Military Review

German anti-aircraft artillery of medium and large caliber in World War II


During World War II, medium-sized and large-caliber anti-aircraft artillery acquired special importance for the defense of Germany. Since 1940, the British long-range bombers, and since 1943, the American “flying fortresses” systematically erased German cities and factories from the ground. Air defense fighters and anti-aircraft guns were the only means of protecting the military potential and the population. Heavy bombers of England and especially the USA made raids at high altitudes (up to 10 km). Therefore, heavy anti-aircraft guns with high ballistic characteristics turned out to be the most effective in fighting them.

During the 16 massed raids on Berlin, the British lost the 492 bomber, making up 5,5% of all sorties. According to statistics, for one aircraft downed there were two or three damaged ones, many of which were subsequently not subject to recovery.

American flying fortresses made raids during the daytime and, accordingly, suffered more significant losses than the British. Especially significant was the raid of the flying B-17 fortresses in 1943 at the ball bearing plant when the German air defense destroyed about half of the bombers involved in the raid.

The role of anti-aircraft artillery is also significant in that a very large percentage (more than allies recognize) of bombers dropped bombs everywhere, just to leave, or not to enter anti-aircraft fire at all.

Work on the creation of medium-caliber anti-aircraft guns for the German armed forces began in the middle of the 20-x. In order not to formally violate the conditions of restrictions imposed on the country, the designers of the Krupp company worked in Sweden, in agreement with the Bofors company.

Created in 1930, an anti-aircraft gun 7,5 cm Flak L / 60 with a semi-automatic shutter and a cruciform platform, it was not officially accepted into service, but it was actively produced for export. In 1939, unrealized samples were requisitioned by the German Navy and used in anti-aircraft units of the coastal defense.

Rheinmetall was created at the end of 20's 75 mm zenith 7,5 cm Flak L / 59which also did not suit the German military and was subsequently proposed by the USSR as part of military cooperation with Germany.

Original samples made in Germany, in February-April 1932, were tested at the Scientific Research Antiaircraft Range. In the same year, the gun was put into service in the USSR, called "76-mm anti-aircraft gun arr. 1931».

Gun arr. The 1931 of the Year was quite a modern weapon with good ballistic characteristics. Its carriage with four folding beds provided circular fire, with a weight of 6,5 kg, the vertical firing range was 9 km.

76-mm designed in Germany. anti-aircraft gun had an increased margin of safety. The calculations showed that it is possible to increase the caliber of the gun to 85-mm. Subsequently, on the basis of the anti-aircraft gun "arr. 1931. Was created "85-mm tool 1938 model of the year".

Among the Soviet armament, which fell into the hands of the Germans in the first months of the war, was a large number of anti-aircraft guns. Since these guns were practically new, the Germans willingly used them themselves. All 76,2 and 85-mm guns were recalibrated to 88-mm so that you can use the same type of ammunition. By August 1944, the German army had 723 cannons Flak МЗ1 (r) and 163 cannons Flak М38 (r). The number of these guns captured by the Germans is unknown, but it can be said for sure that the Germans had a significant number of these guns. For example, the Daennmark anti-aircraft artillery corpus counted 8 batteries on 6-8 such guns, about twenty more of these batteries were located in Norway.

In addition, the Germans used a relatively small number of other foreign medium-caliber anti-aircraft guns. The most widely used Italian guns 7,5-cm Flak 264 (i) и 7,62-cm Flak 266 (i)as well as Czechoslovak guns 8,35-cm Flak 22 (t).

In 1928, the designers of the Krupp company, using elements of 7,5 cm Flak L / 60, began designing the 8,8-cm anti-aircraft gun in Sweden. Later, the developed documentation was delivered to Essen, where they made the first prototypes of guns. The Flak 18 prototype appeared back in 1931, and the mass production of the 88-mm anti-aircraft gun began after Hitler came to power.

The 88-mm anti-aircraft gun, known as Acht Komma Acht, was one of the best German guns of World War II. The gun had very high characteristics for that time. Fragmentation projectile weighing 9 kg. had a reachability of 10600 m. and a horizontal range of 14800 m.

German anti-aircraft artillery of medium and large caliber in World War II

The system, called 8,8-cm Flak 18 passed the "baptism of fire" in Spain, after which a shield was mounted on it to protect it from bullets and shrapnel.

