[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Technical Manual, TM-E 30-451: Handbook on German Military Forces published in March 1945. — Figures and illustrations are not reproduced, see source details. — 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.]
CHAPTER VII. WEAPONS
Section IV. ARTILLERY
7. Antiaircraft Artillery
a. GENERAL. German antiaircraft guns have been increasingly developed as dual-purpose, or
as with the
b. AUTOMATIC WEAPONS. (1) 20-mm Antiaircraft Gun (2 cm Flak 30). (a) General
description. The 2 cm Flak 30 was the standard light antiaircraft gun until the
introduction of the 2 cm Flak 38 and the Flakvierling 38. It is recoil-operated, fed
(c) Ammunition. Projectile weights are: HE, 4.2 ounces; AP, 5.2 ounces; and AP 40, 3.6 ounces.
(2) 20-mm Antiaircraft Gun (2 cot Flak 38). (a) General description. The 2 cm Flak 38 was introduced to replace the 2 cm Flak 30. It is operated by short-barrel recoil, and the residual pressure of gas in the barrel. Except for a higher cyclic rate of fire, it does not differ in performance from the Flak 30. This gun also is mounted on a 760-pound carriage, which may be disassembled easily into 27 loads for mountain warfare. The total weight of the gun on this light mount is 1,013 pounds. This combination is designated 2 cm Geb. Flak 38. (The normal 2 cm Flak 38 gun and mount weigh 1,650 pounds traveling.)
(c) Ammunition. Weights of projectiles fired by this gun are: HE, 4.2 ounces; AP, 5.2 ounces; and AP 40, 3.6 ounces.
(3) 20-mm Four-Barreled Antiaircraft Gun (2 cm Flakvierling 38). (a) General description. The 2 cm Flakvierling 38 consists of four 2 cm Flak 38's on a triangular-base mount with three leveling jacks. Muzzle preponderance is counteracted by an equilibrator bolted to the mount.
(c) Ammunition. Weights of projectiles fired are: HE, 4.2 ounces; AP, 5.2 ounces; AP 40, 3.6 ounces.
(4) 37-mm Antiaircraft Gun (3.7 cm Flak 18, 36, and 37). (a) General description. The 3.7 cm Flak 18 has a monobloc tube, and an automatic action operated by barrel recoil and residual gas pressure. A combination muzzle brake and flash eliminator is fitted. The cruciform mount has two bogies, and screw-type leveling jacks. The 3.7 cm Flak 36 is identical ballistically with the Flak 18. It is mounted on a triangular platform on three adjustable leveling feet. Piece and mount are carried on a two-wheeled trailer. Weight in action is 1.71 tons. The 3.7 cm Flak 37 consists of a normal 3.7 cm Flak 18 mounted on a modified carriage. Ballistically, it is identical with 3.7 cm Flak 18 and 36.
(5) 37-mm Antiaircraft Gun (3.7 cm Flak 43). (a) General description. Although this gun does not differ externally from the 3.7 cm Flak 18, 36, and 37, it has a completely different, fully automatic, gas-operated action. The gun is fed by eight-round clips on a fixed loading tray in the left side. Using a fixed firing pin, it fires on the forward movement of the bolt. Of low build, the 3.7 cm Flak 43 has a pedestal mount with a shield. A twin version known as the Flakzwilling exists, with one gun mounted above the other. The guns may be fired together or independently. In action the twin version weighs 3.08 tons.
(c) Ammunition. HE-tracer, HE-incendiary-tracer, AP-HE, HE-incendiary, and HE projectiles.
(6) 50-mm Antiaircraft Gun (5 cm Flak 41). (a) General description. The 5 cm Flak 41 is similar to the 3.7 cm Flak 36. It is gas-operated, and is fired by the forward movement of the breech mechanism. Clips of five rounds are fed from the left. The mount is a triangular platform with two short outriggers forward.
(c) Ammunition. Projectile weights are: HE, 4.8 pounds; HE-incendiary-tracer, 4.8 pounds; AP, 4.87 pounds.
