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Volume 8 Issue 88

Published by
Orbis Publishing Ltd
@ $erospace Publishing Ltd 1985 .

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Ray Hutchins der of British Land Forces during the
Keith Woodcock
Falklands campaign.

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Lighf AA Gu s
of \fib
1939 saw tactical air power take its place as a signifrcant
factor on the battlefield., its importance callinE for newero
Part of a battery of Z-cm Flakvierling
SSsmounfed on SdKfz 7i I B-ton half-
morc effective method,s to protect forces onthe growrd.Iligh tracks. This gunl half- tr ack
c om t:inatio n w as dere/oped f o
volumes of light anti-aircraft fire were seen to be the answer, provide aerial protection for
withthe Wehrmacht taking the lead. armoured formafions in the field.

In 1939 the liqht antr aircraft gun was relatively new tn concept, For the of projectiles actually hitting the target Since to increase the rate of iire
most part such weapons had calibres ol between 20 mm (0 787 in) and of most guns would in most cases have entalled a major redesign ti'ie
40 mm (1 575 in) and were all capabie of putting rnto the air large only way to boost the weigllit of frre was to increase the number of barrels
volumes of automatlc fire, T'hey were mainly intended for the defence of firing from cne mountirq at any one lirne, The best exarnple of this
an area of sky that extended to no more than 3000 m (9 843 ft) at best, concepi cou I be seen with the change of the single-barrelled 2-cm Flak
although they were usually ernployed against targets flying at altttudes 38 to the four-bai:relled 2'cm Flakvierling 38, one of the Gerrnan
much lower than that weapons mosi ieared by Alhed tactical flyers
Most of the quns included in thls study had a cahbre of 20 mm, Thts Nol ail the guns include<l in thrs study attained the fame olthe German
calibre had been established by the end of World War I as the optimum hght Flak \ reapons. Some, such as the 37-mrn qun, were
for a projectlle that could carry a useful explosive payload and yet somewhat less than successfui but others, sucli as the Bofors gun, the
remain economrc to frre automatlcally, but after l94l this calibre had to Oerhkon cannon and the Sovjet Model 1939, are assured ol a place in
be revrsed upwards in size as atrcraft targets increased in speed and the artillery, if not vuorld, history. They defended the ground forces agarnst
degree of protection they carried, Some nations, such as Germany, had tactrcal attack aircraft and they clefendecl home areas agarnst more
foreseen this trend and had accordingly equipped wrth 37-mm ( 1 457-in) formal bomber forces in a war rn'which the alrcralt became a dominant
weapons, and it rs rndicatrve that the best ail-round weapon rn this weapon.
category that was in service during the war years was the Swedish
The crew of a Multiple Gun Motor Carriage M I6 are on the aleri )il Northern
Bofors gun with a calibre of 40 mm, one that ls still in widespread use Italy late in thewar. The Ml6 was aMaxson mount carriedon anM3 half track
toclay, But the smaller-calibre weapons remained rn use even though the andwas one of the more widely used of the mabileMaxson mounts. The first at
only way that they could ensure a target 'kill' was to increase the number them were produced during early J 943 and they were widely used.

,,:l:|l, l,r*'t
li'::iif lri|11'ri' lf " i' 6:r'l


Maxson Mount
3ne of the main Amerrcan weapons both types of carriagre the guns were four machine-gllns to a new conflgura- Traverse:360'
croduced as a counter to the low-flytng supplied wrth rounds each, fed tnto
200 tion using two 20-mm cannon. Israel Muzzle velocity: BB4 m (2,900 ft) per
arcraft was not of the same calibre ai the gmns from belts carried in enclosed has adapted all the Maxson Mounts it second
i;.ie other weapons in this study, for chests mounted outboard of the guns. has in service to this new form, and Maximum effective ceiling: about
lstead of using what are normally re- On some turets the belts could be fed Brazil rs another nation takinQlthe same 1000 m (3,280 ft)
garded as cannon calibres, the Arner- into the guns under electrical control path. Israel continues to use rts mod- Rate offire: (cyclic, all gmns) 2,300 rpm
rcan solution used heavy machtne- but the normal gun action was more ernized Maxson Mounts on halftracks
gruns with a calibre of 12,7 mm (0.5 in), commonly used. but there rs a towed version as well, The crew of aMultipleGun Motor
This was the Maxson Mount, which The Maxson Mounts were normaily Carriage M16 relax on stand-by
used a combination of 'four 12,7-mm used to provrde protectron for convoys Specification close to the famous bridge at
Browning M2 heavy machine-guns on or mobile units against arr attack, and MaxsonMount Remagen. The crew have toned
a sinqle mounting with two guns on after 1945 continued to serve with Calibre: 12.7 mm (0,5 in) down the appearance of thevehicle
each side of a central pedestal-type many armres. Many are still in use to- Lengrth: (guns) 1,654 m (65.1 in) with hessian and a board over the
housing. The proper service designa- day but recent years have seen a Weight: in action 1OB7 kg (2,396 lb) tracks. Note the spare ammunition
iion for this arranQlement was Multiple move away from the retention of the Elevation: -5'to +85' magazines.
Caliber .50 Machine-Gun Carriage
The Maxson Mount was used on a
varrety of different carriages. One of
the most common was a trailer towed
by a light truck or even a Jeep. Thts
trailer used twin axles, and rn action
legs could be lowered to the ground at
each corner to provrde increased sta-
brlity when frring. The trailer also car-
ried a number of batteries and a bat-
tery-charging set, for the Maxson
Mount was electrically powered. The
electrical supply was used for eleva-
tion and traverse, and the motors used
were powerful enough to meet the
most demanding calls made upon
them by the gnrnner, who sat on the
turret between the two pairs of
machine-gruns. The motors could move
the gmns from the honzontal to *60'in
one second, and the turret could
traverse at the same rate, In order to
keep the two marn battedes topped up
at all times, they were normally kept on
constant charge in action,
The combined fire of the four
Browning machine-gmns was suffi cient
to bring down any aircraft cauqtht in
therr fire, despite the fact that the
rounds carried no explosive payload,
The gnrns were aimed ustng a naval
reflector si ht but the tracer fired by
the guns could also be used to assist
aim and some qunners relied on the
tracer alone to make fire control cor-
The Maxson Mount was also used on
halftracks as well as towed trailers. On

A Maxson mount is dug in in the 1 2.7 -mm (0.50 -in) rounds. The A Multip le C aliber 50 M achine-Gun
. carriagewas commonly kcnown as
So/omons. The gun layout can be gunner was seated between the guns Carriage M5 1 ts seen in action at theMaxson mount and the gunner's
clearly seen, as can the box and used a reflector sight. Hollandia on New Guinea against helmet can j ust be seen protruding
magazines that heldup to 200 low- tlylng aircr alt. This trailer- borne from between the magazines.

Light AA Guns of World War II
37-mm Antiaircraft Gun MI
The development work that led to the
37-mm Antiaircraft Gun MI on Car-
riage M3 sedes started in ]92i, It was
yet another product of the fertile mind
of John M, Browning, who continued to
work on the grun until he ciied in 1926, It had been intended that the 37-mm
Development of the project then ( 1 -457-in) Antiaircraft Gun M I A2 was

lapsed until 1934, mainly as a result of to be the standardUS Army light anti-
defence spending cuts of the period, aircraftweapon, but the Bofors Gun
When work resumed it was not long took ovet that role. However, the
belore the gun was in productton, not M I A2 rem aine d in production un tiJ
only for the US Army but for the US there were enough Bofors Guns to
Navy (37-mm AN-M4) and US Army hand.
Air Corps (37-mm Aircraft Automatic
Gun M4 and MlO) as well, Production
started in 1940 under the auspices of
the Colt Company, andto some the gun
is still known as the Colt 37 mm.
The 37-mm ( 1.457-in) enrn was an un-
remarkable design that performed
well enougth, but it was rather iet down
by its ammunitrorr which proved to be
underpowered and was thus of iimited
value against low and fast aircraft
targets. Various production and car- were instead watchinq the tracer ele- mounts were used on halftracks or on ence rs paramount. Some re:.-:- -.
riage changes were rntroduced until ments as they f,red and corectinq the board US Navy vessels right through service wrth Warsaw Pac: :--...' -
the MlA2 staqe was reached, and at alm on-o the larger by this means and after the war, but there was a forces, lorig after they have c:rr=:
that point the British requested that the alone While this was, and still is a drawback as iar as the orrginal desig- from use in the West
Americans should use some of their positive way to aim a QIun, at calibres of nels were torcerned: iar lrom using
industrial potential to build Bofors gnrns 37 mm and above, it soon becomes an the two machrne-quns as the arminql Specification
for them. A quick perusal of the Bofors uheconomic practice on any scale. elements of the combrnation, many en- MlA2 on Carriage M3AI
gmn convinced the Americans that it Accordingly a new Combination thusrastrc qunners contrnued to use all Calibre: 37 mm (1.457 in)
was much better than therr 37 mm de- Mount M54 was developed that car three weapons to fire tracer all the Lengrthof piece: 1.980 m (78.2 ::.
siqn, and they promptly adopted the rred two 12.7-mm (0.S-in) Brovrning time thereby negating the onqdnal in- Weight: in actron2TTBkg (6.121t:
Bolors in its place. But it was some time heavy machine-quns, one on each stde tention. Elevation: - 5" to +90"
before Bofors fabrication could qet of the central 37-mm barrel. As the During the war larqe numbers of Traverse:360'
under way, so the MlAZ continued to machine-quns were ballistically very MlA2 guns and combrnation mounts Muzzle velocity: 853 m (2,800 i. i=:
roll off the Colt production lines. simrlar lo the main gun lherr tracer were delivered to the USSR as part of second
Somewhere along the line combat could be used as the aiming element Lend-Lease Many of these weapons Maximum ceiling: 5669 m (lB €l - ..
analysrs revealed that manv anti- and once on target the main gnrn could never found their way back to the Un- Rate offire: (cyclic) 120 rpm
aircraft gunners were not ustnq the be fired, This worked out very well in ited States and stlll appear in odd cor- Projectile weight: 0,61 kg (1 -?1'r
qnrnsights to aim their weapons but practice, Most of these combrnation ners of the world where Soviet influ-

;offih oertikon
The 20-mm Oerlikon gun has a rather First introduced in its earliestfonr, tt
long history, stretchinqi back as far as 1914, the Oerlikon 20-mm saw its
1914 when it was produced by one widestservice as anavalweapon. as
Reinhold Becker in Germany. Ver- here, mounted on the escort carrie!
sions of this gun were used duringt HMS Trumpeter onconvoy duty in
World War I as German air force 1944.
weapons, but in 1919 Becker transfer-
red his brainchild to Switzerland
where it was produced by a flrm
.'--known that concern
as SEMAG untrl
was taken over by the Werkzeug Mas-
chrnenfabrik Oerltkon at Oerlikon, still
in Switzerland. Under this new con-
cern production of many types of Oer-
likon gun expanded greatly (the ori-
grnal Becker weapon as the Type F,
the SEMAG model as the Type L and
its own verston as the Type S), and the
usual practice of licence production
elsewhere soon followed. France was
one early manufactunng location (2-
cm Mitrailieuse C.A. Oerlikon), and much more 'formal' Later rn the war a
Japan another (Type 98). Sales were triple-gun mounting with the three
made worldwide, and Oerhkon air- qnlns one over the other was placed
cralt and anti-aircraft guns were a into productron and some of these
common sight rn many natLons. types of mounts were later used on
The Oerlikon was a qas-operated trucks
gun wrth the mechanism aclton
assisted by the larqe coil springs
arouno lhe barrel that were a recognl-
tion feature of the weapon. After 1935
the Oerlikon was produced in the Un-
ited Kinqdom for the Royal Navy so TheSwiss 20-mm (0.79-in) OerEkor-
that by 1939 there were considerable cannonwas manufactured in the
numbers of thrs Gun, 20-mm, Oerlikon United Kingdom andmany other
inuse, Thiswas justaswell, forby i940 countries, and was one of the mosl
they were being pressed into service importantweapons of its type inxsa
on land mountinqs ol all kinds. Some of during World War I I. Although used'
I these British mountings were simple in mainly as anavalweapon. many'
the extreme llut others such as the were employed by land forces. Tk:s
Haszard semi-mobile mount were is theBritishHB Mk I mounting-

