Military Review

The use of 30 and 37-mm captured German anti-aircraft guns

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The use of 30 and 37-mm captured German anti-aircraft guns

German 20-mm rapid-fire anti-aircraft guns were considered a fairly effective means of dealing with an air enemy at low altitudes. However, with all the advantages of the Flak 28, FlaK 30 and Flak 38 anti-aircraft guns, their rate of fire was not always sufficient to confidently defeat fast-moving targets, and the Flakvierling 38 quad mounts were too heavy and cumbersome. The destructive effect of 20-mm fragmentation shells was still very modest, and several hits were often required to reliably disable an armored attack aircraft. In addition, in addition to increasing the fragmentation and high-explosive action of shells, it was highly desirable to increase the effective firing range and height reach.


However, the Germans had some experience of using captured 25 mm French anti-aircraft guns 25 mm CA mle 39 and 25 mm CA mle 40, issued by Hotchkiss. For their time, these were quite modern installations: the 25 mm CA mle 39 had a detachable wheel travel, and the 25 mm CA mle 40 was mounted on the decks of warships and in stationary positions.


Anti-aircraft gun 25 mm CA mle 39 in the combat position

The anti-aircraft gun 25 mm CA mle 39 was the largest and heavier than the 20 mm German FlaK 30/38. In combat position, the French anti-aircraft machine gun weighed 1150 kg. The rate of fire is about the same as that of the FlaK 30 - 240 rounds / min. Food was supplied from a detachable store for 15 shells. Effective firing range - up to 3000 m. Height reach - 2000 m. Vertical aiming angles: -10 ° - 85 °. Effective firing range - up to 3000 m. Ceiling - 2000 m.

In terms of the striking effect, the 25-mm French shells were significantly superior to the 20-mm German shells. A high-explosive incendiary 25-mm projectile weighing 240 g left the barrel with an initial speed of 900 m / s and contained 10 g of explosives. Upon hitting the duralumin sheet, it formed a hole, the area of ​​which was approximately twice as large as in the explosion of a 20-mm projectile containing 3 g of explosive. At a distance of 300 meters, an armor-piercing projectile weighing 260 g, with an initial speed of 870 m / s along the normal, pierced 28-mm armor.


Anti-aircraft gun 2,5 cm Flak 39 (f) in position

After the occupation of France, the Germans got about four hundred 25-mm anti-aircraft guns. In the Wehrmacht, the 25 mm CA mle 39 mount received the designation 2,5 cm Flak 39 (f). Most of the 25-mm anti-aircraft guns of French origin were placed in the fortifications of the Atlantic Wall, but some of the 25-mm anti-aircraft guns of French production still ended up on the Eastern Front.

German anti-aircraft gunners were quite satisfied with the firing range of captured French anti-aircraft guns, and the striking effect of 25-mm shells. However, calculations have shown that it is possible to achieve a greater destructive effect and firing range by increasing the caliber of anti-aircraft guns to 30-mm, and to ensure the required rate of fire, it is necessary to use tape power.

German 30-mm anti-aircraft guns


The first German 30-mm anti-aircraft guns were handicraft mounted on improvised turrets aviation gun MK.103.

Automatic cannon MK.103 without ammunition weighed 145 kg. The weight of the box with tape for 100 shots is 94 kg. The scheme of functioning of the automation is mixed: the extraction of the sleeve, the supply of the next cartridge and the advance of the tape occurred due to a short rollback of the barrel, and the removal of powder gases was used to cocking the shutter and unlocking the barrel bore. The food was supplied from a metal loose belt 70–125 rounds long. Rate of fire - up to 420 rds / min.

Since this gun had a fairly strong recoil, it was used to a limited extent as part of the armament of single-engine fighters. Serial production of MK.103 was carried out from July 1942 to February 1945. By the middle of 1944, a significant number of unclaimed 30-mm cannons had accumulated in warehouses, which became the reason for their use in anti-aircraft installations.


In the summer of 1943, the first 30mm cannons were mounted on primitive and rather crude turrets. Thus, ground technical personnel tried to strengthen the air defense of German field airfields.

Despite the unsightly appearance, such handicraft installations showed good results when firing at air targets. The 30-mm high-explosive and high-explosive tracer shells had the greatest destructive effect: 3 cm M.Gesch. o. Zerl and 3 cm M. Gesch. Lspur. o. Zerl. The first projectile weighing 330 g contained 80 g of TNT, the second, with a weight of 320 g, was loaded with 71 g of phlegmatized RDX mixed with aluminum powder. For comparison: the Soviet 37-mm fragmentation-tracer projectile UOR-167 weighing 0,732 g, which was included in the ammunition of the 61-K anti-aircraft machine gun, contained 37 g of TNT.

For the manufacture of especially powerful 30-mm projectiles with a high explosive filling ratio, the technology of "deep drawing" was used, followed by quenching of the steel body with high-frequency currents. The hit of even single 30-mm high-explosive and high-explosive tracer shells in the Il-2 attack aircraft was guaranteed to lead to the shooting down of the aircraft.

Taking into account the successful experience of using improvised 30-mm anti-aircraft guns, the designers of Waffenfabrik Mauser AG crossed the MK.103 aircraft cannon with the 20-mm Flak 38 anti-aircraft gun. Although this installation, which received the designation 3,0 cm Flak 103/38, was largely forced wartime improvisation, on the whole it turned out to be quite successful.


30-mm anti-aircraft installation 3,0 сm Flak 103 / 38

Increasing the caliber from 20 to 30 mm made the installation about 30% more difficult. The weight of 3,0 cm Flak 103/38 in the transport position was 879 kg, after separation of the wheel travel - 619 kg. The effectiveness of the 30-mm anti-aircraft gun has increased by about 1,5 times. At the same time, the effective range of fire increased by 20-25%. The heavier 30-mm projectile was slower to lose its energy, the maximum oblique firing range at air targets was 5700 m, and the altitude reach was 4500 m.

