Talk:8.8 cm Flak 18/36/37/41

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According to many sources (Google being one of them), "Fliegerabwehrkanone" is "more" correct than "Flugabwehrkanone", though results appear in both English and German for both. Also according to Google Language Tools, "Flieger" means "Flier" whereas "Flug" means "Flight". The German Wikipedia article for flak also begins with Flug (and looking around at the article, they have some neat photos of Flak - Someone should translate the captions and being 'em on over). I think the former (Flieger) is probably more widely accepted in English, so it should be left at that, though I'll note that it could be spelled either way. Corporal 04:59, 16 Oct 2005 (UTC)

FlaK has always been Flugabwehrkanone, I never heard of Fliegerabwehrkanone (makes no sense in german) --Denniss 09:10, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

Deniss, I believe you are incorrect when you state categorically that your particular favourite, "Flugabwehrkanone" for FlaK "has always been...makes no sense in german". I have the opposite experience in German language sources; I have not seen it written as "Flugabwehrkanone" nor any variation on it; it appears in the German sources I am familiar with as "Fliegerabwehrkanone". With the final K generally capitalised in FlaK. It also makes perfect sense in german, since that's where I learned it. On the other hand, using "Flug" for Flugzeug does not make sense in German. It would literally be "Anti-Fly Cannon", which is absurd. a Bordflieger is a plane held aboard a seagoing vessel; a Bordkannon (BK) is a heavy automatic cannon mounted aboard a Zersörer (BK37, BK50, BK75). Fliegerführer. Fliegerkorps. etc... Ranya (talk) 05:58, 11 October 2015 (UTC)

The whole flieger-flugzeug Mess Re-Revisted[edit]

So I went through a bunch of original German documents, and although it stings, it is clear that "Flugabwehrkanone" is the German usage for Anti-Aircraft Artillery. The particular source I looked through had me blushing from the outset: Heereswaffenamt. H Dv 481/541 - Merkblatt für die Munition der 8,8 cm Flugabwehrkanone 18 (8,8 cm Flak 18) und der 8,8 cm Flugabwehrkanone 36 (8,8 cm Flak 36). Berlin : Oberkommando des Heeres, 1942. H Dv 481/541. For those of you who can't quite follow, this is a publication (pamphlet) of the German Army's Weapons Bureau (Heerswaffenamt) covering the ammunition employed with the 8.8cm Flak 18.

The correct usage for Anti-Aircraft Artillery is not "Fliegerabwehrkanone" (my original belief), nor is it "Flugzeugabwehrkanone" (as given in the text); it is "Flugabwehrkanone", as actually given in German documents written by the German Army's Weapons Bureau.

As an aside, this should also put to rest the idea that "ack-ack" has any relationship to the German slang "acht-acht". US and British sources of the era prefer to write in millimeter measurements---thus it is the "eighty-eight" to the Allies, for "the 88mm". In German (and most European) usage of the time (and to the present day, 2015), it is written in centimeters---thus it is the "acht-acht", or "eight-eight" for Germans, meaning the 8.8cm; European usage has the comma as the decimal divider, not the period, thus 8,8 (German) rather than 8.8 (US and British).

Whatever the derivation of "Ack-Ack" may be, it isn't German (except in the most remote sense that English is an admixture of Romance and the Germanic languages). It may be related to "archie", the British fliers Great War name for Anti-Aircraft fire. It may be related to the sound it made, or not. The point is, it isn't relative to the 88mm Anti-Aircraft cannon.

I suggest that the note be altered to indicate that official German nomenclature in WWII was "Flugabwehrkanone" and "Flak", but that the vagaries of transliteration and translation, as well as the competing desires to simplify and to explain, led to the popularity of the English "Fliegerabwehrkanone", and "FlaK", and more recently "Flugzeugabwehrkanone". The problem with "Flak" versus "FlaK" may probably be attributed copy editing, always on the lookout for consistency errors. A copy editor would see "PaK" and "KwK" and "Flak", and identify a typographical mistake where there is none, leaving us with many examples of FlaK in otherwise excellent translations.