20-mm Oerlikon (continued)

The Oerlikon normally used a 60- qrins rn Royal Narry models, but these
round drum maqtazine for the feed sys- were fairly easy to adapt to a number
tem, but a 20-round box magaztne was of land mountings, At sea most Oerlt-
used on some versions, rncluding kons were used on simple pedestal
those used by the Germans, who knew mountings whatever naw happened
the Oerlikon as the z-cm Flak 28 or to be using them. Many are still in use
FIak 29, and some ol thetr guns were today (but oniy rarely on land) for they
later passed to the Italians (Cannone- continue to be a popular naval
Mitragliera da 20 Oerlikon). Over the weapon, which cannot be bad for a
Atlantic the Americans were produc- design that can trace its oriqdns to 1914,
ing Oerlikons by 1940 as the 20-mm Since then it is probable that more
Automatic Gun Mk IV, originally for Oerlikon Guns have been produced
the Royal Navy but later for ther own than any other weapon of their type.
use, and the type was particularly use-
ful rn the Pacifrc aqainst Japanese
kamikaze attacks. Thus the Oerlikon
gun was another ofthose weapons that Specification
started life in a neutral state but ended AutomaticGunMkiV
up being used by all sides, and some of Calibre: 20 mm (0,787 in)
the kamtkaze aircraft that attacked US Lengrthof piece: 2.21 m (87 in)
Navy shipprng were shot down bY Weight: (qn-rn only) 66.68 kq (147 lb)
Oerlikon guns carried on those same Eievation: - 10" to +75"
ships, flring back at aircraft that also Traverse:360"
carried Oerhkon guns The sdme sltua- Muzzlevelocity: 831 m (2 725 ft) per
tion prevailed in Europe, for manY second
Luftwaffe arrcraft carried Oerlikon Maximum effective ceiling: 1097 m Twin 20-mm Oerlikons are cleaned years, the Oerlikon is now rarely
quns of one type or another. (3,600 ft) aboard the IndianNavy sloop HMIS encountered in towed form, although
Many of the quns used by the United Rate offire: (cyclic) 465-4BO rpm Narabda Jalem the war. Still in modern guns by the same firm are in
Kingdom armed forces had their ori- Projectileweight:0, 119 kq (0,2625 ]b) service a f sea a fter more than 70 wideuseonland.

In many ways the Polsten gun maY be Oerlikon or a Polsten. The same The Polsten never replaced the kon is still in widespread productton
regarded as a Poiish rather than a Brit- mountinQi couid also accommodate an Oerlikon gun in service, for although there is no reason why they should not
ish weapon, but lt was produced only Amencan Hispano aircraft cannon, the Oeriikon was expensrve it was continue to work on fbr many years to
in the Unrted Kingdom, It had its ori- also in 20-mm (0.787-in) calibre. very robustly made and could last for a come.
Qrins in the fact that although the Oerli- One changte that was introduced as very long time Instead the Poisten and
kon qun was a highly successfui standard. on the Polsten was a new the Oerlikon soldiered on side by side Specification
weapon it was difficult to manufacture magazine. The old Oerlikon drum with the British army until both were Polsten (Universal Mounting)
and requrred a iarge number of magaz,ne proved lo be unpoPuiar in withdrawn some time during the 1950s, Calibre:20 mm (0.782 in)
machining processes, The Poles de- service as it was a bulky and awkward Even now Polstens continue to appear Lengrthof piece: 2, 178 m (85.75 in)
cided to make production easter: they item and took some time to load prop- at odd spots around the world, and as Weisht: (qun) 54 9 ks (121 ]b)
took the basrc desiqn but introduced erly. It was also very difficult to make the ammunition for them and the Oerli- Elevation: -5"1o +85'
changtes to make the weapon simpler and consumed a large number of Traverse:360'
They were just about to complete the machining operations On the Polsten Muzzlevelocity: 831 m (2 725 ft) per
pro;ect when the Germans invaded it was replaced by a vertical box second
Poland in September 1939. Subse- maqazine holding 30 rounds arranged Maximum effective ceiling: 2021 m
quently the members of the design rn a 'double-stack' conflguration that (6,630 fr)
team fled to the UK, taking their draw- was not only easier to load but which Rate of fire: (cyclc) 450 rpm
ings and experience with them and was much easier to chanqe on the gun Projectile weisht: 0, I 19 kq (0,2625 lb)
re-established the team there, They It was also far cheaper to make.
were jorned by expatriate Czechs and
some Britisir desrqners and tn tLme
their results were placed rn production
rn a weapon known as the Polsten ( Pol'
aiter Poland and 'sten' after the Brittsh
Sten Company, the same company that
manufactured the cheap and cheerfui
Sten sub-machine qun),
The Polsten was a remarkable piece
of desrgn dno Droducl:on engtneerlng,
The Oerlikon qun used 250 compo-
nents, but the Polsten reduced this to
i19; the costs were considerably re-
duced as a result. faliing ltom a nom.n-
al 5320 for the orrgdnal to between f60
and f,70 tor the Polsren. Not surpns'ng-
ly, as soon as the Polsten was ready it Above : B roken down into its
was rushed into production. That was operating position, a Polsten gun
in March 1944 and thereafter produc- sftor4/s tfie sparse construction of this
tion ofthe Oerlikon ceased tn favour of simplified, lightened version of the
the cheaper weapon well-tried Oerlikon.
Although the Polsten was cheaper
and easrer to make 1t was every bit as
effective as the Oerhkon ortqnal. The
Polsten could flt lnto any mountinq in-
tended for the Oerlikon, so 1t was used
in a diversrty of roies ranging from air-
craft gun to tank co-axtal weapon. On
grround mountings it was used as an
anti-aircraft gun on a Untversal Mount-
ing that could accornmodate either an

Right: A 20-mm (0.79-in) Polsten Mk I Gun on the Mounting, Universal Mk I

(t[e wheel outline is diagramatic). The Polsten was a simplified Oerlikon Gun
designed by a team of PolishengineerswhofledfromPoland to the United
Kingdomin 1939.
lviaastricht -The liftill
of Death
The German columns advancing across Europe in 1940 should have presented rich
pickingsforAllied airmen. Unfortunatelyfor them, theGermanshadforeseenthe
threat from the air and had taken steps to cou nter it.
In May 1940 the German army attacked Bel- Both the British and the French air forces
gium, France and the Netherlands in a cam- were to learn exactly what the German hght
paign that was to be one of the most successful flak cou]d do during May and June 1940, Both
miiitary operations of all time, In an operation had little prior indicatron of what to expect,
codenamed'Sichelschnitt' (srckle stroke), the Both arr forces were equrpped with what now
Germans attacked through Belgium to draw appear to be slow and cumbersome bomber
forward the bulk oi the Britlsh and French aircraft, though the Royal Arr Force considered
forces, and then cut through the Ardennes to at the time that it was well-equipped with the
break through to the Channel coast, so drivrng single-englne Fairey Battle and the twin-
a corridor between the Allied northern armies engine Bristol Blenheim. Both carried what
and the rest of France, By so dorng the Ger- seemed then to be a usefui bombload, and both
mans achieved a total victory that all but knock- were equipped to carry out bombing attacks
ed France out of the war and created a situation either at high ievel or from low altitudes, in the
where, but for luck, the entire strength of the latter case relying on the pilot's ability to re:
British army could have been lost, lease the bombloads at the correct instant,
The French campaign of 1940 was innovative Neither aircraft carried much in the way of
not only for the full use of the now-famous Blitz- defensive armament other than rearward-
kneg tactrcs of the German Panzer formations, facing machrne-guns.
A2-cm (0.79-in) Flak 30 is shown in action. using
bul also for the first use of anti-aircraft artrilery On the ground the German army moved for- what appearc to be a special raised emplacemen:
on a grand scale. It may be argued that antr- ward its hght flak batteries with the leading probahly on a range ar on a static ftring positior:.
aircraft artillery had already come of age dur- Ines pf troops and tanks As the Germans Raising the level of theweapon enabled the cre',','
lng World War I, and that the Spanish Civil War moved forward they did so under a constant to serve the gun much more easily, making life less
had provrded later indicatlons of what was to screen of batterres emplaced ready for instant tiring over prolonged,periods of constant firing.
come, but both of these examples bore little action, but in the early days of the advance
resemblance of what was to happen rn France, through Belgium and the Ardennes there was channels and it was these channels that pr:-,'=:
The equipments of World War I bore no re- little enough ior them to do. Much of the Royal to be less than satisfactory when tried rn ac:--:-
semblance to the automatic guns that were the Arr Force strength was in the north and was The French army headquarters did nc: 3.::--
prlmary equipment of the hght Flak units of the expected to be used against the German forces municate to the Brrtish Expedrtionary :ct:=
German army in 1940, In fact May I94O was to advanclng through Belgium, but they were in- (BEF) direct but rather through a tortuous c:a---
be the frrst operational use of such weapons on itially little employed. Exactly why thrs hap- nel of lesser command levels, so orders -.';=:=
a major scale, The Polish campaign of Septem- pened has to be discovered through the man- frequently delayed or lost simply because .:.=
ber 1939 had provided them wrth few chances ner in which the French and British lorces co- correct maR was not at his supposed lcca:-::-
to prove therr prowess, 1br much of the lll-fated operated. Both the Royal Air Force squadrons when necessary, Added to this was the le.r.a:
Folish air force had been driven from the sky in France and the French air force were there gy tmposed by the months of the 'Phone-v 'rr,-a:
/ny ne Luftwaffe in the earty days of that liEhtl primarily to support their armies in the fi.eld, that had prevarled since September olthe i:=-
nmg campargn, Thus orders for the squadrons came vta army vlous year,

Above:Anemplaced 2-cm Flakvierling 38 in the

original FIak 38 platform. All four barrels
discharged their spentcartridge casesrnlo a
disposal chute at the front.

