Military Review

German 88-mm self-propelled anti-aircraft installations

17
In the German army during the Second World War, tank and motorized infantry (panzergrenadier) units, anti-aircraft, as well as anti-tank means of defense were assigned a very great importance. And if in the areas of concentration of troops towed anti-aircraft guns reliably covered ground units from aviation enemy, then on the march the problem was very complicated. The army needed mobile anti-aircraft weapons, in which the response time to an air threat (transfer from a marching to a combat position) would be minimal. The German designers found a way out of the situation in crossing the chassis of half-track artillery tractors and tanks with anti-aircraft guns of various calibers.


Of course, the German designers could not ignore one of the most famous guns of the Second World War, the famous "eight-eight". The success of the combat use of 8,8 cm FlaK 18 / 36 / 37 anti-aircraft guns in all theaters of hostilities was evident from the very beginning. The gun proved to be excellent even during the Spanish Civil War, and in the summer of 1940, the 88-mm guns literally pereselchel well armored French tanks. Often they became victims of precisely these anti-aircraft guns. Later, they proved themselves on the Eastern Front against the Soviet T-34 and KV tanks and in Africa, where Rommel successfully foxed the British, effectively using the existing 88-mm anti-aircraft guns against the well-armed Matilda II infantry tanks.

Possessing excellent ballistic characteristics, the “eight-eight” gun completely depended on the tractor and, in case of its breakdown or destruction, during an enemy counter-offensive, it was simply not possible to tow the gun by the forces of its calculation. Therefore, the German officers wanted to achieve greater mobility of this artillery installation. Even before the Polish campaign in Germany, there were ideas for installing 8,8 cm FlaK 18 on the chassis of semi-tracked armored personnel carriers or tanks. It turned out to be a daunting task to realize the desires of the military, as the anti-aircraft gun, which was unsuitable for these purposes, had a large mass and strong recoil.

German 88-mm self-propelled anti-aircraft installations
8.8cm Flak 37 Sfl.Auf 18 ton Zgkw


It was possible to find a way out of a difficult situation using the X.UMX-ton heavy artillery tractor s.Zgkw.18t as a chassis for the installation of an anti-aircraft gun. The undercarriage of this tractor was semi-tracked: the front wheels of the car were guides, and the tracked chassis (on 18 road wheels on board, staggered) had a torsion bar suspension. Each caterpillar consisted of 6 links, and the length of the contact surface of the caterpillar with the surface was equal to 47, see. The total mass of the combat vehicle when installing anti-aircraft guns reached 286 tons. With an 25 horsepower 12 cylinder mounted on a tractor. The speed of the installation on the highway was 230 km / h (35 km / h is the highest), over rough terrain - 50 km / h. The supply of fuel in the amount of 20 liters was enough for 290 km of traffic on the road or 250 km when driving along a country road.

The power plant and the cabin of the tractor received armor, and the cargo compartment received a folding side. The maximum thickness of the armor plates was 14,5 mm. An interesting feature of the car was that instead of the usual grilles or blinds, the radiator protected the corner from armor plates, which gave free access to air from below and above. Record was the number of crew of the vehicle, which included 11 people: driver, commander and 9 gunners calculation.

Anti-aircraft gun 8.8 cm Flak 37 was installed in the back and equipped with armor. When firing at air targets, the firing rate of the gun reached 15-20 shots per minute. The maximum height reach for the anti-aircraft grenade was 10 600 meters, and the effective reach was 6000 meters. A distinctive feature of the gun was the high speed of the projectile - about 800 m / s. Three main types of ammunition were used for firing: a fragmentation grenade with a screw bottom 8,8cm Spz.Gr L / 4,5 (could be equipped with three types of remote fuses, a defeat area - a cylinder 60х12 meters), a solid-shell fragmentation grenade (also three types of fuses) and an armor fragmentation grenade (also three types of fuses) and an armor set and armor’s and a figure and an armor’s complex and armor; .Gr. With all its advantages, this anti-aircraft gun had its drawbacks. The maximum rate of fire could be achieved only in favorable conditions, and taking into account only manual aiming at the target and poor booking, in open battle with the enemy this self-propelled gun had not so many chances to survive.

8.8cm Flak 37 Sfl.Auf 18 ton Zgkw


Work on this anti-aircraft self-propelled unit, which received the official designation 8.8cm Flak 37 Sfl.Auf 18 ton Zgkw, began in the 1941 year, but only on October 31 1942, the first prototype ZSU was presented for testing to the customer. The self-propelled unit was tested with varying success, after which the Luftwaffe and the Wehrmacht placed an order for the production of 112 copies. But in the course of serial production from July to September, 1943 managed to collect all 12 of such machines (according to other data there were 14, however, in this case, most likely, the prototypes collected earlier were also taken into account). All self-propelled anti-aircraft installations assembled by the Germans were transferred to the 1 and 2 batteries of the 304 battalion of heavy anti-aircraft artillery. In September, 1943, this part was subordinated to the 26 Panzer Division, which conducted military operations against the allies in Italy.