(7) Miscellaneous. The following antiaircraft automatic weapons possessed by the Germans in limited numbers may be encountered occasionally:
c. HEAVY ANTIAIRCRAFT GUNS. (1) 88-mm Antiaircraft Gun (8.8 cm Flak 18, 36, and 37). (a) General description. The 88-mm gun was produced first in 1934 as the standard mobile antiaircraft gun. The tube consists of either an outer tube with an inner locking tube and a loose three-section liner, or of a loose barrel fitting into a jacket. A semiautomatic, horizontal sliding-wedge breechblock is used. The mount has two outriggers to steady the gun for firing other than directly front or rear. The 8.8 cm Flak 36 differs from the Flak 18 only in having a slightly different mount, while the 8.8 cm Flak 37 is identical with the Flak 36 except for a slightly different data transmission system.
(c) Ammunition. Projectile weights are: HE, 20 pounds; AP, 21 pounds.
(2) 88-mm Antiaircraft Gun (8.8 cm Flak 41). (a) General description. The 8.8 cm Flak 41 is designed for use against air, ground, and sea targets. Although usually fired from the platform, it may be fired from its wheels, with the side members of the platform extended. The breech has a horizontal sliding-wedge block, and the gun has an automatic rammer. An electric firing mechanism is employed.
(c) Ammunition. Projectile weights are: HE, 20.68 pounds; APCBC, 22.45 pounds.
(3) 105-mm Antiaircraft Gun (10.5 cm Flak 38 and 39) (a) General description. The 105-mm antiaircraft gun appears in two models. It is produced in static and mobile versions, and also is mounted on railway cars. The breech has a horizontal sliding block, which may be operated manually or automatically, and an electric firing mechanism. The buffer is hydraulic, the recuperator hydropneumatic, and the equilabrator of the spring type. Traverse and elevation may be accomplished either manually or by power. A remote control, power-operated fuze setter and a power rammer are part of the complete unit.
(c) Ammunition. HE (time fuze), HE (percussion fuze), and APCBC projectiles are fired. The HE time fuzed projectile weighs 33.2 pounds.
(4) 128-mm Antiaircraft Gun (12.8 cm Flak 40). (a) General description. The 12.8 cm Flak looks like the 10.5 cm Flak. The breech-block slides horizontally to the right, and incorporates an electric firing mechanism. The recoil system is conventional, with hydropneumatic recuperator above the tube, and buffer below. Hydropneumatic equilibrators are used. Elevation and traverse are either manual or powered. Fuse setting is by director control, and loading is facilitated by a power rammer incorporating two horizontal rubber rollers at the entrance to the bore. The gun may be statically emplaced, transported on a mobile mount, or mounted on a railway car. A twin-barreled version of his gun also exists, but it is produced only for a static role.
(c) Ammunition. Projectile weights are: HE, 57 pounds; and APC, 58.13 pounds.
(5) 150-mm Antiaircraft Gun (15 cm Flak). This large caliber gun exists in limited quantities, and apparently is manned by navy personnel. Its use is confined to Germany proper in a static role.
d. AA FIRE CONTROL. (1) Automatic weapons. (a) General. Antiaircraft fire control for automatic weapons is accomplished through the use of various types of on-carriage sights, ranging from the simple manually operated Linealvisier (linear sight) through various mechanical types and the complicated, electrical Flakvisier. Range must be set into some of the simpler sights, and this is obtained either through estimation or through the use of a one-meter base range finder. Tracer observation also is used for fire control.
(b) Linealvisier (Linear sight) 21. This is a simple, adjustable type of speed
ring sight, used as an alternate for the more complicated sights designed for use on
(c) Flakvisier (Antiaircraft sight) 35. This is a mirror sight with a computor mechanism operating on the course and speed, slant-plane-linkage principle. It depends on accurate setting of target range, course, and speed. It can engage level-flying, climbing, or diving targets. It normally is used on the 2 cm Flak 30, but also may be found on the 2 cm Flak 38 and 2 cm Flakvierling in place of the electrical Flakvisier 38 and 40.
