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"Types of 20-mm Weapons" from Tactical and Technical Trends

A report on 20-mm automatic weapons, from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 28, July 1, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


The 20-mm-type automatic gun can be traced back to the German Becker 20-mm gun of 1918. After World War I the patents were sold to a Swiss concern because of treaty limitations on German armament, but in 1928 the Oerlikon Company of Zurich, Switzerland, a German-controlled concern, took over all these patents and turned out the Oerlikon 20-mm gun. The German-controlled Waffenfabrik Solothurn Company of Switzerland shortly thereafter produced the "Solothurn"-type gun. In 1916 the French developed a 37-mm semi-automatic gun for aircraft use. This gun was redesigned during the period from 1920 to 1930 and appeared in the 20-mm series now known as the Hispano-Suiza type.

At the present time, the following 20-mm weapons or their prototypes exist:

Name   Countries Used By   Type of Action and Feed   Use
Solothurn Germany Recoil, magazine AA/AT
Oerlikon United States, England, Germany, Japan, and others Blowback, magazine Aircraft & AA/AT
Mauser Germany Recoil, magazine or belt Aircraft
Hispano-Suiza United States, England, France, and Germany Gas release, blowback drum or belt Aircraft & AA/AT
Madsen Denmark and other countries Recoil, belt Aircraft & AA/AT
Breda Italy and other countries Gas-operated, magazine AA/AT
Isotta-Fraschini Italy Gas-operated, strip feed AA/AT

Three types of 20-mm weapons now in use are illustrated in the accompanying sketches.

[WWII 20-mm Weapons]


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