As transliterations the inaccurate terms, "Fliegerabwehrkanone" and "Flugzeugabwehrkanone" are both fine. They convey the general sense of the German, and both contain the words for flying things. Grammatically, Flugzeug is actually proper, while "Flug" is not. Militaries, being bureaucracies, do as they like. As this is a technical and historical article, it should employ the most historically accurate usage. As this is a general-access Encyclopedia, we should provide information on common misperceptions, and set out their correction, where we have sure and solid foundations.

In this case, I think we have. Ranya (talk) 20:41, 23 October 2015 (UTC)

In the beginning of my explanation, I had typed that this gun was a series of weapons. Then another editor deleted this thought from my text. I re-added it. Of what value is it to delete useful information that will help people understand the topic being discussed? It seems most unreasonable.

Don't worry, this is the Wiki process at work. You changed it to say "series" again, and that's fine. Fuzheado 23:39, 31 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I am removing the stub message, there seems no real reason for it. The page seems of sufficient length and content. -- 16:30, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)

As a bit of trivia, this artillery piece was respected/feared by the Allies. I remember Bill Maulden writing in Up Front (quoting from memory) that some infantrymen "swear an 88 can throw shells around corners". -- llywrch 19:45, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I've amended the claim that "acht acht" is the derivation of the term "ack ack" - although it seems reasonable it's not actually true. I've included a source. I thought about including more, but this article isn't actually about anti-aircraft fire in general. ~BillHilton

How come someone thinks that? It simply refers to 8,8cm. The Dutch don't say punt vijftig is derived from em gee, do they? --Mallerd (talk) 08:59, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Tank guns were referred to as KwKs (Kampfwagenkanone) rather than PaKs, for example main gun of PzKpfw VI is KwK 36 L/56, not PaK 36 L/56.

As I understand it, "Ack-Ack" derives from the British military alphabet of the time. A was "Ack", B was "Beer", and so on. Thus, Anti-Aircraft was AA, or "Ack-Ack" GBev1987 (talk) 14:16, 15 March 2016 (UTC)

Penetration Tables[edit]

Hello,I think an addition of a penetration table for the most common type of rounds would be great. I use the following website for much of that type of information. --Ashmole 20:47, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Cool website, thanks. Fluffy999 15:30, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Flak 18/36/37/41 and Pak/KwK 43[edit]

Maybe the article should be used as a basis for two separate articles. The reason being that now it concentrates on two different weapons, namely the Flak 18/36/37/41 anti-aircraft guns and Pak/KwK 43 antitank/tank guns. These guns were totally different weapons. Now the situation is pretty much unbearable, since people will most likely think that there was just an '88 mm gun' that was one weapon. It's like calling the British O.Q.F 17-pdr and Soviet F-34 just 'the 76 mm gun' because both of those weapons were of 76,2 mm caliber. LV 13:53, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

I've always thought that 88 mm gun was one of the single worst article titles in the entire 'pedia. I can understand why they should be grouped together - but I'd rather it were called something like: German 88 mm Flak or 88 mm Flak series guns or 88 mm Flak and Pak guns, in fact, anything but 88 mm gun. Yuck. Megapixie 11:36, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

i'm happy with German 88 mm gun. GraemeLeggett 11:45, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, let's add all the still missing 88's too. The 88 mm weapons used by the German Navy are not included. Oh, and the Tiger's 88 mm KwK 36 tank gun. Let's do a single article on all the World's 88 millimeter guns! Let's make it the longest and most puzzled of all the articles!!!!!! Seriously, this article is in dire need of cleanup and I suggest we take some actions. LV 13:11, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Agreed.This article should be called the Flak36 88mm gun.Have another site called "88mm gun disambiguation" and it could link to the various 88mm guns.--Ashmole 23:51, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, I think it should be called 'the 88mm Flak gun' or something, so that Flak 18 and 37 would not be left out since they (Flak 18, 36 and 37) are the three weapons that the term '88 mm gun' usually means. LV 20:10, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
Agree with split and dab page proposal. Some info about the naval 88mm gun (a totally different gun) is at — Johan the Ghost seance 20:46, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Agree, I have never been happy with the current name. --MoRsE 01:40, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Name Change[edit]

