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#4361769 - 06/03/17 04:03 PM Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment  
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Was perusing some pictures this morning and came across this shot of Franceso Baracca in a Nieuport...

[Linked Image]

I'm baffled as to the purpose of the metal frame stock extension on the MG. Anyone know what its function is?? Clearly, it is not for standing up in the cockpit and used as a shoulder brace. It is far too long. Besides, why would you want or need to stand and shoot?

Here is a 2nd image showing Baracca in a Nieuport, possibly even the same Nieuport (note the rear view mirror on the outer right side windscreen) and the same style MG but without the metal frame stock extension.


[Linked Image]

This not only has me wondering about this particular field modification, but unusual or unique field modifications in general.

Rick

#4361772 - 06/03/17 04:18 PM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: Buff1]  
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I had heard sometimes top wing guns were pivoted down and the pilots shot upwards.
Perhaps this allowed the shoulder to support in this position?

Just a guess.

Nice photos by the way.

Last edited by Stache; 06/03/17 04:19 PM.

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#4361777 - 06/03/17 04:50 PM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: Stache]  
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Originally Posted by Stache
I had heard sometimes top wing guns were pivoted down and the pilots shot upwards.
Perhaps this allowed the shoulder to support in this position?

Just a guess.

Nice photos by the way.


My thoughts as well Stache, I was going to state that fact until I noticed your reply.


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#4361780 - 06/03/17 05:08 PM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: Buff1]  
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I'm going to guess that it was not for the reasons you suggest. If you look at the stock and see how far it is from a sitting pilot you'll see that he could not have braced it against his shoulder while sitting. And it's ridiculous, I think, to believe that a pilot could control his machine while standing up. These were often, highly unstable, airplanes. Taking you're hands and feet off of the controls to use the gun would have been unlikely.
It was , most likely, simply left there because it was quicker to do that. Why go through the trouble of modifying the weapon? And besides, if the plane was wrecked the machine gun was still useful as an infantry weapon. Just a thought.


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#4361782 - 06/03/17 05:18 PM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: Buff1]  
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Looking at the mount the lewis gun is on I am thinking the stock was left on so that the pilot could use side pressure on the stock to "lock" the gun in a particular position. I know Albert Ball for one used to do this with aircraft equipped with the foster mount.


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#4361786 - 06/03/17 05:35 PM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: Pooch]  
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Pooch, I don't think anyone is suggesting a pilot would stand and shoot.... And the point isn't the overall wooden stock itself, just the thin metal frame extension in the first image. It has clearly been added to the standard wooden stock for some obscure reason... smile

Last edited by Buff1; 06/03/17 05:36 PM.
#4361828 - 06/03/17 10:09 PM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: Buff1]  
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Maybe he thought it would be easier to grab the metal extension with a cold gloved hand to pivot down and change the drum? Just a guess.


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#4361838 - 06/03/17 10:57 PM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: Buff1]  
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MFair, you are correct. Baracca had the extension/handle added to make it easier to reach and grab when he was belted into the cockpit. He also found it made for better control when firing the gun tilted upwards at the underside of an enemy bus. I don't believe it was intended to be used as a shoulder brace as suggested by Stache and Robert, rather just a better grip to get a gloved hand on.


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#4361845 - 06/03/17 11:33 PM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
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Originally Posted by RAF_Louvert
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MFair, you are correct. Baracca had the extension/handle added to make it easier to reach and grab when he was belted into the cockpit. He also found it made for better control when firing the gun tilted upwards at the underside of an enemy bus. I don't believe it was intended to be used as a shoulder brace as suggested by Stache and Robert, rather just a better grip to get a gloved hand on.


You could very well be correct Lou as it would lend itself well for such use. Having said that, I can't help but draw attention to the natural curve of the metal extension which would fit well into a shoulder. It mimics the natural curve of the butt stock.


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#4361850 - 06/04/17 12:06 AM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: Buff1]  
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Bottle opener used for opening large bottles for large celebrations, like Armistice?


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#4361851 - 06/04/17 12:08 AM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: Buff1]  
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Robert, while I agree about the curve of the extension fitting the shoulder the extension itself is far too short to reach the shoulder of a pilot belted down into the cockpit. Look at the pivot point of the gun mount and, using the radius from that pivot point to the end of the extension, swing an arc down towards where a pilot would be seated when flying. You will be a good 10" to 12" shy of contacting said pilot's shoulder and you will also be landing on top of his clavicle if you were to make contact. Keep in mind when the harness belts are tightened up properly a pilot can't really lean forward or move around much at all.