Do not confuse the ZSU 8.8cm Flak 37 Sfl.Auf 18 ton Zgkw with another combat vehicle, also built on the basis of the half-track tractor. This is 8.8 cm Flak 18 (Sfl.) Auf Zugkraftwagen 12t (Sd.Kfz. 8). This model was originally built as an ACS, whose main task was to be a struggle against the enemy’s long-term fortifications and its armored vehicles. The base for this self-propelled unit was used 12-ton semi-tracked tractor Sd.Kfz.8, which was produced by Daimler-Benz with 1937 year. These tractors had the brand designation DB s8, DB9 and DB10, depending on the year of manufacture and the level of design modifications.

Successful this combat vehicle was difficult to call. Her booking was too weak, and the scheme impractical. In addition, the total height of this self-propelled gun, together with an armored scroll of the gun, reached 3225 mm, which made such an important parameter, as inconspicuous, completely inapplicable to it. Despite a set of these shortcomings, the 88-mm self-propelled unit was adopted by the Wehrmacht as a temporary measure. According to various reports, Krupp in 1939-1940 has released 10 or 12 of such ACS based on the chassis DBs8 and DB9, although in some sources there is a figure in 25 self-propelled guns. Initially, all the ACS were transferred to the 8-th separate heavy division.

8.8 cm Flak 18 (Sfl.) Auf Zugkraftwagen 12t (Sd.Kfz. 8)


In the spring of 1940, this division was attached to the 2 tank division, which was part of the 19 corps. General Heinz Gudarin commanded this corps. Self-propelled gun showed itself very well in France. The first experience of its combat use was successful. In the afternoon of May 13, 1940 was used by ACS data to combat the enemy’s long-term gun emplacements on the Meuse River. 88-mm anti-aircraft guns successfully coped with their task, several projectiles drove the calculations directly into the embrasures of the firing points, forcing the French soldiers to surrender in this area. Self-propelled guns went through the entire campaign, successfully applied to combat French tanks. Later they took part in the invasion of the Soviet Union. The last of the SAU of this type were lost by the Germans in the USSR only in March 1943 of the year.

Pz.Sf.IVc

All attempts to install the excellent Flak 88 / 18 / 36 37 anti-aircraft gun on the half-track tractor chassis were a kind of half-measure, a kind of ersatz of a real combat vehicle. And although such a decision increased the mobility of the remarkable universal implement, the tractor chassis simply were not designed for its mass. It was a fairly heavy artillery system weighing over 5 tons. Understanding this, the German designers tried to create a specialized tracked chassis that would fit to install an 88-mm anti-aircraft gun.

In 1942, Krupp engineers began to design a new undercarriage for an ACS, which, according to the scheme, should have been close to the undercarriage of an average Pz.Kpfw.V. Applied to a single board, it consisted of 8 road wheels, which were staggered, with rear guide and front drive wheels. The track chain was assembled from steel tracks with 520 mm width. The body of this universal ACS, which could be used both in anti-aircraft and anti-tank purposes, was very similar in layout and design to the medium tank Pz.Kpfw.IV. In front of it there was a transmission, in the middle part there was a fighting compartment, and in the stern - the engine compartment. A modified Flak 18 / 36 anti-aircraft gun with caliber length 56 was mounted on the roof of the fighting compartment. This tool was protected by means of a front armored seat and two side and aft armored seats. The peculiarity of this combat vehicle was that in the combat position the side and stern armored seats folded back, forming a level platform for calculating work. In addition, the folding of the armored shell allowed the gun to make a full turn around its axis, which was very important, especially when using the Pz.Kpfw.IV as a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun.

Pz.Sf.IVc


Created by the designers of the Krupp company, the chassis was designated Pz.Sf.IVc, and the self-propelled gun was officially named Versuchsflakwagen 8.8cm FlaK auf Sonderfahrgestell. A prototype of this universal ACS was put to the test at the end of 1942, where it showed quite good results. Despite this, the order for the serial production of this combat vehicle did not follow. The reason was the change in the technical specifications, over time the Flak 18 / 36 anti-aircraft gun ceased to have the necessary anti-tank effectiveness. According to some information, the prototype of this SAU even managed to make war in Italy, being assigned to the 26-th tank division. Work on fine-tuning the prototype of this combat vehicle did not stop in Germany until January 1945. As part of the upgrade, a new Flak 41 anti-aircraft gun of the same caliber, which has a large caliber and the best ballistics, was installed on the prototype.

