M2 Browning (12.7 mm)

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This page is about the aircraft-mounted M2 Browning (12.7 mm). For the vehicle-mounted variant, see M2HB (12.7 mm). For other uses, see M2 (Disambiguation).

Description

There are 4 version of the M2 Browning in War Thunder. The "early" M2 does not have API bullets. The "mid" M2 is identical to the early M2, but with access to API bullets. The "late" M2 has access to more effective belts, has better accuracy, overheats slower, and a slightly higher rate of fire. The British have their own variant that is similar to the "mid" version but with different bullets (for example the API for the American gun is different from the British API).

The turreted variants of the M2 Browning are also separated into the "mid" version, the "late" version, and the British version. The only difference between the "mid" and "late" variants are the belt composition. The British version yet again has different bullets, but is otherwise identical to the American versions.

The DGP-1 gunpods are composed of 4 "late" M2's.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

Vehicles equipped with early M2
Fighters 
CW-21  CW-21
F2A  F2A-1 · Thach's F2A-1 · F2A-3
F3F  F3F-2 · Galer's F3F-2
F4F  F4F-3 · F4F-4 · ▄Martlet Mk IV
P-26  P-26A-34 M2
P-36  P-36A · Rasmussen's P-36A · P-36C · P-36G
P-39  ▂P-39K-1 · P-39N-0 · ▂Pokryshkin's P-39N-0 · P-39Q-5 · ▂P-39Q-15 · ▄P-39Q-25
P-40  P-40C · H-81A-2 · P-40E-1 · P-40E-1 TD · ▂P-40E-1 · ␗P-40E-1 · ▄P-40F-5 Lafayette · P-40F-10
P-66  P-66
P-400  P-400
Twin-engine fighters  YP-38
Bombers  ▄Avenger Mk II · SB2U-3 · SBD-3 · TBD-1 · TBF-1C

Vehicles equipped with mid M2
Fighters 
F4U  F4U-1A · F4U-1A (USMC) · ▄Corsair F Mk II · ▅F4U-1A · F4U-1D
F6F  F6F-5 · ▄Hellcat Mk II · ▄F6F-5 · F6F-5N · ▄F6F-5N
P-43  P-43A-1 · ␗P-43A-1
P-51  P-51A
P-63  P-63A-5 · ▂P-63A-5 · P-63A-10 · ▂P-63A-10 · P-63C-5 · ␠Kingcobra · ▂P-63C-5 · ▄P-63C-5
XP-55  XP-55
Twin-engine fighters 
P-38  P-38E · P-38G-1 · XP-38G
P-61  P-61A-1 (Defensive) · P-61C-1 (Defensive)
VB.10  VB.10-02
XF5F  XF5F
XP-50  XP-50
Strike aircraft  A-20G-25 · A-26B-10 · A-26B-50 · A-36 · PBJ-1H · PBJ-1J · V-12D · XA-38
Bombers 
A-26  A-26C-45 · A-26C-45DT
A-29  A-29 (Defensive)
A-35  ▄A-35B
B-17  B-17E (Defensive) · ▅B-17E (Defensive)
B-24  B-24D-25-CO (Defensive) · PB4Y-2 (Defensive) · ␗PB4Y-2 (Defensive) · ▄PB4Y-2 (Defensive)
B-25  B-25J-1 · B-25J-20 · ␗B-25J-30 · ▂B-25J-30
B-26  B-26B · B-26C
B-34  B-34 · PV-2D
PBM  PBM-1 "Mariner" (Defensive) · PBM-3 "Mariner" (Defensive)
PBY-5  PBY-5 Catalina (Defensive) · PBY-5A Catalina (Defensive) · ▂PBY-5A Catalina (Defensive) · ▄Catalina Mk IIIa (Defensive)
SB2U  SB2U-3 (Defensive)
Sunderland  Sunderland Mk V (Defensive)
TBF-1  TBF-1C (Defensive) · ▄Avenger Mk II (Defensive)

Vehicles equipped with late M2
Fighters 
F2G  F2G-1
F4U  F4U-4
F8F  F8F-1 · F8F-1B (Suspended) · ▄F8F-1B (Suspended)
P-47D  ▀P-47D · ▀P-47D-16-RE · P-47D-22-RE · ▄Thunderbolt Mk.1 · ▄P-47D-22-RE · ␗P-47D-23-RA · P-47D-25 · ▂P-47D-27 · P-47D-28 · ␗P-47D-30
P-47M  P-47M-1-RE · ⋠P-47M-1-RE
P-47N  P-47N-15
P-51C  P-51C-10 · ▅P-51C-11-NT · F-6C-10-NA
P-51D  P-51D-5 · P-51D-10 · P-51D-20-NA · ␗P-51D-20 · P-51D-20-NA · P-51D-30
P-51H  P-51H-5-NA
P-51K  ␗P-51K
Twin-engine fighters 
F7F  F7F-1 · F7F-3
F-82  F-82E (Suspended)
P-38  P-38J-15 · Bong's P-38J-15 · P-38K · ␗P-38L-1 · P-38L-5-LO
Jet fighters  P-59A · F-80A-5
Strike aircraft  A-36 (Suspended)
Bombers  B-17E/L (Defensive) · B-17G-60-VE (Defensive) · B-17G (Defensive) · B-29A-BN (Defensive)
  PV-2D (Suspended) · SB2C-4 (Suspended) · ▄SB2C-5 (Suspended) · SBD-3 (Suspended)