Right:Gun crewsmanhandle their Z-cm FIak 30s

into position for towing early in thewar. Such guns
gave Allied pilols a seyere sftock

Around the bridge lay a heavY

ancentr ation of G erm an mobile
batteries. As the B attles
light flak
made their bombing run theY meta
hail of automatic fire.

pient for a storm of accurately-aimed fire, With-

in seconds of starting their attack three of the
Battles had been shot down and every one of
the rest sustained damage that rendered them
a quarter were modern.) On l0 May the AASF useless once they had retwned to base, often
was awaiting orders from the French com- with wounded or dead crew members.
mand, but none came. The French were still Another failure
uncertain of the German intentions and were
apparently staying therr hand. In the end Play- Despite this failure, another attack was tried
fair decided to go ahead by himsell and sent in the afternoon of the same day with the same
off a force of Battles to attack a German column resuits. During the day 32 Battle sortles were
that had been observed moving towards Lux- sent out: 13 of them were lost and every one of
embourg. the rest sustained damage of one sort or
The result was a harbinger of what was to another. Not all of these casualties can be
So as the Germans carried out their lnitial come. The attacking German column was in- assigned to the light flak, for the Luftwaffe was
drawing actions by moving through Belgium deed a powerful one, but was moving under its usually waiting nearby to pounce once the flak
and attacking the Netherlands, the Allies did own light flak screen. Thus as soon as the Bat- area had been cleared, The Luftwaffe pilots
little in response other than to advance into tles arrived overhead the German gunners kept clear ofthe flak-defended areas, for they
Belqium to take up preasanged positions The were waiting and ready, They could not be- had learned the hard way that flak gnrnners
Allied air forces took little part in this operation, ireve therr good fortune for the Battles had were (as they still are) apt to open fire at any
despite the eagerness of the Royal Air Force been ordered to attack from a height ofabout target that presented itself in range and ask
AdvancedAlr Striking Force (AASF) comman- 76 m (250 ft), not from any tactical necessity but questions regarding identity afterwards
der, Arr Vice-Marshal P.H. L, Playfair, He had at because there was no deienslve top cover The next day was given over to reconna$s-
his disposal 10 squadrons of Battles and available from the Hawker Hurricane fighter ance missions, the Battles and Blenheims again
Blenherms and his remit was to use them where squadrons, By sending the Battles ln iow, it was being involved, again to their cost, Eight air-
they could be most effective, (One of his secon- hoped that they would escape the worst atten- craft were dlspatched and only five came
dary functions was to bolster the French air tions of the l,uftwaffe, As it was they made back. In contrast, two Blenheim squadrons
forie's bomber strength, for despite the perfect targets lor the light flak, The ]arge span attacked troop concentrations in the afternoon
numerical strenqth of the French in the air they of the Battles combined wrth thelr slow speed and came back with only light casualties. But
had oniy about 100 bombers, and ofthose only ensured that every aircraft became the reci- this was not the tast raid of the day: in the same

li:a ;::,::,:i.:1_r.:;:i:r_..r,

f iaii:i:ji i ::.:i::i.i::

ri::;:t, ,,l
ll:. :ti;l::;.:jratj.i;j,

, -:::il:nil r:.:::r:.-1.1

it:ii i ::i1:.,..::..:,:::

.,.i.l "l
'. :.,r. :. t:::,::.i.::rlr',j..:;:i :1i;.'.'-l.ll ts-s

r Ail the bomFdii,E:th

a t at ta c ked
Maastricht on'l2WIav were shot
down. Two days later,28 outof3T attack using only six Battles, three to each of thb
were lostover theMeuse bridges, bridges. The squadron allocated the unenvi-
and the triumph of the FIak Artillerie able task was No, 12 Squadron, known then as
was complete. now as the 'Dirty Dozen' or the 'Flyrng Foxes'
from their squadron crest, It was decided that fortune of the Battle squadrons in the remaiit-r,l:
afternoon eight Battles were sent to attack col- tn view of the nsks involved, only volunteers days of the French campaign. On 14 Ma-; := -
umns spotted near Luxembourg and none of should take part. in the mrssion, In a response tles attacked another series of brrdges -:-
them returned, for unbeknown to them the Bat- that is now part of the best traditions of the time pontoon brrdges across the Meuse ::
tles flew over areas where the main force of Royal Air Force all avarlable crews volun Sedan, and at first casualties were hght T:::-
German Panzers was massing for the advance teered at once and the aircraft were made matters changed and it was the death-kte- :-
to the Meuse and the subsequent dash to the ready wrth 113 4-kg (250-1b) bombs, the Battles. In the course of one hour that a:::-
Channel coast, If the presence oi this armour When it came to the take-off only five of the noon 28 aircraft were lost out of a totai c, :-
had been reported to the Allled high com- six Battles were serviceable, and despite the attacking. in its entire history the Roya- -:-:
mand, the subsequent course of the campaign sixth crew switching to another aircraft the five Force has never sustalned casualttes grea::]
might have been dlfferent, As it was, the light took off without them, Three of the Battles flew than these, and it meant the virtual end o, ,:-=
flak shot the Battles from the sky and those that to the metal bridge at Maastricht (actually at AASF, Although more missions were laur.ic-:r:l
survived were pounced upon by the Luftwaffe, Veldwezelt) and started their attack. it meant a breaking up of old squadrons to <=:c
Instead, Allied attention was still focused others going and gradual withdrawal as :::
upon Belgium, where a German advance had Single hit Germans advanced across France to the ccas-
taken bridges over the Albert Canal at Maas- The defensive response was overwhelming What was perhaps the worst resu-lt for .::
strrcht. The Germans had crossed the canal on as rt was just what the flak crews were expect- AASF squadrons was that their casualties :r-i
l0 May, and once across had ensured straight ing, As soon as each Battle came within range it been suffered for so few results, and the C=:-
away that large numbers of hght flak batteries was met by a curtain of tracer that soon found mans hardly checked in thelr forward mon:::-
were moved up to defend the bridges. Around the range and riddled each airframe with tum at any stage,
each of the two main bridges, one at Maastricht she]]s. Within seconds all three aircraft were But ol course there were results rn the r::,;
ttself and the other at Vroenhoven, the batter- hrt and brought down, Only one Battle crew term, The power and efficjency oi the Gen:--.
ies emplaced themselves, marked off the va- survived lo spend the pexl five years ln a pris- light flak weapons was duly acknowledq:i
rious sectors each was to defend, brought up oner-of-war camp, The other two Baltle crews and future ground-attack aircraft were tc i:
piles of ammunition, and waited, All this was fared no better, In the attack on the concrete much faster, better protected and provri=d
known to the Allied high command, but on 12 bridge at Vroenhoven both were shot down with much better offensive weapons. I: is :
May they decided that an attempt had to be and their crews were krlled, The net result of salutary exercise to contrast the success oi ::-:
made to cut the brrdges, Belgian and French these losses was a single hrt by one bomb on Typhoons in 1944 wiih the failure ol the Ba:-..:s
attempts to cut the bndges by shell-fire and the brrdge at Maastricht, and the littie damage only four years earlier: the Typhoons also :al
high-level bombing had failed, so the British caused was soon repaired, to contend wlth the German hght flak, bui --:-=.
were asked to have a go. These losses had been inflicted by the light fared immensely better. They at least h:.';
In what now seems to have been a vastly flak batteries with no help from the Luftwaffe, what to expect, whereas the Battle cre',..'s :-
overambitious plan it was decided to make the but they brought no immediate change to the 1940 did not
,-!. Type 98 20-mm Machine Cannon
The Army Type 98 20-mm Machine wider cartridge case Thrs cartndqe
Cannon was a Japanese army weapon enabled the Type 98 projectrles to
tntroduced into service in 1938 and penetrate 30 mm ( 1 18 in) of armour'at
was desrgned from the outset as a dual- a ranqfe of 247 m (270 yards), so the
purpose weapon capable of use effecr of he sarre pro ectLlo agatnsr a
agalnst alrcraft and armoured ground low-flying aircraft can well be im-
targets. Thus it had a rather odd- agrned According to many accounts
lookrng carriage that added to its the Type 98 was used more rn the anti-
somewhat archaic appearance Thrs arcraft than anti-tank ro1e, desprte the
appearance was deceptlve for the fact that rts cyclic rate of flre was rather
Type 98 was a thoroughly modern low (120 rounds per minute), de-
weapon wlth good overall perform creased rn servrce by the use ofa box
ance holdLng 20 rounds Ln re"-
the carriage was ralhe. "rgh and tical row. "
mounted on two spoked wooden A twrn-barrelled versron of the Type
wheels that. were used to move the 98 was produced insmail numbers but
weapon, either as a towed unit behrnd this was not the only other 20-mm
a light truck or anrmal team, or by man weapon used by the japanese By 1944
handling. Once in position the tratl legs anti-arrcraft guns were 1n qreat de
opened to form the rear components of mand and all manner of odd weapons
a tripod wrth another outrigger leg for were impressed for the role Surplus
ward Once the tripod had been de- aircraft cannon were one source and
ployed the wheels were lifted off the the Japanese navy often gave up pre-
ground to permrt 360' traverse with the cious weapons for extemporrzed
gunner/aimer behrnd the gun on a mountings in the defence of strateq[c
small seat If requrred the entire islands. Amonq these were 25-mm
weapon could be broken down rnto (0 98-in) cannon that were lifted direct
separate loads for animal or man-pack wr h therr original naval mountrngs rnto
transport. It was possrble to flre the gun shore-located weapon prts rn srnqle-,
dtrect from the wheels but since the double- and triple-barrelled mount This Type 98 is emplaced for the anti- The seemingly high carriage is
weapon had a rather hiqh centre of ings. These Navy Type 96 25-mm aircraft role and has the barrel iat full converted to a low and stable firing
qravrty it soon became unstable; Machine Cannon weapons had a per- elevation. The 21-round box platform for the anti-aircraft role;
moreover, it todk only about three mr- formance very srmrlar to that of the magazine is fitted, and here the note the combination of a muzzle
nules 10 aet lhe grr inro 6611en on t,. Army Type 98 and were used by army figure I 1 points to a cocking handle. brake with a rather short barrel.
tripod with a two- or three-man crew. personnel. To provLde these navy
The Type 98 was a very hard-hrttrngr weapons with mobility, some were Calibre: 20 mm (0.787 in) second
weapon This was due marnly to its mounted on simple sledges for towrng Length ofpiece: L46 m (57 5 in) Maximum effective ceiling: about
20-mm (0.787-in) ammunltion, which across level ground. Weight: in actron269.77 kq (593 lb) 3650 m (1 I 975 ft)
was simrlar to that fired from the Type Elevation: - 10'to +85" Rate offire: 120 rpm
97 anti-tank rifle, thougrh the Type 98 Specification Traverse:360' Projectile weight: 0 136 kq (0.3 lb)
ammunition used a sliqhtly ionger and Type 98 Muzzle veiocity: 830 m (2,723 ft) per

fi-** Scotti
./The ltahan army had two standard 20- and it also appears that many made the
nm r0.787-int antl-dtrc dtt weapons Ln long journey to China. After 1942 the
servrce during World War II One was ease of fabrication of the Scotti (com-
the Breda and the other the Scottl or to pared with the more complcated Bre-
grve it its full ltahan designation, the da) led to an increase in Scotti produc-
Cannone-Mitragliera da 20177 (Scotti), tion totals, but the type never seriously
which was also known as the Mitrag- challenqed the number of Bredas in
liera Isotta Fraschini from the produc- service. Before 943 many Scortrs were