The combat rate of fire was significantly increased due to the use of a feed belt and a box for 40 shells. In addition, the power of the 30-mm projectile was twice as large as the 20-mm projectile. It was experimentally found that in most cases, to defeat an armored attack aircraft or a twin-engine dive bomber, no more than two hits from a fragmentation tracer or one hit from a high-explosive projectile were required.

By analogy with the 20-mm quadruple anti-aircraft gun 2,0 cm Flakvierling 38, at the end of 1944, 103 cm Flakvierling 3,0/103 was created using MK.38 cannons. Compared to the 2,0 cm Flakvierling 38, the weight of the 3,0 cm Flakvierling 103/38 in the firing position has increased by about 300 kg. But the increase in weight was more than offset by the increased combat characteristics. In 6 seconds, the quad launcher could fire 160 rounds with a total mass of 72 kg in a continuous burst.


30-mm quad anti-aircraft gun 3,0 cm Flakvierling 103/38

Externally, the 30-mm quad mount differed from the 2,0 cm Flakvierling 38 in longer and thicker barrels equipped with a multi-chamber muzzle brake and cylindrical boxes for projectile belts.

As in the case of 20-mm anti-aircraft guns, single-barreled and quadruple anti-aircraft guns based on MK.103 were used in a towed version, placed on the chassis of armored personnel carriers, tanks, and were also mounted in truck bodies and on railway platforms.

Although attempts were made to organize the mass production of single-barreled and quadruple anti-aircraft guns, and in the second half of 1944 an order was issued for 2000 Flakvierling 103/38 and 500 Flakvierling 103/38, the industry of the Third Reich was unable to meet the planned production volumes. In total, a little more than 500 single-barreled and quadruple units were transferred to the customer, and due to the relative small number of them, they did not have a noticeable effect on the course of hostilities.

Strengthening the anti-submarine aircraft of the allies and the increased losses of German submarines required the replacement of the 37-mm semi-automatic anti-aircraft guns SK C / 30U, in which loading was carried out one round at a time, and therefore, the combat rate of fire did not exceed 30 rds / min.


37-mm semi-automatic cannon SK C / 30U on a submarine

In 1943, the kringsmarine command initiated the development of a paired 30-mm anti-aircraft machine gun. In addition to increasing the rate of fire, while maintaining the firing range of the 37-mm cannon, the new 30-mm anti-aircraft gun was supposed to be relatively light, compact and reliable.

In the summer of 1944, the Waffenwerke Brünn company (as the Czech Zbrojovka Brno was called in wartime) presented a twin anti-aircraft gun for testing, which received the designation 3,0 cm MK. 303 (Br) (also referred to as 3,0 cm Flakzwilling MK. 303 (Br)).


Twin anti-aircraft gun 3,0 cm MK. 303 (Br)

Unlike the 3,0 cm Flak 103/38 with belt feed, the new anti-aircraft gun had a system for feeding ammunition from magazines for 10 or 15 shells, with a rate of fire from two barrels up to 900 rds / min. Thanks to the longer barrel, the muzzle velocity of the armor-piercing projectile was increased to 900 m / s, which increased the effective firing range at air targets.

Series production 3,0 cm MK. 303 (Br) began at the end of 1944. Before the surrender of Germany, more than 220 paired 30-mm anti-aircraft guns were built. Although the anti-aircraft gun 3,0 cm MK. 303 (Br) was originally intended for installation on warships, most of the 30-mm twin was used in land-based stationary positions.

The use of captured 30-mm anti-aircraft guns


Due to the fact that the German industry was unable to produce a significant number of 30-mm anti-aircraft guns, their contribution to the confrontation with Soviet, American and British aircraft during the war years was small. Unlike 20-mm anti-aircraft guns, albeit more effective, but small in number, 30-mm anti-aircraft guns did not become widespread in the post-war years. At the same time, in a number of countries, they had a noticeable impact on the process of creating new rapid-fire anti-aircraft guns.

German 30-mm rapid-fire cannons were carefully studied by Soviet specialists. After trials of the captured MK.103, she received a positive assessment. In the conclusion, based on the results of the tests, it was noted that the 30-mm German automatic gun with a belt feed has a high rate of fire for its caliber. Design weapons quite simple and reliable. The main disadvantage, according to our experts, was the strong shock loads during the operation of the automation. In terms of the complex of combat characteristics, the MK.103 occupied an intermediate position between the 23-mm VYa cannon and the 37-mm NS-37.

Czechoslovakia became the only country where, in the post-war period, 30-mm anti-aircraft guns, previously used in the armed forces of Nazi Germany, were in service in noticeable quantities.

As you know, the Czechs quite widely used the developments created by order of the Nazis, and in the post-war period improved the models of equipment and weapons made in the Third Reich.

In the mid-1950s, the air defense units of the Czechoslovak army began delivering the M53 double-barreled anti-aircraft gun, which is also known as the “30-mm anti-aircraft gun ZK.453 mod. 1953 ". This anti-aircraft gun structurally had a lot in common with the 3,0 cm MK. 303 (Br).


Towed 30-mm anti-aircraft installation ZK.453

The artillery part of the installation was mounted on a four-wheeled cart. At the firing position, it was hung out on jacks. The mass in the stowed position was 2100 kg, in the combat position - 1750 kg. Calculation - 5 people.

The automatic gas engine provided a total rate of fire from two barrels of 1000 rds / min. The anti-aircraft gun was powered from hard cassettes for 10 shells, the real combat rate of fire was 100 rds / min.