During the pilot work on the project, the self-propelled guns tried to regain an exclusively anti-aircraft role, equipping it with a fast-firing 37-mm anti-aircraft gun. In addition, the chassis Pz.Sf.IVc was proposed to be used as a weapon transport. According to the project, it was planned to place an XFUMX-mm howitzer leFH105 on it, which would fall to the ground when fired, along with the turret. In addition, the PT-SAU (Panzerjaeger IV mit 43cm Pak 8.8) and ZSU projects were created on the upgraded version of the Gerät 43 chassis, which were planned to be equipped with the 042-mm cannon FlaK 88. However, in practice, all the proposed options for combat vehicles were rejected by the technical committee.

8.8cm Flak 37 Sfl.Auf 18 ton Zgkw layout


8.8cm Flak 37 Sfl.Auf 18 ton Zgkw layout


8.8 cm Flak 18 (Sfl.) Auf Zugkraftwagen 12t (Sd.Kfz. 8)


8.8 cm Flak 18 (Sfl.) Auf Zugkraftwagen 12t (Sd.Kfz. 8)


Pz.Sf.IVc


Pz.Sf.IVc


Pz.Sf.IVc with Flak 41 gun


Information sources:
http://www.aviarmor.net/tww2/halftracks/germany/8.8mm_flak37.htm
http://www.aviarmor.net/tww2/halftracks/germany/sd.kfz.8_flak.htm
http://www.aviarmor.net/tww2/tanks/germany/flakpanzer_pz.sf.4c.htm
http://www.xliby.ru/transport_i_aviacija/tehnika_i_vooruzhenie_2000_11_12/p8.php
http://www.vn-parabellum.com/ger/88-flak-37-sp-art.html
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17 comments
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  1. Bongo
    Bongo 29 February 2016 07: 23
    +8
    taking into account only manual guidance on the target and poor reservation, in an open battle with the enemy this self-propelled guns did not have many chances to survive.

    Of course, it would be the height of recklessness to use such vehicles on a par with linear tanks, but when operating from ambushes from previously prepared positions, these self-propelled guns were a very dangerous enemy. Moreover, the direct range of the 88-mm anti-aircraft guns exceeded the range of many tank guns.
    1. sub307
      sub307 29 February 2016 12: 33
      +3
      Here, here ... the Germans in a critical situation rolled out these anti-aircraft guns "for direct fire" against tanks just like that in the "anti-aircraft version" ... the characteristics of the gun allowed such use.
    2. The comment was deleted.
    3. carbine
      carbine 1 March 2016 11: 49
      0
      Quote: Bongo
      Moreover, the direct range of the 88-mm anti-aircraft guns exceeded the range of many tank guns.

      This is an antiaircraft gun. And it should be viewed as an antiaircraft gun. And of course there were cases of destruction of tanks by anti-aircraft guns. And it's not that rare. But this is not their "specialty".
      True, in the Red Army the main anti-tank gun was completely universal (i.e. with tank ballistics) ZIS-3. But this is such a national specificity. The Germans had special PAKs for this.
    4. The comment was deleted.
  2. Galich Kos
    Galich Kos 29 February 2016 07: 40
    +1
    A lot of time would probably have taken to disguise such elephants.
  3. nimboris
    nimboris 29 February 2016 08: 42
    +1
    Pz.Sf.IVc - level 5 Fri in WoT with a powerful gun and cardboard armor yes
  4. Cap.Morgan
    Cap.Morgan 29 February 2016 08: 42
    +1
    Strange, anti-aircraft guns based on the Panther. Quite expensive. Could use the chassis easier.
    In general, of course, the idea is correct. Anti-aircraft batteries could move in battle formations of tank divisions, covering them. In addition, this self-propelled gun is also a great anti-tank weapon.
    1. Fitter65
      Fitter65 29 February 2016 10: 20
      +5
      You read carefully "In 1942, Krupp engineers began designing a new chassis for self-propelled guns, which, according to the scheme, should be close to the chassis of the medium tank Pz.Kpfw.V. "Not on the BASE of the Panther, but similar to the chassis of the Panther ... Do you feel the difference?
      I liked the article. Definitely +
    2. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 29 February 2016 10: 20
      +2
      Quote: Cap.Morgan
      Strange, anti-aircraft guns based on the Panther. Quite expensive. Could use the chassis easier.

