FLAK 8.8 cm

FLAK-88BUILDING A LEGEND

It’s not easy to stand in front of the venerable Flieger Abwehr Kanonen ammunition, the anti-aircraft gun widely known as FLAK 88, without being intimidated by its size and legend. The FLAK is without doubts the most famous piece of artillery of WWII and possibly of the 20th century.  With all these preambles, when the idea of making a 88 Replica came onto our table it was felt as a daring challenge by all the Technoframes Team. How do we keep our quality standard for such a large round? How do we make it? What kind of realism do we want to achieve? What do we know about it? These and many other questions came up and the first year of research and development rapidly passed while visiting museums, inquiring with historians and debating on the proper ways, techniques and materials to reproduce such a historical piece.
But we are the ammo replica World leading Company and we knew compromises were not an option, so after two years of hard work the new humungous Replica saw the light. The result? The most astonishing Replica round we have ever produced!

 

SETTING THE “FUZE”

“IN MY OPINION IT IS UNFAIR TO USE ‘FLAK’ AGAINST OUR TANKS”

(Captured British Tank Driver at Halfaya Pass, June 1941)

The 8.8 cm gun was originally designed to be used as an anti-aircraft weapon but, by a strange quirk of fate, the design became the most formidable anti-tank weapon of the war. The “Eighty-eight” entered service in 1933 and saw first combat in Spain during the Civil War in 1936 where it proved itself to be not only an excellent anti-aircraft gun but also the ideal tank killer due to its high muzzle velocity and efficient heavy projectile. Accuracy and mobility were also immense strong points, to such an extent that from the FlaK crew position any visible enemy target became a hit. Four were the different FlaKs produced and improved from 1933 until the end of WWII, 8.8 cm Flak 18, the improved 8.8 cm Flak 36, and later the 8.8 cm Flak 37. The 8.8 cm Flak 41 with extended barrel length, which was produced in relatively small numbers, only entered service from March 1943. Number wise by August 1944 there were nearly 11,000 units of 88mm FlaK guns in service out of 20,000 produced.

flak-afrika-korpsSETTING THE STANDARD

The 88mm gun ammunition was classified according to type of projectile as High-Explosive (HE) or Armor-Piercing (AP). The High-Explosive shell (Sprenggranate, Sprgr.) contained a relatively large charge of high explosive and any of the following types of fuzes:
1 – Percussion fuze (superquick and delay).
2 – Inertia-operated mechanical time fuze.
3 – Spring-wound mechanical time fuze.
The Armor-Piercing projectile (Panzergranate, Pzgr.) was provided with an armor-piercing cap (Haube) to aid in the penetration of armor plates. It contained a small explosive charge and a base detonating fuze with a tracer element in its base.
Because of its multipurpose role we’ve reproduced the two most representative types of rounds, the Anti-Aircraft High-Explosive shell (HE) with percussion fuze and the Armor-Piercing (AP) with ballistic cap.

“THE 88 QUALITY FROM TECHNOFRAMES IS SUPERB! MY COMPLIMENTS TO THE CHEF!”

Stephen L. Fuller, Military Ordnance Historian

 

 

 

flak-HE8,8 cm Sprgr. Patr. L/4.5 (kz.) H.E. shell

(with A.Z. 23/28 percussion fuze)

An extremely accurate reproduction of the Anti-Aircraft ammunition used on FlaK 18, 36 and 37 fitted with the A.Z. 23/28 percussion fuse. The Replica is totally machined and carved out from a solid piece of aluminum resulting in an extremely like-the-original weight balanced ammunition for a final weight of 9.5 kg (21 pounds). The cartridge case is built in three pieces including the bi-metallic driving bands (FES), double 360-degree crimps and fuze+shell are also made in three pieces. For safety reasons (displaying the replica nature of the ammunition) a through hole (locked with a steel screw) is present at the bottom of  each cartridge.
Percussion primer is also reproduced at the bottom of the cartridge along with its distinctive stamped marks.