The 30-mm Czechoslovak anti-aircraft gun had high ballistic characteristics. A high-explosive incendiary projectile weighing 450 g left a barrel 2363 mm long with an initial speed of 1000 m / s. Oblique firing range at air targets - up to 3000 m.

The ammunition load included armor-piercing incendiary tracer and high-explosive fragmentation incendiary shells. An armor-piercing incendiary tracer projectile weighing 540 g with an initial speed of 1000 m / s at a distance of 300 m could penetrate 50 mm steel armor along the normal.

Comparing the Czechoslovak ZK.453 with the Soviet 23-mm ZU-23, it can be noted that the 30-mm installation was heavier and had a lower combat rate of fire, but at the same time the effective fire zone was about 25% higher, and its projectile had a great destructive effect. ... Paired towed and self-propelled units ZK.453 were used in the military air defense of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania, Cuba, Guinea and Vietnam.

German 37 mm anti-aircraft guns


During World War II, most of the belligerent countries had 37-40 mm anti-aircraft guns. Compared to anti-aircraft guns of 20-mm and 30-mm caliber (especially with quadruple ones), 37-mm guns had a lower combat rate of fire. But much heavier and more powerful 37-mm projectiles made it possible to fight air targets flying at a distance and height inaccessible to anti-aircraft guns of a smaller caliber. At close values ​​of the initial velocity, the 37-mm projectile weighed 2,5-5,8 times more than the 20-30-mm, which ultimately determined a significant superiority in muzzle energy.

The first German 37-mm automatic cannon was the 3,7 cm Flak 18 (3,7 cm Flugzeugabwehrkanone 18). This gun was created by the specialists of the Rheinmetall Borsig AG concern in 1929 based on the developments of the Solothurn Waffenfabrik AG company. The official acceptance into service took place in 1935.

The 37-mm assault rifle was originally created as a dual-use artillery system: to combat aircraft and armored vehicles. Due to the high initial velocity of the armor-piercing projectile, this gun could surely hit tanks with bulletproof armor.


37-mm anti-aircraft gun 3,7 cm Flak 18 with the calculation of the firing position

The cannon automatics worked due to the recoil energy with a short barrel stroke. The shooting was carried out from a pedestal gun carriage, supported by a cruciform base on the ground. In the stowed position, the gun was transported on a four-wheeled cart. The mass of the gun in the combat position is 1760 kg, in the stowed position - 3560 kg. Calculation - 7 people. Angles of vertical guidance: from -7 ° to +80 °. In the horizontal plane, there was the possibility of circular fire. Guidance drives are two-speed. The maximum firing range at air targets is 4200 m.

A unitary shot known as the 3,7x18B was used to fire the 37 cm Flak 263. Cartridge weight - 1,51-1,57 kg. An armor-piercing tracer projectile weighing 680 g in a barrel length of 2106 mm accelerated to 800 m / s. The thickness of the armor pierced by the armor-piercing tracer at a distance of 800 m at an angle of 60 ° was 25 mm. The ammunition load also included shots: with fragmentation-tracer, fragmentation-incendiary and fragmentation-incendiary-tracer grenades, an armor-piercing high-explosive projectile, as well as a subcaliber armor-piercing tracer projectile with a carbide core. Power was supplied from 6-charge clips on the left side of the receiver. Rate of fire - up to 150 rds / min.


In general, the 37-mm anti-aircraft gun was quite workable and quite effective against aircraft at ranges up to 2000 m, and could successfully operate against lightly armored ground targets and manpower in line-of-sight aisles. Despite the fact that by the beginning of World War II, this 37-mm anti-aircraft gun was replaced in production with more advanced models, its operation continued until the end of hostilities.

The first combat use of the 3,7 cm Flak 18 took place in Spain, where the gun performed well on the whole. However, the anti-aircraft gunners complained about the difficulty of redeploying and transporting. The excessive mass of the anti-aircraft gun in the transport position was a consequence of the use of a heavy and inconvenient four-wheeled "cart", which was towed at a speed of no more than 30 km / h.

In this regard, in 1936, using the 3,7 cm Flak 18 artillery unit and a new gun carriage, a 3,7 cm Flak 36 anti-aircraft machine gun was created. The mass of the modernized 37-mm anti-aircraft gun in the combat position decreased to 1550 kg, and in the marching position - to 2400 kg. While maintaining the ballistic characteristics and rate of fire of the previous modification, elevation angles were increased in the range from -8 to + 85 °.


3,7 cm Flak 36 in the stowed position

The carriage with four supports with the help of a chain winch was removed and put on a single-axle vehicle in three minutes. Highway towing speed increased to 60 km / h.

The creators of the 3,7 cm Flak 36 managed to achieve a high design perfection of the anti-aircraft gun, and the next stage in the increase in the effectiveness of 37-mm anti-aircraft guns was to increase the accuracy of fire.

The next modification, designated 3,7 cm Flak 37, used the Sonderhänger 52 anti-aircraft sight with a calculating device. The fire control of the anti-aircraft battery was carried out using the Flakvisier 40 rangefinder. Thanks to these innovations, the accuracy of fire at distances close to the limit increased by about 30%.


3,7 cm Flak 37 in firing position

The installation of 3,7 cm Flak 37 visually differed from earlier models by a modified barrel casing, which is associated with a simplified production technology.

In general, the 3,7 cm Flak 36 and 3,7 cm Flak 37 met the requirements for 37 mm anti-aircraft guns. However, when firing at rapidly moving air targets at a distance of up to 1000 m, it was highly desirable to increase the rate of fire. In 1943, the Rheinmetall Borsig AG concern proposed a 37-mm towed anti-aircraft gun 3,7 cm Flak 43, the vertical guidance angle of the barrel of which was increased to 90 °, and the principle of operation of the automatic artillery unit underwent significant revision. The short stroke of the barrel during recoil was combined with a gas vent mechanism that unlocks the bolt. The increased shock loads were compensated by the introduction of a spring-hydraulic damper. To increase the practical rate of fire and the length of the continuous burst, the number of rounds in the clip was increased to 8 units.