Vehicles equipped with British M2
Fighters  Spitfire LF Mk IX · Spitfire Mk.IX (CW) · Spitfire LF Mk.IX Weizman's
  Spitfire F Mk XIVe · Spitfire FR Mk XIVe · Spitfire F Mk XVI · Spitfire F Mk XVIIIe
Strike aircraft  Beaufighter Mk 21
Bombers  Beaufort Mk VIII (Defensive) · Lancaster B Mk III (Defensive) · Lincoln B Mk II (Defensive)

General info

The 12.7 mm (.50 cal) M2 Browning is a very powerful heavy machine gun when used in large numbers, particularly with the late P-51s and P-47s, with six and eight .50 cal machine guns respectively. However, on early American aircraft, many are armed with only a 7.62 mm and .50 cal, putting out very limited firepower. The .50 cals are inadequate in few numbers, making them ineffective in "snapshots" or high deflection shots. This is particularly noticeable in Spitfire Mk IX, XIV, and XVI, where the two Brownings provide insufficient firepower and are mounted too far apart, leaving only the plane with 2 cannons, with only 240-260 shells each, without complementing firepower. Without the cannons, the .50s can only chip away at the enemy, and the best hope for scoring is to hope for a lucky pilot snipe.

Available ammunition

Early M2 Ammunition

Belt composition Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
Belt Rounds 10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
Default T  · Ball  · I  · AP 30 29 25 21 17 14
Universal AP  · AP  · AP  · T  · I 30 29 25 21 17 14
Ground targets T  · AP  · AP  · AP 30 29 25 21 17 14
Tracers T  · T  · T  · AP 30 29 25 21 17 14
Stealth AP  · I  · AP 30 29 25 21 17 14


Mid M2 Ammunition

Belt composition Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
Belt Rounds 10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
Default T  · Ball  · Ball  · I  · AP-I 28 27 23 19 15 12
Universal AP-I  · AP-I  · AP-I  · T  · I 28 27 23 19 15 12
Ground targets T  · AP  · AP  · AP  · AP-I  · I 30 29 25 21 17 14
Tracers T  · T  · T  · T  · T  · AP-I 28 27 23 19 15 12
Stealth AP  · AP-I  · AP-I  · I  · I 30 29 25 21 17 14
Default (turret) T  · AP  · I  · AP-I 30 29 25 21 17 14
Armoured targets (turret) AP  · AP  · AP  · T 30 29 25 21 17 14
Universal (turret) AP-I  · AP-I  · AP-I  · T 28 27 23 19 15 12


Late M2 Ammunition

Belt composition Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
Belt Rounds 10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
Default API-T  · AP  · AP  · I 30 29 25 21 17 14
Universal AP-I  · AP-I  · API-T  · I  · I 29 28 23 19 15 13
Ground targets API-T  · I  · AP  · AP  · AP-I  · AP-I 30 29 25 21 17 14
Tracers API-T 29 28 23 19 15 13
Stealth AP-I  · I  · AP-I  · I 28 27 23 19 15 12
Armoured targets (turret) AP  · AP  · AP  · API-T 30 29 25 21 17 14
Universal (turret) AP-I  · I  · API  · API-T 29 28 23 19 15 13


British M2 Ammunition

Belt composition Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
Belt Rounds 10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
Default T  · Ball  · Ball  · IAI  · AP-I 26 25 22 18 15 13
Universal AP-I  · AP-I  · AP-I  · T  · IAI 26 25 22 18 15 13
Ground targets T  · AP  · AP  · AP-I  · AP-I  · IAI 30 29 25 21 17 14
Tracers T  · T  · T  · T  · T  · AP-I 26 25 22 18 15 13
Stealth AP-I  · AP-I  · AP-I  · IAI  · IAI 26 25 22 18 15 13
Universal (turret) AP-I  · AP-I  · AP-I  · T 26 25 22 18 15 13
Armoured targets (turret) AP  · AP  · AP  · T  · IAI 30 29 25 21 17 14

Comparison with analogues

Comparable in damage and or rate of fire to other contemporary heavy-calibre machine guns such as the Soviet Berezin UB 12.7 mm, German MG 151 15 mm and MG 131 13 mm, Swedish 13.2 mm (based on Browning M2), Breda-SAFAT 12.7 mm, Ho-103 12.7 mm. Also comparable in damage to some early 20 mm such as the MG-FF or MG C30/L.

