WW2 Aircraft ammunition by date (in progress)

12.7mm Breda-SAFAT


Before 1938:

  • 12.7mm Ball ~36g.
  • 12.7mm Tracer ~36g.
  • 12.7mm Incendiary (WP) ~36g. ~1-1.3g WP in the nose.


  • 12.7mm AP ~37g. Ordinary steel core.
  • 12.7mm API (WP) ~35g. Shortened steel core. Crimped nose. Bleeds WP after firing. ~1-1.3g WP.
  • 12.7mm HE ~35g. ~0.8g PETN + ~0.25g in fuze. Red Band.
  • 12.7mm HEI ~35g. ~0.15g PETN + ~0.25g in fuze + ~1g Flashpowder with TNT. Blue Band.


  • 12.7mm API-T ~37g. Shortened steel core. Flashpowder in the nose.
  • 12.7mm HEI-T ~37-38g. ~0.15g PETN + ~0.25g in fuze + ~0.6g Flashpowder with TNT. Yellow Band.
  • 12.7mm HEI-T (SD). Self-destroying by tracer. Blue band. Otherwise same as above.


  • Production stop of Tracer, HE, HEI and probably API (WP) and Incendiary
  • 12.7mm API ~37g. Ordinary steel core. Thermite or Flashpowder in the nose.


  • 12.7mm API. Flat nose. Otherwise identical to regular API.

12.7mm Berezin UB


Before 1938:

  • 12.7mm B-30 AP ~52g.

Around 1938:

  • 12.7mm B-32 API ~49g. ~1g Flash powder in the nose instead of soft lead. Otherwise identical to B-30 AP
  • 12.7mm BZT API-T ~46g. ~1g Flash powder in the nose. Shortened steel core for tracer compartment.

In 1940:

  • 12.7mm MD HE ~43.5g. 1.9g PETN + 0.1g in striker type fuze.

When introduced in 1941:

  • 12.7mm BZF-46 API (WP) ~46.5g. ~1.2g WP behind shortened steel core. Suppose to ignite fuel in armored tanks.
  • 12.7mm MD-46 HE ~43g. ~2.4g PETN with air compression fuze.
  • 12.7mm MDZ-46 HEI ~43.5g. ~1.65g PETN + 1.2g Flash powder with air compression fuze.

In 1944:

  • 12.7mm MDZ-3 HEI ~37g. ~1.9g PETN + ~1.3g Flash powder with air compression fuze. Simplified design with higher capacity.

20mm ShVAK


Till 1941:

  • 20mm OF shell (HEF) 90g. ~3.5g Tetryl or GTT (1939). Fragmentation groves on shell body.
  • 20mm OFZ shell (HEFI) 91g. 0.85g Tetryl or GTT (1939) + 3.9g Flash Powder. Fragmentation groves on shell body
  • 20mm T shell (Tracer) 91g.

After 1941:

  • 20mm OZ shell (HEI) ~96g (technically HEFI). 2.8g GTT + 3.4g Flash powder pellet (DU-5)
  • 20mm BZ shell (API) 96.6g. 2.8g Flash powder pellet ring (DU-5)

After 1942:

  • 20mm OZ shell (HEI) 96g (technically HEFI). 2.64g A-IX-2 + 3.4g Flash powder pellet (DU-5)

Early 1943:

  • 20mm OZT shell (HEI-T) 96g (technically HEFI-T). Probably 2g A-IX-2 + 2.5g Flash powder pellet (DU-5)

Sometime between 1943-1944:

  • 20mm OZ shell (HEI) 96g → 5.6g A-IX-2
  • 20mm OZT shell (HEI-T) 96g → 4.13g A-IX-2

23mm VYa



  • 23mm OZ shell (HEI) 201g (technically HEFI). ~10.2g GTT and 6.5g DU-5 Flash Powder pellet
  • 23mm BZ shell (API) 196g. 6g DU-5 incendiary pellet in the nose.

Early 1942:

  • 23mm OZ shell (HEI) 201g (technically HEFI). 15.6g A-IX-2.
  • 23mm BZ shell (API) 199g. 6g DU-5 incendiary pellet in the nose. Simplified and improved design.

Early 1944:

  • 23mm OZT shell (HEI-T) 196g (technically HEFI-T). 11g A-IX-2

13mm MG 131


Till mid 1943:

  • Pzgr.L’spur (AP-T) 38.5g.
  • Spgr.L’spur (HE-T) 34g. 1.1g PETN + 0.2g in detonator. Replaced by Brsprgr.L’spur.
  • Brsprgr.L’spur (HEI-T) 34g. 0.9g PETN + 0.2g in detonaror + 0.3g Thermite.

Late 1943 - Early 1944:

  • Pzbrgr.(P) (API) 38g. ~0.86g WP in light metal capsule. Discontinued mid 1944.

Mid 1944:

  • Brgr.L’spur (IT) 32g. ~3g Flashpowder
  • Brgr. (Inc) 32g. ~3.8g Flashpowder. No tracer. Probably not put into service.

15mm MG 151


Till 1944:

  • 15mm Pzgr.L’spur (AP-T) 72g.
  • 15mm Brsprgr.L’spur (HEFI-T) 57g. 1.9g PETN (+0.16 in detonator) + 1.3g Thermite.
  • 15mm H-Pzgr. (APCR) 52g. 9.5mm Tungsten carbide penetrator (39g).