Based on the experience gained during operation in the troops and in the course of hostilities, the gun was modernized. Modernization mainly affected the design of the trunk, developed by Rheinmetall. The internal structure of both trunks and ballistics were the same.
The upgraded 8,8-cm gun (8,8-cm Flak 36) entered service in 1936 g. Later, some changes were made in 1939 g. The new model was named 8,8-cm Flak 37.

Most of the nodes of guns arr. 18, 36 and 37 were interchangeable, for example, you could often see the Flak 18 stem on the Flak 37 carriage. Modifications of the Flak 36 and 37 guns differed mainly in the mast design. The Flak 18 was transported on a lighter Sonderaenhanger 201 wheeled cart, so it weighed almost 1200 kg more easily in the stowed position than the later modifications carried on the Sonderaenhanger 202.

In 1939, Rhinemetal was awarded a contract to create a new cannon with improved ballistic characteristics. In 1941 the first prototype was made. The gun received the name 8,8 See Flak 41. This gun was adapted for firing ammunition with enhanced propelling charge. The new gun had a rate of fire of 22-25 shots per minute, and the initial velocity of the fragmentation projectile reached 1000 m / s. The gun had a swivel-type carriage with four cross-shaped beds. The mast design provided firing at an angle of elevation up to 90 degrees. The automatic shutter was equipped with a hydropneumatic rammer, which made it possible to increase the firing rate of the gun and facilitate the work of the calculation. The height of the gun was reachable 15000 meters.

The first production models (44 units) were sent to the African Corps in August 1942. Tests under combat conditions revealed a number of complex design flaws. Flak 41 guns were produced in a relatively small series. In August, the 1944 of the year in the troops were only 157 guns of this type, and by January 1945, their number increased to 318.

88-mm cannons became the most numerous heavy anti-aircraft guns of the III Reich. In the summer of 1944, the German army had more than 10000 of these guns. 88-mm anti-aircraft guns were the armament of anti-aircraft battalions tank and grenadier divisions, but even more often these guns were used in the anti-aircraft units of the Luftwaffe, which were part of the Reich air defense system. With success, the 88-mm cannons were used to combat enemy tanks, and also acted as field artillery. The 88-mm anti-aircraft gun served as the prototype for a tank gun for the Tiger.

After the capitulation of Italy, the German army received a large number of Italian weapons.
For the entire 1944 of the year in service in the German army, there were at least 250 90-mm Italian anti-aircraft guns, called 9 cm Flak 41 (i).

In 1933 A competition was announced for the creation of an 10,5-cm anti-aircraft gun. Firms Krupp and Rhinmetall produced two prototypes each. Comparative tests were carried out in 1935, and in 1936, the 10,5-cm gun from Rheinmetall was recognized as the best and was put into mass production under the name 10,5-cm Flak 38. The gun had a semi-automatic wedge bolt. Semiautomatic mechanical type, cocked when reeling.

Within the framework of military-technical cooperation, four 10,5-cm Flak 38 guns were delivered to the USSR and tested from July 31 to October 10 1940 at the anti-aircraft missile test site near Evpatoria. They passed joint tests with domestic 100-mm anti-aircraft guns L-6, 73-K and land variant B-34. The tests showed the superiority of the German sample for most indicators. A very accurate operation of the automatic fuse installer was noted. However, for some reason, it was decided to launch 100-K in the 73-mm series. However, the "gunners" plant them. Kalinin never managed to do this.

The 10,5-cm gun of the Flak 38 originally had electro-hydraulic pointing drives identical to the Flak 8,8 and 18 36-cm drives, but the 1936 introduced the UTG 37 system used on the Flak 8,8 gun. At the same time, a free-tube barrel was introduced. The system thus upgraded was given the name 10,5-cm Flak 39.

The 10,5 cm Flak 38 anti-aircraft gun began to en masse in service with the German army at the end of 1937. Flak 39 appeared in parts only at the beginning of 1940. Both types differed mainly in the structure of the carriage.

10,5-cm Flak 38 and 39 remained in production throughout the war, despite the fact that according to their ballistic characteristics, the 8,8-cm guns of the Flak 41 were almost on par with them.