Due to all this, it was possible to significantly reduce the time required to perform actions during the production of a shot, and the rate of fire increased to 250-270 rds / min, which slightly exceeded the rate of fire of the 20 mm automatic machine 2,0 cm FlaK 30. The effective rate of fire was 130 rds / min. min. The mass in the firing position is 1250 kg, in the stowed position - 2000 kg. The barrel length, ammunition and ballistics of the Flak 43 remain unchanged compared to the Flak 36.

The antiaircraft gun became easier to operate: the loading process became easier, and one gunner could fully control the gun. To protect the crew, an armored shield with two flaps was installed on most of the 3,7 cm Flak 43 towed installations. The gun was transported on a single-axle sprung trailer with pneumatic and hand brakes, as well as a winch for lowering and raising the gun when it was transferred from the traveling position to the combat position and vice versa. In exceptional cases, shooting from a cart was allowed, while the horizontal firing sector did not exceed 30 °. The Flak 43 artillery unit was mounted on a triangular base with three beds, on which it rotated. The beds had jacks for leveling the anti-aircraft gun. To increase the effectiveness of anti-aircraft fire, centralized aiming from a single anti-aircraft fire control device was adopted as the main one. At the same time, individual sights were retained for use outside the 3,7 cm Flak 43 anti-aircraft battery.


3,7 сm Flak 43

Simultaneously with an increase in the rate of fire, due to an increase in the share of stamped parts, the technology for the production of anti-aircraft guns was improved and the metal consumption was reduced. This, in turn, made it possible to quickly establish the serial production of the new 37-mm anti-aircraft gun. In July 1944, 180 assault rifles were delivered, in December - 450 guns. In March 1945, 1032 3,7 cm Flak 43 guns were in service.

In parallel with the 3,7 cm Flak 43, a twin installation Flakzwilling 43 was created. The artillery machines in it were located one above the other, and the cradles on which the machines were installed were connected to each other by a thrust forming a parallelogram articulation. Each cannon was located in its cradle and formed a swinging part rotating relative to its annular pins.


Flakzwilling 43

With the vertical arrangement of the barrels, there was no dynamic torque in the horizontal plane, knocking down the aiming. The presence of individual pins for each machine gun minimized the disturbances affecting the swinging part of the anti-aircraft installation, and made it possible to use the artillery unit from single installations without any alterations. In the event of the failure of one gun, it was possible to fire from the second without disrupting the normal aiming process.

The disadvantages of this scheme are a continuation of the advantages: with a vertical arrangement, the height of the entire anti-aircraft installation and the height of the line of fire increased. In addition, such an arrangement is only possible for side-fed vending machines.


In general, the creation of Flakzwilling 43 was quite justified. The mass of the twin 37 mm mount compared to the Flak 43 has increased by about 40%, and the combat rate of fire has almost doubled.

Until March 1945, the German industry produced 5918 37-mm Flak 43 anti-aircraft guns, and 1187 twin Flakzwilling 43. Despite the higher level of combat characteristics, Flak 43 was unable to completely displace the Flak 36/37 from the production lines of 37-mm anti-aircraft guns 3,7. 36 cm Flak 37/20000, of which more than XNUMX units were manufactured.

In the Wehrmacht, towed 37-mm anti-aircraft guns were reduced to batteries of 9 guns. The anti-aircraft battery of the Luftwaffe, placed in stationary positions, could have up to 12 37-mm cannons.

In addition to being used in a towed version, the 3,7-cm Flak 18 and Flak 36 anti-aircraft guns were installed on railway platforms, various trucks, half-track tractors, armored personnel carriers and tank chassis.


Unlike towed 37-mm anti-aircraft guns deployed at prepared firing positions as part of the battery, the calculation of self-propelled anti-aircraft guns when firing at air targets, due to cramped conditions, as a rule, did not use an optical rangefinder, which negatively affected the accuracy of firing. In this case, amendments to the sight were made in the course of firing, based on the trajectory of the tracer shells relative to the target.

Anti-aircraft 37-mm self-propelled guns were actively used on the Eastern Front, operating mainly in the front-line zone. They accompanied transport convoys and were part of the anti-aircraft division, which provided air defense for some tank and motorized divisions.


If necessary, the ZSU was used as a mobile anti-tank reserve. In the case of targeted use against armored vehicles, the ammunition load of 37-mm anti-aircraft guns could include a sub-caliber projectile weighing 405 g, with a tungsten carbide core and an initial speed of 1140 m / s. At a distance of 600 m along the normal, it pierced 90 mm armor. But, due to the chronic shortage of tungsten, 37-mm sub-caliber shells were not often used.

At the final stage of the war, in the face of an acute shortage of anti-tank weapons, the German command decided to put most of the 37-mm anti-aircraft guns on direct fire for firing at ground targets.


Due to low mobility, automatic anti-aircraft guns were used mainly in pre-equipped positions in defense nodes. Due to their good penetration and high rate of fire for their caliber, they posed a certain danger to Soviet medium T-34 tanks and, when using fragmentation shells, could successfully fight infantry that did not take cover.

Use of 37-mm German anti-aircraft guns in the USSR


In parallel with the "20-mm automatic anti-aircraft and anti-tank gun arr. 1930" mentioned in the previous publication (2-K), the German company Butast in 1930 supplied technical documentation and a number of semi-finished products to the 37-mm anti-aircraft gun, which later in Germany received the designation 3,7 cm Flak 18. In the USSR, this system received the name “37-mm automatic anti-aircraft gun arr. 1930 ". Sometimes it was called the 37-mm gun "N" (German).

