A report has been received, based on German sources, which indicates that a German
heavy antiaircraft battery usually consists of four 88-mm guns and
two 20-mm guns. In some cases there are batteries with six 88's and
two 20-mm guns.
The following chart shows the reported organization of a German heavy antiaircraft
battery equipped with six 88-mm guns. The 88-mm guns have a crew
of 10 to 12, the 20-mm gun a crew of 6.
The fire-control point, known as the Befehlsstelle or Feuerleitstelle, is
placed according to the position of the battery and maybe at some distance from
the guns. Normally, however, it is spotted to the rear or to one side of the
battery, usually at a distance of 300 yards.
The main instruments at the Befehlsstelle are the Kommandergeraet (for
calculating firing data), the Entfernungsmessgeraet (for measuring distance to
the target) and a Hilfskommandogeraet (for auxiliary calculations). The
Kommandogeraet used by one battery reported was the K.G. 36. The K.G. 40 was
also in evidence; this is similar to the K.G. 36 but has a power-operated lever. The
firing data calculated by the Kommandogeraet is transmitted to the gun-pits by
means of an electric indicator. The only orders passed verbally to the guns are
loading and firing orders which are transmitted to the gun commanders by telephone.
During air raids on industrial towns in Germany, raid warnings were passed to
the Batterie Befehlsstelle by the Untergruppe. The Untergruppe is a
regional control which may, for operational purposes, control a number of
batteries belonging to different Abteilungen (battalions) or even different
regiments. The interval between the receipt of the warning and the appearance of
hostile airplanes varies considerably, but is always at least half an hour and often
much more. The guns also receive 30-minute notices of cease-fire periods
during which night fighters would be operating. Warnings of this nature come by
telephone from the Untergruppe, which receive them by direct line from the
In the field a battery operates very often independently, the battery
commander being solely responsible for effective employment of his guns. During
operations the battery commander himself usually takes charge of
If gun crews are standing by, it is said that the 88-mm gun can be put
into action within 3 to 10 seconds. An average gun crew can feed the guns at a
rate of 10 rounds per minute; a very efficient crew can reach 15 rounds per minute.
The maximum effective height for the 88-mm gun is stated to be 22,000
to 26,000 feet, although the extreme height is 33,000 feet.
The extreme angle of elevation is said to be 85 degrees, but in practice the angle
of elevation is limited to 60 degrees.