(d) Flakvisier 38 and 40. The Flakvisier 38 is an electrically operated, range-rate sight which computes lateral and vertical leads plus superelevation. The azimuth rate and elevation rate are measured through tachometer generators coupled to the gun's traversing and elevating gears. Slant range is introduced as a battery voltage, modified by a rheostat, calibrated in hundreds of meters. In tracking, the reticles of the sight head are displaced by the battery voltage and tachometer generator voltage in such a manner that the gun is trained automatically on the future position. The use of electric current eliminates mechanical time lag. This sight is used normally with the 2 cm Flak 38. The Flakvisier 40, which is used with the 2 cm Flakvierling, differs from the Flakvisier 38 only in minor details of construction. The principle of operation is the same.
(e) Flakvisier 33. Used with the 3.7 cm Flak 18 and 36, this sight is similar in operating principles to the Flakvisier 35.
(f) Flakvisier 37 (43). This Flakvisier is a mechanical computing sight used with the 3.7 cm Flak 37. When used with the 3.7 cm Flak 43, it is known as Flakvisier 43. Computation for deflections is based upon the angular rates of quadrant elevation and azimuth. Ranges are estimated or obtained from a separate source, and are set into the sight by hand. A clock-work motor drives three disc and wheel mechanisms which perform the multiplications necessary in the computation of deflections. Uni-directional drives from the elevating and traversing mechanisms rewind the clock motor. In operation, the necessary deflection is obtained by mechanically offsetting the cross hairs of the reticle of a one-power telescope. Provision is incorporated for corrections for superelevation and temperature changes. The sight is of compact box-shaped construction, approximately 10 inches by 9 inches by 4 1/2 inches in size and 23 pounds in weight. It is fitted to the sight bar of the gun by a suspension bracket and lug.
(g) Schwebedornvisier. This is a relatively simple antiaircraft sight recently developed for alternate use on the 3.7 cm. Flak 37 and 43. The sight works on the linear principle. Target speed, direction, and angle of climb or dive are set into the sight manually.
(h) Schwebekreisvisier 30/38. This is a recent type of relatively simple, pivoted ring sight designed for use with the 2 cm Flak weapons. Its use is becoming more and more frequent on the later models of 2 cm Flak in lieu of the more complicated electrical Flakvisier 38 and 40.
(i) Flakvisier 41. This is a completely automatic, tachometric clock-work, range-rate sight employed with the 5 cm Flak 41. Operated by one man, range is introduced and angular velocities are calculated in such manner that superelevation and vertical and lateral deflections are applied automatically. The principle of operation is the same as that of the Flakvisier 38 and 40.
(2) Heavy antiaircraft guns. (a) Kommandogerät 36. (1) This instrument is the earliest standard German linear speed antiaircraft director, providing continuous data for the engagement of aerial targets by heavy antiaircraft guns. It employs a mechanical solution of the antiaircraft problem, and has facilities for making necessary ballistic corrections to gun data. The instrument is mounted on a four-wheel trailer for transport.
(2) The director has a main pedestal with three leveling feet and two suspension arms by which it is raised and secured to front and rear bogies for transport. The main pedestal supports a casting carrying the director mechanisms and supporting brackets on which a stereoscopic, four-meter range finder rests when the director is emplaced for action.
(3) Firing data determined by the director (firing azimuth, quadrant elevation, and fuze) are transmitted electrically to appropriate dials on the guns.
(b) Kommandogerät 40. (1) This is a later and improved version of the Kommandogerät 36, which it has superseded to a very large extent for use with all heavy antiaircraft guns. The four-meter, stereoscopic range finder used with the "40" model is mounted on the director, and gun data is transmitted electrically to the guns. It also uses the linear speed method of data computation. However, the "40" model can be operated by five men, whereas 11 men are required to operate the "36".
(2) The "40" director incorporates a mechanism which copes with changes in target altitude and target course (curvilinear flight).
(3) This director can be used with the different types of heavy antiaircraft weapons by changing the ballistic cams. The Kommandogerät 41 is a Kommandogerät 40 fitted with cams for the 8.8 cm Flak 41, the nomenclature apparently being a convenient wvay of distinguishing its use for this purpose.
(c) Kommandohilfsgerät 35. This is an older type of antiaircraft director used only for auxiliary purposes. It operates on the angular-rate method of data computation. The four-meter base range finder used with this instrument is mounted separately, and gun data provided by the director normally are transmitted to the guns by telephone.
