Sources discussing aircraft armament are relatively rare. Books about aircraft tend to have little attention for guns, and books about guns say little about the aircraft that used them. Quite often, information is contradictory.

These are the sources used in compiling this page:


1. The Complete Book of Fighters
by William Green and Gordon Swanborough
(Salamander Books, 1994, ISBN 0 86101 643 2).
An encyclopedia of "every fighter ever flown". That claim, if not completely true, is certainly very close to the truth.
2. The illustrated encyclopedia of Aircraft Armament
by Bill Gunston
(Salamander Books, 1987, ISBN 0 86101 314 X).

This book opens with a 55 page chapter on the history of aircraft armament. The rest of the book is devoted to an encyclopedia of modern aircraft-carried weaponry, including guns, bombs, rockets, missiles, dispensers, and torpedoes.
3. The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875-1995
by Bill Gunston
(Osprey Aerospace, 1995, ISBN 1 85532 405 9).

This book, an essential reference for anyone interested in Russian and Soviet aircraft, also includes four pages on the subject of aircraft armament.
4. Interceptor
by James Goulding
(Ian Allan Ltd, 1986, ISBN 0 71101 583 X).

This is a history of the design of British fighter aircraft, from WWI fighters to the English Electric Lightning. It is unusual in that it gives attention to gun installations, as a critical factor in fighter development.
5. Interceptor Fighters for the Royal Air Force 1935-45
by Michael J.F. Bowyer
(Patrick Stephens Limited, 1984, ISBN 0 85059 726 9)

This work discusses the same subject as the previous book, but in a very different format. Part two, wich is the final quarter of the book, is titled "The cannon Fighter".
6. Japanese Army Fighters (part 1 & 2)
by William Green and Gordon Swanborough
(Pilot Press).

7. US Army Air Force Fighters (part 1 & 2)
by William Green and Gordon Swanborough
(Pilot Press).

8. Soviet Air Force Fighters (part 1 & 2)
by William Green and Gordon Swanborough
(Pilot Press).

9. US Navy Fighters
by William Green and Gordon Swanborough
(Pilot Press).

These nine books belong to a series of "WW2 Aircraft Fact Files" in which every fighter is discussed in a separate chapter. The books on Japanese fighters do detail their armament, but repeat some old and unreliable information.
10. The Machine Gun
by G.M. Chinn
Apparently the five volumes published by Chinn are the best source for data on fully automatic US guns.
11. Focke-Wulf Fw 190 In Combat
by Alfred Price
(Sutton Publishing, 1998, ISBN 0 75091 634 6)

A combat history of the Fw 190, mostly devoted to the radial-engined models. The book contains a number of personal accounts by former Fw 190 pilots.
12. McDonnell F-101 Voodoo
by Robert F. Dorr
(Osprey, 1987, ISBN 0 85045 752 1)

A history of the F-101 Voodoo and its precursor, the F-88.
13. OKB MiG
by Piotr Butowski and Jay Miller
(Aerofax, 1991, ISBN 0 90459 780 6)

There are several books about the MiG bureau, and it is said that this is not the best one. But it also contains a lot of useful background information on the Soviet military and aviation industry.
14. Messerschmitt "O-Nine" Gallery
by Thomas H. Hitchcock
(Monogram, 1973, ISBN 0 91414 400 6)

Pictorial history of the Bf 109, with pictures of almost all prototypes and production models. Also includes the Me 209, Me 309, and related designs.
15. Nightfighter --- A Concise History of Nightfighting Since 1914
by Anthony Robinson
(Ian Allan Ltd., 1988, ISBN 0 71101 757 3)

The name pretty much summarizes it: This is a history of nightfighter aircraft starting from WWI, mainly from a British perspective.
16. Stuka!
by Joachim Dressel
(Arms and Armour, 1989, ISBN 0 85368 907 5)

A small photobook that illustrates the history of the Ju 87.
17. Japanese Aircraft of World War II
by Basil Collier
(Mayflower Books, 1979, ISBN 0 83175 137 1)

A small encyclopedia of Japanese WWII aircraft, with an introduction about the history of the Japanese air forces. Condensed, but useful.
18. The Spitfire Story(Revised Second Edition)
by Alfred Price
(Arms and Armour, 1995, ISBN 1 85409 305 3)

A very useful account of the development history of the Spitfire, including the text of some test and evaluation reports.
19. Supermarine Spitfire I & II
by Philip J.R. Moyes
(Aerodata International, 1977, ISBN 0 90546 925 9)

Thin booklet with a brief history of these marks of the Spitfire, with a set of drawings to 1/72 scale. Published by Aerodata.
20. North American P-51D Mustang
by Harry Holmes
(Aerodata International, 1978, ISBN 0 90546 930 5)

Similar to the preceding book.
21. The international encyclopedia of aircraft
(Aerospace Publishing, 1991, ISBN 1 87031 845 5).
Despite the odd format and the sometimes amazing omissions, this is an useful reference.
22. The Aerospace Chronology
by Michael J.H. Taylor
(Tri-Service Press, 1989, ISBN 1 85488 003 9)

A day-by-day chronology of aviation.
23. Sopwitch Camel
by J.M. Bruce
(Arms and Armour, 1989, ISBN 1 85409 030 5)

Small photobook.
24. Aerodata International: Messerschmitt 109E
by Peter G. Cooksley
(Aerodata International, 1978, ISBN 0 90546 935 6)

Similar to refs. 19 and 20.
25. F4F Wildcat -- in detail & scale
by Bert Kinzey
(Airlife, 1988, ISBN 1 85310 607 0)

Perhaps mainly intended for modellers interested in detail of the F4F, but a very interesting little book.
26. Cobra! -- Bell Aircraft Corporation 1934-1946
by Birch Matthews
(Schiffer, 1996, ISBN 0 88740 911 3).