Usage in battles

  • AP, API, and API-T rounds are effective against light pillboxes, light tanks, armoured trucks, SPGs, artillery, AAA.
  • Usually incapable of an instant kill or a "snapshot" kill unless you pilot snipe, but is quite capable of a "snapshot fire" (not guaranteed though)... which is almost a kill...
  • Incredible range (can hit and still light a fire at 1.5km+, but damage does drop off). Good for long range desperation/harassment shots.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Usually carries enough rounds per gun to be able to take out multiple targets per sortie
  • Quite accurate, does not randomly spread a lot (unlike stock AN/M3 and stock Hispanos)
  • API-T rounds are exceptionally good at igniting fuel tanks and engines
  • Armour piercing (AP) rounds have better penetration values when compared to most small calibre cannons
  • Retains kinetic energy and damage potential over a range much better than 7 mm calibre machine guns
  • Can be fired accurately and be a significant threat to fleeing enemies upwards of 1.5 km away
  • Virtually only jams if you try to mag-dump (continuous fire until the weapon jams or runs out of ammunition) the entire ammo load
  • Makes up the bulk of the USAAF's armament with most planes utilizing anywhere between 4-8 guns

Cons:

  • Ball ammo in the default belt is rather ineffective
  • 25% slower rate of fire compared to 7 mm calibre machine guns
  • AP ammo lacks any incendiary or tracer, meaning shots that don't hit vital components barely does anything
  • Slower rate of fire at higher ranks means boom-n-zoom is necessary to maintain a firing solution long enough to dump sufficient rounds on target
  • The M2 Browning has 3 different variations, which all have vastly different ammunition belt types and how they are used

Words of wisdom: Always check the belt composition on a new vehicle or when returning to an old aircraft you have not used in a while...before heading into battle!

History

In 1917, Germany introduced a new biplane called the Junkers J.I., which was one of the first armoured aircraft. This innovation made the rifle calibre machine guns used to arm biplanes at the time almost obsolete. General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force, asked for a machine gun with a .50 inch calibre and a muzzle velocity of 2,700 feet per second to combat the new aircraft. That July, legendary gunsmith John Moses Browning began development of a larger version of the M1917 Browning design already used by the AEF to fit this criteria. The war ended during the development, but the project continued with Winchester making a .50 calibre round and muzzle velocity of 2,750 ft/s in 1918 while Browning's new water-cooled machine gun for this new cartridge was finished in 1921. The Browning M1921 would be used experimentally until the design was upgraded in between 1927 to 1932 by S. H. Green and yielded seven different variants on the same receiver design, but with differences in the feed system and barrel or other components. The Army and Navy would accept a 60-pound "light version" for use on aircraft designated the .50 calibre AN/M2. American autocannon development suffered from unreliability issues, resulting in the M2 Browning becoming the main armament for aircraft with multiple machine guns being mounted in the wings or engine blocks to compensate for the lack of cannon shells with sheer volume of .50 calibre rounds. During World War II, it was the primary weapon of almost every pursuit fighter replacing the older Browning .30 M1919. It would also be used in fixed mounts in bombers ranging from the SBD-3 Dauntless to the A-26 Invader which had variants with 16 or 18 machine guns including the nose guns, mounted gun pods, and the dorsal turret for strafing attacks. It was also used in flexible mounts on bombers ranging from the B-17 Flying Fortress, the P-61A-1 Black Widow, PBY-5 Catalina flying boats and the B-29A-BN Superfortress. After World War II, the dawning jet age led to the realization that the M2 did not have the rate of fire to deal with new generation fighters so they worked on making improved, faster firing variants of the M2 leading to the M3 Browning which still sees service on some helicopters to this day. The M2 also sees use in the ground role with the M2HB and the AN-M2 used by the Navy.

Media

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

See also

External links

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • other literature.


Aircraft machine guns
USA 
7.62 mm  Browning · M134 Minigun
12.7 mm  M2 Browning · M3 Browning
Germany 
7.62 mm  MG3
7.92 mm  MG 15 · MG 17 · MG 81
12.7 mm  FN M3P
13 mm  MG 131
USSR 
7.62 mm  DA · GShG-7.62 · PV-1 · ShKAS
12.7 mm  A-12.7 · Berezin UB · YaK-B
Britain 
7.62 mm  L8A1
7.7 mm  Browning · Vickers E · Vickers K
Japan 
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
China 
12.7 mm  QJK99-12.7-1
Italy 
7.7 mm  Breda-SAFAT · Lewis
7.92 mm  FN Browning
12.7 mm  Breda-SAFAT · FN M3M · Scotti
France 
7.5 mm  Darne 1933 · Fabrique Nationale Mle 38 · FN Browning · MAC 1934 · MAC 1934T · Mle 33 · Mle 1923
7.62 mm  PKA
Sweden 
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