Ho-103 (12.7 mm)

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The Ho-103 is a variant of the Japanese Type 1 short-recoil operated heavy machine gun. The design was based on the M1921 Browning and chambered for the Italian 12.7x81SR cartridge. Compared to contemporaries such as the M2 Browning, the Ho-103 weighed less but had significantly lower muzzle velocity and projectile mass.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

Vehicles equipped with this weapon
Ki-43  Ki-43-I (Modification) · Ki-43-II · ▃Ki-43-II · ␗Ki-43-III ko
Ki-44  Ki-44-I · Ki-44-I 34 · Ki-44-II hei · ␗Ki-44-II hei · Ki-44-II otsu
Ki-61  Ki-61-I hei · Tada's Ki-61-I hei · Ki-61-I ko · Ki-61-I otsu · ▃Ki-61-Ib · ␗Ki-61-I otsu · Ki-61-I tei · Ki-61-II Otsu Kai
Ki-84  Ki-84 ko · ␗Ki-84 ko
Ki-100  Ki-100 · Ki-100-II
Twin-engine fighters  Ki-45 ko · Ki-45 otsu

General info

The Ho-103 is the variant of the Type 1 machine gun intended for fixed mounting. It is directly related to the Ho-104; the Ho-104 being intended for flexible mounting.

Rate of fire 900 RPM
Weapon mass 23 kg
Muzzle velocity 780 m/s
Cartridge 12.7x81SR Breda

Available ammunition

  • Default: AP-T · AP · HEF
  • Universal: AP-T · AP · HEI
  • Air targets: AP-T · HEI · HEF · HEI
  • Tracers: AP-T · AP · AP-T
  • Stealth: AP · HEI · HEF · HEI
Penetration statistics
Belt Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
Default 21 19 13 7 4 3
Universal 21 19 13 7 4 3
Air targets 21 19 13 7 4 3
Tracers 21 19 13 7 4 3
Stealth 21 19 13 7 4 3

Comparison with analogues

The Ho-103 is one of the weakest aircraft HMGs in War Thunder.

Projectile mass (and thus explosive/incendiary payload) is lower than both the American .50 BMG and the German 13x64B cartridges. Muzzle velocity is slightly higher than the German MG 131, but over 100 m/s lower than the American M2. The low mass and low velocity reduce the effective range of the weapon and increase the necessary angle for bullet drop compensation.

Usage in battles

  • Due to the low velocity, it is often impractical to use the Ho-103 at anything other than close range
  • The typically low ammunition count of Japanese aircraft using the Ho-103 means that ammunition must be conserved judiciously.
  • The Default and Tracer belts should not be used if possible. The lack of explosive incendiary bullets greatly reduces damage dealt.

Pros and cons


  • The weapon itself is fairly light
  • The fired 12.7 mm rounds consistently do more damage than 7.7 mm


  • Low muzzle velocity
  • The available shells have comparatively weak payloads


The Type 1 12.7 mm machine gun, more commonly known as the Ho-103 and Ho-104, is a Japanese copy of the AN/M2 Browning (Colt MG53-2), but redesigned for the the Italian 12.7×81mmSR Breda cartridge.

The history of the Type 1 aircraft machine gun starts in 1937 when the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service (IJAAS) bought Italian made Fiat BR.20 bombers (designated Type 1 bomber in Japanese service) armed with 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT guns chambered for the 12.7×81mmSR Breda cartridge. This was the first proper heavy machine gun in IJAAS service, leading to Japan cloning the design as the Ho-102. However, after getting their hands on the more modern "Colt MG52-2" (1930s M2 Browning for aircraft use, designated .50 AN/M2 Basic aircraft machine gun in US-service), Japan decided to instead clone its design and rework it for the already in use Italian cartridge as the Ho-103. As the Italian "12.7×81mmSR Breda" cartridge is shorter and lighter than the "12.7×99mm Browning" cartridge used in the original Colt MG53-2 design, the Ho-103 design achieves a slightly higher rate of fire compared to its progenitor, as the bolt needs less power and travel time to extract and chamber ammunition, but at the cost of range and muzzle velocity due to the smaller propellant charge. To compensate, the Ho-103 was mostly loaded with High-Explosive Incendiary ammunition.

The Ho-103 was intended as fixed armament, however it could be mounted in a flexible mount as defensive armament. In this configuration it is often incorrectly called the "Ho-104", which was a different 12.7 mm flexible machine gun, developed from the fixed "Ho-101" 12.7 mm machine gun, a derivative of the 7.7 mm Type 89 machine gun re-engineered for the 12.7×81mmSR Breda" cartridge.


Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the article about the variant of the cannon/machine gun;
  • references to approximate analogues by other nations and research trees.

External links

Aircraft machine guns
7.62 mm  Browning · M134 Minigun
12.7 mm  GAU-19 · M2 Browning · M3 Browning
7.62 mm  MG3
7.92 mm  MG 15 · MG 17 · MG 81
12.7 mm  FN M3P
13 mm  MG 131
7.62 mm  DA · GShG-7.62 · PKT · PV-1 · ShKAS
12.7 mm  A-12.7 · Berezin UB · TKB-481 · YaK-B
7.62 mm  FN 60.30 · L8A1
7.7 mm  Browning · Lewis · Vickers E · Vickers K
7.7 mm  Te-1 · Type 89 · Type 89 'special' · Type 92 · Type 97 navy
7.92 mm  Type 1 · Type 98
12.7 mm  Ho-103 · Ho-104
13 mm  Type 2
13.2 mm  Type 3
12.7 mm  QJK99-12.7-1
7.7 mm  Breda-SAFAT · Lewis
7.92 mm  FN Browning
12.7 mm  Breda-SAFAT · FN M3M · Scotti
7.5 mm  Darne 1933 · Fabrique Nationale Mle 38 · FN Browning · MAC 1934 · MAC 1934T · Mle 33 · Mle 1923
7.62 mm  PKA
7.7 mm  FN-Browning M.36 No.3
8 mm  Ksp m/22 · Ksp m/22 Fh · Ksp m/22 Fv · Ksp m/22-37 R
12.7 mm  Akan m/39A · Akan m/40 · Akan m/45 · LKk/42
13.2 mm  Akan m/39 · Akan m/39A