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Flak 88

Discussion in 'Weapons & Technology in WWII' started by denny, Mar 27, 2016.

  1. denny

    denny Member

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    I could not find much info on Wiki... and do not recall Hearing/Reading any specific mention about the anti-tank rounds.
    As I understand, it was developed as a Anti-Aircraft weapon. But that uses a Very Different shell than anti tank needs require.
    You can not just tip the gun sideways and shoot tanks, so Who/When was the anti-tank round developed.....how did that come about exactly.?
    Thank You
     
  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Before the war.
     
  3. FalkeEins

    FalkeEins Member

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    ..a couple of recent Ebay finds - Flakabt.182 Blumental-Berlin schwere 8,8 cm Flak in Stellung, 1940, and below a live-firing training exercise which seems to show just that..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Poppy and belasar like this.
  4. denny

    denny Member

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    Guess I am a poor writer.....not (just) talking about Physically turning the gun.....shooting the anti-aircraft round at tanks did not make it a tank killer. Later, somebody had to think of laying the gun down and making a different type of round for the 88.
     
  5. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Part of the Rommel mythology is that he 'discovered' how useful the 88 was in the anti-tank role during the British counter attack at Arras when the standard anti-tank guns (37mm, 50mm) could not stop the thick armored Matilda's. The problem is that they already had AT rounds (remember Flak rounds would basically be fragmentation) on hand in May 1940. For them to be standard issue and crews trained in their use, they would have to be in the pipeline for a considerable time.

    Used a little google-fu and wiki indicates that its anti-vehicle/bunker buster capacity was noted during the Spanish Civil War.
     
  6. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    The anti tank round was invented on 15th September 1916 when German 77mm field guns engaged tanks for the first time, knocking out several of hem. A high velocity gun with an HE round would KO a tank regardless of whether it detonated. By November 1917 the Germans had discovered the utility of motorised AA guns as a mobile anti tank screen when troops pf mobile AA guns were sent to seal off the breach at Cambrai

    The 88mm Flak 36 was designed with a sight to engage ground targets, AP as well as HE ammunition and point detonating as well as time fuses.
     
  7. denny

    denny Member

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    OK...I see...Thanks.
    So it was around (in some form) for quite some time.

    And yeah...Regards Rommel... a lot of videos I watch do make it sound like Rommel "discovered" what a fine tank killer the 88 was when he got to Africa.
     
  8. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    It was used in Barbarossa to stop Soviet armor counterattacks as the Soviets had T 34's and KV 1 & 2's that the German 111's and 1V's , 36mm and short barrel 75's had trouble with.

    I realize that the allies often called every cannon in German an 88 but the piece does deserve a well won reputation from what I understand. There is on on display at the Kebley Aircraft Museum outside Prague ( I am sure there are many elsewhere) but it was the only one I have seen. It's size and complexity are clear from photos especially when surrounded by crew which give a sense of scale but it impressed me with it's size. The concentric recil spring reduces it's mass a bit and helps to let i9t be installed in tanks but if the 17 pounder was difficult the 88 was all the more so...

    This thread raises a question. If the Tiger 1 & 11 used different cases, the 11 being longer did the Flack 88 use either of those cases or was it proprietary ? I know the tiger's were few, their reliability suspect and they were not without other short comings but if I were in Sherman or most other Allied tanks I would have had considerably fear about being hit by one.

    Gaines
     
  9. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    The 88mm Flak 36, Flak 18 and PaK rounds are all chambered alike and can use the same ammunition. The Pak/KwK 43 used in the Tiger II was completely different in that respect.

    This all leads to plenty of arguments among collectors ( 'Hey ! I've got a shell from a Tiger !' ) when, as someone posted on another Forum, to be absolutely certain, you'd need to reach down inside the turret and pull the shell out personally.......
     
  10. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    The 88 was a good weapon, but most major powers had AA guns of comparable performance, the British 3.7", Soviet 85mm, US 90mm, etc. The 88's impact on the battlefield stemmed from the Germans' willingness to use it in other than its AA role; they were strong practitioners of combined arms.

    FYI the various models of 88s were designated Flak 18, 36, 37, and 41.
     
  11. denny

    denny Member

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    Did any of The Allies have an anti-tank round that was as "good" as the Germans.?
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The western allies had rounds that were better than the Germans by the end of the war.
     
  13. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    The 8.8cm Flak was a success because it was a sledgehammer used to crack nuts. The only time it was 'critical was 1941-42 to cover the T-34/KV 'gap' when the standard 37mm AT gun was found wanting. Once the 5cm then 7.5cm came into use the 8.8xm was superfluous in the AT role. Indeed it was a liability when deployed in the front line. Its size made it an obvious target and once enemy artillery ranged in on the 8.8cm it was doomed.
     
  14. denny

    denny Member

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    As you say ^^^^^^^ I would imagine "mobility" could be an issue with The German 88...and the number of guys required to Fire/Man it.?
    Perhaps the smaller 75mm type guns were sufficient at most "normal" anti-tank distances.?
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Note that the questions have centered around the rounds rather than the guns. My impression is that late war allied sabot rounds had considerably better AP performance than their German equivalents if they even existed.
     

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