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"AP Ammunition for German 8.8-cm Flak 41" from Tactical and Technical Trends

A report on armor-piercing ammunition for the German 88-mm Flak 41, from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 30, July 29, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


This new German 88-mm antiaircraft gun has already been described in Tactical and Technical Trends (No. 29, p. 5). The ammunition fired is HE, with either time or percussion fuze, and APCBC;* the weights of the projectiles are 20.68 and 22.44 pounds respectively. While an estimated muzzle velocity of 3,400 f/s was reported in Tactical and Technical Trends, it now appears from captured range tables that with HE the muzzle velocity is 3,280 f/s, with APCBC 3,214 f/s.

The total length of the APCBC round is 45.63 inches and the total weight 46.2 pounds. Each round is separately packed in a metal cylinder. The German nomenclature is "8.8-cm Pzgr. Patr.* Flak 41." The following are some of the details of this ammunition.

a. Projectile

Externally the projectile resembles the standard APCBC projectile for the older 88-mm gun. It is fitted with a ballistic cap, a piercing cap and double rotating band. The rotating bands of the specimen examined were iron, but in projectiles for the older 88-mm gun, both iron and bimetallic bands have been encountered. The bursting charge is small and consists of 60 grams (.13 lb) of cyclonite. A Bd.Z*** 5127 and a tracer are fitted. The base fuze operates as follows. A fixed igniferous detonator is situated below a striker with a compressed spring. The striker is held off the detonator by two balls which are kept in position by a collar located round the fuze body. The collar is kept in position by a shear wire. Upon impact, the collar sets forward against the shear wire and breaks it, the balls being thereby released. The striker, under the action of its spring then hits the detonator.

The projectile is painted black and has a white tip. This, however, is not a specific indication for a projectile for the Flak 41 since it is known from documentary evidence that a similar projectile with similar markings is used in the older 8.8-cm gun. The weight of the projectile is 10.2 kilograms (22.44 pounds).

b. Cartridge Case

The cartridge case is necked and the specimen examined was made of brass. It carried no design number, but 8.8-cm Flak 41 was stamped on the base. It had the following dimensions:

Overall length   33.66 in
Length from base to shoulder29.33 in
Length from shoulder to mouth 4.33 in
Diameter of rim 4.72 in
Diameter above rim 4.33 in
Diameter at shoulder 3.98 in
Diameter at mouth 3.50 in

An electric primer is fitted. The propellant consists of 11.91 pounds of tubular flashless propellant. The sticks have the following dimensions:

Length     29.13  in
External diameter       .189 in
Internal diameter       .059 in

An igniter containing the usual German igniter powder is fitted.

*Armor-piercing capped, with ballistic cap
**Abbreviation for Panzergranate Patrone, loosely translated "armor-piercing round."
***Abbreviation for Boden Zünder, meaning "base percussion fuze."


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