Aviation of World War II

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Aircraft Cannon

37 mm


To fight tanks and heavy 4-engine bombers of the allies, the German command in 1943-1944 decided to use 37-75 mm cannons on aircraft. Until that time, the use of such guns in aviation was not even planned by the Germans, and not only serial aircraft guns, but even prototypes were not. I had to create improvised installations based on army guns.

Taking as a basis the swinging part of the 37-mm Flak-18 anti-aircraft machine gun, the Germans created the VK-3,7 aircraft cannon

On the Me-110 fighter of the G-4a / Rl, R2.R3 series, in addition to two 30-mm MK-108 cannons with 135 rounds of ammunition per barrel, a 37-mm VK-3,7 automatic cannon was installed. It was attached under the fuselage in a closed fairing. The VK-3,7 gun was powered from a store located in the lower part of the cockpit. Magazine capacity 72 rounds.

Two 37-mm VK-3,7 cannons were installed on Ju-87 G1 and G2 dive bombers in two containers. On the part of the Ju-87, armed with VK-3,7, the rest of the armament was removed, and the standard armament remained on the part: three 7.92-mm fixed MG-17 machine guns and one 7.92-mm MG-15 turret machine gun ...

The VK-3,7 cannon automatics worked due to the energy of the barrel recoil during its short stroke.

Rate of fire 160 rds / min. The ammunition included fragmentation shells weighing 645 g, having an initial speed of 820 m / s, and armor-piercing shells weighing 685 g, having an initial speed of 770 m / s. Shrapnel shells were used against air targets, and armor-piercing shells were used against tanks.

The Me-210A-0, Me-410A-2 and Yu-88 fighters were equipped with a 50-mm VK-5 cannon, created on the basis of a 50-mm tank cannon. The stock of shells was 21 rounds. However, this gun had extremely low reliability, high weight, low rate of fire, and low ammunition load.


  • History of aircraft weapons / A.B. Shirokorad /