Möbelwagen

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Flakpanzer IV "Möbelwagen"
FlakPzIV-Moebelwagen.jpg
Type Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Production history
Manufacturer Deutsche Eisenwerke
Produced March 1944 — March 1945
Number built 240[1]
Specifications
Weight 24 tonnes
Length 5.92 m (19 ft 5 in)
Width 2.95 m (9 ft 8 in)
Height 2.73 m (8 ft 11 in)
Crew 6

Armor 10 - 80 mm
Main
armament
1x 3.7 cm FlaK 43 L/89
416 rounds
Secondary
armament
7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 34
600 rounds
Engine 12-cylinder Maybach HL 120 TRM
300 PS (296 hp, 221 kW)
Power/weight 12.5 PS/tonne
Suspension leaf spring
Operational
range
200 km (120 mi)
Speed 38 km/h (24 mph)

The 3.7 cm FlaK auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) (Sd.Kfz. 161/3), nicknamed Möbelwagen ("Furniture Van") because of its boxy turret (when closed), was a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun built from the chassis of the Panzer IV tank. It was used by the German Wehrmacht in the European Theater of World War II.

Möbelwagen in northern France, June 21, 1944

In 1943, due to the waning ability of the Luftwaffe to combat enemy ground-attack aircraft, ground-based anti-aircraft weaponry was becoming increasingly important to the Wehrmacht. In early 1943, the idea of creating a gun platform on the chassis of the Panzer IV was first proposed. The prototype displayed to Hitler on December 7, 1943, used a 20 mm quad-gun (Flakvierling) that was deemed too weak for the latest aircraft, which were constantly flying higher and faster. Only a single prototype with this gun was produced before the design was rejected. A second design with an upgraded single 3.7 cm FlaK 43 L/89 was approved as a temporary stopgap until better Flakpanzers could be created. 240 of the 3.7 cm Flakpanzer IV were built. This design was designated Flakpanzer IV, and the first production models were put into service on the Western Front in April 1944.

The Möbelwagen was built on Panzer IV chassis that had been damaged on the Eastern Front and returned to the factory for repair. These were fitted with an open-top superstructure that provided the gun mount. Around this, four hinged 20 mm armored plates were placed. These plates had two basic operating positions: they could be lowered for full 360 degree traverse, allowing flat or low-level firing, or they could be half-closed, being pinned together to hang slightly open. In this position, they had notches that allowed the gun full rotation, but only for firing at airborne targets. Still, both of these positions left the crew extremely vulnerable. The fully closed position was only used for transport, when the plates would give the crew some protection from small arms fire and shrapnel.

Though the Möbelwagen was intended to be a stopgap, it served the anti-aircraft platoons of the Panzer Divisions extremely well on the Western Front. Despite this, fewer than 300 were produced, and it was eventually succeeded by the first true Flakpanzers: Wirbelwind, Ostwind, and Kugelblitz all of which provided the crew with armored protection and full rotation when firing at either ground or air targets.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jentz, Thomas L. (2011). Panzer Tracts 23. Panzer Tracts. p. 50. 

External links[edit]