typically fitted with an inboard pair of MG 151 and an outboard pair of MG FF, although the MG FF were sometimes removed in the field in order to save weight. The cannon was also fitted to bombers such as the Do 217
Dornier Do 217
The Dornier Do 217 was a bomber used by German Luftwaffe during World War II as a more powerful version of the Dornier Do 17, known as the Fliegender Bleistift . Designed in 1937 and 1938 as a heavy bomber, its design was refined during 1939 and production began in late 1940...

, Ju 88
Junkers Ju 88
The Junkers Ju 88 was a World War II German Luftwaffe twin-engine, multi-role aircraft. Designed by Hugo Junkers' company through the services of two American aviation engineers in the mid-1930s, it suffered from a number of technical problems during the later stages of its development and early...

, He 111
Heinkel He 111
The Heinkel He 111 was a German aircraft designed by Siegfried and Walter Günter in the early 1930s in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. Often described as a "Wolf in sheep's clothing", it masqueraded as a transport aircraft, but its purpose was to provide the Luftwaffe with a fast medium...

, Do 17
Dornier Do 17
The Dornier Do 17, sometimes referred to as the Fliegender Bleistift , was a World War II German light bomber produced by Claudius Dornier's company, Dornier Flugzeugwerke...

, as well as many other aircraft. Although the MG FF was often replaced with the 20 mm MG 151/20
MG 151 cannon
The MG 151 was a 15 mm autocannon produced by Waffenfabrik Mauser starting in 1940. It was in 1941 developed into the 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon which was widely used on many types of German Luftwaffe fighters, fighter bombers, night fighters, ground attack and even bombers as part of or as...

 from 1941 onwards, it saw a come-back in 1943 as the primary Schräge Musik
Schräge Musik
Schräge Musik, derived from the German colloquialism for "Jazz Music" was the name given to installations of upward-firing autocannon mounted in night fighters by the Luftwaffe and Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service during World War II, with the first victories for each occurring in May 1943...

 gun in the Bf 110
Messerschmitt Bf 110
The Messerschmitt Bf 110, often called Me 110, was a twin-engine heavy fighter in the service of the Luftwaffe during World War II. Hermann Göring was a proponent of the Bf 110, and nicknamed it his Eisenseiten...

 night fighters, as it perfectly fitted into the rear cockpit.

The MG FF fired a 134 g projectile with a muzzle velocity of some 600 m/s and a rate of fire of about 520 rounds per minute. The MG FF/M fired a 90 g HE/M (high explosive mine shell) projectile with a muzzle velocity of c. 700 m/s and a rate of fire of c. 540 rounds per minute. AP, HE and incendiary projectiles were also available (115 to 117 g projectiles, 585 m/s, c. 520 rpm) because the mine-shot was not capable of holding incendiary or tracer parts.

Technical data

  • Weight : 26.3 kg
  • Length : 1.37 m
  • Muzzle Velocity : 600 m/s (MG FF), 585 m/s (FF/M with AP or HE), 700 m/s (MG FF/M with mine shell)
  • Rate of Fire : 520 rpm (MG FF, FF/M with AP or HE), 540 rounds per minute (MG FF/M with mine-shot)
  • Round types: armor-piercing (AP), high-explosive (HE), incendiary, all with or without tracer; high-explosive mine-shot (HE(M)) (only MG FF/M)

20mm Gun Table

Name Cartridge Projectile
weight
Rate of fire Muzzle
velocity
Gun
weight
(grams) (rpm) (m/s) (kg)
France
HS.9 20 x 110RB 122 360-420 830 48
HS.404
Hispano-Suiza HS.404
The Hispano-Suiza HS.404 was an autocannon widely used as both an aircraft and land weapon in the 20th century by British, American, French, and numerous other military services. The cannon is also referred to as Birkigt type 404, after its designer. Firing a 20 mm caliber projectile, it delivered...

