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"German AA Guns for Use Against Mechanized Vehicles" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on the German use of antiaircraft guns against tanks and armored vehicles appeared in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 21, March 25, 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 Germans have made extensive use of their 20-mm and 88-mm antiaircraft guns for engaging mechanized vehicles. The 37-mm antiaircraft gun, though suitable for a dual-purpose role and provided with armor-piercing ammunition, has been used to a lesser extent. In addition to these three weapons, a German document shows that the use of four other antiaircraft guns against mechanized vehicles is envisaged. These guns are:

a. 40-mm AA/AT Gun (4-cm Flak 28 Bofors)

This Bofors-design gun is generally similar to the U.S. 40-mm Bofors. Some of the particulars of this weapon are reported as follows:

Muzzle velocity      2,950 f/s
Length of bore 60 cals
Max. horizontal range 12,300 yds
Effective ceiling 16,200 ft
Weight of projectile (HE) 2.2 lbs
Rate of fire (practical) 80 rpm
Weight in action 1.9 tons
Weight in traveling position 1.9 tons
Elevation -50 to +90°
Traverse 360°

b. 50-mm AA/AT Gun (5-cm Flak 41)

Little is yet known of this weapon, which was introduced in December 1940, except that it fires both HE and AP, is an automatic weapon, and is produced in either mobile or fixed models. The sight fitted is Flakvisier 41, which is operated by one man and is described as a completely automatic clockwork sight.

There is a possibility that this may be a tapered-bore gun, as the only two other German guns designated with the number '41' (the 2.8-cm Pak 41 and the 4.2-cm Pak 41) have been of the tapered-bore type.

c. 83.5-mm AA Gun (8.35-cm Flak 22 (t*))

This is a Skoda gun introduced into the Czech Army in 1922 as their standard semimobile heavy AA gun. Particulars are:

Muzzle velocity      2,625 f/s
Length of bore 55 cals
Max. horizontal range 19,650 yds
Max. vertical range 39,250 ft
Weight in traveling position 8.4 tons
Elevation 0° to +90°
Traverse 360°
Weight of projectile (HE) 22.4 lbs
Tractor drawn.  

d. 105-mm AA Guns (10.5-cm Flak 38 and 39)

This gun is a standard heavy AA gun. It was originally designed as a dual-purpose antiaircraft-coast-defense gun. Experiments were made to produce the gun in a mobile form, and a limited number on mobile mounts appeared at Hitler's birthday parade in 1939. This mount was said to be unsatisfactory, and the gun was used as a fixed model only for a time. Recent reports indicate, however, that a new mobile mount has been provided, and it is reported likely that the Germans intend using the weapon in antitank role as they do the 88-mm gun. Particulars are:

Muzzle velocity      2,890 f/s
Length of bore 60 cals
Max. horizontal range 19,075 yds
Effective ceiling 36,700 ft
Rate of fire (practical) 8 - 10 rpm
Weight in action 11.56 tons
Elevation -3° to +85°
Traverse 360°
Weight of projectile (HE) 33.2 lbs
Types of ammunition HE with time fuze
HE with percussion fuze
AP shell
Tractor-drawn on a 4-wheeled carriage.

*Abbreviation for "tscheck," meaning Czech.


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