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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. 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. Rate of fire was 800 rpm/450 rpm.

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

Production

  • Flakpanzer IV (2cm) auf Fgst Pz IV/3 Wirbelwind: 86, 140
    • Production: July 1944 - November 1944
    • Manufacturer: Ostbau of Sagan in Silesia

Variants

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

Usage

The Wirbelwind became operational in late 1943.

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

Specifications

  Wirbelwind "Whirlwind"
Crew 5
Radio FuG5, FuG2
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 48,502 lb
22 tons, 22.4 tons, 25 tons
Length 18.8', 19' 5"
5.92 m
Height 8.8', 9' 10"
2.76 m
Width 9.4', 9' 8"
2.9 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 1' 3.75", 15.8"
Ground contact length 138.5"
Ground pressure 11.5 psi
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 4: 2cm FlaK 38
20 mm Flakvierling 38
4: 2 cm AA gun
Secondary  
MG 7.92 mm MG34
MG - hull 7.92 mm MG34
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 3,200
16 clips of 20 rounds each in turret, 15 boxes in tank
Secondary  
MG 1,350
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) Front: 3.4"
Side: 1.2"
Superstructure: 0.6"
Hull Front, Upper 80@10°
Hull Front, Lower 80@12°
Hull Sides, Upper 30@0°
Hull Sides, Lower 30@0°
Hull Rear 20@11° & 20@9°
Hull Top 12@85°-90°
Hull Bottom 10@90°
Turret Front 16
16@25°
Gun shield: 10 round
Turret Sides 16
16@36°
Turret Rear 16
16@12°-22°
Turret Top Open
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach HL 120TRM112, Maybach HL 120 TRM
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders V-12
Capacity  
Net HP 300@3,000 rpm
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio 6.5:1
Transmission (Type) Synchromesh, type SSG 77
6 forward, 1 reverse
Steering Clutch brake
Steering ratio  
Starter Electric and inertia
Electrical system Starting: 24-volt
Running: 12-volt
Ignition Magneto
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity 125 gallons
Road consumption 1 mpg
Cross country consumption 0.6 mpg
Performance  
Traverse 360°
Hand
Speed - Road 24 mph, 25 mph
38 kph
Speed - Cross Country 10 mph
Range - Road 124 miles
200 km
Range - Cross Country 78 miles
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -10° to +90°
Fording depth 2' 7", 47"
Trench crossing 7' 6", 7.7'
Vertical obstacle 23.6"
Climbing ability 30° (57%) slope
Suspension (Type) Sprung in pairs on 1/4 elliptic springs
Wheels each side 8, 8x2
Return rollers each side 4, 4x2
Tracks (Type) Dry pin
Length  
Width 1' 3", 15.75"
Diameter  
Number of links 99
Pitch 4.75"
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 8.1'

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
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site