They tried to launch the anti-aircraft gun into mass production at plant number 8, where it was assigned the factory index 4-K. In 1931, three guns, assembled from German parts, were presented for testing. However, plant No. 8 failed to achieve the proper quality of manufacturing of components in mass production, and an attempt to mass production in the USSR of a 37-mm anti-aircraft gun of the German model failed.

During World War II, the Red Army captured several hundred towed 37-mm anti-aircraft guns and the ZSU armed with them. However, official documents on the use of these weapons in the Red Army could not be found.

In the memoir literature, there is a mention that captured 37-mm German anti-aircraft guns were installed in defense nodes and were used exclusively for firing at ground targets.


It can be assumed that due to ignorance of the captured material, the Red Army men could not competently operate 37-mm automatic cannons, and we did not know how to use German fire control devices. By the time the Red Army switched to strategic offensive operations, and Soviet troops began to capture a significant number of 37-mm German anti-aircraft guns, the air defense units of the Red Army were sufficiently saturated with domestic 37-mm automatic anti-aircraft guns of the 1939 model and received from the allies 40- mm "Bofors".

Captured German warships, which became part of the USSR Navy, had single-barreled and paired 37-mm universal rapid-fire cannons 3,7 cm SK C / 30 with a semi-automatic vertical sliding wedge gate with manual loading of each shot and automatic anti-aircraft guns 3,7 cm Flak М42.

Although the 37-mm naval gun 3,7 cm SK C / 30 in accuracy and firing range significantly exceeded the 37-mm land anti-aircraft guns, by the standards of the 1940s its rate of fire was unsatisfactory.


Twin naval 37-mm anti-aircraft gun 3,7 cm Flak М42

In this regard, the company Rheinmetall Borsig AG in 1943 redesigned the 3,7 cm Flak 36 for naval requirements. Unlike the land-based prototype, the naval anti-aircraft gun was loaded with clips of five rounds from above, had an elongated barrel, a pedestal gun carriage and an anti-splinter shield. The rate of fire was 250 rds / min.

In the Soviet navy semi-automatic 3,7 cm SK C / 30 were replaced by 37-mm automatic anti-aircraft gun mounts 70-K. Trophy machines 3,7 cm Flak M42 served until the mid-1950s.

The use of 37-mm German anti-aircraft guns in the armed forces of other states



Bulgarian anti-aircraft gun 3,7 cm Flak 36 at the National Military Museum stories

German 37-mm anti-aircraft guns 3,7 cm Flak 36 were produced in Romania, and also supplied to Bulgaria, Hungary, Spain and Finland. After the end of World War II until the early 1950s, they were in service in Bulgaria, Spain and Czechoslovakia.


37-mm anti-aircraft guns 3,7 cm Flak 36 in the Romanian army

A significant number of 37-mm anti-aircraft guns were captured by the Allies during the liberation of the territories of France, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands from the Nazis. The longest 3,7 cm Flak 36 was used in Romania. They served in this country under the designation "Tun antiaerian Rheinmetall calibru 37 mm model 1939" for about two decades. In the early 1960s, they were transferred to warehouses. Three dozen 37-mm German-style anti-aircraft guns were in storage until the 80s.

Although the German 37-mm anti-aircraft guns had rather high combat and service-operational characteristics, in the first post-war decade they were almost completely replaced by anti-aircraft guns used in the winning countries: in the 40-mm Bofors L60 and 37-mm 61-K.

The ending should ...
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Articles from this series:
Use of captured German pistols in the USSR
The use of German captured submachine guns in the USSR
The use of captured German rifles and machine guns in the USSR
The use of captured German machine guns in the USSR
The use of captured German tanks and self-propelled guns in the initial period of the Great Patriotic War
Use of captured "Panthers" and "Tigers" at the final stage of the Great Patriotic War
The use of captured German self-propelled guns in the Red Army at the final stage of World War II
The use of German armored vehicles in the postwar period
The use of captured German mortars and multiple launch rocket systems
Use of captured German anti-tank guns
Captured German infantry guns in service in the Red Army
Captured German 105-mm howitzers in service in the Red Army
Captured 105-mm cannons and 150-mm heavy field howitzers in service in the Red Army
The use of captured German 20-mm anti-aircraft machine guns
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  1. Pavel57
    Pavel57 April 3 2021 03: 47
    +4
    37 mm guns were for one round?
    1. Bongo
      April 3 2021 04: 33
      +16
      Quote: Pavel57
      37 mm guns were for one round?

      For 37-mm German anti-aircraft guns, 37 x 263B shots were used.

      Much more powerful 3,7x30R shots were used for firing from the 37-cm SKC / 380 semiautomatic naval guns.
      1. Flooding
        Flooding April 3 2021 08: 46
        0
        Automatic cannon MK.103 without ammunition weighed 145 kg

        Obviously, a mistake has crept into the numbers.
        Two "Maxims"?
        1. Bongo
          April 3 2021 09: 23
          +7
          Quote: Flood
          Obviously, a mistake has crept into the numbers.