(d) Range finders. Four-meter base stereoscopic range finders furnish slant range for the antiaircraft directors. Range Finder 34 is used with the Kommandogerät 35 and is separately emplaced. Range Finders 36 and 40 are used with Kommandogerät 36 and Kommandogerät 40, respectively. Range Finders 36 and 40 are mounted in brackets on the directors.
(e) Fire control radar. Several types of radar, known as Flakmessgerät, are used by German antiaircraft artillery to furnish basic antiaircraft gun data to the directors. As radar is a fairly recent development, the directors have been modified to receive this basic data.
(f) Flakumwertegerät Malsi 41, 42, and 43 (Flak Converter Malsi). This is a plotting instrument used to convert antiaircraft fire control data received from a distant source into basic data suitable for use by individual batteries. It is reported that the latest type can deal with displacements up to 5 miles, and is more accurate than the two earlier models.
e. SEARCHLIGIHTS. (1) 150-cm (60 inches) Searchlight 34 and 37. (a) The standard antiaircraft searchlight is 150 cm (60 inches) in diameter, and is equipped with azimuth and elevation receiver dials for receiving initial locator data. Normally hand-controlled, later versions of the 150-cm searchlight also are equipped with remote control gear.
(b) The high-current-density arc lamp is self-regulating and is fitted in an inverted position. The light is 990 million candle power and has a range, in favorable weather, of 8,800 yards at a height of 13,000 to 16,500 feet. The searchlight can be moved in azimuth through 360 degrees, and in elevation from -12 degrees through the vertical to -12 degrees on the other side. Current is supplied by a separate 24-kilowatt generator driven by an eight-cylinder internal combustion engine.
(c) For visual searching, a "dark search equipment" (Dunkelsuchgerät 41) is used. This consists of a pair of binoculars (having a few degrees of lateral and vertical movement) mounted on the searchlight. In operation, the searchlight and optical equipment are laid initially by location data furnished from a separate source.
(d) Sound locators are of the ring-trumpet type which work on the binaural principle, with provision for calculation of and correction for "sound lag". They also are equipped with electrical data transmitters for passing azimuth and elevation data to the receivers on the searchlight.
(e) Antiaircraft fire-control radar equipment is also used to furnish data for searchlights. Flak converter equipment known as Flakumwertegerät is used as an aid to the radar equipment and permits three searchlights at a distance from the radar to be supplied simultaneously with corrected azimuth and elevation.
(2) 200-cm (80 inches) Searchlight 40. Many of the searchlight units are equipped at least partially with these larger searchlights. Although methods of location of initial data are similar in principle to those employed for the 150-cm searchlights, these larger 200-cm searchlights usually are equipped with necessary apparatus for remote control. For visual searching, a "Flak laying equipment" (Flakrichtegerät) is used, consisting of a pair of binoculars mounted on a control pillar. This light is reported to be 2,430 million candle power with a range effectiveness 60 per cent over that of the standard 150-cm searchlight.
(3) 60-cm (24 inches) Searchlight. (a) The equipment consists of
(b) The high-current-density arc lamp is self-regulating and is fitted in an inverted position. The light is 135 million candlepower and has a range under favorable weather conditions of 5,700 yards at a height of 5,000 feet. With beam dispersed the range is 3,500 yards.
(4) Miscellaneous. (a) In addition to the above, there are a few 150-cm searchlights employed on a special quadruple mount. These mounts, carrying four searchlights, are equipped with remote control gear.
(b) A few obsolete 110-cm (43 inches) searchlights, and a few French 200-cm and 240-cm (90 inches) searchlights, also may be found still in active use.
f. BARRAGE BALLOONS. Two main types of barrage balloons are employed by the Germans for added protection of vital installations against low-flying aircraft. The standard barrage balloon, which is reported to have a hydrogen gas capacity of 200 cubic meters (7,062 cubic feet), usually is flown at an altitude of 6,000 or 8,000 feet. A smaller barrage balloon, reported to have a gas capacity of 77 cubic meters (2,718 cubic feet), is capable of use at altitudes under 2,900 feet. A large type of German barrage balloon capable of being flown at altitudes of 18,000 to 20,000 feet has been reported, but this balloon has not been used extensively.
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