Fullofit, those would be large bottles indeed. biggrin


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#4361852 - 06/04/17 12:31 AM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: Buff1]  
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Lou, it may actually work. It is a perspective, so not precise - granted, but he is turned sideways (probably looking at the large bottles).
[Linked Image]

Attached Files daa9aa858120c5339edd07425099e9f5.jpg

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#4361854 - 06/04/17 12:43 AM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: Buff1]  
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Fullofit, let me stress that I am referring to the pilot being strapped into flying position which would normally put his shoulders slightly below and slightly back under the rear cockpit combing. In that position the extension on the stock would not reach his shoulder nor would it be at a good "working" angle against his shoulder even if it could reach it. Another thing to keep in mind, the gun is center-mounted on the top wing so swinging it down and trying to place it against either shoulder would cause the gun to point off to either the left or right. Not really sure how that would serve any useful purpose when trying to line up your shots on a plane close above you.


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_________________________________________________________________________

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"pippy-pahpah-pippy pah-pip-pah"

#4361863 - 06/04/17 02:18 AM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: Buff1]  
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My guess is that it is a stock for an AA mounting but the gun was hastily repurposed.

#4361865 - 06/04/17 02:35 AM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: Buff1]  
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I've been looking at what pictures I could find.
And so far all of them have the D butt handle and not the full shoulder stock that Baracca shows.
So I find it odd that Baracca has a full butt stock.

I also find it odd that if it were just a handle, they would have put the curve for the shoulder.


This is a picture of Billy Bishop. Not sure what plane it is. (N17?) And I know the mount is not the same.
But still looks pretty tight, maybe he is not all the way seated.
[Linked Image]



Attached Files billybishop.jpg
Last edited by Stache; 06/04/17 02:43 AM.

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#4361870 - 06/04/17 03:43 AM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: Buff1]  
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Good discussion, gents! Glad I started the thread!

#4361983 - 06/04/17 10:46 PM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
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Originally Posted by RAF_Louvert
.

Fullofit, let me stress that I am referring to the pilot being strapped into flying position which would normally put his shoulders slightly below and slightly back under the rear cockpit combing. In that position the extension on the stock would not reach his shoulder nor would it be at a good "working" angle against his shoulder even if it could reach it. Another thing to keep in mind, the gun is center-mounted on the top wing so swinging it down and trying to place it against either shoulder would cause the gun to point off to either the left or right. Not really sure how that would serve any useful purpose when trying to line up your shots on a plane close above you.


Hi Lou, very good points especially about the pilot's position in the cockpit. I agree completely, but can't help but notice the fact that he is sitting so high up in the cockpit in that picture. Is he sitting on a stack of phone books? So I looked at another picture of him standing beside the N11:

[Linked Image]

He looks like a giant compared to the pilot in this picture:

[Linked Image]

The caption states that it also is a N11, but seems totally out of proportion with Baracca. I used this picture because they appear to be standing in relatively same place to be compared.
I have no clue if Baracca was a tall man, but if he was, then probably his shoulders would stick up higher than a regular pilot's. In that case, the butt stock extension may be able to reach his shoulder when the gun was lowered.
I also agree that he would have to shoot at an angle in this configuration, which seems pointless, although he was known to take down 2-seaters in this fashion (gun up). I would think that bracing the gun against his shoulder would make clearing jams, or maybe even reloading possible with one hand. Total speculation on my part.
I must say I know little of all of this and thought I could ask someone with much greater knowledge and learn something in the process.

Attached Files Baracca.PNGN11.PNG

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#4362271 - 06/06/17 02:32 AM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: Buff1]  
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Maybe he is standing on the same stack of phone books! As far as bottle opener... it is used to open ... magnums! Sorry, I had nothing of importance to add. Those other guns had smaller grab handles so the gloved theory might be suspect. I'll stick with the matter of expediency. A weapon was re-purposed with as little modification as possible to get the most money from the gov't purchaser for the supplier. Heck... that is still done to this day, right?

#4362679 - 06/08/17 01:20 AM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: ARUP]  
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Originally Posted by ARUP
A weapon was re-purposed with as little modification as possible to get the most money from the gov't purchaser for the supplier. Heck... that is still done to this day, right?


Let me fix that for you:

A weapon is repurposed with as little modification as possible to get the most money for the supplier from the gov't purchaser... shedevil

why don't we have a he-devil?

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#4362689 - 06/08/17 03:30 AM Re: Francesco Baracca with Curious MG attachment [Re: Buff1]  
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