tion facrlrty where it was manufac used by Cerman troops operatLng rn

tured the name Scotti comes from North Africa as the 2-cm Scotti (i), and
Alfredo Scottr, the desrgner The Scotti once the ltalians had surrendered the
was fust mooted rn 1932, and the rnitial Scotti became an established part of
examples were produced ln Swltzer the German inventory for units based
land at the Oerhkon works, whtch no in ltaly. It was certarnly used by Ger-
doubt accounts for the use of a drum man units operatinq against the Yuqo-
magazrne very similar to that of the siav partisans and there seems to be
Oerltkon gun This drum was later dts- enougrh evidence to state that after
carded in favour ol 12-round trays. 1943 the Qnlns were kept in production
Compared wrth the Breda the Scotti at the Isotta Fraschrm facrlity in Tunn
was a far simpler weapon. It resem- for German ust2,
bled the Oerlikon gun in some re- TVro versionsi ofthe Scotti were pro-
spects, but used a different mechan duced. One wasa semi-mobile version
ism It was much easier to manufacture that could be carried on trucks and
than the Breda, but desplte the use ofa dismounted for usei once off the truck it
longer barrel the Scotti's overall per could be manh..ndled on a rwin-
formance appears to have been rn- wheeled carriage, thouqh in action the
ferior to that of lts contemporary The gun rested on a ligrht flat tripod mount-
same ammunitron type (toqether wtth ing, The other version was static, with
its super-sensitrve fuse) appears to the gmn on a pedestal mounting. This
have been used, bul the maximum latter version was used mostly on the
effectrve ceiling was lower than that of Italian mainland, and after 1943 num-
the Breda whrch indicates a drfferent bers of them were taken over by Brit-
propellant charge. To balance thrs ish troops for the local defence of coas-
aQlalnst targets at low altrtudes the rate tal artiliery positions, A-fter 1945 the Weight: in actron 227 5 kq (502 lb) The Cannone-Mitragliera de 20/77
of fire was slicthtiy higher and for the type was used for some years by the Elevation: - 10'to +85' (Scotti) was uscd alongside the
benefit ofthe qun crew the Scottr was re-formed Itahan army Traverse:360' Breda as the standard Italian army
hghter than the other $/eapon. Muzzie velocity: 830 m (2.723 it) per )ight anti- air cr aft c annon. I t w as
The Scotti appears to have kleen second longer than the Breda and could use
used in smaller numbers than the Bre- Specification Maximum effective ceiling: 2135 m a 60-round drum magazine, but I 2-
da but it was also used by other na- Scotti (7 005 ft) round trays could also be used. Two
tions. Before 1940 many Scottis were Calibre: 20 mm (0 787 rn) (cyclic) 250 rpm
Rate offire: types were produced, one static and
sold to various South American natrons, Length ofpiece: I 54 m (60.6 ln) Projectileweight: 0 125 kq (0 276 lb) the other fot towing by light trucks.

20-mm Breda Light AA Guns of World War II
One of the two standard Itahan 20-mm own use in North Africa under the de-
(0.787-in) AA guns was the weapon sigrnation 2-cm Breda (i), and the ltalian
known to the Italian army as the Can- surrender of 1943 meant that ali gn-rns
none-Mitragliera da 20165 modello 35 on the Italian mainland immediately
(Breda) It was flrst manufactured in changed to German use, Much farther
1934 by the Societa ltaliana Ernesto afleld some Breda guns were also
Breda of Brescia a company that was used by varrous ofthe warring Chinese
no stranqer to weapon production but military factions.
whose staple actrvity was buildingr Apart from the modello 35 there was
locomotives and trucks, The Breda gun also a modello 39 This was a much
was designed as a dual-purpose more complex weaponi it used the
weapon for use against ground and air- same gun as before, but allied to a
craft tarqets and was taken into ser- statrc pedestal-rype mountlng on
vrce by the Italian army in 1935, which the gmn itself was suspended
The 2O-mm Breda gmn was a very below curved arms that carried the
effectrve weapon and was much used sjghring system, Thrs verston was
by the Itahan army, It had a rather com- usually retained for the defence of the
plicated twin-wheeled carriaqe that Italian marnland.
coulo oe rowod into actron behind d
truck, but it was light enough to be Specification
manhandled over considerable dis- Bredamodello 1935
tances and it could even be broken Caiibre: 20 mm (0,787 in)
down into four pack loads for man car- Lengthof piece: 1,30 m (51.2 rn)
riaqe or mule transport, In actron the Weight: rn action 307.35 kg (678 Ib)
gun reqr-rired a team of three men: the Elevation: - 10" to +80' Members of the Slovak division operating with the
armer sat on the qun and used a com- Traverse:360o Wehrmachtaremanning a 20-mm Breda. Following the
plex teiescopic sight incorporating a Mwzle velocity: 830-850 m (2,723- Italian surrender, Germany commandeered much of the
predictor function Ammunition was 2,789 ft) per second equipment of the Italian army, often giving it to their
fed into the gun on 12-round trays, and Maximum effective ceiling: 2500 m dwindling number oI allies.
the feed mechantsm contalned the odd (8,202 ft)
Italian feature ofplacingr the spent car- Rate of fire: (cychc) 200-220 rpm
tridge case back into the tray once it Projectile weight 0, 135 kq (0.298 ib)
had been fired, Exactly what functron
this feature was supposed to impart rs One very prominentfeatureof the
uncertain, but it appeared on several 20-mm (0.79 -in) B reda gun was the
Itaiian automatic weapons and at least long sight arm arrangement, which
had the advantage of keeping the gun was meantto keep the gun sight in
position tidy. tront of the aimer's face at all angles
Against ground targets the gmn flred of elevation. lt worked very well, but
armour-piercing rounds. Aircraft was rather complex and heavy, and
targets were engaged with a high ex- elsewhere much simpler design
piosive projectile that incorporated a solutions were usually found.
very sensitive percussion fuse to oper-
ate against light aircraft structures The
projectrle also had a self-destruct fea-
Iure if it dro nor hit a targel The rripod
platform ol lhe gun provrded a sready
base for flring, and against aircraft the
qun proved to be very successful,
Against tanks it was less effective but
any weapons captured by the Allies
d:nng lhe North AJrican campargns
were usually mounted on the liEtht
armoured cars of the day to provide
them with more offensive capability
than that provided by the usual
machine-gnrns, The Germans also took
over numbers of Breda gn-rns for their

40-mm Bofors
The 40-mm Bofors gun has by now pas- rraqe were relatively light and handy Progressive developments to the car- Konqsberg Arsenal in Norv,a.r:-: *.=
sed virtually into legend as one of the to use in action. Within a few years riage and sights were gnadually intro- by the German army and rhe Lr.,. --r
most successfui weapons of its type orders were flooding into the AB duced and there were manv and va- as the 4-cm Flak 28 (Bofors). In :-= l=:
that has ever been produced, and rt Bofors factory at Karlskroga but, more rious models of naval mountings. Some Easl weapons caplured rn rhe l*:-':.
was used by nearly all protagonists tmportantly at the time, a number of of these variations are covered seoar- East lndies were used b-; ::,=
during World War II and a measure of foreign governments negottated for li- ateiy, though the gun itself chanqed lapanese. The Sovier Lnron r=C=.'.-=:
rts effectleness can be seen by the cence production of the gun and its but little. It used a robust clip-fed some numbers of Bofors iror:- .:,:
fact that it is still in service to this day. ammunition, These nations included mechanism in which the sequence Amerrcans under Lend-Lease. s: :
The 40-mm ( I 575-in) Bofors gun had Hungary, Poland Finland, Greece was automatic once the gunner had can be seen that Bofors guns',ier3 -:.
its ongins rn a l92B request from the Norway and many other countries as pressed the trrgger. As he did so a acilon on all fronts rhroughout th= ,'.
Swedish navy for AB Bofors to desiqn a well, Thus by 1939 the Bofors gun was =:
round was rammed into the breech,
light antr-aircraft gun. The flrst weapon in productron all over Europe for many the breech closed and the weapon
was manufactured in 1930 and was armies in a bewildering afianqement fired, the spent case berng ejected
subsequently produced in srngrle- and of cross-deals, For instance the United ready for another round to be fed, all in Specification
twin-gun mountings for the navy, and Kingdom took out a hcence, but was in a sequence that conttnued as long as Bofors gnrn
on a mobrle ground mountingr for the such a hurry to re-arm with the Bofors the trigger was pressed. If the barrel Calibre:40 mm (1.575 in)
army. It was this latter versron that be- gun that it also purchased quantities became overheated 1t could be raoid Lengthof piece:2,25 m(88.6 rn)
came the most famous, for rt was soon from Poland and Hungary, France ly changed, Weight: in action 2460 kq (5,423 li.
seen to be the best qun of its type wanted to set up a line but purchased After 1940 the marn centres of Bofors Elevation: -5'to +90'
available It had a high muzzle velocrty gnrns from Poland. production were the United Kingdom Traverse:360"
(making it an ideal anti-aircrait Some nations, such as Poland, in- (Gun, AA, Mk 1) and the United States, Muzzle velocity: 854 m 12.802 f1 r c=:
weapon), it fired a good-srzed projec- corporated their own modifications, where the origrnal Swedrsh design second
tile with a worthwhrle payload that contributlng a lighter carriage (in the was reproduced virtually unchanged Maximum ceilin g: 7 2AA m (23,622 :',
could bring down virtually any arrcraft 40-mm armata przeciwiotnicza wz 36) as the 40-mm Gun ML On the German Rateoffire: (cyclic) 120 rpm
that it hit, and the mounting and car- which was later adopted by the British. side productron. was continued at the Shellweisht:0 89 kq(1.96 lb)
Bofors 40-mm Gun, AA
Following Polish desrgn ideag when Britain began
Iicence manufacture of theBofors itwas decided to
simplity construction of the mounting. The Mk 2
carriage depicted had tubular stabilizing
outriggers instead of the riveted box of the original
Swed[sh Mk L Even today the Bofors remains in
service w ith almos t 40 countrie s'


t l-lk I Ligrht AA Guns of World War II
The ffisffmws Sgmww
Along with the ZA-mm Aerlikon, the $afors Nll36 X60 40.-mm -
anti-\ircraftgrun ftas sorne cjat'rn to being an artillety *lassie ' It
js sfi]i serv:n g worldwide a{ler mare than 5A years '