      Duc ... this coffin on caterpillars developed in 1942, when there were still illusions that the Panther would become a single medium tank for the Panzerwaffe. So they put the cannon on a chassis developed on the basis of a tank, which is guaranteed to be in production in the coming years.
  5. shturman032
    shturman032 29 February 2016 11: 10
    +3
    fake, but also a funny idea:
    1. WUA 518
      WUA 518 29 February 2016 15: 34
      +3
      Quote: shturman032
      fake, but also a funny idea:
      ZSU T-34-88 This version of the alteration, as far as is known, existed in a single copy. He was done by someone Ernest Albert, the chief mechanic of the 286th SS Infantry Regiment. As you can see, an 34 mm anti-aircraft gun was installed on the T-88 chassis, which was a formidable weapon both in the fight against armored vehicles and aircraft. This vehicle was part of the 286th SS Infantry Regiment, and was captured in April 1945 near Frankfurt an der Oder. ZSU T-34-20. Ernest Albert also carried out this alteration for his unit. On this machine, instead of a standard tower, a platform with 20 mm automatic guns was mounted. The car was also captured southwest of Frankfurt an der Oder.
      1. shturman032
        shturman032 29 February 2016 19: 19
        +2
        So here is the original photo:
  6. alpamys
    alpamys 29 February 2016 12: 20
    +2
    Wow .. FLAC with folding sides I see for the first time, thanks. good
  7. tchoni
    tchoni 29 February 2016 13: 00
    +3
    Right now, I’ll say one clever thing, well, and you really about..t. The same "tiger" can be regarded as a self-propelled tank destroyer. Everything is ok with the armor there. But what is shown in the article is the cars of the front-line zone and they are unlikely to have any serious advantages over towed systems. And the complexity of execution will be an order of magnitude higher. Therefore, the Germans, with their inherent progmatism, left these machines at the level of small series.
    1. otto meer
      otto meer 29 February 2016 15: 48
      0
      And no one was going to use them as tank destroyers. As I understood, these "shushpanzers" were supposed to be used as an air defense cover for marching columns. Well, poPTeshit.
  8. PKK
    PKK 29 February 2016 17: 53
    -3
    The Blitzkrieg theory led to the fact that the Germans had to improvise when faced with the realities on the Eastern Front. It is strange that some "snags" survived until the end of the War. After all, a pair of Il2 could drive such a monster easily.
  9. Arkan
    Arkan 29 February 2016 23: 27
    0
    The barbecue turned out.
  10. carbine
    carbine 1 March 2016 11: 41
    +1
    Quote: Yuferev Sergey
    taking into account only manual guidance on the target and poor reservation, in an open battle with the enemy this self-propelled guns did not have many chances to survive.

    Slightly where a piece of armor appears, and "open battle" immediately creeps out. They are not intended for open combat. Anti-splinter armor. Those. these are the same sandbags with which the anti-aircraft guns were lined. It takes a long time to arrange the position of such an "overlaid" anti-aircraft gun. And lightly armored, much faster. And you won't find sand everywhere. And to carry these bags, the armor weighs less.
  11. lshka
    lshka 1 March 2016 19: 59
    0
    I don’t want to be smart, but I don’t understand this: "As part of the modernization, a new Flak 41 anti-aircraft gun of the same caliber, with a larger caliber and better ballistics, was installed on the prototype." maybe it meant different shells?
    1. carbine
      carbine 3 March 2016 11: 25
      +1
      Quote: lshka
      maybe it meant different shells?

      This is another gun. Only a common caliber and some structural elements. New and cartridge. The series was Flak 41 / KwK 43 / Pak 43. Unlike the Flak 36/37-KwK 36-Pak 40 series.
    2. The comment was deleted.
    3. Idiot
      Idiot April 3 2016 12: 20
      +1
      Flak 36 caliber 56mm, and Flak 41, respectively, 71mm. In this case, the caliber is the distance in mm between the rifling in the bore, i.e. increases the initial velocity of the projectile and range, and in general - the power of the gun. The projectile is also measured in calibers. In this case, this is the diameter of the body of the projectile. He remained unchanged - 88mm.
    4. Idiot
      Idiot April 3 2016 12: 20
      0
      Flak 36 caliber 56mm, and Flak 41, respectively, 71mm. In this case, the caliber is the distance in mm between the rifling in the bore, i.e. increases the initial velocity of the projectile and range, and in general - the power of the gun. The projectile is also measured in calibers. In this case, this is the diameter of the body of the projectile. He remained unchanged - 88mm.
  12. patetlao
    patetlao 2 March 2016 14: 28
    0
    You forgot to specify sushpanzer as the Source.

    Part of the photo from there and for the first time on the Russian-language Internet appeared there.
  13. Warrior2015
    Warrior2015 26 March 2016 21: 40
    0
    Like it or not, call these devices, but it is precisely such anti-aircraft guns, and even on a self-propelled move, that became one of the keys to the successful anti-tank actions of the Germans in 1940-42. everywhere - in France, and in North Africa, and on the Eastern Front. Without the highest saturation with the anti-tank weapons of their units, their own tanks, in the strongest way inferior to the French, Soviet, and parts of the English in 1940-42, there would simply be no blitzkriegs.