[Lone Sentry: Air-Burst Fire with Antiaircraft Guns Against Ground Targets, WWII Tactical and Technical Trends]
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"Air-Burst Fire with Antiaircraft Guns Against Ground Targets" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following report on the German use of antiaircraft fire against ground targets during WWII is taken from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 6, August 27, 1942.

[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.]


It is well known that antiaircraft guns are used for direct fire against ground targets, and a recent report gives some details on their use by the Germans in indirect fire with air bursts against such targets.

Usually this type of fire is conducted by use of a mobile predictor. The ammunition used is H.E. with time fuse.

The mobile predictor is almost certainly the Kommandohilfsgerät 35 (auxiliary mechanical predictor), which is sometimes used with the 88-mm. dual-purpose gun instead of Kommandogerät 36 (predictor). The auxiliary predictor is admirably suited for mobile operations, as it only weighs about 400 pounds, was designed for ease of production and simplicity, and does not need any electrical equipment.

Apart from direct fire with the 88-mm. gun, the Germans are known to use both predictor control and fire directed from an observation post for the engagement of tanks and ground targets.

With predictor control the data for the first round are calculated in the same way as for an aerial target. Corrections for deflection, range, and fuse setting are made from observation of fire and set off on the respective scales on the predictor.

When the target is below the horizontal, or at ranges greater than 10,900 yards, the predictor is not used, and fire is directed from an observation post. The observation post officer takes direction, range, and elevation from his fire control map. From these he calculates the gun data with a range table and passes the information to the gun position by telephone. A predictor is sometimes used for giving the original line to the guns. Corrections are ordered from observation of fire and set off on the gun.

Adjustment is carried out with air bursts with a low height of burst. Fire for effect follows with the fuse setting adjusted for the most effective height of burst.


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