- noLlen ire irrsl operal;ondi Bo o s lgni AA g:n -1 scl v7o' roprovo'J or

.uiu-.""rt earlV as 1930, 1re version thai is rnosi remembereci as the
:orr,ru land-based antt-aircraft role was kncwn 1o AB Bofo.s as the mi36
-io- ,ti year of rntroduction, name y 1936. The m 36 was the basis fiom whrch
alithe other Bofors gun variants sOrbng, and it is also worthy cl note for.the tact
rnat bv then the qun"des qn ltself was'frozen'. Later changes Lo {he Bofors gLln
,verc aln-rost e*c'iusrvelV"associated with the carrtage, fcr once ihe gun desrgn
'.\oS coil'cctn"no'urlner c'.ra..]qes \Ae'a nocessa'y.
lt"*nrf ,l u1 ;",1to *lamlne the gun itse f beTore dealing laler"rvith its many
tor*i ol iari,nge. The gun used a ioig slender barrel that was 60 calrbr-es long,
i n. eO tirnu. $i" calibre"of 40 mm (1.5U S in), but thrs was a rromrnai figure The
frii.r*f ir"ti *utdesigned for raprd changing when lt becarn.e.worn or tco hol f.rf
i irth"r rt" after prol6nged f iring. This cfiange involved lhe labour of a lew men,
Hl,i.nura te ciri'ied ou"t wiihin"mrnutes b/a trained crew Althcugh the land-
OiseO qun barrels were air-cooled' many naval installailons, especially
tnose n"ade irithe United States, used watercoolinE lackels. Fai'ther back on
tne gun what appeared to be the gun body was in fact argely.thc arrlrnun t ln
f eed"mechanrsm, f or the gun ttself ended only
just to the rea r ot rhe polnt v/nel e
tne ftarret met the 'receiv6r'. The bi-eech mechanism used a verllcal siiding block
iliontrrrtion, tf'e ttiass cartridge case of the fed round provrdrng conrpele
seaiing. For f iiing a five,round cliI was fed ]nto the amrn,rnrliron feed guides on
r-"p of if.," grn O"perating a lever ied one rounC into the f eed mechanistn, 'rvhere
i iriltbJ intrt ine rnecianical trigger was pressec, though)lope.ration oi the
cal vosnarl cr: '
.r ooercl dnotcct-arlvi.ret-equn.lnatvrascllieoculJilon
.-:'seq"ence *ne:"ay tue op'erarron o' tne tr gqe al'Jvrecj i're ro-^o :o bc eo Few Janding craftftad a:ryanti"aircraftweapons of their own. or crew to ntan
'"io1i e nreecn which'then-dutomaticallV cios[], th-^ round rnyas fir-ed and the t&enr, -qo anJ" unjls carr:ed J:ad fo Llse ti/fta{ever weai>ans they carried- Here
sibsequent recoil forces re opened the breech. electeci irie spent case.and lhe *ew af a Ea/ars $an sfands -re ady !.a take on any tatget thal appears,
.oif"O tf'.," t""d mechanlsm ready for the next round to be f ed, and the whole pralsa?tly dtaing fhe run-up fo theJun* 1944 D-fray Jandings'
,t!tn then returned io its original postron under the power o{ the reiul'n sprlng
-:o nii-" q-" oa cl As rier,rrned Lnc ne\r roundl"tot ed a o 'o o' Ar lne Poios were the fir-si 1c realize that thev coulC be rnade simpler atrd considerably
.riir crew h"ao to do while the gun was firing was folLow the iarg+t and Ieep iicl-rier, and soon tntroduced ihis ieaturs onto the glns they produced a{ their
,.plrq up ihe ieaciy rounds in-the ammr-tn iion feed guides uii"njl rr Srarachorn;ice. The Poles were among 16e first to supply completed
ctLlns to tne British before 1939, and ihe British ncted the changes they had
Bofors onthe move intrcdr-,ce1 ancj contec1 them on the early vei'sions produced in the United
qun ons
^e ca'r aqe'orlne Bo'ors o'a s mp e l-''l ao e 01 a rc:l J ^ Kirrqclon. Bul er,,en',rnith these changes thr: British later decided io go one
- 'lc'icd"'eo ' no'eJ{ betier, ar-:o in place cf the box section girders introdtced tubLllar sieeJ struts
- ^" g-e bi-rte i:'r"ge \,\as
inoue tne on tvu ' o ine n'o--r
'--,- connecteo 1yv6-v113elecr a\ trs '01r "^J 'ca' Tl-: siJe -ou'L' 9 wrriJl r"equrred .o .veiing or welcling, aiid which were aiso much lrghter than
'.t" totCeO jpwarOs
'6 on the move. Getting the.gurl nto act on took only a the legiLi tt'ru poti.l, veisi,-;n. This;tubular-' version later became the Brilish
-.,t *"tu
'.it .inr1"i unJ inln it co,.rlci be f ireid 'oftihe wheels', alihouEn th;s
:lact:cJ iould introduce so"me lnstabllity at ceria n bari-e1 angles and was not Dugffr foprot€cf * rjrrercros"sjn g inltaty, anM j 4A-nm Eun crew stands ready
:.c:u raged. fcr:actiari, with the tr.!r rfiund of rle five-round cip jusf vrs;ble abave ffie
-.;iuoliqinafm136formthecarriageusedheavyborsectronsforlheoutrrg*qer breec"i?-.At J?0 raunds per minufe lfte siip n"ou Id take twa and a ftaJfseconds
.rt, unC dn" of the early changes njade to the carrrage ;nvolved these legs The to fire.

.. ....-....]
:. =....
::: l

''ll -'
LiEht AAGuns of World War ir
::.,r vei'sion of lhe carlage as the Piatform M< 2. But since prcduction I
=s foi- the box sectir:n carrraoes exrsted these were kept n use and
'-.:t:on I

untii w'eIafter 1945 Tie Amerrcans dLd not introduce any major
- I.y -u 5\VeO \n toIiree Jps gn. a.- "eld teo lntr lVpe i-
. -.':,crure r-rghtOr.q.2
through ilre war, no douor th nkrng that productron totals
. -rre important f'rdn design detarl changes. The Americans knew the
Lj, 40.n;r, Crrr V L
u-; tne
- i.' lleArno,C.ns'lroprooJLea ghlWegnlversicn 1ownaSl^rN15
: .!as only on-. of severalaite mpts by gurn and carriage designers rn drfferent
-,- es to prociuce a light version {or- use by airborne forces or in theatres of
. ,.rch as Burma, where any mprovements n portabilrty or reduction_of
..-: I size rreant a qreat increase rn mobrlity. One of these was developed for
A1 . v .,.t On; T r1,. j3^no,u^ oroduceo o \ur\ Smdti Carr,dg^ tnol
. -to. 3 :i^qe r. e,no', thnBanlarr TreAmei'can M5was
,, :j-.signeci thai it could be carried in a Douglas C-47 (Dakota), bltt some
, - r:.: ng rlown cf the gun equipment had to be Carried out before th s couLd be
U ott" Y

Self-propelled Bofors
'.'cbility of another krnd carne when the Bofors qun was piaced on se f
olelg2 r:rqp" ITroBr .;>TI L (,rJO-JC . qU p-en(s ntO5-r\.Ce.Onebeng
-=:lrcuntingofarsinqlegunorr thehuLiofobsoLeieCrusadertai'rksandtheother
. --rch simpier convdrsi6n of Morris-Commercral or Ford 4 4 trucks. The Latter
:.s one of the most prolif ic Bi rtish self -prope led anti-aircraft weapons. and was
y rsu.d The Arrerlcans, however, by lar exceeded the British n the
-r-ler of cxoerirents thcv nrade. Various fornrs of tank and halftrack chassis
-re r-rsed foi- trials of all (lnds, some of them border ng on the b za're. For
rtarce. there wa.c a halftrack rnountrno known as th-^ T59 with two Bofors
:,.'.'s. one above lire o1her. Thi:; combinat-.:on was too much for the vehrcle and t
JrOcS V OVa Ocded ] -e p'C Lr o A-e'C.;'" o,:duCeJ On \ OnC Se-V Ce
-rpon mcurrtinq lire Boiors. Th:s was the M'1 9, a twin-narrelleC mounting on
: huli cf an M24 iiqht tank whrcr entei'ed sen"'ice rrr mid-1944.
. --ne Ax.> sirJe o' t,
-:nges "tcnco, I C' 8..:ors gJ^ -rtcc,!\c^ some con>.oa'cDlc
, at the hands of the Hunllar airs. Therr-major contribution to the Bcfors
--rr wasln the sighirng aruangements, f,:r they introduced an early form cf
.:cal prediclor sight that operated electrcally. Target speed and heght in
, |rratron, alonq witlr some otnei data, were fed lnto ihe siqht before an
--jeEement, and the sight th--n p ed cted the target's future path and off-set
.l-n lcr i I r-n afcL'd nqlT - ' A - e'cars ,L rf $r;1ih ntroCuced the 'dr
. e b-l<v Kril s-rt P ed tto' o r >dme p..-pose. b- rnis wds a cdr lra red
.- prneni tnat cou d tr;nsmri ciata to the jun!, a couTSe of actron that led in
tc nn..fe :At{er +S I' BO,c qJn5 Ue r)J L)perdlecj Unoe. re,fCIe contfol Above : A Bofors 40-mrn ( 1 5 7 5 -in)
--r.x a centra positon, ihe gun cr6ws srmpiy feeding in the arnnrunrtion. Gun rs seen jn a ction during the brief
3ut it was l-.ft to lhe Hirncir,an-q io ..hrrrn out what mL;st have been the most Syrian campaign of 1941. Thegun is Below:When the expected arc:.:'.
).jal vets on c' lnc Bo'cr, q .- :trJ lLr ne Wo'd War .. -ney -aoe tlrei' anearly model with na crew targets failed to appear af ter ::.:
--is at the Stratrsbitkerna, pari,:f tne Hungar"nn state railway concern, and in protection and sr'mp/esrghCs,ifems l944Normandy )anding, man; a::..
.'.-e proouced 3 \iers on oi the gun that was carried in Hungarian arr force thatwere aJtered later in the aircraftweapons were usei r-r : :-: =;
:sserschmitt I'le 210s. Th s vanani \^ras produced only in small nurnbers, but production run. Nofe tie roles. Here a Bofors gun appe.:; ::
.:s used with considerable success by Hungarian piiots as'tank busters'. ammunitian bax in the foreground be jn use as a tarlk ambush.,, eaa::
.'ortunately, ferr,r Cetarls cf thrs interesiing use of the Bofors gun have sur- andfftewfteejs andaxlesstillanthe --.
arnidtfterurns oicaumont. or .,
.:d th-. war. carriage. 1944.

'w :.-




25-mm Hotchkiss
Between the world wars the French tainties reqfardrng rates of fire, type of
army retained qreat weapon stock- carriagre and so on it was late 1938
piles from World War I, and with them before the order was finally sorted out
a military phiiosophy that deait only in and by then things had got a bit out of
terms of World War I battles, Thus hand, for Hotchkiss had alreadY
when it came to considerations of anti- started production of a model for
aircraft weapons it was decided that an Romania and the French order meant
updated '75 (the famous 75-mm/2,95 in changes to the design and the produc-
Model 1897) was all that was required, tion line But eventually the guns
and that a new 12.7-mm (0.S-in) hearry started to flow from the factory.
machine-gun would suffice for low- There were two types of 25-mm
level defences. The French arma- Hotchkiss. One was the Mitrailleuse de
ments manufacturers, includrng Hotch- 25mm sur affut universel Hotchkiss
kiss, thought otherwtse and rn 1932 Modete 1938, which was a light tron lines could not churn out the guns There are two main models of the
brougtht out a new 25-mm (0.98-tn) weapon transported on a sinqtle-axle rnsufficrert numbers. Despjte warl-me 25-mm (0.98-in) Hotchkiss cannon;
automatic weapon and presented it to carnage; the other was the Hotchkiss urgency, the Hotchkiss worl<s were thjsr's tfiem/e 38 ready for towing,
the military authoritres moddle 1939 which was a heavier beset by rndustrial troubles and other but minus the usual muzzle flash-
The response was neqative. The weapon intended for static use but delays to the extent that when the Cer- hider. Other versions used differing
staff planners saw no need for a capable of berng moved tf requtred. mans rnvaded Fronce only Jusl over barrel and sighting arrangements.
weapon such as the 25-mm Hotchkiss Both were basically srmple and adequ- LO0O Ho chkrss quns weltr rn setvicr. ,

and were unwilling to constder the ate weapons with a hlgh rate of flre and whrch was way below the numbers
type. They did agree to carry out trials qood ammunitron that was also tn required In the event those that were Specification
with the new gmn, but that was all and tended for use aqainst ground targets if produced mainly fell into the hands of Hotchkiss moddle 38
by the mid-1930s 1t appeared that the the opportunlty arose Thus an armour- the Germans. Some were retarned by Calibre: 25 mm (0.98 tn)
project was defunct. Then came the piercrng prolectile was avatlable. A the Vrchy French armed forces and Lenqthofpiece: I 50 m (59 ln)
Spanish Crvil War, and French military version for use by the French navy was some used by the Free French in the Weight: in action 850 kg (t,874 lb)
observers on the spot soon noted that produced uslnq d pedes'dl mounttng Middle East, but the bulk that suwlved Elevation: - 5' to + BO"
there most deflnitely extsted a re- and just before the Germans rnvaded May 1940 were rmpressed into Ger Traverse:360"
quirement for a weapon heavier than France in May 1940 Hotchkiss Pro- man use and issued to vanous units Muzzle velocity: 900 m (2,953 ft) Per
machrne-guns to counter the actlvitLes duced a twin-barrelled variant known based rn Francet some were later in- second
of ground-attack aircraft. Thus there as the Hotchkiss moddle 1940, which corporated into the Atlantic Wail Maximum effective ceiling: 3000 m
was a rushed order to Hotchkiss for did not qet past the inrtial trials stage. beach defences. The German de- (9,843 ft)
large numbers of its 25-mm weapon The matn problem ior the French signations were 2.s-cm Flak Hotchkiss Rate offire: (cyclic) 350 rpm
, But this order was beset with uncer- army was that the Hotchklss produc- 38 and 2.5-'cm Fiak Hotchkiss 39. Projectile weight: O.29 kq (0 64 ]b)