88mm gun is too general. This article clearly talks about the German Flak 88mm gun(s) of WW2 and as such should be nominated for a name change.--Ashmole 20:49, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Agree --MoRsE 01:38, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Would 8.8 cm Flugabwehrkanone be a good article name? --MoRsE 08:00, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
No, stick to English names where possible - and come to think of it they are just known as the "German 88 mm guns" GraemeLeggett 16:05, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
I personaly think "FlaK 88mm Gun" is a much better title(ForeverDEAD 09:06, 14 August 2007 (UTC))
The problem is that there is probably 20 different German 88 mm guns:
  1. 8.8 cm Flugzeugabwehrkanone 18: 88 mm antiaircraft gun
  2. 8.8 cm Flugzeugabwehrkanone 36: 88 mm antiaircraft gun
  3. 8.8 cm Flugzeugabwehrkanone 37: 88 mm antiaircraft gun
  4. 8.8 cm Flugzeugabwehrkanone 41: 88 mm antiaircraft gun
  5. 8.8 cm Kampfwagenkanone 36: 88 mm tank gun
  6. 8.8 cm Kampfwagenkanone 43: 88 mm tank gun
  7. 8.8 cm Panzerabwehrkanone 43: 88 mm antitank gun
  8. 8.8 cm/35: anti-torpedo boat guns
  9. 8.8 cm/75 SK C/25
  10. 8.8 cm/30 SK L/30
  11. 8.8 cm/30 Ubts L/30
  12. 8.8 cm/45 SK C/30
  13. 8.8 cm/78 SK C/31
  14. 8.8 cm/76 SK C/32
  15. 8.8 cm/45 KM41
  16. 8.8 cm/35 SK L/35
  17. 8.8 cm/45 SK C/35
  18. 8.8 cm/45 SK L/45
  19. 8.8 cm/45 SK L/45
  20. 8.8 cm/45 Tbts L/45
  21. 8.8 cm/45 FlaK L/45

...not to mention all subtypes, for instance the ones that the Germans rebored into 88 mm guns.

Not bad. But maybe "FlaK 88 mm gun" to satisfy rules. GrahamBould 11:01, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

God i didnt know there were that many varints i mean what about....anti tank/air 88mm gun? i dnt no its the best comprimise i could think of and also i heard FlaK 88 refear to both the anti air and tank versions(ForeverDEAD 22:08, 14 August 2007 (UTC))

Many of the above are NOT variants. 88mm is a standard bore used by German designers... much like .30 caliber has been used for many cartridges (.30-06, .308, .30 cal carbine etc). Also, probably worth mentioning that there's a near-mythical status given to "the 88" in many accounts by allied vets. Often, reading accounts by vets, you'll see references to shelling by 88s when in fact it was probably anything other than an 88mm gun. I'd need to go dig up my copy of Ian Hogg's German Artillery of WWII, but I don't believe the Germans had a whole lot of 88mm weapons used in the dedicated field artillery role. But, given those accounts by vets, you'd think the Germans used nothing but 88s.GrahamBould's title is probably the best compromise between being specific to the "real" 88, while also catching the idea that there's not really just 1 gun being talked about here.Bigjimleo (talk) 19:28, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Instead of this article trying to cover everything, could we not use it as a glorified disambiguation page, pointing to a series of individual articles on each type of 88? GrahamBould (talk) 07:34, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Anti-tank and anti-aircraft ammunition[edit]

