Palm Springs Air Museum - a FlaK 36

Palm Springs CA, May 27 2013 - In honor of Memorial Day:

88 mm Flak Anti-Aircraft/Anti-Tank Gun (a FlaK 36) Fliegerabwehrkanone = (Flier Defense Canon) “Flak”  - Originally developed in 1917 by Kropp and Erhardt. Redesigned by Knupp designers working with Bofors in Sweden in 1932. Scene@Palm Springs Air Museum

88 mm Flak Anti-Aircraft/Anti-Tank Gun Palms Springs Air Museum

This gun was located in England when acquired by the Museum and was thought to have been used by the Germans for coastal defense in France.

A shell fired from the “88” anti-aircraft gun could reach an altitude of 42,000 feet. It was accurate to an altitude of 25,000 feet. Which made our B-17 and B-24 bombers vulnerable to attacks from this gun as they normally flew at 25,000 feet. Destruction of German industry by Allied aircraft became so critical that many Anti-Tank 88s were withdrawn from combat fronts, including the Russian front and were used as Anti-Aircraft guns to help in the air defense of Germany.

The Palm Springs Air Museum 88 mm Flak Anti-Aircraft/Anti-Tank Gun

Crew Requirements - A crew of nine was required to operate this weapon: 1 - Elevation control; 1 – Loading the gun; 1 - Set timing fuse; 1 - Control of side movement; 4 - Ammunition handling; 1- Place fuse timing device in projectile

Specifications and Performance - Weight: 7,300 kg. Rate of Fire: Maximum of 15 rds/min. Elevation: 70 degrees Muzzle Velocity 820m/sec. Vertical Ceiling: 8,000 m. Max. ground range 14,800 m

Principle Uses - During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) the new A FlaK 18 was sent to aid Franco’s Nationalists. During WWII it was used to defend industrial centers around the Ruhr and Rhine which were vulnerable to Allied bombing raids. In WWII there were three versions of the “88” used in air defense in Germany, the FlaK 18/36, 37, and 41.

The Palm Springs Air Museum 88 mm Flak Anti-Aircraft/Anti-Tank Gun

History of the 88 mm FlaK 18/36/37/41 & PaK 43 - The most famous piece of German artillery to have seen service in WWII, the “Eighty-eight” (or just “88” as referred to by the Allies) was originally designed as an anti-aircraft weapon but it became one of the most effective anti-tank weapons. With its sound, but simple, design the 88 mm gun was the backbone of German Air Defense throughout the war. The 88’s reputation as an efficient anti-tank just began in the early stages of the war and led to the development of anti-tank ammunition for this and various other types of artillery up to 128 mm. Eventually the 88 became the main weapon on German tanks and was developed as a self-propelled gun.

One of the Museum’s Pioneer members and a docent in the Navy hanger, Karl Eichorn, was a member of an 88mm gun crew as a young man and no doubt fought against some of the other members and docents of this Museum. Today we veterans of WWII consider ourselves fortunate to be counted amoug the friends of this gentle man.

Palms Springs Air Museum

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Palm Springs Air Museum

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Photos by Randy Berg

 

Palm Springs Air Museum

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