ii?:'** Schneider
The 37-mm Schneider gntn was pro-
duced rmtially during the early 1930s,
and was at the time rejected by the
French army whrch could then see no
reason for obtaining such a weapon. A
similar Hotchkiss proposal met with
the same response The Schneider
concern decrded to go ahead with de-
velopment oi the design under its own
auspices, and in time these efforts
were rewarded by a number of exPort
orders from natrons such as Romanta,
More were taken by the French navy,
but the numbers involved were never
The Spanish Civil War changed
French official thinking to a radical de-
gnee: it was now clear that the bulk of
the anti-aircraft weapons used by the
French armed forces were at best
obsolescent or, in the case oflow-level
defence weapons, ineffectle, Accor-
drngly large production orders were
placed for weapons inttially to supple-
ment and eventuallY to rePlace ex-
strng stocks, But in the case ofthe 37-
mm guns the French staff planners
'.n.ere in somethtng of a quandary, for
ihey had nothinQi in what they came to Only a few (some sources say 20) of the 37-mm (1 .457-in) Schneider guns were produced for the French army, as the
regard as the medium-calibre brack- ii|ponwis originally producedfor export.Itwaspassed over infavour of theSwedish BofotsGun after 1938'
et At the bottom end 12,7-mm (0.s-in)
and 25-mm (0.98-in) weapons were and took too long to QIet into actlon, 37-mm qun was not easy to manufac- be regarded as one of World War II's
selected, and at the upper end of the Thus although the Schneider gun was ture, ahd rt took time to establish the least successful weapons,
-;eapon bracket the old '75s (75-mm/ ordered as the Mitrailleur de 37 mm production faciiities In fact things qot
2 95-in) weapons were being updated Schneider moddle 1930 it was onlY so far behind schedule that by early
ard new desiqns were in prospect: but ordered in parallel wlth the Swedtsh 1940the French army planners actual- Specification
::rere was nothing in the medium 40-mm (1 575-in) Bofors from Poland ly approached the United States and Schneidermoddle i930
i:racket and so a rushed procurement An order for 700 Schneider quns was requested largle numbers of Colt 37- Calibre: 37 mm (1.45 in)
proeramme was established, placed with deliveries hopefully ex- mm antr-aircraft quns, Nothtng came of Length of piece: not recorded
The Schnetder 37-mm gun was an tendrnq into 1941. In the event only thrs venture beloro the Cetmans tn- Weight: in actron 1340 kq (2,954 lb)
:lmediate candidate for selectlon, but some 20 had been produced bY the vaded. Elevation: 0" to +80"
:: the same time lt was appreciated time the Germans invaded; this hand- Thus rne Schneider 37-mm gun Traverse:360'
.:at it was not a very satisiactory ful was emplaced around Paris and faded from the scene. The numbers Muzzlevelocity: 800 m (2 625 ft) Per
r;eapon The gun itself had a rather thus never qot a chance to take any taken over by the Germans were too second
s:-cit barrel (resultinq in a lack of part rn the events of MaY and June small to be considered lor the usual Maximum effective ceiling: 3000 m
inclusion rn the German tnventory, and (9,843 ft)
:a:qe and power) and the ammunition 1940,
-;.'as also not particularly powerful, This delay in deliverY was caused by the time 1945 came around they had Rateoffire: (cychc) 175 rPm
Lloreover it was considered that the marnly by production and other trou- all apparently vanished into the scrap Projectileweight: about 0 55 kg
bles at the Schneider factorles. The furnaces Thus the Schneider qun may (1,21 lb)
:=nage was too heavY and awkviard,
Flcll( Artillerie!
Trained to operate closelywith tacticalaircraft, theWehrmachtwaswellawareof
he value of an efficient anti-aircraft defence.ln spite of the politicalinterference
endemic in the Third Reich, when war came German arms were more effectively
shielded from air attack than any other.
the German army started to re-equip frequently the cause of interservice squabbles,
:-lng the early 1930s, the liqht flak arm was and these grew in number and acrimony with
=:rirely new, Nothrng simrlar to it had been increases in the number of Waffen-SS units in
:ar.t of the German army during and after
the fleld,
War I, so rt had to be built up from Many of these interservice squabbles were
s:ratch, working out its own internal arrange- never cleared up, and as the German war situa-
:ents and its own operational policies. Unfor- tion deterioraied they generally grew in
.:nately thls had to be done wrthin the ex- quantity and severity rather than died away,
:lemely odd and factional structure of the poh- Thus when dealing with such matters as the
-cal realities withrn Nazi Germany, One of the organization and equipment of light flak units it
casic ienets of the Third Reich's political struc- would be as well to remember that the 'perfect
:,lre was that no single organizatron could have case' examples provided were often not
sole control of any particular state activity or achieved in reality. A unlt bound for the field
lnction, Thus the pohce lorce had to have a would often frnd its equipment or ammunition
:ivrl and a party orqanization, and even down 'hijacked' by another arm, despite the obvious
.l operational matters such as light antr-aircraft results in many cases, In general the army
lefence the responsibrhties had to be splrt. So tended to be at the bottom of the prle when
as the German army was re-arming for its new equipment allocations were being considered,
arr-defence role, the Luftwaffe was also busy and thus although a certain army field unit was
ioing exactly the same. There was supposed supposed to be equipped wtth haiftrack trac-
.c be a division of responsibrlities between the tors for its guns, it was frequently issued with
army and the Luftwaffe in that the army hght impressed French civilian trucks or something
l:lak formations were intended for the defence similar. Some units on the Eastern Front often
:f the held armies against attack, while the had to use animals to tow their guns into action
-uftwaffe's responsibility was supposed to be when fuel ran out. Thus the picture of a super- A mittlerer Zugkraftwagen 8t half-track mounting
:he defence of the Reich itsell What actually efficrent German war machine was not always a 3.7 cm ( 1.457 in) FIak 36 guards an I talian bridge
rappened was that there developed many borne out rn reality. during September I 943. Some of these Flak 36-
areas where responsrbrlrtres overlapped and Desprte their many differences in policy and armed half tracks had armoured cabs for the
priorities, the German army and the Luftwaffe driver and towed a trailet catrying extta
cecame confused. For instance, was a light flak ammunition for the main gun.
-rnrt defendrng its home barracks inside Ger- generally organrzed themselves along similar
riany to come under army or Lultwaffe control? lines as far as the light flak units were con-
Such argnrments abounded, and reflected not cerned, Although the bulk of this section will This early example of a mittlerer Zugkraftwagen 8t
carries a Z-cm (0.79-in) Flakavierling 38
:nly on the control ofhght flak organizations but deal wrth the German Army, Luftwaffe units somewhere deep in the Soviet Union during late
:ven down to matters such as the procurement were very similar in most respects, although 1941 . This vehicle is towing a trailer that not only
:f weapons and equipment as they left the inevitably there were some difierences, Later carried extra ammunition but also carried the
,actories, Despite the imposition olrigrd quotas the Waffen-SS also tended to organize itself crew's kit and day-to-day supplies, as well as extra
:y high command levels, new equipmenl was alonq army lines, fuel for the vehicle.

Flak Artillerie!
ALuftwaffe crew mans aZ-cm(0.79-in) Flak38
during the last days of the war in March I 945. The
ring-type gvn mounting was one of the main points
that distinguished the FIak 38 from the earlier FIak
30, which did not have this feature although the
guns could be mounted on either carriage if
required. Note the simple sight in use in 1945.
mon and required far less logistic support than
the larger formations as they had their own
inteqral supply system that travelled wrth the
Abteilung when ii went into the field, carrying
not only ammunition, food and other supplies
but also a small hght aid detachment that main-
tained the guns and vehicles usrng a small field
workshop; mixed Abteilungen also had thts
function but mainly devoted to the heavy bat-
Such a leichte Flakabteilung was headed by
a battalion headquarters and command pla-
toon, The headquarters contained mainly the
admlnistrative staff responsrble for the day-to-
day supply and other routine functions that
allowed the rest of the battalion to get on wtth
its combat tasks, The command platoon was
the home of the battalion commander plus his
immediate staff and signallers, The command
platoon was responsible for its own defence,
In broad terms, German army liqht flak untts lions) or a mix of two schwere Flakabteilungen but had no flak weapons other than the odd one
.,vere divrded into two main types, motorized (heavy battalions) and three leichte FlakaI:- that might be awaiting issue or being passed to
and non-motorrzed. The non-motorized units teilungen (I1ght battalions), The mixed forma- the rear for repairs,
lwere intended mainly for the defence of rear tion was the more common as it provided com- Each of the three batteries had four sections.
areas and static emplacements such as bar- manders with greater flexibillty and enhanced In theory, after 1941 or 1942, one of the four
racks and stores dumps. They did have a mea- capabilrty. Some of these mixed Abteilungen sections was equrpped with the Flakvierhng 38
sure of mobility and were allocated some trans- had as rnany as three heavy batteries (armed and the other three with the single-barrel Flak
port, but this was frequently withdrawn from with the famous 88-mm/3,46-rn Flak 18 or 36) 30 or 38. Each ofthe sections had three guns, in
]rem ior other purposes, In contrast the moto- and three light batteries (one of them equip- manpower terms each battery had slx officers
rued units were intended to move into the fleld ped with the Flakvierling 38), Such an and 65 NCOs, while other ranks were sup-
;,'rth major formations and were equrpped Abteilung had a manpower strength of I 350 posed to be at a level of 139, In practrce such
accordingly. The transport equipment, tf one officers and men, 339 motor vehicles, 38 manpower levels were rarely achieved, the
believes the many war-time accounts of these motorcycles, l2 searchlights, I2 88-mm demands of the Eastern Front being such that
'.:eits, was meant to comprise halftracks, though weapons and 48 hght flak weapons. nearly all army units were constantly combed
-: practice trucks of various kinds were far However, there were leichte Flakab- for manpower to make up new formations or
_T,OIe Common. tetlungen made up entirely of lighl flak batter- replace casualties. The same went for equip-
The field untt most generally used at high ies. These were much smaller than the mixed ment: each battery was supposed to have 58
-evels of command was the Flakregimeni, Thts formations, having only three liqht flak batter- motor vehicles and f,ve motorcycles, but In
:culd take a number of forms, comprising ies and a manpower strengtth of 800 offrcers and practice had far less than this. The overall shor-
:::her three mtxed Flakabierlulgen (batta- men, These light grouptngs were quite com- tage of motor transport proved one of the Ger- light half-ttackmounts aZ-cm(0.7g-in) Flak 38, andwas known as the leichteSelbsfahrlafette SdKtz 1014, ustng fhe chassis of the I tonhalf'trackSdKfz 10
t"ri"tl?hj" is seen du ring theGerman drive onStalingrad in the summet of 1942, and is towing an ammunitiontrailer.
Light AA Guns of World War II