          No mistake, this is the weight of the aircraft gun without ammunition.
          1. Flooding
            Flooding April 3 2021 09: 42
            +2
            Thank you.
            I understand that the design of the aircraft cannon is maximally lightweight.
            But I didn’t think it would be enough for 30mm.
            DShK weight on the machine
            1. Bongo
              April 3 2021 09: 48
              +4
              Quote: Flood
              Thank you.
              I understand that the design of the aircraft cannon is maximally lightweight.
              But I didn’t think it would be enough for 30mm.
              DShK weight on the machine

              The anti-aircraft gun itself weighed more, of course. But different sources provide different data. Therefore, I did not indicate the exact mass. Compared to 20-mm anti-aircraft guns, the weight of 30-mm guns has increased by about 30%, as stated in the article. hi
            2. Saxahorse
              Saxahorse April 3 2021 21: 54
              +1
              These are still flowers. In aviation, MK.103 (44.6 clb) was not really used for the 30x184 projectile, the recoil was too strong. The fokers were equipped with an MK-108 for a 30 × 90 mm projectile. Her weight is 63 kg! The barrel length is 35 calibers and the ballistics is more than miserable, it is impossible to get further than 300 m.
      2. Alien From
        Alien From April 3 2021 09: 26
        +6
        Thank you for a wonderful series of articles hi very informative and informative +
        1. Bongo
          April 3 2021 09: 49
          +11
          Quote: Alien From
          Thank you for a wonderful series of articles hi very informative and informative +

          I am frankly glad that thinking readers who are interested in the history of weapons remained on the Military Review.
          1. Cherry Nine
            Cherry Nine April 3 2021 12: 35
            +3
            )))
            Hello. hi

            Just now I found out that you are writing a new monstrous cycle. An unexpected topic for you, I have not even opened these articles before.
            1. Bongo
              April 3 2021 16: 17
              +5
              Quote: Cherry Nine
              Hello.

              Good evening! hi
              Quote: Cherry Nine
              Just now I found out that you are writing a new monstrous cycle.

              Which is almost finished. Frankly speaking, I myself did not expect it to take so long. Initially, I planned to shine 20-30-37-mm and 88-105-128-mm anti-aircraft guns one by one. However, the publications turned out to be too voluminous, and instead of two, four came out.
              Quote: Cherry Nine
              An unexpected topic for you, I have not even opened these articles before.

              I wrote about German artillery before. However, such neutral topics remain only now. Objectively speaking about the Russian air defense has become fraught. request
              1. Cherry Nine
                Cherry Nine April 3 2021 17: 09
                +3
                Quote: Bongo
                to talk objectively about the Russian air defense system has become fraught.

                The Internet emerged as a special project of the US CIA and continues to develop. I wrote on the Internet about the defense of the Motherland - consider it, I told the CIA.

                Especially if the defenses are leaky, to put it mildly. Therefore, you cannot write the truth, but you have to write nonsense about the S-500, Zircon, Poseidon, what else is there? Disinform the enemy.

                So I see.
      3. Pavel57
        Pavel57 April 3 2021 10: 08
        +1
        Quote: Pavel57
        37 mm guns were for one round?
        I didn't think that the Germans had different shots for different 37mm guns, but I meant shots for our 37mm guns. Moreover, the Germans also used our 37mm 61K.
  2. Toucan
    Toucan April 3 2021 04: 18
    +5
    The article is interesting! good But it is still not entirely clear why captured 37-mm anti-aircraft guns were not used for their intended purpose during the Second World War.
    1. Bongo
      April 3 2021 04: 40
      +14
      Quote: Tucan
      But it is still not entirely clear why captured 37-mm anti-aircraft guns were not used for their intended purpose during the Second World War.

      It was not possible to establish reliably why the German 37-mm anti-aircraft guns were not used in our air defense units. It is possible that there were such cases, but most likely not regularly.
      By analogy with the 88-mm anti-aircraft guns, which will be discussed in the next publication, I can say that the captured "akht-aht" have been used since 1943 in high-powered artillery regiments exclusively for firing at ground targets. Apparently, serviceable guns were captured much more often than rather complex PUAZO. Shooting at aerial targets (if aimed) is very difficult and requires in-depth education and training.
      1. Sling cutter
        Sling cutter April 3 2021 04: 49
        +8
        Quote: Bongo
        I did not manage to become reliable why the German 37-mm anti-aircraft guns were not used in our air defense units.

        Greetings, Sergey! hi It seems that they were not used in air defense due to the lack of sufficient ammunition. I present it as a version.
        1. The leader of the Redskins
          The leader of the Redskins April 3 2021 06: 14
          +8
          And I never tire of thanking the author for the raised layer. A wonderful topic. And interesting, and with quite rare photos.
          Thank you!
          1. Sling cutter
            Sling cutter April 3 2021 06: 17
            +11
            Quote: Leader of the Redskins
            And I never tire of thanking the author for the raised layer. A wonderful topic. And interesting, and with quite rare photos.
            Thank you!

            Yeah, Linnik-Bongo burns out normally! good
          2. igordok
            igordok April 3 2021 08: 46
            +5
            Quote: Leader of the Redskins
            And I never tire of thanking the author for the raised layer. A wonderful topic. And interesting, and with quite rare photos.
            Thank you!

            I join in thanks. Here is the topic of ammunition, especially their interchangeability, it would be nice to expand somewhat. Thanks.
        2. serg.shishkov2015
          serg.shishkov2015 April 3 2021 14: 49
          0
          Another version is also possible - PUAZO is more vulnerable to bullets and shrapnel than an anti-aircraft gun. Therefore, serviceable anti-aircraft guns were captured more often than PUAZO. Regarding the lack of ammunition, in 1943 one of the divisions of armored trains of the BP-43 type picked up 8 20-mm * Flakov *. repaired and included in the combat crew! and found the shells!
          1. Bongo
            April 3 2021 16: 19
            +3
            Quote: serg.shishkov2015
            Regarding the lack of ammunition, in 1943 one of the divisions of armored trains of the BP-43 type picked up 8 20-mm * Flakov *. repaired and included in the combat crew! and found the shells!

            20mm submachine guns are a completely different song. The previous part of the cycle was devoted to them. At the end of each article there are active links to parts that were published earlier. if interested, take a look. hi
            1. IL-18
              IL-18 April 4 2021 17: 19
              +1
              Quote: Bongo
              At the end of each article there are active links to parts that were published earlier.