This big volume gives a detailed and fascinating account of the piston-engined aircraft built by Bell. Highly recommended.
27. Operation Pinball
by Ivan Hickman
(Motorbooks International, 1990, ISBN 0 87938 472 7)

An account of USAF aerial gunnery training, and of the development of frangible bullets for realistic training.
28. Junkers Ju 88 in action Part 2
by Brian Filley
(Squadron/Signal, 1991, ISBN 0 89747 258 6)

This is the Squadron-Signal publication on the fighter-bomber and nightfighter versions of the Ju 88.
29. Stukas!
by Herbert Léonard
(Heimdal, 1997, ISBN 2 84048 100 6)

This very informative history of German dive bombers, written in French, discusses not only the Ju 87, but also the K.47, He 50, Hs 123, Hs 132, Ju 88, Do 217, He 210, some others, and a number of unbuilt projects.
30. Focke-Wulf Fw 190/Ta 152
by Manfred Griehl and Joachim Dressel
(Motorbuch Verlag, 1997, ISBN 3 61301 681 8)

German history of the Fw 190. It includes a lot of reference tables, and lengthy quotes from wartime reports --- including some reports about armament development.
31. Republic's P-47 Thunderbolt --- From Seversky to Victory
by Warren M. Bodie
(Widewing Publications, 1994, ISBN 0 96293 591 3)

Well-researched book on the P-47 and earlier Republic aircraft. Bodie perhaps repeats himself too often and makes errors when stepping outside this fields of research, but he does correct a lot of errors in the P-47 story.
32. Icarus in oorlog en vrede --- 1941-1953
by Andre ver Elst
(De Goudvink, 1972)

Part 2 in a series of photobooks.
33. Het Aanzien van Lucht- en Ruimtevaart
by Steven Bolt and Thijs Postma
(Het Spectrum, 1978, ISBN 9 02749 302 2)
Photobook about aviation history.
34. Boscombe Down 1939-45 -- A Most Secret Place
by Brian Johnson and Terry Hefferman
(Jane's, 1984, ISBN 0 71060 203 0).

35. Courage and Air Warfare -- The Allied Aircrew Experience in the Second World War
by Mark K. Wells
(Frank Cross, London, 1995).

36. L` Aviation Militaire Francaise
by Pierre Barjot
(J. de Gigord)
A book describing the French air force, written shortly before WWII.
37. Zero
by Robert C. Mikesh
(Motorbooks Publishing, 1994, ISBN 0 87938 915 X).

An account of the development of the Mitsubishi A6M fighter. This includes a discussion of its armament, which is rare. Alas it forgets to look at the alternatives outside the IJN and USN.
38. Evolution of American Fighter Aircraft Armament 1910-1964.
Master of Arts thesis by William H.A. Newport
(Southern Connecticut State University (1998). UMI number 1391136.)

A look at US development of fighter armament, including information about ammunition development and a lot of experimental guns.
39. Chronicle of Aviation
Edited by Mark S. Pyle, Bill Gunston and Edouard Chemel
(Chronicle Publications, 1992, ISBN 1 87203 130 7).

A work the size of a telephone guide that gives a newspaper-style overview of aviation history.
40. Testing for Combat
by Capt. Eric M. Brown
(Airlife, 1994, ISBN 1 85310 319 5).

In this book Capt. Brown gives his evaluation of 43 aircraft types with which he had short flying experiences during his career.
41. Wings of the Luftwaffe
by Capt. Eric M. Brown
(Pilot Press, 1977, ISBN 1 85310 413 2)
An evaluation by Capt. Brown of the captured German aircraft he flew.
42. Halifax Special
by Capt. Bruce Robertson
(Ian Allan Ltd., 1990, ISBN 0 71101 920 7).

Short pictorial history of the Halifax.
43. B-36 Peacemaker
by Wayne Waachsmuth
(Detail & Scale, 1997, ISBN 1 88897 405 2)

A short history of the B-36, richly illustrated and with advice for modellers.
44. Luftwaffe propaganda postcards
by James Wilson
(Airlife, 1996, ISBN 1 85310 727 1)

A collection of pictures from Luftwaffe postcards.
45. Fighter Combat in the Jet Age
by David C. Isby
(HarperCollins, 1997, ISBN 0 00470 822 9)

A compact history of jet fighter combat.
46. The Ironworks -- Grumman's Fighting Aeroplanes
by Terry C. Treadwell
(Airlife, 1990, ISBN 2 85310 070 6)

A short history of Grumman is followed by descriptions of every Grumman aircraft.

