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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's 8.8-cm FlaK 18,
8.8-cm Flugabwehrkanone 18

Flak 36 (left), Flak 18 (right) captured in Tunisia:
Germany's Flak 36 (left), Flak 18 (right) captured in Tunisia
United States Army in World War II, Pictorial Record, The War Against Germany and Italy: Mediterranean and Adjacent Areas, 1951, pg 62

In 1932, Krupp demonstrated a secretly built prototype to the German Army. Orders were placed, after field trials were completed, and it entered service in 1933.

Design

The barrel was in two parts so if one wore out it could be replaced.

When fired, the recoil of the gun tensioned a spring, which operated the sliding breech mechanism.

Traveling

For travel the carriage was fitted with two pairs of bogies. These were pneumatic tires which could be removed before setting up in a fixed position.

Setup

The platform had four legs which formed a cross shape (kreuzlafette).

Firing

A crew could fire up to 15 rounds a minute, if they were well trained.

Use in Spain

The Kondor Legion was supplied with 8.8-cm FlaK 18 guns to be used primarily in defense.

However, in 1937, the FlaK 18 was used in an anti-tank role. Deutsche Kampfen in Spanien described the role the FlaK 18 could be used as an anti-tank weapon.

Reports said that in the final offensive in Catalonia, the FlaK 18s fired 7 percent of their ammunition at air targets and 93 percent at ground targets.

  8.8-cm FlaK 18
Caliber 88 mm
Traveling  
Length 7.7 m
Height 2.4 m
Front width 2.19 m
Rear width 2.3 m
Firing  
Length 5.8 m
Height 2.1 m
Outrigger arms width 5.14 m
Other Specs  
Length of gun 4.7 m
Length of bore  
Calibers L/56
Rifling 4m with 32 grooves right hand twist
Length of rifling  
Weight traveling  
Weight in action 4,986 kg
Elevation -3° to +85°
Traverse 360°
Muzzle Velocity 820 m/sec
Rate of fire 15 rpm
Range of shell horizontal 14,813 m
Ceiling 9,900 m
Ceiling at 70° 7,620m
Shell weight  
Armor penetration  
Breech mechanism  
Length of wheelbase 4.19 m
Ground clearance 34.7 cm

Sources:

  1. New Vanguard 88 mm FlaK 18/36/37/41 and PaK 43 1936-45, John Norris, 2002
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site