 
20 x 110 130 700 880 60
Germany
MG FF 20 x 80RB 134 520 600 28
MG FF/M 20 x 80RB 92/115 540/520 700/585 28
MG 151/20
MG 151 cannon
The MG 151 was a 15 mm autocannon produced by Waffenfabrik Mauser starting in 1940. It was in 1941 developed into the 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon which was widely used on many types of German Luftwaffe fighters, fighter bombers, night fighters, ground attack and even bombers as part of or as...

 
20 x 82 92/115 750 - 800 800/720 42
Japanese Army
Type 94 Flexible  20 x 99RB 127 380 675 43
Ho-1
Ho-1 cannon
Ho-1 was a Japanese autocannon used during World War II. It was a Type 97 20 mm anti-tank rifle adopted for use in bomber turrets.-Specifications:*Caliber: 20 mm *Ammunition: 20 x 125...

 
20 x 125 144 400 805 45
Ho-3
Ho-3 cannon
Ho-3 was a Japanese autocannon used during World War II. It was a drum-fed improvement of the magazine-fed Ho-1 cannon, itself derived from the Type 97 antitank rifle.-Specifications:*Caliber: 20 mm...

 
20 x 125 144 400 805 45
Ho-5
Ho-5 cannon
The Ho-5 was a Japanese aircraft autocannon used during World War II. Developed from the Ho-103 machine gun, it was a version of the American Model 1921 Browning aircraft machine gun. It replaced the Ho-1 and Ho-3 in general service. The Ho-5 was belt-fed using typical Browning-style steel...

 
20 x 94 96 750 - 850 715 37
Japanese Navy
Type 99-1 20 x 72RB 129 490 600 23
Type 99-2 20 x 101RB 128 490 750 34
Great Britain
Hispano Mk.II
Hispano-Suiza HS.404
The Hispano-Suiza HS.404 was an autocannon widely used as both an aircraft and land weapon in the 20th century by British, American, French, and numerous other military services. The cannon is also referred to as Birkigt type 404, after its designer. Firing a 20 mm caliber projectile, it delivered...

 
20 x 110 130 600 880 50
Hispano Mk.V
Hispano-Suiza HS.404
The Hispano-Suiza HS.404 was an autocannon widely used as both an aircraft and land weapon in the 20th century by British, American, French, and numerous other military services. The cannon is also referred to as Birkigt type 404, after its designer. Firing a 20 mm caliber projectile, it delivered...

 
20 x 110 130 750 840 42
USSR
ShVAK
ShVAK cannon
The ShVAK was a 20 mm autocannon used by the Soviet Union during World War II. It was designed by Boris Shpitalniy and Semyon Vladimirov and entered production in 1936...

 
20 x 99R 95 800 750 - 770 42
Berezin B-20
Berezin B-20
The Berezin B-20 was a 20 mm caliber autocannon used by Soviet aircraft in World War II.-Development:The B-20 was created by M.E. Berezin in 1944 by chambering his Berezin UB 12.7 mm machine gun for the 20 mm rounds used by the ShVAK cannon...

 
20 x 99R 95 800 750 - 770 25
VYa
Volkov-Yartsev VYa-23
Volkov-Yartsev VYa-23 is a autocannon used on Soviet aircraft during World War II.-Development:In 1940, A.A. Volkov and S.A.Yartsev created an autocannon called TKB-201 for the new 23 mm round. It was intended to be the primary weapon of the Ilyushin Il-2 ground attack aircraft...

 
23 x 152B 200 550 880 69
NS-23
Nudelman-Suranov NS-23
The NS-23 was a aircraft cannon designed by A. E. Nudelman, A. Suranov, G. Zhirnykh, V. Nemenov, S. Lunin, and M. Bundin during World War II as a replacement for the Volkov-Yartsev VYa-23 cannon. It entered service in 1944...

 
23 x 115 200 550 690 37

See also


External links