Not all theGermanarmy unitswereable tomove

on wheels or tracks, and inwinter the sledge came
intoits own, seen here towed by two sturdy little
Pussian ponres. Improvisations such as this were
commonplace when the Eastern Front winters set
n, for the fighting did not cease even under
extreme conditions.
::ian army's major tactical and operational
The logistic supply sysiem was based on a
lclumn of vehicles that carried the battalion's
ainmunition reserves, spare parts, food and
r:her day-to-day supplies, Workshop vehicles
there to keep the guns and the vehicles
--inctronlng, and in overall terms this integral
supply column enabled the hght flak batteries
-c remain rn the field wrthout support for some
Jays before replenishment was required, As
'.'nth the headquarters, this unit had no flak gruns
:iits own although rt was not unknown for gmns
berng maintained or repaired to be rushed into
action by the workshop fitters when an
3mergency arose,
The men of the light flak unrts obtained their
-nitial trarnlng at various schools scattered
around Germany, Some ol these schools were
ip on the Baltic coast, which allowed virtually
',mlimited flring across the open sea, usually
against banner targets towed by ancient Luit-
;,vaffe biplanes or light trainer aircraft, Flares lever-operated loadlng device, The most skil- the gun to the ground and pick it up agai:r
$red from mortars were anoiher common led personnel on ihe gun were the aimer and afterwards with a minimum of physical effor.
:arget, Many olthe flak schools used somewhat the ranqefrnder, but as time went on the from the crew, Once in place the gun rested cr
ancient equipment, for the more modern rangefinder wrth his hand-held stereoscopic a low flat platform that could be accuraie:;
-,yeapons were rn constant demand by front- rangefinder became less important, Aimers ievelled bysmall adjustable feet. At times gar-
rine units, Thus many flak crews trained on the found that the tracer elements of the projectiles rison units made their own local modiflcatiors
cld Oerlikon 2-cm (0.787-in) Flak 28 or 29, guns afforded them a much better indrcation of to suit particular requirements, and an instance
that had been purchased during the early days range than the rangefinder's shouted rnstruc- of this occurred rn the Channel Islands: a locai
cf German re-armament to get something rnto tions, and by mid-1944 the rangefinder was no commander decided thai he needed more
Lhe troops' hand quickly. Conversion to the longer an official part of the gun complement, anti-tank weapons and converted a Flak 30 gru::
Flak 30 or 38 was frequently made at operation- But the qun commander remained: the aimer so that it could fit onto a low, light anti-tank rifie
al-battery level, But throughout traintng the could only lay and fire the gun under his com- mountlng, Units on the Eastern Front some-
main accent was on teamwork, especially with mand, trmes placed their guns on sledges during the
ihe ammunition numbers who had to be adept Getting the gnrns tnto and out of action was a winter months, But these were exceptions,
at changing each gun's box magazines quickly relatrvely easy task, Apart from their small size
as soon as the old one on the gun was empty, and low weight, the Flak 30 and Flak 38 were
Refl11ing these magazines was another gun carried insrde the confines of a tubular steel
crew task, usually carried out with a speclal trarler that was designed so that it could lower

A3.7-cm (1.45-in) Flak 36 is seenin actionwith the

loader feeding into the gun six-round clips that
couldbe joined together to produce longer,
lhe 2-cm (0.79-in) Flakvierling 38 was often used soft-skin vehicles and light armoured vehicles uninterrupted bursts of fire. The gun is heaviJy
zs an anti-tankweapon, and is shown here in such as most armoured cars and artillery tractors camoutlaged by branches, but once in action suci-
with the Afrika Korps. Although of limited (and their guns). concealmentwas soon blown away by blastfror
:se agarnsl lan ks, it was very effective against themuzzle.

2-cm Flak 30
By the time the new German armY was
ready to re-arm during the early I930s'
the German armament manufacturers
had built up a considerable degree of The 2 -cm (0.79- in) F lak 30 w as a
expertise in heatry automauc weapons. R heinme tall-B or s ig de sign th at
This was especially true of the qiant entered German armY service in
Rheinmetall-Borsiqt concern, and i 935. Seen lrere on its triangular
accordingly it was given a contract to firing platform, it was used on a
produce a light anti-aircraft gun with a number of self-propelled mountings'
calibre of 20 mm (0.787 in), and. this
was ready for servtce by 1935, Known verted to simple 'cartwheel and bead'
as the 2-cm Flak 30, the term Flak iron siqthts. The gnrn had a crew offlve'
standing for Fliegerabwehrkanone but in action was frequently managed
(anti-aircraft gun), this light weapon by less, especiallY when the guns
was of the type often known as a can- w-ere Iocated in static posittons.
non, and was the first of a series of Generally the number was at Ieast
weapons that were to become four, and usuallY one man held and
dreailed by low-flyrng AIIied aircraft operated a stereoscopic rangefinder,
crews. tiough after 1944 this function was de-
leted as it was found to be operational- Abteilungen (battalions) there were used in the ground target role, and
The Flak 30 was for its light calibre a there was even a sPectal armour-
rather complex weapon mounted on a ly unnecessary. usually three 2-cm batteries to one 3,7-
Ammunitlon was fed rnlo the qLln in cm (1,457-in) battery, but as the war piercing round for use against tanks,
carriage thal could be towed.on two
wheels and in action rested on a 20-round magaztnes, but for some nev- continued there were many variations
ground platform. This platform pro- er-fullv determrned reason the Flak 30 on thrs theme. The Flak 30 was used Specification
vided a stable firing base with 360" was prone to ammunition lams Also, not only by the Germans, Before 1939 FIak 30
althouqh tt was perfectly adequale some were sold to the Netherlands Calibre:20 mm (0,787 in)
traverse, and had a sear behtnd the Lengith of piece: 2.30 m (90,6 in)
gun for the firer who used, in the Flak when flrst lntroduced, it was later dis- and even to China, In GermanY the
covered that its rate offire was too slow Flak 30 was also used by the Luftwaffe Weight: in action 450 kq (992 lb)
30's original form, a rather complicated
to cope adequately wlth the increased for ground defences, and the German Elevation: - 12' to + 90"
form of reflector sight. These sights be-
came even more comPlicated when alrcr-aft speeds that prevailed after navy had many specialized naval Traverse:360"
1940. Consequently it was repiaced on mountings. Some saw service for the Muzzlevelocity: 900 m (2,953 ft) Per'
simple predtctor systems were built, and at one point the small stght the production line by the later Flak 38, defence of armoured trains, and the second
but those already in sewice were not weapon was one of those mounted on Maximum effective ceiling: 2200 m
had reached a state when it had to be
replaced until they became worn out several types of halftracks or trucks for (7,218 ft)
, driven by clockwork. In fact they got the defence of mobite formations and Rate of fire: (cyclic) 280 rmP
I so comphcated that the whole idea or were iost to enemy actlon
In army light anti-aircraft convoys. The FIak 30 was frequently Projectile weight: 0, I 19 kg (0.262 lb)
was dropped and later versions re-

re! ;-H FIak 38 and Flakvierlins 38

By 1940 it was already appreciated that The 2-cm (0.79-in) Flak 38
the low rate offire ofthe 2-cm (0.787-in) was aMauser design
Flak 30 was too low for future target introduced to overcome
soeeds, so It was decided lo increase some of the drawbacks of
the rate of hre in order to tncrease rhe theFlak30,which .{€
possible numbers of projectiles hitting included a slow rate offire
the target. It was also decided to rede- and various s toppages. /t
sign the gun to get rid of the tnherent had a higher rate offire bul
lamming problem, Rhetnmetall-Borsig used lfte same ca rriage as
the earlier weapon. emplaced on static Flak towers de-
was not given the contract for this pro- fending largte cities often had fewer on
ject. lt went instead to Mauser, who
the gnrn,
came up with a new gun that was out- The efficrency of the Flak 38 and
wardly similar to the Flak 30 but inter- Flakvierhngi 38 was such that in late
nally much was changied to provide a 1944 the US ArmY issued handbooks
cycirc rate ot ftre ot 420 to 480 rornds on both weapons and imPressed into
per minute. The ammuniLion. Ieed sys
service any they could flnd. Both
iem and most of the carriage remained weapons were ofien used againsl
much the same as before, So did the ground largers as well as aircrail and
complicated siqhts whjch were laler aqainst liqhtly-armoured or sofl-sktn
simplrfied, as on the Flak 30 vehicles thev could be devastating
The 2-cm Flak 38, as the Mauser
design was known, entered service in
late i940 and eventually replaced the 'kill'. The only easy and lmmedlate way
Flak 30 on the Production lines. it to remedy this was to lncrease the
sewed alongstde the Flak 30 and was number of barrels firinq from one
also used by the Luftwaffe and the Ger- mounting, and thus the 2-cm Flakvier-
man naw, There was even a sPecial Iing 38 was developed. This was slmp-
version for use by the German armY's ly a single Flak 38 carriage modified to
mountain units that could be broken accommodate four barrels capable ol
down into pack loads, This Lrsed the firino at once, This combination be-
same gun as the FIak 38, but the car- cam"e a dreaded aircraft-killer that
riage was much smaller and lighter: rt constantly drew a toll of low-flylng
wai known as the 2-cm Gebirgsflak 38 Allied arrcraft right until the end of the
and was intended to be a dual-purpose war, The first such equipments en-
weapon for use aQtainst ground targets tered service in late 1940 and there
as well as against aircraft. were never enough of them TheY
By 1940 it was appreciated that air- were used by the German army, the
craft targets were not only getting fas- Luftwaffe andthe nar,ry, and many self-
ter but also heavier and better pro- propelled mounttngs were improvized
tected against qround and alr fire or produced to mdke them more
Undertaken with typrcal German thor- mo6ile, There was a special version
oughness operattonal analysts re- for use on armoured trains and at one
pornt there was even a radar- ABritish soldier examines a curved box magazines can be seen
veiled that alrhough lhe htqh rale of -controlled cm (0.79 -in) Flakvierling protruding from the guns, and it was
f,re of the Flak 38 was more hkelY to version under develop- captured 2 -

ment, The Flakvierting required a 38. The arrangement of the four these magazines with their Zj'round
ensure a tarqet hit, the low explosive capacity that limited the fire rate of
paytoad of the projectile was unlikely qrealer number of men lo serve it tn barrels can be clearlY seen, and the
to inflict enouqJh damaqe to ensure a iction (usually su or seven). but those reflector sight is prominent. The theguns.

2-cm Flak 38 and Flakvierling 38 (continued) Ligrht AA Guns of World War II
:-: the Germans there were never Specification
= :eqh of them and throughout th: Flakvierlirg 38
-=,:h many production facrlitres u'ere Calibre: 2l mm (0.787 in)
r=',-oted to manufacture of the qr.ins Lengrth ofpiece:2.2525 m (88.7 in)
-:-:: carriaqes and ammunition. Ths Weight: -nactron 1514 kq(3,338 Ib)
-. was produced rn several forms rn Elevation: - 1C' to + 100'
--;drng high explosive (HE), hrgh ex- Traverse:360'
:.:srve with tracer and various forms cr Muzzle velocity: 900 m (2,953 ft) per
:I:lOuI-pleIClllg. se::ll,j
Maximum effective ceiling: 2200 m
nak 38 Rateoffire: (cychc) 1 800 rpm
Calibre:20 mm (0 787 1n) Projectile weight: 0 1 19 kq (0 262 Ib)
iengrthof piece: 2.2525 m (BB 7 in)
,Veight: rn actron 420 kg (926 lb)
Elevation: -20'to +90' A 2-cm (0.79-in) Flakvierling 38 is
Traverse:360' mounted on a SdKfz 7/ I half track
Muzzlevelocity: 900 m (2 953 ft) per with the crew ready for immediate
second action. This conversion was tfust
Maximum effective ceiling: 2200 nr produced during late I 94 I and was
7.218 ft) widely used, not only against aircraft
Rate offire: (cyclic) 420 480 rpm but also against tank targets. This
Projectileweight:0. 119 ks (0 262 lb) vehicle had a crew of l0 men.

