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"German Predictor 40" from Tactical and Technical Trends

A U.S. intelligence report on German predictor used to control antiaircraft fire in WWII, from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 40, December 16, 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 Kommandogerät or Kappagerät 40 is the standard German predictor used to control the fire of 88-mm, 105-mm and 128-mm antiaircraft guns.

It is used with the various guns by fitting it to the appropriate cams. In the operation of the Kommandogerät 40 allowances can be made for change of course as well as change of height. The height and range-finder used is a stereoscopic instrument.

a. Personnel

The number of men required to operate the Kommandogerät 40 is a commander and five men and their duties in action are:

Commander     Supervises work of the detachment
No. 1Rangetaker
No. 2Layer for line
No. 3Layer for elevation
No. 4Course-bearing plotter
No. 5Feeds in corrections and operates switches.

It is the duty of Nos. 1, 2 and 3 to report all changes of height or course to No. 5. If a change of height is reported, No. 5 operates the switch marked "Höhenanderung" (target altering height); if a change of course is reported, No. 5 operates the switch marked "Zeil dreht" (target changing course).

b. Data

Traverse   360°
Elevation0 to 90°
Slant range1,308 to 19,620 yds
Ground range to present position654 to 16,350 yds
Ground range to future position654 to 16,350 yds
Height of target0 to 39,360 ft
Horizontal speed of target0 to 670 mph
Vertical speed of target0 to 446 mph
Distance in azimuth travelled by target 
   during time of flight of shell
0 to 6,540 yds
Lateral deflection0 to 60°
Course bearing correction0 to 90°
Height correction0 to 9,840 ft
Displacement (horizontal)0 to 1,640 ft
Displacement (vertical)0 to 656 ft
Time of flight0 to 30 sec
Drill time0 to 10 sec

c. Weights

Computing mechanism   2,090 lbs
Mounting990 lbs
Trailer1,890 lbs
Weight of equipment in transport2.2 ton*
Weight of equipment in action 1.6 ton*

d. Disadvantages

The disadvantages of the predictor appear to be that a very high standard of training and careful handling of the instrument are required from the crew, especially Nos. 4 and 5, and it is reported that the complex construction of the instrument (24 motors and 34 differentials are included) renders it unsuitable for use in mobile warfare.

* British long ton


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