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"German 37-mm AA Gun" from Tactical and Technical Trends

A report on the WWII German 37-mm flak gun, from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 39, December 2, 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 German 37-mm (1.46 in) AA gun (3.7-cm Flak 18 and 36) is the smallest of the German medium AA artillery. In addition to the data published in "German Antiaircraft Artillery," MID Special Series, No. 10 (8 Feb 1943), the following information has become available.

a. Characteristics

Muzzle velocity (HE)    2,690 f/s
  "       "     (AP) 2,625 f/s
Max horizontal range 7,200 yds
Ceiling15,750 ft
Effective ceiling 6,560 ft
Weight in action (Flak 18) 1.72 tons
  "     "   "    (Flak 36) 1.53 tons
  "      draught (Flak 18) 3.39 tons
  "              (Flak 36) 2.36 tons
Weight of complete round (HE) 3.3 lb
  "     "    "       "   (AP) 3.5 lb
  "     "  projectile (HE) 1.4 lb
  "     "      "      (AP) 1.5 lb

A preliminary examination of this equipment has been made and the following information obtained:

Length of barrel, including flash hider   128.75 in
Length of bore 71.2 in
RiflingRH plain section, increasing 1 in 50 to 1 in 40
No. of grooves20
Elevation-8° to +85°
Rate of traverse, fast35.5 turns = 360°
 "    "    "      slow89   turns = 360°
Height of trunnions on ground35.43 in

b. The Gun

The gun has a monobloc barrel. The firing mechanism appears to be operated by barrel recoil and residual pressure of gas in a manner essentially similar in principle to the 2-cm Flak 38.

[German 37-mm Antiaircraft Gun]

c. The Mount

The mount is of the trailer type and consists of two complete units -- the chassis and the mounting.

The chassis appears to be identical with that of the 2-cm Flakvierling 38, consisting of a U-shaped hollow rectangular steel frame mounted on 2 pneumatic tires.

The mount is a complete unit which is detached from the chassis by operating the 2 winches and dropping the front 2 pads; by depressing a locking handle at the rear the remaining pad may be freed by withdrawing the chassis.

(1) The base consists of a triangular platform on 3 adjustable supports by means of which the equipment may be levelled correctly. A spirit level is provided on the righthand side. A circular plate is fitted to the base on which the body rotates.

(2) The body is built up of a base and 2 roughly triangular side pieces which have a raised portion on each side for the trunnion bearings. On the left side is a lever by means of which the gun is pulled back. There are 3 adjustable seats, one on the right for the gunner, one on the left rear for sight number 1, and one on the left side for the loader. There is also a small folding platform on the left side. At the rear is fitted a dust tray.

(3) The cradle is trough-shaped and has a bracket at the forward end and a receiving slot at the rear to take the piece. The recoil mechanism is inside the cradle, recoil cylinder above, recuperator below. The elevating rack is in one piece with the cradle, and has fitted to it a scale reading from -8° to 85°.

(4) Compensators are fitted, consisting of 2 spring-loaded cylinders, one on each side.

(5) The traversing mechanism is operated by the left wheel of 2 parallel mounted handwheels, situated at the upper right rear of the body.

(6) The elevating gear is operated by the right wheel of the 2 handwheels.

(7) The firing mechanism operates by means of a foot pedal to the right of the layer's footrest connected by a system of levers to the trigger.

(8) The sight used on this equipment is known as the Flakvisier 36 "KF". No complete specimen was available for examination but it is a fairly simple course-and-speed sight. Flakvisiers 33 and 35 are also used with the gun.


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