3.7-cm Flak 18, 36 and 37 On the move, the 3.7-cm ( I .457-in) Flak 36 was a compac!
load and used a two-wheeled carriage. TheFlak 37
the 3.7-cm Flak 18 entereo ser- differed in uSing a more complex clockwork sighting
-.'lce in
it was regarded bv :he
1935 system, butwas otherwise identical to theFlak 36.
3erman army and Luftwaffe as a
:redium-calibre anti-aircraft 1r'/eapcn.
- had been developed rn Swrtzerland
,ly Rheinmetall to avoid the stlpula-
r:-ons of the l9i9 Versailles Treaty. anci
r,:r a trme was known as the ST t0 cr Below:The 3.7-cm (1.457-in) Flak
Solothurn Sl0-i00. When it was iust series was used on numerous self-
rtroduced the FIak 18 suffered from propelled mountings, one of which
:rany teethrng troubles whrch. v;ere w as nicknamed fhe'Mobelwagen'
=.ontually ironed out. but even in r-s (furniture van). It used a PzKfpw IV
:nal form was not regarded as much of chassis with the gun mounted
I success. In the weapon's oriqrnal centrally and with sides that folded
..rm the gun and carrrage \Yere down to form a firing platform for the
roved on a heavy and complex tY,/rn crew of seven (including the driver).
.xled arranqiement but gettrnq in and
- rl ol acron with thrs carriage vras
:low, Moreover, carriaqe traverse'r/as
-. cw and the gun mechanrsm was so
prone to stoppages that crews had to
:e hrghly tralned to cope with them
:or all these drawbacks the 3.7-cm
i 457-in) FIak iB was never replaced
-r service Some examples were ex-
;crted to China before 1939
Manufacture of the original Flak IB
::ased rn 1936, and rn the same year
;loduction beqan of a new gmn wrth
:,ie same calibre This appeared to be
:e same design as before but there
,'.ere many changes, not the least of
.',hrch was a new lype ol ammLinLtLon
:;ith only one driving band in place of
---e orrgrnal two fhe carrrage was
ruch allered ro allow lowrng on a srng-
,: axle only Overall the new qun.
:rlown as the 3.7-cm Flak 36 retained Right:A 3.7-cm (1.457-in) Flak 36 is in
:e same performance as the earlier position as part of the Atlantic Wall
':;eapon but was much handrer to r.rse coastal defences. This photograph
-: action There was one further was taken during I 940 or 194 I, for
..lant, the 3.7-cm Flak 37, but this drf- the emplacement is still an
-::ed only in the type ofsight fltted: ths earthwork (later itwould be
a complex predictor{ype srght concrete) and the rangetaker is still
::wered by clockwork. included in the crew; later he would
The Flak 36 and 37 were produced be removed to conserve manpower
,. iarge numbers, and by Augnrst 1944
'---: Luftwaffe alone had 4 211 in ser- into the gnrn in linked sx-round clips was also used in the field as an antr- Specification
,:: The German navy used varrous After about 1940 the Flak 18 36 and tank weapon on occaslon and one Flak 36 and Flak 37
ls of the basic gun on special naval 37 became the standard defence weapon developed for use on the East- Calibre: 37 mm (1.457 in)
: ::ntings, and there was a version lor weapons against low-flyinq aircraft ern Front was a muzzle-loaded stick Lengrthof piece:3.626 m (142 7o -:
,.: on submannes There were also and were usually organized into ntne- bomb that was fired agarnst tanks us- Weight: in action 1550 kg (3.4-- -:
.=-,-eral self-propelled types some or 12-gun battenes. Many were stati- ing a special blank cartrrdge, Elevation: -B'to +85'
'=sr1ly mounted on trucks and con- cally emplaced on special flak towers Production of the Flak 36 and 37 con- Traverse:360'
-:.ed tank chassis and some on half- that provided good all-round fire close trnued right up to the end of the war at Muzzlevelocity:820 mi2.690 r=- i
:-:i:s In action the usual number of to important target aieas, Special flak three man centres (one in Czechoslo- second
.=:- to each gun was seven, one of trains that moved around the Reich to vakia) but the Flak 36/37 was not an Maximum effective ceiling: 4Bt - :
=:r operatlnqt a portable rangefln be in posrtion wherever Allied air easy or cheap weapon to produce a (i5,748 ft)
-=: but after 1944 this crew member attacks were heaviest also carried fact whrch led to the introduction of the Rateoffire: (cyclic) 160 rpm
--. wrthdrawn. Ammunrtron was fed numbers of Flak 36s or 37s The type Flak 43 gmns Projectileweight: 0.64 kq ( 1 4 i' :
trI [:fl;* Flak 43 and Flakzwillins 43
By 1942 the Allied air threat over all the The German 3.7 -cm ( I .457 -in)
;arious battlefields was reaching the Flakzwilling 43 was an attempt ta
pomt where there were never enough increase the firepower of the basic
ai-r defence weapons available, The Flak43 by adding an extra barrel,
3.7-cm (1,457-in) guns were always in but relatively few were produced as
demand as they were the standard theweaponwas rather high and
weapon against low-flying aircraft, and awlavard to emplace.
in 1942 Rheinmetall-Borsig was busy
developing a gun to replace the ex-
rsting costly and slow{o-make FIak 36/
37 series. As ever, Rheinmetall-Borsig
came up with a novelty, not in the gun
or carriage design, but in the manner
of manufacturer it decided to adopt
methods already in use for small-arms
Rheinmetall-Borsig was in compett-
tion with Krupp for the new gun con-
tract, and at one point the order was
given to the Krupp gmn, which used
conventional production methods, But
at the last moment the Krupp design
developed weaknesses and Rhernme-
tall-Borsig got the award. This im-
mediately resulted in the internal party ter the type poued off the lines at Diir- became preferred over the sinqle- barrelled version, In action both types
and factronal wrangling that often be- kopp, In service the FIak 43 Proved barrel version. In the event both were required sx-man crews, and if a gun
set the German wartime tndustrial very successful, bu1 in the initial rush to produced until the end of the war, and was to be maintained in actton for any
dream, so by the time Rheinmetall- get the new gn-rn into production it had there were even plans for a four-barrel length of time more menwere needed
Borsig was actually able to go ahead been decided to retain the original mountrng at one stage There was also to supply ammunition to the gun,
on a new production line well over a Flak 36/37 ammunition and barrel de- a project on whrch the two barrels
year had passed. Rheinmetall-Borsig siqns. Thus the Flak 43 was at a dis- were mounted side-by-side, Specification
was partially able to make up the lee- advantage from the start, for the in- The single- and twrn-barrel Flak 43s Flak 43
way by the fact that its entn, known as creased speeds of low-flying aircraft were potent weapons, but the twin- Calibre:37 mm (1,457 in)
\ the 3.7-cm Flak 43, was produced with and thef tncreased degree of protec- barrelled versron was something of an Lengrthof piece: 3,30 m (130 in)
istampings, weldings and simPlY- tion meant that a single stdke ftom a unwreldy brute to get in and out of Weight: in action 1392 kq (3,069 lb)
fabricated components in the same Flak 43 did not always bring down the action because of its qeneral top- Elevation: -7.5" to +90"
way as sub-machine gnrns, The Pro- target aircraft, The only immediate heaviness, Fortunately for Allied air Traverse:360'
duction time for a qun was cut bY a answer to thrs was to multiply the num- crews, the number of Flak 43s was Muzzlevelocity:B4O m (2 756 ft) per
factor of four, and the overall perform- ber of barrels on a sinqle carrtage, and never enough to meet demands, espe- second
ance boosted by an increased rate of this led to the 3.7-cm Flakzwilling 43 cially regarding the Flakzwilling 43, By Maximum effective ceiling: 4B0O m
fire, with two barrels, one above the other, February 1945 there were 1,032 Flak (15,748 ft)
It was early 1944 before the first of on a single mounting, This made a kill 43s of both types in service, but of Rate offire: (cyclic) 250 rpm
the new Quns was ready, and thereaf- much more Iikely and the Flakzwilling these only 280 were of the twin- Projectileweight 0,64 kg (1,41 lb)


S-cm Flak 4I
In World War II air warfare terms
ihere was an altrtude barrd that ex-
tended from approximately 1500m
(4,92i ft) to 3000m (9,843ft) that ex-
istinq anti-aircraft guns could cover
only with difficulty Arrcraft flying in
this band were really too high or too
low for small- or larger-calibre
weapons, What was obviously re-
quired was an interim-caltbre weapon
that could deal with this problem but
as artillery designers rn both the Allied
and German camps were to dtscover,
it was not an easy problem to solve.
The German solutton to the interim-
altrtude band situatron was a gun
known as the S-cm FIak 4I, and the
best that can be said of it was that it was
not a success, It was first produced tn The ,-cm (1.97-in) Flak4l was one of the leasl successfuJ of all theGerman anti-aircraft guns, for it had encessive
1936, and was yet another Rheinmetall- recoil and flash and the carilage traversed too slowly. Despite their shortcomingrt 50 were use d until the war ended.'
Borsig design that was preferred over
a Krupp submisston, Development of and too slow to track fast targets, ded. One Flak 4l development was the the Allies were no more successful,
the prototype was carried out with no Two versions of the FIak 4i were formation of one battery operaiting Typical of their efforts was the British
sense of urgency, for it was l94O before produced: a mobile one using two ax- under a single remote control, twrn 6-pdr, a 57-mm (2,244-in) weapon
the production contract was awarded les to carry the gun and carriage, and a In action the FIak 41 had a crew of that never got past the trials stage be-
and in the event only 60 guns were static version for emplacing close to seven men. Loadrng rhe ammumtron cause of its indifferent perfoffnance,
completed, The flrst of them entered areas of high importance such as the was no easy task for it was fed into the
sewrce in 1941 and the type's short- Ruhr dams, Despite theii overall lack gnrn in flve-round clips that were some- Specification
comrngts soon became apparent The of success the gnrns were kept in ser- what difflcult to handle, Though de- Flak 4I
marn problem was the ammunition de- vice until the war ended, but by then signed for use agtainst arrcraft targets, Calibre: 50 mm (1,97 in)
spite its 50-mm (1.97-in) calibre, this only 24 were left, During the war years the Flak 4l was also provided with Lengrth of piece: 4,686 m ( 184 5 in)
was rather underpowered and on some development work was carried special armour-piercing projectiles Weight: in action 3100 kg (6,834 ]b)
firing produced a prodigious amount of out using the Flak 4ls, not so much to for use against tanks, but this AP round Elevation: - 10" to +90"
muzzle blast and flash that distracted improve the gnrns themselves but to appears to have been little used as the Traverse:360'
the aimer, even in broad daylight, The determine the exact nature of the Flak 4l was one of the few German Muzzle velocity: 840 m (2,756 ft) per
carriage proved rather bulkY and weapon that was to replace them, in weapons that was not selected for second
awkward to handle in actton, and de- time this turned out to be a design mounting on a self-propelled carrtage. Maximum effective ceiling: 3050 m
spite the characteristics of the ex- known as the Gerdt 56 (Ger2it was a If the Germans were unsuccessful in (10,007 ft)
pected targets the traversing mechan- cover name meantng equipment) but thelr attempt to defend the interim- Rate of fire: (cyclic) 1B0rpm
ism was also rather underpowered it was not flnalized before the war en- altitude band, it has to be stated that Projectile weight: 2,2 kq (4,85 ]b)