88 FlaK: This Legendary German Gun Functioned as Antiaircraft and Antitank Artillery Weapon

published 27.06.2020 02:30

by Warfare History from nationalinterest.org

The Origins of the German 88 The 88’s lineage can be traced back to late 1916 when the German Army first adapted the established German naval weapon for ground warfare in World War I. Machinery for producing both the barrels and the ammunition was readily available at the production facilities of both Krupp AG and Rheinmetall.

The plane suffered nearly fatal damage from fierce air defense fire from the 88mm Fliegerabwehrkanone (FlaK) and other anti-aircraft guns.

The Luftwaffe was a shadow of its former self at that point in the war, but German defense—bolstered by the 88s and larger guns—was credited with destroying 6,400 Anglo-American planes and damaging 27,000 others in 1944 alone.

The barrel could be swung a full 360 degrees, and a trained gun crew could fire upward of 20 rounds per minute.

Later in the war, some FlaK 37 guns had the fuse setter located on the loading tray, speeding up the process; and, if necessary, time fuses could be set by hand with a special key by a member of the gun’s 11man crew.