The guns were mainly used in the Reich air defense system, they covered industrial facilities and kriegsmarine bases. In August, 1944, the number of 105-mm anti-aircraft guns reached a maximum. At that time, the Luftwaffe had 116 cannons placed on railway platforms, 877 cannons mounted stationary on concrete bases and 1025 cannons equipped with conventional wheel carriages. The Reich defense batteries numbered heavy guns on 6, not 4, as was the case in front-line units. 10,5- see guns arr. 38 and 39 were the first German anti-aircraft guns, which were connected to PUAZO with FuMG 64 "Mannheim" 41 T radars

Work on the 128-mm anti-aircraft guns at Rheinmetall began in 1936 g. The first prototypes were presented for testing in 1938 g. In December 1938 was given the first order for 100 installations. At the end of 1941, the troops received the first batteries with 12,8 cm anti-aircraft guns.

12,8-cm Flak 40 was a fully automated installation. The ammunition was sent, delivered and sent, as well as the fuse was installed using four 115 V three-phase asynchronous generators. The four-gun 12,8-cm battery Flak 40 served one 60 kW generator.

The 128-mm guns 12,8 cm Flak 40 were the heaviest anti-aircraft guns used during the 2-th World War.
With a mass of fragmentation projectile 26 kg, which had an initial velocity of 880 m / s, the reachability in height was more than 14000 m.

Anti-aircraft guns of this type were received in parts of the crigsmarine and the Luftwaffe. They were mainly installed on stationary concrete positions, or on railway platforms. Targeting and adjustment of anti-aircraft fire were made according to radar posts.

Initially, it was assumed that mobile 12,8-cm installations would be transported on two wagons, but later it was decided to restrict one to a four-axle wagon. During the war, only one mobile battery (six guns) entered service.

The first battery of 128-mm guns was located in the Berlin area. These guns were installed on powerful concrete towers 40-50 meters in height. The air defense towers, apart from Berlin, also defended Vienna, Hamburg and other major cities. 128-mm guns were installed at the top of the towers, and below, along the protruding terraces, smaller-caliber artillery was located.

In August, 1944 was in service: six mobile installations, 242 stationary installations, 201 railway installation (on four platforms).

In the spring of 1942, twinned 128-mm anti-aircraft guns entered service in Berlin’s air defense 12,8 cm Flakzwilling 42. When creating the 12,8-cm two-stationary installation, a base from an experienced 15-cm installation was used.

In August, 1944 was in service with 27 installations, and in February, 1945 was installed with 34. The battery had four settings.
Installations were part of the defense of large cities, including Berlin, Hamburg and Vienna.

1.09.1939 Germany has 2459 - 8,8-cm cannons Flak 18 and Flak 36 and 64 - 10,5-cm cannons Flak 38. In 1944, the production of 88-mm, 105-mm and 128-mm guns reached its maximum, 5933 – 8,8-cm, 1131 – 10,5-cm and 664-12,8-cm were produced.

With the advent of radar stations, shooting performance, especially at night, has increased significantly.

Anti-aircraft radars to 1944 g, were armed with all heavy anti-aircraft batteries of air defense facilities inside the country. Heavy motorized anti-aircraft batteries, operating at the front, radar were only partially provided.

In the course of the war, German anti-aircraft guns of medium and large caliber, in addition to their intended purpose, proved to be an excellent anti-tank weapon. Although they cost significantly more expensive than their caliber anti-tank guns and were used for want of a better one. So, in 1941, the only weapon capable of penetrating the armor of Soviet KV tanks was 8,8 cm anti-aircraft guns and 10,5 cm. Of course, we are not talking about corps and RVGK artillery. However, until September 1942, when the number of 8,8-cm and 10,5-cm anti-aircraft guns on the front was small, they hit relatively few Soviet T-34 and KV tanks (3,4% - 8,8-cm guns and 2,9% - 10,5-cm cannons). But in the summer of 1944 the 8,8-cm guns accounted for 26 to 38% of wounded Soviet heavy and medium tanks, and with the arrival of our troops in Germany in the winter - in the spring of 1945, the percentage of wounded tanks rose to 51-71% (on different fronts) . Moreover, the greatest number of tanks was hit at a distance of 700 - 800 m. These data are given for all 8,8-cm guns, but even in 1945, the number of 8,8-cm anti-aircraft guns significantly exceeded the number of special 8,8-cm anti-tank guns. Thus, at the last stage of the war, German anti-aircraft artillery played a significant role in land battles.