I have no knowledge of the topic so can't add to the article. As I understand it the anti-aircraft 88 was sometimes pressed into use as anti-tank But I'd expect the type of shell to be quite different: air-bursts to produce shrapnel to damage vulnerable aircraft vs penetration of heavy armour by a direct hit. Does anybody have any knowledge? Is this discussed anywhere on Wikipedia? Pol098 02:20, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

AFAIK every 88 assigned to frontline combat units carried several anti-tank rounds. Try to visit the weblinks available in the article or do a web search to find out more. --Denniss 04:41, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Oh dear[edit]

This article is wrong in so many places I gave up reading it. One point to mention above all is that by 1918 Krupp had delivered around 160 88mm flak cannon to the front- 88mm K-Zugflak 19. Rheinmetall had also delivered guns of 88mm - K-Zugflak L/45. Fluffy999 11:44, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

That doesn't make it wrong. There were lots of 88mm guns in use back into the 1890s, but this article isn't about them. This article is about this 88mm. Maury 12:59, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
Actually, Fluffy999 has a point. From the article title how would you know what 88 the article is about. Difficult, but maybe the title should be a bit more specific. GrahamBould 18:40, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

I admit to being confused about which 88mm the term "this 88mm" refers to. The wise GrahamBould, raised a good point. I can think of 4 main ways wikipedia breaks down articles;

  • an article about only German versions/history of 88mm cannon since day one,
why concentrate only on a certain timerange of German versions of the cannon excluding WW1?
  • an article about 88mm cannon class describing all theory, use, history worldwide since day 1,
why a strict concentration on Germany in WW2?
  • an article about a specific version of 88mm in German use during WW2,
why the article title and misleading backfill? It is overlong and non specific.
  • an article about German use of 88mm in WW2/development of 88mm used by Germany in WW2.
see immediately above and GrahamBould's comments

What I think has taken place in this article is that it is written about a subclass of a weapon as a general overview of the class. This really is confusing and confused me enough to wonder about the omission of 88mm in WW1 as mobile artillery and anti-air. The 'wrong' that I gave up reading at was the theory of German 88 development being rooted in the postWW1 period:

"The German eighty-eight is an anti-aircraft artillery piece from World War II... As Germany had been forbidden to produce new weapons of almost every sort after World War I, the German Krupp company developed the new guns in partnership with Bofors of Sweden... The designers started over with another common German calibre, and the prototype 88s were first produced in 1928."

Since the reader is not given an accurate history about the preceeding German prototyping, design, manufacture and military service of 88mm what does article imply? That 88mm were a new innovation in postWW1 Germany. No they were not. Fluffy999 15:25, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Argumentative Content?[edit]

In the section on the FlaK 41 the article states that the troublesome weapon was withdrawn to Germany for logistical reasons. OK, I willing to accept that with the understanding that in war nothing is done in a completely consistent manner, that every rule has its exceptions. However, within square brackets and in italics someone has inserted the comment “Not correct. Photos exist of the weapon in Italy.” This has got to be revised. Wikipedia is a knowledge resource, not a debate forum. We have discussion pages where contributors may hash out the facts, but if we allow members to gainsay factual claims directly in the text of encyclopedia articles then we invite the whole Wiki project to degenerate into just another forum where fact, opinion and falsehood mingle indiscriminately. Today is June 20, if on action is taken by July 1 I will re-write the entire section on the Flak 41 to reflect the counter claim and remove the contentious tone. ENScroggs 15:52, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

The history page shows that edit was made by back in March, and whoever it was doesn't seem to have made any edits before or since. I say go ahead and rewrite. -- Hongooi 12:41, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
I feel it's somewhat questionable thFlaK 41 gun was used in Africa, AFAIK production started in mid 1943 when Afrika corps was gone. I have never heard of a FlaK 41 in Italy, it was most probably used to defend german cities. The older 88 FlaK were used on every front, even in Africa. --Denniss 15:13, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
I have seen a classic desert scene with photos that appears to be north africa with abandoned german pieces including the 41. Can get the book, page number if you need it. Best wishes. WonderWheeler (talk) 09:00, 24 March 2008 (UTC)


