Thursday, February 09, 2023

Lazy Dog

Commander Salamander's post on carrier vs rods from God sent me down rabbit holes again (although not quite as wild an excursion as Lileks' "From Here to There" today--which you should read too).

You know the "penny from a skyscraper" claim--the Lazy Dog project tried it out. Put little fins on a 50cal bullet and drop a whole bunch of them on your enemy's position. Speeds could reach 700 feet per second, which would do a lot of damage--in theory. Apparently there was a surplus of 50cal slugs and a why-not attitude--and they were tested and then tried in combat. reddit's r/WarCollege section (No, I'd never heard of it before either.) has a thread about them. The French tried them against antiaircraft artillery: the Viet Minh didn't offer any reports on how well it worked, but afterwards they "dispersed their antiaircraft batteries." We tried them against an enemy crossing, killed about a hundred, but the enemy got across anyhow. With a fast drop from 75 feet the slugs dispersed to about 8 hits per square yard, which isn't terrible--but that seems kind of a low altitude.

Commander Gary Palmer, who also flew at China Lake (and, like Powell, in Vietnam) said: "We had an idiot concept called Lazy Dog that had 45-caliber slugs with little fins on them. . . . The place we were working [Vietnam] was a jungle. There’s lots of tree branches and stuff. I like things that go ‘boom’ instead of just drop and rain down.".

Ray Powell said "When it hit terminal velocity, it would start tumbling and most of it didn’t even break that plastic [target] panel. It hit flat on it."

Maybe other shapes than those based around bullets would be better--maybe something to spin them a bit so they don't tumble so much? If you want to play with the aerodynamics yourself, DoD released the results.

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