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"Prematures in German 20-mm Four-Barreled AA Gun" from Tactical and Technical Trends

A report on premature explosions of shells in the German 20-mm quad anti-aircraft gun, from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 31, August 12, 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.]


A communication from a German battery commander that fell into Allied hands complains of frequent premature explosions of the shells in the gun barrels before the closing of the breech. In the case cited, the premature had ignited about ten rounds in the magazine, which in turn set off the magazine of an adjoining gun. Two men were killed, four badly injured.

The writer suggested substituting for the over-sensitive ammunition, made between 1938 and 1942 with fuze AZ 5045, the armor-piercing Panzergranate 41. This ammunition may also be loaded with the 20-mm AP tracer self-destroying shell. As the complaint about the 20-mm four barreled AA gun applies with equal force to the single-barreled 20-mm Flak 38, appropriate precautions would appear advisable in handling any captured weapons of these types.


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