88 mm Flak 37 Anti-Aircraft Gun
|Barrel length (m)||4.69|
|Projectile weight (kg)||9.07|
|Fire rate||15 per minute|
The renowned ‘88’
The most famous artillery weapon of the Second World War. German propaganda created the myth of the ‘88’ as a wonder gun. Feared by its enemies and revered by its users, it was very effective against aircraft and tanks. In an emergency it could be fired on its road wheels.
Developed by Krupp and Rheinmetall in collaboration with Bofors of Sweden. Designed for a lighter shell than the British 3.7-inch gun, it had a lighter mounting. This improved mobility – the ‘88’ could be brought into action faster. As an anti-aircraft (flak) gun, the 88 was responsible for many RAF bomber casualties. It was extremely successful as an anti-tank gun and became the main armament for the famous Tiger I tank.
This ‘88’ was brought from Spain where it was intended for coastal defence. Well over 18,000 guns of this family were built. You literally had to fly through a wall of flak. You were often getting chunks of metal come pinging into the aircraft. And sometimes you could smell the cordite… Tom Wingham quoted by Mark Field, ‘The Air War, and British Bomber Crews, in World War Two’, bbc.co.uk/history WW2 People’s War, is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The archive can be found at bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar