8.8-cm Flak Gun

The 8.8 cm Flak 18/36/41 was the most powerful anti-tank weapon of World War II, even though it had originally been conceived as an anti-aircraft gun. This German anti-tank weapon had been designed and developed by the German firm Krupp in the late 1920s as an 88-mm AA gun. Used by the Condor Legion, it first saw combat action in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). It was also fielded in every military campaign of World War II, on the Eastern, Western, African, and Italian Fronts. The 8.8 cm Flak 18, 36, and 37 was massively produced, with more than 20,000 pieces delivered to frontline troops, but only 318 Flak 41s had been fielded by early May 1945.


It had a 4.9-m-long barrel and a semi-automatic, sliding block breech. The 88mm Flak was mounted a cruciform platform and was usually towed to the battelfield by halftracks on two, single-axled bogies, which could be detached from the gun’s platform when it was emplaced. Adapted as an anti-tank weapon, it was fitted with a steel shield as it was also mounted on either 4-wheeled carriages or 12-tons halftracks, from which it fired. With a high muzzle velocity of 820 m/s (2,690 ft/s), it could knock out an enemy tank located at 4,000 m away. The Flak 41 version had a muzzle velocity of 1,000 m/s!

Specifications for the 88mm Flak 18/36

Type: AA gun
Caliber: 88 mm
Weight: 6.8 tons
Barrel length: 4.93 m
Elevation: -3º to +85º
Traverse: 360º
Shell weight: HE 9.24 kg
Muzzle velocity: 820 m/s


German 88mm Flak Gun in Action

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Thor is Carlos Benito Camacho, the manager and writer of this blog.