Flak is the abbreviation of a German word: Fliegerabwehrkanone , meaning Anti-aircraft gun . The word can be taken according to two directions: the flak (n.f., itself abbreviation of Flakartillerie) being the generic name of the units of anti-aircraft batteries static, or units of DCA attached to the combat units; the flak (n.m.) can indicate as for him an anti-aircraft gun (for example Flak 43).
FlakFlak, heard like DCA of defense of the territory, fact part of the Luftwaffe, just like the Radar S. It constitutes even the principal element of it, since on the 1.500.000 men belonging to the air force in 1939, two thirds approximately are at anti-aircraft stations. Their number will increase further with the growing number of the bombardments on Reich. Many women and young people starting from 1943 will be enlisted to be used the teams as projectors or like being used as parts as well as prisoner of war. Flak then defends the industrial and urban parks, subjected to a ceaseless bombardment. Only a few units do not form part of Luftwaffe and are attached to the Kriegsmarine and the Waffen-SS.
As of 1939, the air army is divided into four Luftflotten, “areas” military and armies. Each Luftflotte has its own units of DCA: 1st Luftflotte: North and East; 2nd Luftflotte: The North-West; 3rd Luftflotte: South-west and 4th Luftflotte: South-east/Austria/Czechoslovakia.
The DCA territorial, in spite of its strong manpower, will never inflict sufficient losses to the Bomber allied Command so that it considers a suspension of the bombardments.
The fighting formations of the Wehrmacht almost all are equipped with anti-aircraft material, gathered in distinct units. Their tactical need will be felt more and more with the allied air superiority, which badgers the troops on the ground, the East (bomber tactical Iliouchine It-2 Sturmovik) and especially in the West (“jabos”, fighter-bombers). More still, Panzer-divisionen must face the planes tank destroyers, and are equipped with mobile air artillery, assembled on trucks, half-tracked or armor-plated (Flakpanzer). Each Panzerdivision comprises, in 1944, a battalion of Flak. Other divisions receive from a battery to a battalion of Flak. It damaged or destroyed more allied planes than Luftwaffe itself. Thus, of July 1942 in May 1945, if the British allotted the loss of 2.278 their bombers to German hunting (against " seulement" 1.345 because of anti-aircraft artillery), they recognized that 8.848 other apparatuses had been damaged by the FLAK, against 1.728 by hunting.
The most current practice was that of the shooting of stopping, certainly effective against bombers evolving/moving in groups, but extraordinarily voracious in ammunition. In 1942, one estimated for example that the destruction of a bomber combined in full flight required an average of 4.057 shells. But it was necessary some more than 33.000 at the end of 1944. In the same way, the consumption of shell, estimated at 500.000 per month into 1941/42 had passed to more than 3 million per month (!) In 1944, more than two civilian and soldier million were directly or indirectly related to the anti-aircraft artillery, which absorbed 30% of all the guns and 20% of all the shells produced during the year.
Anti-aircraft gunsThe guns flak are divided into two main categories, guns light, with automatic shooting; and guns heavy, more static, with greater range and high-explosive shells. While the first hope on an direct impact against the enemy apparatus to inflict damage to him, the heavy shells are dangerous also by their preset explosion.
- the Flak 30 is a pom-pom drawing from the shells of 20 mm at a rate of 120 blows/min. (chargers of 20 shells). It was built as from 1934. 18.000 specimens of Flak 30 and 38 were built.
- Weight: 450 kg in position fix
- Length of the tube: 55 gauges
- Carried: 2,2 km in altitude
- Being useful: 7
the Flak 38 succeeds to him in 1939. Of a gauge of 20 mm, its rate is of 180/220 blows/min. It is also assembled on the Flakpanzer 38 (T) Gepard and SdKfz 251/17; SdKfz 11 and SdKfz 10/5.
- Weight: 405 kg
- Length of the tube: 112.5 gauges
- Carried: 2,2 km in altitude
- Being useful: 7
the Flakvierling 38 is a quadruple gun (increase in the firepower with 800 blows/min, simple a 20 mm being very insufficient). Four Flak 38 are assembled on a mounting. Several vehicles will be equipped with this material: Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind; some FlakPz IV Möbelwagen, SdKfz 7/1…
In front of the insufficiency of the gauge 20 mm vis-a-vis the fighter-bombers, it is decided to produce an automatic gun of 37 Misters the Flak 36/37 car its high-explosive shells of 37 mm at the rate of 80/120 blows/min. the half-track vehicle SdKfz 6/2 uses this gun which can cut down an apparatus of only one direct blow.
- Weight: 1,5 ton
- Carried: 4,8 km in altitude
Flak 43 . Quasi-identical to the precedent, equipped with a shield (1942. 928 specimens). Equip the Flakpanzer IV Möbelwagen and Ostwind, and SdKfz 7/2.
- Weight: 1,2 tons
- Carried: 4,8 km
In 1944-45, it is decided to modify pom-poms of planes to use them on vehicles:
- the Mg 151/15 and 151/20 of 15 mm and 20 mm are assembled in tritube (driling) on SdKfz 251/21. Give rhythm shooting: 800 blows/min.
- powerful MK 103/38 Jaboschreck of 30 mm L45 (45 gauges) in bitube team FlakPz Kugelblitz. 250 blows/min, ceiling 2,6 km.
At the end of the war, others flak were being studied, like the Flak 44 of 37L57, having to equip Flakpanther Coelian (200 blows/min).
See also: Canon of 88
- the 88 . The most famous anti-aircraft gun of the war is the “88”. The denomination (88 mm gauge) gathers the Flak 18 (1933), Flak 36/37 and Flak 41 (25 000 e.g. built). Canon heavy with manual loading (approx. 12-15 blows/min), it before is very intended for static, strategic defense (against the bombers), is contained out of batteries supported by projectors or radars. But it is also provided to the combat units which tractor draw it behind trucks or the half-tracked ones. It is they which assigned a new function to him, that to be gun Antichar.
- Weight: 5 tons
- Length of the tube: 56 gauges
- Carried: 10 km in altitude
- Being useful: 11
the Flak 40 is heavier still. Its gauge of 128 mm proves to be destroying, and it will be him also modified out of anti-tank gun. Certain mounting comprise a double gun (zwilling). It was brought into service in 1941.
- Poids: ? tons
- Carried: 11,5 km in altitude
less built was the Flak 38 and 39 of 105 Misters
- '' Flak uber ales ''
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