After the war, before adopting the 100-mm anti-aircraft guns KS-19 and 130-mm anti-aircraft guns KS-30, a number of 8,8-cm, 10,5-cm and 12,5-cm German guns were in service with the Soviet Army. According to American sources, several dozen 8,8-cm and 10,5-cm German guns took part in the Korean War.

Based on:
A.B. Wideograd "God of War of the Third Reich"
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  1. Su-9
    Su-9 14 September 2013 08: 40
    In addition, the 12,8 Flak was so good that after the war it was copied to the USSR and put into production as the 130-mm anti-aircraft gun KS-30. (together with almost the entire periphery of management). Dear topwar, I registered about it here: http: //
    -30-1948-g.html, though the fact of copying was not a little sanctified, but this is the case.
    1. Bongo
      14 September 2013 09: 22
      Externally, the KS-30 on the 12,8-cm Flak 40 is not very similar. In addition, ours use a separate-sleeve loading. And the Germanic unitary shot. Although something must have borrowed something. Impressed by the Germa 150-experienced anti-aircraft guns, a small batch of 152-mm KM-52 was released in the USSR
    2. Bosk
      Bosk 14 September 2013 09: 37
      128th if I'm not mistaken at the end of the war they wanted to put on self-propelled guns ... Jagtiger or some other "Yag", though it is not clear how they were going to shoot them ... chtol along the roads, so that a column of tanks could be shot in through. This fluff on an armor-piercing blank should not have weak ballistics.
      1. Bongo
        14 September 2013 09: 46
        Under this caliber existed specialized anti-tank Pak 43.
        September 11 was an article about the German anti-tank, you can look there.
        1. Rjn
          Rjn 14 September 2013 15: 11
          The Pak-43 has a 88 mm caliber.
          1. Bongo
            14 September 2013 15: 16
            Yes, the slip turned out, I thought about one thing, I wrote something else. Of course I meant: 12,8 сm PaK 44 L / 55. Thank you for correcting hi
      2. novobranets
        novobranets 15 September 2013 14: 31
        The famous 88-millimeter paper, "an enema for all diseases" - an effective air defense, a serious anti-tank thing, coastal defense, naval air defense. These guns, with minor modifications, were installed on the Pz.Rpfw-6 "Tiger". Good range and Zeiss optics made it possible to use it in a wide range of missions. She played a big role in the Second World War. From time immemorial, the Germans were considered good mechanics, and their weapon turned out to be successful, unfortunately and unfortunately for our pilots and tankers.
    3. MAG
      MAG 14 September 2013 12: 57
      What exactly were our licks? if possible for more details. Give specific nodes that without alterations put on the COP. And according to KS-30 there they gathered all the best from the barrel anti-aircraft artillery and embodied but the era of missiles came.
  2. svp67
    svp67 14 September 2013 09: 04
    Thanks to the author, for the interesting material and the ease of bringing it ...
  3. Stas57
    Stas57 14 September 2013 11: 29
    Based on the experience gained during operation in the army and during the hostilities, the gun was modernized. The upgrade focused mainly on the barrel design developed by Rheinmetall. The internal arrangement of both trunks and ballistics were the same

    both barrels of the "old" and "new" type were put on both 18 and 36/37, as it is correctly noted, and are not a distinctive feature.
    The Flak 18 was transported on the lighter Sonderaenhanger 201 wheeled trolley, therefore, in the stowed position it weighed almost 1200 kg lighter than later modifications carried on the Sonderaenhanger 202.

    but the carts were very different and were not interchangeable with 18 and 36 \ 37.
    Like the gun carriages, what is said.

