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"German 105-mm Antiaircraft Gun" from Tactical and Technical Trends

A report on the German 105-mm antiaircraft gun (Flak 38 and Flak 39), 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.]


The 105-mm gun, of which two models (10.5-cm Flak 38 and 39) are in service, is a standard German heavy antiaircraft gun. The gun is produced in both fixed and mobile versions, and is also mounted on railway mounts.

In the antiaircraft role the gun is controlled from a command post equipped with a director. A telescopic sight is provided for fire against ground targets. The gun, though reliable and well made, has the following disadvantages:

     Excessive weight--about 14 tons in traveling position
     15 to 20 minutes necessary to bring the gun in and out of action

[WWII German 105-mm Antiaircraft Gun]

a. General Data

Muzzle velocity   2,890 f/s
Maximum horizontal range19,100 yds
Maximum vertical range36,700 ft
Maximum effective vertical range31,000 ft
Rate of fire10 - 15 rpm
Length of piece21.8 ft (61 cals)
Length of bore18.2 ft (52.7 cals)
Twist of rifling - increasingAngle not known
No. of grooves36
Width of grooves.217 in
Depth of grooves.051 in
Width of lands.142 in
Elevation-3° to +85°
Recoil30.71 to 35.43 in
Weight in action11 tons (approx)
Weight in traveling position14 tons (approx)

b. Ammunition

Three types are fired:

(1) H.E. shell with time fuze; this shell is used for antiaircraft and is fitted with the same clockwork fuze as that used with 88-mm antiaircraft ammunition.

Weight of complete round  58.3 lbs
Weight of projectile (fuzed)  33.2 lbs
Weight of bursting charge (trotyl)   3.3 lbs
Weight of propellant (diglycol)  10.9 lbs

(2) H.E. shell with percussion fuze

(3) APCBC* shell

c. Penetration Performance

The following are estimated penetration figures for the weapon firing APCBC shell against homogeneous armor:

Range   Thickness of Armor
(yards) 30°   Normal
 1,000  5.53 in  6.54 in 
 1,500  5.16 in  6.06 in 
 2,000  4.78 in  5.65 in 

d. The Piece

Information regarding the piece is at present fragmentary. The breech is horizontally sliding and semi-automatic. The breech mechanism is automatically cocked as the gun moves back into battery, and the electrical firing circuit is completed by the closing of the breech.

e. The Carriage

The carriage has two side arms which are folded up for transport. A boss joins the main body of the carriage to the upper mount, which rotates on the boss by means of a traversing plate and a shaft which is connected to the traversing mechanism. The traversing and elevating gears have two speeds for manual operation; provision is also made for power operation.

f. Automatic Fuze Setter and Loading Mechanism

Both the fuze setter, which is fixed to the gun, and the loading mechanism are power operated.

The loading mechanism consists essentially of two trays. The loader places the round in tray 1, which is automatically gripped by the fuze setter. The loader then operates a handle on tray 1 which causes the fuze setter to release the round and transfers it to tray 2. Tray 2 moves automatically into position behind the breech and the round is loaded. As the round goes forward the rim of the cartridge case strikes a cam on tray 2, thus returning it to its original position.

g. Power Supply

Each gun battery is provided with an 8-cylinder gasoline engine which drives a DC generator producing:

Voltage    220
Amperage  200
Power  24 kw.

From the generator the current is led to a central distributing box whence it is supplied to the guns. Each gun has four electric motors as follows:

    Voltage   Power (kw)    Rpm 
Elevation   220  1.5  1,200
Traversing   220  1.1  1,050
Loading   220  1.0  1,420
Fuze setting   220   0.1  1,400

*Armor-piercing capped, with ballistic cap


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