              Special thanks to good
      2. Catfish
        Catfish April 3 2021 06: 50
        +7
        Good morning Sergey. hi
        Until this day, I did not know that the Germans used aircraft guns instead of anti-aircraft guns. Thank you, you always have something to surprise your reader. good
        ... received from the allies 40-mm "Bofors".

        I read from different authors that the Germans also used a 4-centimeter "Bofors", ours did not come across such a double trophy? No data?
        1. Bongo
          April 3 2021 09: 30
          +8
          Quote: Sea Cat
          Good morning Sergey.

          Konstantin, welcome! hi I'm already in the evening.

          Quote: Sea Cat
          I read from different authors that the Germans also used a 4-centimeter "Bofors", ours did not come across such a double trophy? No data?


          The Wehrmacht became the owner of the 40-mm "Bofors" in 1938, when, as a result of the Anschluss, 60 anti-aircraft guns of the Austrian army got. In Germany, these anti-aircraft guns were designated as 4,0 cm Flak 28 (see photo).


          After the occupation of Belgium, Holland, Greece, Denmark, Norway, Poland, France and Yugoslavia, about 400 Bofors L60 anti-aircraft guns were at the disposal of the German army. Moreover, after the German occupation, serial production of 40-mm anti-aircraft guns continued at the following factories: Österreichinschen Staatsfabrik - in Austria, Hazemeyer BV - in the Netherlands, Waffenfabrik Kongsberg - in Norway. The Hungarian metallurgical and machine-building consortium MAGVAG delivered about 1944 1300-mm Bofors by December 40.
          However, 40-mm anti-aircraft guns were mainly used in the Western direction. Most likely, our troops also captured them, but how many of them were damaged now it is not possible to establish.
          As for the Bofors L60 in the Red Army, within the framework of Lend-Lease, the Americans delivered more than 40 thousand 5,5-mm anti-aircraft guns to us.
          1. Catfish
            Catfish April 3 2021 17: 29
            +1
            I see. Thanks. hi
            I remember the first time I read about this "Bofors" in the book "Sea Eagle" by James Aldridge, I was still surprised: and what only the Germans in Crete did not have. smile
  3. Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I April 3 2021 08: 17
    +2
    Quote: Bongo
    Apparently, serviceable guns were captured much more often than rather complex PUAZO.

    But the Red Army was armed with 85-mm anti-aircraft guns 52-K ... PUAZO was produced for them ...
    1. Bongo
      April 3 2021 09: 37
      +4
      Quote: Nikolaevich I
      Quote: Bongo
      Apparently, serviceable guns were captured much more often than rather complex PUAZO.

      But the Red Army was armed with 85-mm anti-aircraft guns 52-K ... PUAZO was produced for them ...

      On the other hand, it would be foolish to argue with this. But you probably know that the production of PUAZO in our country did not keep up with the production of 85-mm anti-aircraft guns. In addition, there must have been difficulties in adapting the 88 mm guns, which were originally designed to work with such equipment.

  4. Ingvar 72
    Ingvar 72 April 3 2021 08: 43
    +5
    Thanks for the interesting reading this weekend, Sergey! hi
    1. Bongo
      April 3 2021 09: 44
      +2
      Quote: Ingvar 72
      Thanks for the interesting reading this weekend, Sergey!

      drinks
  5. Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I April 3 2021 08: 55
    +2
    As for the Soviet "analogues"; then the Red Army was armed with 25-mm anti-aircraft guns 72-K and 25-mm twin installations 94-KM ... however, they were launched into production quite late ... in the middle of the war and there were much less of them than 37 -mm 61-K, on ​​the basis of which they were developed! But in 1941, in the battles near Tula, a number of single and twin anti-aircraft guns were used using 23-mm VYa aircraft guns! There was an idea to use these guns as anti-aircraft guns, but everything produced went into service with Il-2 attack aircraft ... Only after the war was it possible to adopt the ZU-23 anti-aircraft guns ...
    1. Bongo
      April 3 2021 09: 44
      +4
      Quote: Nikolaevich I
      As for the Soviet "analogues"; then the Red Army was armed with 25-mm anti-aircraft guns 72-K and 25-mm twin installations 94-KM ... however, they were launched into production quite late ... in the middle of the war and there were much less of them than 37 -mm 61-K, on ​​the basis of which they were developed

      In my opinion, there was not much sense in 25-mm installations with exchange loading. The troops needed a 14,5-mm ZPU and a 23-mm belt-fed memory.
      1. Nikolaevich I
        Nikolaevich I April 4 2021 01: 10
        0
        Quote: Bongo
        In my opinion, there was not much sense in 25-mm installations with exchange loading. The troops needed a 14,5-mm ZPU and a 23-mm belt-fed memory.

        Well, it was what it was! That was what they fought! And about the 14,5-mm ZPU and 23-mm memory ... so this is "the dream of Agafya Tikhonovna"! (At that time there were no 14,5-mm "gun mounts", and 23-mm air cannons were barely enough for aviation!) I also had some "worries": why didn't they acquire a license for the production of "western" 30-mm machine guns in the late 15s. ... after all, they already "existed" then; and the USSR at that time did not shy away from acquiring (or even "tyrit" ...) foreign licenses !? But it is sometimes difficult for us, from our "temporary distance" to understand the reasons for many actions of our "ancestors"! PSA in general, an excellent article! good
      2. Doctor
        Doctor April 4 2021 09: 52
        0
        In my opinion, there was not much sense in 25-mm installations with exchange loading. The troops needed a 14,5-mm ZPU and a 23-mm belt-fed memory.