Early 1944:

  • 15mm Brgr.L’Spur (IT) 57g. ~3.8g Flash powder.

Mid 1944:

  • 15mm Pzbrgr. (P) (API) 59g. ~0.86g WP filler in light metal capsule.

20mm MG 151/20 and MG FF/M


Until mid 1942:

  • 20mm Brsprgr.L’Spur (HEFI-T) 115g. 2.3g PETN (+0.6g in detonator) + 2.1g Thermite. With and without self-destruct mechanism.
  • 20mm M-Gesch. (HE-Mine) 90g. 17g PETN (+0.6g in detonator). With and without self-destruct mechanism.
  • 20mm Pzgr. (AP) 115g.
  • 20mm Pzsprg. (APHE) 115g. 5.1g PETN

Later half of 1942:

  • 20mm M-Gesch. (HE-Mine) 92g. 18.6g HA 41 (+0.6g PETN in detonator). Wtih and without SD + fuze delay charge.
  • 20mm Pzbrgr. (P) (API) 115g. 3.6g WP in 8.6g Aluminum capsule.
  • 20mm Pzbrgr. (E) (API) 117g. ~2g WP in Elektron capsule.

Early 1943:

  • 20mm Brgr.L’Spur (IT) 115g. 8g Flash powder, + 1.5g in the nose.

Mid 1943:

  • Weight increase: 115g shells → 117g
  • Mineshell: 92g → 94-95g

Late 1943:

  • 20mm Brgr.L’Spur (IT) 117g. 8g Flash powder. Hollow nose.
  • 20mm M-Gesch. X (HEI) 106g. 25g HA 41. Presumably only produced in low quanitity.

Early 1944:

  • 20mm Brgr. (Inc) 117g. 20-22g Flash powder. No tracer

Late 1944:

  • 20mm Brgr. 44 (Inc) 106g. ~15g HA 41 (+0.6g PETN in detonator). Hydrostatic fuze.

30mm MK 108


Till 1944:

  • 30mm M-Gesch.L’spur (HEI-T) 330g. 62g HA 41 + 10g PETN

Early 1944:

  • 30mm M-Gesch. (HEI) 330g. 85g HA 41 + 3g PETN
  • 30mm Brgr. (Inc) 330g. 140g Thermite

Mid to late 1944:

  • 30mm M-Brgr. (HEI) 370g. ~40g HA 41 + Flash powder or Thermite inside 20mm hollow steel tube.
    Intended to replace both Mine and Incendiary shell.

20mm Hispano Mk. II and V


Need to investiage some more.

The general evolution is:
HE and HE-T → HEI
Ball → AP and AP-T → SAPI

With Ball being heavily relied on till 1943 or even 1944 since AP was only really necessary for attacking armored ground targets. SAPI was produced in 1943 and become the standard shell for air combat together with the Mk. 1 HEI.

It seems that in 1943 the ammunition development for WW2 was finished and the ammo types used were:

  • 20mm Ball
  • 20mm Tracer
  • 20mm AP and/or AP-T
  • 20mm HEI
  • 20mm SAPI

20mm AN/M1 M2 and M3


Mid 1941 till end of 1945:

  • 20mm Ball ~131.5g. Hollow steel shell. Penetrates roughly 15mm of HHA at 100m.

Beginning of 1942 till beginning of 1944:

  • 20mm Mk. 1 HEI ~131.5g. ~11.27g filler consisting of roughly 5.6g Tetryl and 5.7g Flash Powder. No. 253 air compression fuze.
  • 20mm M75 AP-T ~167.7g. Solid steel projectile.

Mid 1944:

  • 20mm M95 AP-T ~131.5g. Solid shot with ballistic cap.
  • 20mm M96 Incendiary ~122.4g. 9g Flash Powder in body and thin nose.
  • 20mm M97 HEI ~131.5g. 7.7g filler consisnting of roughly 5.6g Tetryl and 2.1g Flash powder. M75 air compression fuze.

Sources (incomplete):

  • Soviet Cannon. A Comprehensive Study of Soviet Guns and Ammunition in Calibres 12.7mm to 57mm. By Christian Koll - 2009
  • Боеприпасы к авиационным пулеметам и пушкам - 1953
  • L.Dv. 4000/10 Munitionsvorschrift für Fliegerbordwaffen
  • Handbuch der Flugzeugbordwaffen Munition 1936 - 1945
  • Some Private Website about Italian ammunition: munizioni - Le 12.7 Breda Mod.35

Got these from a modelers site - might be useful for British/American: 20mm Hispano 20x110 shells???? - Modelling Discussion - Large Scale Modeller
Also has some info on belt composition, including a couple of colour photos







Hispano 20mm ammo, From left to right: Practice/Ball, HEI,SAPI, AP:

1 Like

I added a few more guns and US Hispano ammunition based on some production table.

Also added the 12.7mm Berezin UB machine gun. Which currently misses the BZF-46 API with WP filler and the commonly used MDZ-46 and MDZ-3 HEI rounds with much more capacity then the currently used, obsolete, MD bullet with merely 2g PETN.

The MDZ-3 with 1.9g PETN and 1.3g Flash powder would be even more destructive then the Swedish 13.2mm explosive round, due to increased blast and incendiary effect.