L21A1 (12.7 mm)

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This page is about the L21A1 (12.7 mm) machine gun. For the 30 mm autocannon, see L21A1 (30 mm).
The L21A1 inside of the Vickers Mk.3 turret


The L21A1 is the post-war British designation for the American Browning M2 .50 cal (12.7 mm) machine gun, when used as a ranging gun on the Chieftain series of tanks. In-game the L21A1 is found as a co-axial ranging gun on the Vickers MBT, Chieftain Mk 3 and Chieftain Mk 5. Despite being a variant of the Browning M2 it performs significantly differently to the normal version in-game. The rate of fire almost halves, and most notably penetration is lower than that of the tank's L37A1 (7.62 mm) co-axial machine gun.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

The L21A1 is only found as a ranging gun on the Vickers MBTs and Chieftain series of tanks, it is not found on the Chieftain Mk 10, as this version of the tank did away with the ranging machine gun. The L21A1 is found on:

General info

The L21A1 is primarily designed as a ranging gun, and therefore has poor ballistic performance (as the rounds it fires are designed to be visible rather than penetrate armour). The rate of fire is also reduced to conserve ammunition as a high rate of fire is not needed for ranging purposes.

Available ammunition

The L21A1 only has access to one ammunition belt consisting entirely of Adjustment Incendiary (AI) bullets. As these bullets are designed to be visible on impact rather than to penetrate armour they have poor ballistic performance, with a maximum penetration of 7 mm.

Penetration statistics
Ammunition Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
AI 7 7 6 5 3 3
Shell details
Ammunition Velocity
mass (kg)
Fuse delay
Fuse sensitivity
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
0% 50% 100%
AI 915 0.04 0.1 3 - 47° 56° 65°

Comparison with analogues

Unlike other tank-mounted machine guns the L21A1 , which are designed primary for anti-infantry, anti-aircraft, or general purpose use; the L21A1 is specialised for range finding. It has worse rate of fire and ballistic performance than most other guns. It is worse in nearly every way (aside from ranging) compared to the L8A1 (7.62 mm), L37A1 (7.62 mm) and L3A1 (7.62 mm), also found on the tanks this weapon is equipped on.

Usage in battles

The L21A1 should be primarily used for range finding as it has poor ballistic performance and rate of fire, making it useless against enemy armour. On the Chieftain series the gun is set up so that the shells from it accurately reflect where the shells from the main gun will land, making it an effective ranging tool. It can also be used, like other machine guns for killing exposed crew members (being a 12.7 mm machine gun it does decent damage when it hits exposed crew) in open topped vehicles (although there are few such vehicles at the battle ratings this gun is found at), marking enemy vehicles and obscuring the view of enemy players (shooting at their gun sight).

Pros and cons



  • Very low rate of fire
  • Despite being a 12.7 mm machine gun has less penetration than most light machine guns
  • Inferior to the Chieftain's L8A1 (7.62 mm) and L37A1 (7.62 mm) machine guns for all purposes other than range finding.


Main article: Browning M2 (12.7 mm)

The L21A1 is the post-war British designation for the American Browning M2 .50 cal (12.7 mm) machine gun, when used as a ranging gun on the Chieftain series of tanks. The Browning M2 (also called the "M2 Machine Gun" or "Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun") is a heavy machine gun designed by John Browning toward the end of World War I. The gun was similar to the earlier .30 cal M1919 machine gun but used the much more powerful .50 BMG cartridge. The M2 entered service in 1933 and saw wide-spread use by the Allies in WW2 as a heavy infantry machine gun, as well as being mounted on aircraft, ships and land vehicles (including extensive use on tanks and armoured cars). The weapon remains in service with a large number of countries (including the US and UK) to this day.

The British designation L21A1 was given to weapons used as a ranging gun on the Chieftain series of tanks. The L21A1 fired tracer rounds with an explosive tip allowing the gunner to track the rounds in the air (tracer was visible up to 2,400 m) and see a visible "splash" where the round impacted. Starting in the 1970s the ranging gun was phased out on newer variants of the Chieftain, in favour of laser rangefinders with a 10 km (6.2 mi) range, which was linked to the Fire Control System (FCS), allowing for quicker and more accurate engagement at longer ranges.


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See also

External links

Tank machine guns
7.62 mm  M37 · M60D · M73 · M240 · M1919A4
12.7 mm  FN M3P · M2HB · M80 · M85
5.56 mm  MG4
7.62 mm  C6 · MG3A1
7.92 mm  MG13 Dreyse · MG34 · MG37(t) · MG42
12.7 mm  S.MG.50
7.62 mm  DT · PKMB · PKT · PKTM · RP-46 · SGMT
12.7 mm  DK · DShK · 6P49 · NSVT
14.5 mm  KPVT
7.62 mm  Browning MG4 · L3A1 · L8A1 · L8A2 · L37A1 · L37A2 · L94A1
7.7 mm  Vickers
7.92 mm  BESA
12.7 mm  L21A1
6.5 mm  Type 91
7.62 mm  Type 74
7.7 mm  Type 97
12.7 mm  Type 60 (B)
5.8 mm  QJT
7.62 mm  Type 55 · Type 59 · Type 86
12.7 mm  QJC88A · Type 54
14.5 mm  QJG02
7.62 mm  Beretta MG42/59 · FN MAG 60-40
8 mm  34/40M · Breda Mod. 38
13.2 mm  Breda Model 31
7.5 mm  AAT-52 · MAC 31
7.62 mm  A-A-F1N
8 mm  Hotchkiss Mle 1914
6.5 mm  ksp m/14-29
7.62 mm  ksp 39 C · ksp 58 · ksp 94
8 mm  ksp m/36 · ksp m/39B
12.7 mm  ksp 88