MOMENTAN or VERZÖGERT

HE FlaK ammunition with Percussion Fuses A.Z. (Aufschlagszünder) had to hit something to detonate while time fuses (Zt.Z Zeitzünder) detonated after a specific amount of flight time. Often the projectiles had both types of fuses, the reason was to prevent any shells falling to earth and harming friendly forces or civilians.
The A.Z. 23/28 fuse contained two actions, Superquick (ohne versögerung, O.V.) and Delay (mit versögerung, M.V.).
As shipped, the fuze was set for superquick action; that is, the slot on the setting sleeve of the selector is parallel to the axis of the fuze and is thus alined with the registration line marked “O.” To set the fuze for delay action, the slotted setting sleeve was turned 90 degrees so that the slot is alined with the line marked “M” on one side of the setting sleeve and with “V” on the other side. The delay action was provided by a delay pellet of 0.11 second delay.

loading-flak-ammoUNDERSTANDING MARKINGS

We’ve reproduced the original markings on both the shell and the cartridge case. The techniques we use are the old fashion stencil hand painting for shells and a modern laser engraving for the cartridge bottom to improve wear resistance overtime. This is the glossary of the markings:

  • 14 is the bursting charge number
  • Jg1942E is the Place, Day, Month, year of fusing with work mark.
  • IV is the weight class.
  • Stg is the type of steel used for the shell.
  • FES is the type of bimetallic driving band.
  • Sprgr A.Z. type of fuze.

 

 

 

8,8 cm Pzgr. Patr. 39 Kw.K 36

(fixed APCBC shell with base-detonating fuze)

The most accurate Replica of the Armor Piercing shell used in FlaK guns as well as in the PzKw VI Ausf. E tank, also known as TIGER I. The ammunition Replica is reproduced using similar equipments such as lathes actually used by the German armories. We start from a solid rod of aluminum alloy and reduce its shape to the exact dimensions of the 8.8cm AP round. The ballistic cap is made in two pieces and it’s the one used from early 1943 when the noses of 8.8cm – 12.8cm AP shells were painted white to help loading them in the dark.
The cartridge case is built in three pieces including the bimetallic driving bands (black marking), double 360-degree crimps. Equally to the HE shell for safety reasons a through hole is present at the bottom of  each cartridge.
Percussion primer is also reproduced at the bottom of the cartridge along with its distinctive stamped marks.

tigerIV-88mm88 mm Kw.K 36 L/56 Kampfwagenkanone

One of the most effective and feared tank guns of World War II. The KwK 36 could fire the same ammunition as the FlaK 18 or 36. The only difference were the primers that were of percussion type in the FlaK guns and electric in KwK 36. Also the ballistics were identical and both guns had a 56 caliber barrel.

  • Weight of projectile: 10.2 kg (22.48 lbs)
  • Muzzle velocity: 800 m/s (2,624 ft/s)
  • Explosive filler 0.059 kg

 

loading-88mmMARKINGS

Original markings are applied on both AP shell and cartridge case. The techniques we use are the old fashion stencil hand painting for the shells and a modern laser engraving for the cartridge bottom to improve wear resistance overtime. This is the glossary of the markings:

  • 1 Distinctive mark only used for 8.8cm Pzgr. 39.
  • Fa1043 is the manufacturing place, day, month, year.
  • 92 is the number indicating the bursting charge numbers.
  • 7rdf 5.43 is the place, day, month, year of shell filling.
  • 2.89 kg is the weight of propellent powder.
  • lg1 441 identify the type of propellent powder and the place of fabrication.
  • Fa is the Armory or Arsenal where cartridge was made.

Sources:
TM E9-369A: German 88-mm Antiaircraft Gun Materiel, Technical Manual, US War Department, June 29, 1943
88 mm FlaK 18/36/37/41 & PaK 43 1936-45 by John Norris, New Vanguard (ISBN 978-1-84176-341-5)

Die Flak Stellungen ein Typen heft (1944, German handbook, WWII origin)
Recognition handbook for German ammunition (1945, Allied forces handbook, WWII origin)
The Luftwaffe data book (ISBN 1-85367-293-9)
German Flak in WWII (ISBN 0-7643-0399-6)
Die leichte und mittlere Flak 1906 – 1945 (ISBN 3-7909-0395-7)
FLAK im Einsatz 1939–1945 (ISBN 3-7909-0562-3)
Der geschichte der deutschen Flakartillerie 1939-1945 (ISBN 3-7909-0166-00)
Merkbuch über die Munition für 8.8  cm FlaK L/45 – Berlin 1941, Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine