Let's see about the 12.8 cm FlaK 40, a German World War II anti-aircraft gun. Although it was not produced in great numbers, it was one of the most effective heavy AA guns of its era.
|12,8cm Flak 40/1 - towed version - captured by the British|
Germany - 1945.
Development of the gun began in 1936, with the contract being awarded to Rheinmetall Borsig. The first prototype gun was delivered for testing in late 1937 and completed testing successfully. The gun weighed nearly 12 tonnes in its firing position, with the result that its barrel had to be removed for transport. Limited service testing showed this was impractical, so in 1938 other solutions were considered.
While the FlaK 40 was typically utilized on its static carriage system, production was already under way of six "mobile" versions, these mounted atop multiple-axle transport carriages to help content with the massive weapons weight over distances. Despite their mobile classification, these examples still proved heavy and cumbersome to maneuver with any great haste. It came to be that the weapon was eventually dismantled between two loads for transport but even this method was equally time consuming and impractical, forcing the Germans to revert back to the original single-load process for transporting the weapon.
|Flak 40 in early method of transport... Not practical, at all!!|
|A very effective final type of the 12.8 cm Flak 40 with the box-shaped carriage|
center section and four swivel arms on the corners.
Notice the kill markings and cammo...
A lethal weapon, no doubt!
|Flak 40/2 twin version in a flak tower in Berlin|
Notice the color of the cammo
|12,8cm Flak 40 railcar prototype|
|Drawing of railcar for 12,8cm Flak 40|
|12.8 cm Flakzwilling 40/2, the most commonly known variant of the Flak 40.|
These guns were used in the AA defenses of Berlin and Vienna
The eventual solution was to simplify the firing platform, based on the assumption it would always be securely bolted into concrete. The total weight of the Flakzwilling twin-gun mount system reached 26.5 tonnes, making it practically impossible to tow cross-country. In the end, this mattered little since by the time the gun entered production in 1942, it was used in primarily static, defensive applications. There were four twin mounts on the fortified anti-aircraft Zoo Tower, and they were also on other flak towers protecting Berlin, Hamburg, and Vienna.
It is claimed that during the Battle of Berlin the guns on the Zoo Tower were used successfully to support ground forces, "where the heavy 128 mm shells obliterated Soviet armor, especially when hit from the side". The rush to capture the Reichstag led to dozens of tanks being destroyed. Approximately 200 were mounted on railcars, providing limited mobility.
|12,8cm Flakzwilling 40/2 in the Zoo AA tower - Berlin|
The gun fired a 27.9 kg shell at 880 m/s to a maximum ceiling of 14,800 m. Compared with the 88 mm Flak 18 & 36, the FlaK 40 used a powder charge four times as great.
- 12.8 cm Flak 40 - static version: most commonly used version, on a static cruciform stand.
|12.8 cm FlaK 40 - static version|
- 12.8 cm Flak 40/1 - towed version: With the four-axle special trailer 220 (Sd. Ah. 220), the 12.8cm Flak 40/1 could be moved in one load in the pulling force. The Sd. Ah. 220 consisted of two identical two-axle trailers, between which the anti-aircraft gun was suspended. The set had a total weight of 27t.
- 12.8 cm Flakzwilling 40/2: The 12.8 cm Flak 40 ordnance on a static dual mounting with a total weight of 26 tonnes, capable of firing 20 rounds per minute. Used mainly on flak towers. Production started in 1942 with 10 twin sets produced, another eight in 1943, and in February 1945 a total of 34 were available.
|12.8 cm FlaK 40 Zwilling mount on the Flakturm Tiergarten - Berlin 1945|
- 12.8 cm PaK 40: A derivative anti-tank gun, rejected in favour of the Krupp 12.8 cm Pak 44, used to arm the Sturer Emil prototypes.
|12,8 cm VK30.01 Selbstfahrlafette auf (H) "Sturer Emil"|
|12.8 cm Flak 40 (static version)|
|Place of origin||Nazi Germany|
|Used by||Nazi Germany|
|Wars||World War II|
|Variants||12.8 cm FlaK 40|
12.8 cm FlaK 40/1
12.8 cm FlaK 40 Zwilling
12.8 cm PaK 40
|Barrel length||7.8 m - 61 calibers|
|Shell||128 x 958mm R|
|Shell weight||26 kg|
Static, towed or railcar mounted.
|Elevation||-3 to +88 degrees|
|Muzzle velocity||880 m/s|
|Maximum firing range||14,800 m|
|Feed system||Power rammer|
The project and kits: For this project, I'll put togheter two kits: The towed version of 12.8 cm gun, the 12.8 cm Flak 40/1 from Hobby Boss (#84545) and as tractor, the late and armoured version of SdKfz 8, the huge SdKfz 8 DB10 Gepanzerte 12t heavy tractor, from Trumpeter (#01584).
|Kojak in his workbench, with two huge girls...|
|Hobby Boss art box kit|
Starting by the booklet: the base of the gun, with its articulated arms...
|The gun's base and lots of clamps...|
|The base is ready. Notice the size of the base....huge!!|
|Gun's base: other side...|
|The gun barrel and the breech... Fits perfectly...|
|The breech, in close, 98% assembled...|
|Kojak with the gun barrel with breech... Wow!!|
And the building is going...
|The barrel with cradle and two equilibrators...|
|The breech and the cradle|
|The gun in position...|
|Ammo trough in the left side of the cradle..|
|Kojak with Flak 40...|
|Indeed, a big-badahboom gun!!!|
|Gunner stations in position...|
|This Flak is amazing...|
|Left side details...|
Sei bereit, Gunners!!!