The Artikles about the US 90 mm and the britisch 3.7 in guns are telling a different story than this here. Especially the data about maximum vertical range differes and do not stand to the claimed superiority of the allied weapons.--WerWil (talk) 15:33, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

I do not know about that, but I do know, that the limitation of the Flak 88 gun vertical range was in the length of fuse that the shell could hold. The maximum burst height was limited by the fuse, while the actual trajectory of the shell was higher than the fuse would allow. According to my reading. WonderWheeler (talk) 07:11, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, but I can't believe that. An AA-fuse is like a little mechanical egg-timer. If nessesary it would have been possible to change the fuse to allow any longer settings, to use a reachable higher altitude. I've found that the maximum time setting of AA-fuses is less than the maximum ceiling in general. I don't know why.--WerWil (talk) 19:04, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
WerWil, I think you have contradicted yourself GrahamBould (talk) 01:14, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
No. In fact the fuse did not allow to use the hole range of the grenades. My point was, that this is not because the shell couldn't hold a fuse whith longer settings. I only can speculate what sense it makes not to use the final 2000 meters. Perhaps it is because the velocity is to low then an the shell is stumbling at the End of it's way, so that each setting would only get random results, but I don't know.--WerWil (talk) 20:58, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Mechanism Operation[edit]

After studying the gun for some time, I took the liberty to mention how the mechanism works. The semiautomatic feature is partly why the gun was so important and successful in its overall operation. Hope I didn't complicate it too much. If I did, feel free to edit. The gun had a control at the upper right of the block that would allow it to operate manually like a normal artillery piece if needed, but generally a guy standing on the left just pushed in a round (often with a leather elbow length glove on his right arm). Pushing in the round the full way, the rim of the cartridge went between and engaged something like a pair of prongs of a tuning fork, that then let the block slam shut automatically. The gunner then pulled a lever on the left side of the gun. The gun did the rest. The gun would recoil, and on the return stroke the block would open, the tuning fork like thing would eject the cartridge from the gun and throw it to the rear. A cam on the lower right of the block would hit a rail on the gun bed and recock the firing pin if I understand it correctly. You can actually see this little cam operate in a little snippet on UTube where they are firing on a grain elevator durring a clip on the attack on Stalengrad, if you look closely.

There is a video of a video game, where the same gunner is shown reaching accross the rear of the gun to operate the block manually, but you can guess that if his timing was off he could get his arm in the way durring the recoil, so that would normally be impractical!

Also, the section about the Flak 18 mentions something about a TWO wheel carriage. Which might be a little confusing. The gun had two sets of wheeled supports or limbers to be mobile. The front set on the 18 had two single tires, and some rather streamlined looking fenders, like an old roadster. The rear set, a little closer to the center of the gun, had a set of dual wheels on each side. The two wheel carriage seemed a misleading term, but it may not be an important thing.

Another small point. I wonder if part of the reason for the shield in front of the gun, was to act as a blast shield, as the muzzle flash and concussion of the gun must have been terrific. And, there were a fairly large group of men behind the gun passing up ammo and operating the various controls on the gun. Even when firing against tanks. WonderWheeler (talk) 08:53, 24 March 2008 (UTC)


Could someone import the template from that British AA gun or US AA gun to this article? Mallerd (talk) 08:55, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

I did it using the template from 10.5 cm FlaK. Lexlythius (talk) 06:03, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Production numbers[edit]

Hi. Article says it was "widely used" but it is such a vague expression... If anyone has some data on production numbers before and during WWII for this gun, best if broken down by year, please add it to the article. I googled for it but so far found nothing... (talk) 17:32, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

Added data from, which says it draws it's numbers from:
  • Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg, vol. 5, part 1.
  • Hahn, Fritz. Waffen und Geheimwaffen des deutschen Heeres 1933-1945
Hohum (talk) 20:06, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

I seem to recall reading that Speer protested deploying about 600,000 88mm and 128mm flak guns during 1943 and 1944, which reduced the ability to produce fighters. I believe this was in Albert Speer's Autobiography, or a citation from that work in another book. Perhaps someone can track down the figures; but fewer than 30,000 seems a bit light. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:00, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

600 thousand 88 guns? For comparison, there were 6 thousand Panther tanks produced in 1943-1944. --Kubanczyk (talk) 08:01, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

FlaK 37 pictured?[edit]


Can anyone identify the gun pictured below? Is it a FlaK 37?