    Well, the video how AhtAht works and well-coordinated calculation
  4. kord1215
    kord1215 14 September 2013 11: 42
    -14 qualifying.
    Even today, air defense based on these systems will be more effective than the obsolete air defense systems of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
    1. berimor
      berimor 14 September 2013 15: 20
      So can only reason a complete ignoramus in air defense! Read popular literature, articles on VO and you will understand what’s what.
  5. zyablik.olga
    zyablik.olga 14 September 2013 12: 26
    20-37-mm quick-firing small-caliber assault rifles could be relatively effective, while large-caliber guns to counter a cruise missile is very problematic.
    At the moment, barrage can’t bring much
  6. Rider
    Rider 14 September 2013 13: 05
    good article, but somehow compressed. very little information on individual artillery systems.
    perhaps it would be better to split the article into two parts. but add more details.

    and yet, the author did not mention special air defense towers in Germany.
    The title photo shows the anti-aircraft gun mounted on just such a design.

    although, perhaps, such an article was already at VO.
    1. ICT
      ICT 14 September 2013 13: 22
      Quote: Rider
      perhaps such an article was already at VO.

      here it is
      1. Bongo
        14 September 2013 14: 10
        Article about the tower, but not about anti-aircraft guns
    2. Bongo
      14 September 2013 14: 09
      The towers are mentioned, read carefully.
  7. ICT
    ICT 14 September 2013 13: 13
    from the photo collection I liked the radars, looking like modern (I used to see only large ones)
    1. Bongo
      14 September 2013 14: 11
      The Germans started with 43, very widely used in PUAZO.
  8. svp67
    svp67 14 September 2013 14: 17
    German "listeners" of the sky ...
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  10. Akuzenka
    Akuzenka 14 September 2013 22: 49
    Recalibration of our anti-aircraft guns? I doubt it very much. Together with the guns, the Fritz seized a bunch of ammunition. Or maybe production has been established.
    1. Bongo
      15 September 2013 15: 31
      Documented fact.
  11. npu3pak
    npu3pak 14 September 2013 23: 52
    in vain spent money - 3 (!) caliber. Irrational expenditure of funds - it was necessary to send to fighter aircraft (since the 43rd year, especially since the Me-262 was on the way). Well, the result - they lost the pure competition of the German air defense industries and the Allied air forces. Although they could reliably protect the Reich at a much lower cost.
  12. loft79
    loft79 15 September 2013 07: 51
    Good article.
    I would like to add that 8.8 was also installed on landing ships.
    For example, Landing ferries such as "Siebel".
    Option art. support.
    1. Thunderbolt
      Thunderbolt 15 September 2013 08: 11
  13. Fibrizio
    Fibrizio 15 September 2013 12: 57
    I think it's foolish to deny that we copied German technology. Just do not forget that copies were made already "modernized" for their capabilities and accumulated experience.
    Take even our post-war armored vehicle, well, the purest copy of German, the first ballistic missile launches - a modification of the FAU2. Even the same Kalashnikov assault rifle. No one says that it is MP-44 in its purest form. But the design features are more likely in the best technical performance of the nodes than in their conceptual difference. It seems that the argument in favor of AK was that he had stamped parts. But it was developed like a be and not during a losing war.
    So there was a succession. There is nothing to talk about. Some German engines and radars were worth it.
    And I don’t see anything humiliating or bad in it. All countries of the world are trying to steal the secrets of the enemy and become better. And rightly so, one can go from theory to a prototype not in 10 years, but in 2.
  14. Eugeniy_369
    Eugeniy_369 15 September 2013 15: 58
    This fucking "akht-akht" probably destroyed more tanks than planes. In my opinion, if there is a symbol of all the military equipment of the Wehrmacht in IIВМ, it is Pz.IV, Ju 87, 8,8 cm Flak 18,36,37. IMHO. Article plus. The Germans were even going to put "akht-aht" on the chassis of a panther. Luckily for us, things didn't go further than prototypes.
    PS There are apparently different samples on the photos, correct if anyone knows, Kars for example wink .
  15. rokkero
    rokkero 9 November 2013 19: 33
    The article is so-so, but comments are better - especially photos and videos, good
  16. Woldemar
    Woldemar April 14 2014 14: 04
    I watched the video, the rate of fire is simply amazing. A flurry of fire even from one gun, and if the battery is working, then this is generally something terrible.
    Germany in terms of technology ahead of us a lot. All that you want from them was - and radars to you; and almost fully automatic gun systems.
    Honor and glory to our great-grandfathers who, in spite of everything, defeated the Nazis!