        And what is so good about 14,5? Rate of fire? Is there any data on the effectiveness of this caliber?
        1. Bongo
          April 4 2021 10: 00
          +3
          Quote: Arzt
          In my opinion, there was not much sense in 25-mm installations with exchange loading. The troops needed a 14,5-mm ZPU and a 23-mm belt-fed memory.

          And what is so good about 14,5? Rate of fire? Is there any data on the effectiveness of this caliber?

          You can read here:
          Soviet post-war anti-aircraft machine gun installations
          https://topwar.ru/36443-sovetskie-poslevoennye-zenitnye-pulemetnye-ustanovki.html
          1. Doctor
            Doctor April 4 2021 10: 20
            0
            You can read here:
            Soviet post-war anti-aircraft machine gun installations
            https://topwar.ru/36443-sovetskie-poslevoennye-zenitnye-pulemetnye-ustanovki.html

            I read thanks.
            As I understand it, combat use in Vietnam (ZSU-1).
            Convenient for the jungle and mountains, but the effectiveness for me personally is questionable. Compared to 20 gauge.

            What is your opinion about the ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" and the ZSU-37-2 "Yenisei"? Compared?

            What caliber, in your opinion, is optimal for military air defense during the Second World War?
            Not echeloned, but direct support of troops, from the march to stationary defense.
            1. Bongo
              April 4 2021 11: 17
              +3
              Quote: Arzt
              As I understand it, combat use in Vietnam (ZSU-1).

              Twin and quadruple 14,5 mm ZPUs were used in many conflicts. In addition to the USSR, such installations were produced from the PRC and the DPRK.
              Quote: Arzt
              Convenient for the jungle and mountains, but the effectiveness for me personally is questionable. Compared to 20 gauge.

              Compare the muzzle energy, muzzle velocity and armor penetration of a 14,5 mm bullet with the German 20 mm anti-aircraft projectile, and all questions will disappear.
              Quote: Arzt
              What is your opinion about the ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" and the ZSU-37-2 "Yenisei"? Compared?

              With what to compare, with MZA installations of the Second World War?
              Quote: Arzt
              What caliber, in your opinion, is optimal for military air defense during the Second World War?

              14,5 and 23mm tape-fed. I have already spoken about this.
              1. Doctor
                Doctor April 4 2021 11: 24
                0
                With what to compare, with MZA installations of the Second World War?

                14,5 and 23mm tape-fed. I have already spoken about this.

                Well, if the leadership of the USSR decided to choose one license, which one: 20 mm Oerlikon or 40 mm Bofors?

                Or design an intermediate 30mm?
                1. Bongo
                  April 4 2021 11: 40
                  0
                  Quote: Arzt
                  Well, if the leadership of the USSR decided to choose one license, which one: 20 mm Oerlikon or 40 mm Bofors?

                  Sorry, but what is the 37-mm automatic anti-aircraft gun mod. 1939 (61-K) except for the caliber differs from the 40 mm Bofors L60?
                  I am always happy to answer readers' questions, but I want them to have at least minimal knowledge about the subject of the conversation. hi
                  1. Doctor
                    Doctor April 4 2021 14: 34
                    0
                    Sorry, but what is the 37-mm automatic anti-aircraft gun mod. 1939 (61-K) except for the caliber differs from the 40 mm Bofors L60?
                    I am always happy to answer readers' questions, but I want them to have at least minimal knowledge about the subject of the conversation. hi

                    I mean the optimal caliber of an anti-aircraft projectile for the Second World War.

                    Simply, in my opinion, military air defense is the most disastrous part of the Red Army, especially in the initial period.
                    1. Bongo
                      April 5 2021 13: 36
                      +2
                      Quote: Arzt
                      Simply, in my opinion, military air defense is the most disastrous part of the Red Army, especially in the initial period.

                      Certainly yes
                      Quote: Arzt
                      I mean the optimal caliber of an anti-aircraft projectile for the Second World War.

                      For the divisional link 45 mm based on Bofors L60 and 23 mm based on VYa. For the regimental level 14,5 mm based on the same VYa. For the battalion link 12,7 mm DShK.
                      But I am aware that the Soviet industry was not able to cope with this.
  6. Bongo
    April 3 2021 09: 41
    +2
    Quote: Stroporez
    Greetings, Sergey! hi It seems that they were not used in air defense due to the lack of sufficient ammunition. I present it as a version.

    Hello! hi
    Of course, this factor could influence the use of 37-mm German anti-aircraft guns in the first half of the war. But when our troops began large-scale offensive operations, there should have been no shortage of captured ammunition.
  7. Free wind
    Free wind April 3 2021 10: 45
    +2
    15 downed planes, a tough argument in favor of these systems.
  8. Aaron Zawi
    Aaron Zawi April 3 2021 15: 16
    +4
    Great article as always. hi
  9. Saxahorse
    Saxahorse April 3 2021 22: 03
    +3
    Very good, thanks a lot to the author!

    I suspect that it was this family of guns, MK103 / 38, that became the basis for the development of 30 mm assault rifles in the USSR.
  10. Michael
    Michael April 5 2021 04: 18
    0
    Where to collect rounds for everyone? Shot ammunition - ferrous metal is waiting.
  11. Gregory Charnota
    Gregory Charnota April 6 2021 00: 20
    0
    But didn't Switzerland supply them with Erlikons?
    1. Bongo
      April 7 2021 01: 44
      0
      Quote: Gregory Charnota
      But didn't Switzerland supply them with Erlikons?

      The 20-mm Oerlikons were discussed in detail in the previous part of the cycle.
  12. Pavel Ryabov
    Pavel Ryabov April 18 2021 07: 02
    0
    The Soviet 37-mm automatic anti-aircraft gun of the 1939 61-K model was an unlicensed copy of the Swedish 40-mm Bofors cannon.