Anti-aircraft cannon January 02 2010.jpg

--Siipikarja 14:17, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

off topic?[edit]

What has this to do whith the topic of this article?

During the civil war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s, various Flak guns were used, mainly by the naval artillery of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA). The Serbian Army (VJ) also used Flak carriages mounted with double 262 mm rocket launch tubes from the M-87 Orkan MLRS, instead of the 88mm gun. It was capable of deploying cluster bombs, as well as anti personnel and anti tank mines, at up to 50 km. Only a few were made in mid-1993, and the entire project was generally regarded as unsuccessful.[10]

I couldn't recognize any relation of this roketlauncher to the 8,8.--WerWil (talk) 15:25, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Antipersonnel Weapon???[edit]

Wasn't this gun used specifically as an antipersonnel weapon by the wehrmacht and weren't its shells in this capacity of the outlawed shrapnel type. My late father was wounded on the Siegfried Line in September 1944 and claimed that to be true.--johncheverly 20:42, 21 September 2012 (UTC)johncheverly9/21/12/4:45pm. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Johncheverly (talkcontribs)

They were certainly used to fire airbursts for anti-personnel effect, but I know of no true First World War-type shrapnel shells being used, nor would they have been necessary (or illegal, as far as I know) as plain ol' high explosive shells would do the trick. Indeed, going back to the Great War, high explosive shells proved to be more effective (and often more gruesome) than shrapnel shells ever could be. Thus, they weren't made illegal, they were made unnecessary.-- (talk) 09:54, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Debatable source material?[edit]

In the "Support of German ground troops" section, I noticed this section: "On July 18 and 19 1944 a Luftwaffe 8.8 cm anti-aircraft battery was re-purposed by then Major Hans von Luck to attack British tanks near Cagny taking part in Operation Goodwood. 20 tanks were killed by these guns within the first few seconds and at least 40 tanks were knocked out by 88's during the engagement" This incident is attributed Hans von Luck's memoirs, which are regarded as fanciful at best. In "Monty's Men" (Yale University Press, 2013, ISBN 978.0.300.13449.0), John Buckley suggests that this incident did not take place at all, and that von Luck invented it to make himself look better. Although German anti-tank fire was severe in this engagement, Luftwaffe guns did not take part, and von Luck himself was allegdly not present. Just thought it might be worth revising. (talk) 17:54, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

More citations to sources are needed[edit]

Hi wikipedians, given that for such a long article there are only about 20 inline citations and notes, I've tagged the article as "refimprove" and added "citation needed" tags wherever I found a potentially "controversial" or "original research-like" paragraph. Hope this will help improve this interesting article. Regards, DPdH (talk) 13:43, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

Shouldn't the "Flak 41" have its own article?[edit]

Dear All, I think that if more content can be sourced, the "Flak 41" should have its own article as is a different weapon than the Flak 18/36/37 family. Agree that for completeness it should be mentioned at high level in this article. Regards, DPdH (talk) 13:50, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

I've browsed the related article in most of the other languages Wikipedias (at least those in "european" languages) and in general have followed the structure of the english language article, which seems a bit overwhelming (mixing AA & AT guns in the same article). However the German Wikipedia follows what I'm proposing, with a quite lengthy article devoted to the Flak 41, and another focused on the Flak 18 family itself. As such, in the next few days I'll translate the german Flak 41 article into english and amend this one as needed, to give each individual gun design (Flak 18/36/37 and Flak 41) the required focus. Regards, DPdH (talk) 01:38, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

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