I saw the film Dunkirk yesterday with some friends and thoroughly enjoyed it. One of my friends had some quibbles with the dogfight scenes, however. How realistic are they? Any reliable sources related to the points below would be much appreciated.

  • https://www.quora.com/How-long-do-a-Spitfires-guns-keep-firing-during-battle says that Spitfires carried enough ammunition to fire for a total of less than 30 seconds. In the film, Tom Hardy's character seems to fire for much more than that (but I'm not sure -- I wasn't counting). How much creative license is the film using here? What's Tom Hardy's total firing time?
  • Related point: if ammunition was limited in reality, you'd think pilots would be worried not only about their fuel gauge, but also about how many rounds they had left in their guns. Is that right? Did Spitfires even have ammunition gauges? If so, do we ever see it in the film? Tom Hardy's character spends tons of time thinking about how much fuel he has left, but does he ever look at his ammunition counter?
  • Are there any confirmed cases of a Spitfire shooting down an enemy after having run out of fuel? How plausible is this?

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