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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Flakpanzer IV (2cm) auf Fgst Pz IV/3 Wirbelwind

Design

In December 1943 the first Wirbelwind appeared.2 It was on an unaltered PzKpfw IV Ausf J chassis with a 16 mm all around turret.

Main Armament

Turret traverse was slow, and thus restricted the vehicle when combating ground-attack aircraft.2 Rate of fire was 800 rpm2/450 rpm3.

The HE round weighed 0.3 lbs and was fired at a muzzle velocity of 2,953'/sec.3

Production

  • Flakpanzer IV (2cm) auf Fgst Pz IV/3 Wirbelwind: 86, 1402
    • Production: July 1944 - November 1944
    • Manufacturer: Ostbau of Sagan in Silesia2

Variants

  • Flakpanzer IV (2cm) auf Fgst Pz IV/3 Wirbelwind:

Usage

The Wirbelwind became operational in late 1943.4

Issued to Flugabwehrzüge (AA platoons) of Panzer regiments. In 1944, three or four were assigned to the HQ companies of panzer battalions.2

Specifications

  Wirbelwind "Whirlwind"
Crew 51,2,3,4
Radio FuG51, FuG21
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 48,502 lb
22 tons1,4, 22.4 tons2, 25 tons3
Length 18.8'3, 19' 5"
5.92 m1
Height 8.8'3, 9' 10"
2.76 m1
Width 9.4'3, 9' 8"
2.9 m1
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 1' 3.75", 15.8"3
Ground contact length 138.5"3
Ground pressure 11.5 psi3
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 4: 2cm FlaK 38
20 mm Flakvierling 381,3
4: 2 cm AA gun2,4
Secondary  
MG 7.92 mm MG341
MG - hull 7.92 mm MG34
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 3,2001,2
16 clips of 20 rounds each in turret, 15 boxes in tank3
Secondary  
MG 1,3501
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) Front: 3.4"3
Side: 1.2"3
Superstructure: 0.6"3
Hull Front, Upper 80@10°1
Hull Front, Lower 80@12°1
Hull Sides, Upper 30@0°1
Hull Sides, Lower 30@0°1
Hull Rear 20@11°1 & 20@9°1
Hull Top 12@85°-90°1
Hull Bottom 10@90°1
Turret Front 162,4
16@25°1
Gun shield: 10 round1
Turret Sides 162,4
16@36°1
Turret Rear 162,4
16@12°-22°1
Turret Top Open1,4
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach HL 120TRM112, Maybach HL 120 TRM1,3
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water3
Cylinders V-123
Capacity  
Net HP 300@3,000 rpm3
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio 6.5:13
Transmission (Type) Synchromesh, type SSG 773
6 forward, 1 reverse1,3
Steering Clutch brake3
Steering ratio  
Starter Electric and inertia3
Electrical system Starting: 24-volt3
Running: 12-volt3
Ignition Magneto3
Fuel (Type) Gasoline3
Octane  
Quantity 125 gallons3
Road consumption 1 mpg3
Cross country consumption 0.6 mpg3
Performance  
Traverse 360°1,3
Hand1
Speed - Road 24 mph, 25 mph3
38 kph1
Speed - Cross Country 10 mph3
Range - Road 124 miles3
200 km1
Range - Cross Country 78 miles3
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -10° to +90°1
Fording depth 2' 7", 47"3
Trench crossing 7' 6", 7.7'3
Vertical obstacle 23.6"3
Climbing ability 30° (57%) slope3
Suspension (Type) Sprung in pairs on 1/4 elliptic springs3
Wheels each side 83, 8x2
Return rollers each side 43, 4x2
Tracks (Type) Dry pin3
Length  
Width 1' 3", 15.75"3
Diameter  
Number of links 993
Pitch 4.75"3
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 8.1'3

Sources:

  1. Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two, Peter Chamberlain and Hilary Doyle, 1999
  2. German Tanks of World War II, Dr. S. Hart & Dr. R. Hart, 1998
  3. Tank Data, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, 1968?
  4. Profile, AFV Weapons #55, German Self-Propelled Weapons, Peter Chamberlain, H.L. Doyle, 1973
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