This educational historical documentary video describes anti-aircraft technology & defense capabilities in 1939-1945 used by Germany and its effectiveness on the United States Eighth Air Force Boeing B-17's and other aircraft.
An anti-aircraft gun is typically fired from the ground in defense against opposing aircraft. Antiaircraft fire control development used range finders, searchlights, time fuses, and gun laying mechanisms to assist in targeting accuracy for moving targets.
After 1935, the anti-aircraft defense of Germany was controlled by the Luftwaffe (German Air Force), deploying rectangular formations, totaling 15,000 massive batteries, the majority being the 88mm flak design. It took an estimated 3,300 88mm shells to successfully bring down a high-altitude aircraft.
Early flak batteries used optical range finders and as technology developed, German engineers introduced radar direction and ranging, using both timed and altitude fused HE shells. German engineers did introduce an controlled fragmentation.
Rapid-firing and automatic antiaircraft guns were introduced in 1943-44, radar was applied to target tracking, and tiny radio-wave proximity fuses set off the shell as it approached the aircraft. Indicators were attached from the central controller to each of the four barrels of a battery, allowing for coordinated fire.
The 1943 88mm Flak design was highly effective at targeting and knockingout high altitude aircraft such as the American Boeing B-17. It fired a 9.4-kilogram (20 lb) shell at a muzzle velocity of 1,000 m/s (3,280 ft/s), giving it an effective ceiling of 11,300 meters (37,100 ft) and a maximum of 15,000 meters (49,000 ft). With a well trained 8 man crew 15-20 shells/minute was outstanding.
The 88mm Flak 41 Cannon
Unit cost : 33,600 RM
Number built: ~21,310
Shell: 88 × 571 mm.
Caliber: 88 mm (3.46 in), one barrel
Breech: Horizontal semi-automatic mechanism sliding block.
Recoil Independent liquid and hydro pneumatic.
Rate of fire: 15–20 rpm
Muzzle velocity: 820 m/s (2,690 ft/s)
Effective range: 14,860 m (16,250 yds) ground target
7,620 m (25,000 ft) effective ceiling
Maximum range 11,900 m (39,000 ft) maximum ceiling
Sights: ZF.20 (optical)
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