Magazine articles

50. RAF fighter guns
by A.G. Williams
in Aeroplane Monthly of September and October 1992.
51. RAF Heavy guns
by A.G. Williams
in Aeroplane Monthly of August and September 1993.
52. Go for your gun!
by Roy Braybook
in Air International of April 1994.
53. Comment L'Helicoptere de combat naquit en France
by Philippe Boulay
in Le Fana de l'Aviation, Fevrier 1996.
54. Alphonse Tellier, constructeur d'hydro-aeroplanes
by Michel Borget
in Le Fana de l'Aviation, Juin 1996.
55. Messerschmitt 262: Derrière le mythe, le calvaire de la realité
by Alfred Price and Jeff Ethell
in Le Fana de l'Aviation, Octobre -- Decembre 1996.
56. Yak-9, l'ogre chasseur
by Konstantin You. Kosminkov
in Le Fana de l'Aviation, Decembre 1994 -- Janvier 1995.
57. Yak-3, un rêve de pilote
by Konstantin You. Kosminkov
in Le Fana de l'Aviation, Juin 1995.
58. Les avions de combat Japonais --- La logique d'un effondrement
Le Fana de l'Aviation, Hors Series No.3, Decembre 1995.
59. Zero - Japan's greatest fighter
by Rene Francillon
in Air International of December 1991 -- January 1992.
60. Nakajima Ki.43
in Airplane Nr.51.
61. The Vickers Fighting Biplanes
by J.M. Bruce
in Air International of September 1994.
62. Vickers COW Gun Fighter
by Philip Jarrett
in Aeroplane Monthly of July and August 1997.
63. Tempest Summer
by Roland Beamont
in Aeroplane Monthly of June, July, August, September, October, November, December 1992, and January 1993.
64. Combat Speeds
in US Naval Institute Proceedings, December 1944. Page 1545.
65. Transparent Armor
in US Naval Institute Proceedings, December 1943. Page 1645.
66. Defensive Power of the Flying Fortress
in US Naval Institute Proceedings, October 1943. Page 1392.
67. 50-caliber Machine Gun
in US Naval Institute Proceedings, March 1944. Page 364.
68. The Story of the Self-Sealing Tank
in US Naval Institute Proceedings, February 1946. Page 205.
69. Handley Page O/100 and O/400
in Airplane Nr.134, published by DeAgostini (Netherlands) BV.
70. On Silver Wings: Part 13
by Alec Lumsden
in Aeroplane Monthly, October 1991.
71. Sidestrand and Overstrand
by Philip Jarrett
in Aeroplane Monthly, November 1994 to January 1995.
72. Les Amiot 140 --- Le progres etait plus rapide
by Michel Benichou
in Le Fana de l'Aviation, Mai 1997.
73. Les Avions de Combat Américains
Le Fana de l'Aviation Hors Serie No.2
74. Triple-One Lineage
by Ken Wixey
in Air Enthusiast, July-August 1998.
75. L'Extra-Ordinaire Tupolev 95
by K.Yu. Kosminkov and M.B. Saukké
Fourth and final part of the series, in Le Fana de l'Aviation, Novembre 1997.
76. Farewell to Lims
by Gregorz L. Holdanowicz and Wojtek Matusiak
Air International, November 1993.

Unpublished (?) documents

100. Ted Bradstreet
has sent me articles he has written about the Oerlikon FF and MG-FF cannon, WWII Japanese Type Designators Appearing on Aircraft Guns, and a table of Japanese guns of 20mm and 30mm calibre.

Historic Documents

Here is a list of wartime and post-war documents. Most of these were gifts from Tony Williams or Ted Bradstreet.

200. Entwicklung von Fliegerbordwaffen, Munition und Einbauten
Dipl. Ing. J. Mix
Unterluss Report 376. This report was prepared in 1948 for the benefit of the victorious Allies. A translation to English, by Altner, also exists, but it is not very good.
201. Table of German Armament Equipment
Bühler and Sörensen
Unterluss report 295/I and 295/II (two parts), also prepared in 1948.
202. The Development of German Aircraft Armament to 1945
USAF Historical Studies: No.193
This is another English translation of Report 376 by Mix, and much more fluent than Altner's.
203. Ordnance Technical Intelligence Report Number 19
Office of the Chief Ordnance Officer GHQ, AFPAC; prepared by Lt. Edward B. Bruderlin and Lt. Robert S. Nelson.
A 1946 report on the development and production of small arms and aircraft armament for the Japanese army.
204. Merkbuch über die Munition
Berlin, 1944.
Apparently a set of notes for the benefit of trainee armourers.


Here are some useful links. Elsewhere in these pages, an external link is indicated with a symbol and a short
descriptive text.
The symbol is the link.

Next: Notes

© 1998-1999
Emmanuel Gustin

Introduction What preceded Gun Tables Ammunition
WWII Fighters Analysis Firing Up Big Guns
Fighter Armour Bomber's Defense Postscript Korean War Fighters
Fighters Table Fighters Charts Ballistics  
Questions Answers Sources Notes