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I just finished the new Haynes Owner's Workshop Manual on the WWII Flak 88 anti-aircraft/anti-tank gun. I'm not very familiar with artillery so this was a pretty interesting read for me. It was an amazingly complex weapon.

One of the surprises was that the dual purpose Flak 18/36/37/41 used percussion primers while the anti-tank Pak 43 and panzer versions used electric primers. Apparently the electric ignition system was considered to be more reliable as it could operate with a gap of as much as 1mm between the breach face and primer.

Another was that the ammunition used steel cases with sintered iron driving bands on the warhead. They don't explain why but copper driving bands were more abrasive to the bore.

It's worth getting if you're interested in artillery or WWII weapons technology.

ISBN 978 1 78521 133 1
 

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The German 88mm Flak series was arguably the most versatile, effective, and iconic artillery guns of WWII. While originally designed as an anti-aircraft gun, it became notorious for its ability to decimate allied tanks in support of ground troops, particularly in the North African campaign where it was used with devastating effect on British and American armor. The weapon could also be deployed quickly and could fire while still on its carriage wheels. The gun was so good that the Germans even used it as the primary armament on the iconic Panzerkampfwagen VI, better known as the Tiger I.



I love the German 88 and I've read a lot about it as well as other artillery guns and armor used during WWII. I also build plastic model kits as a hobby and have built a 1/72 scale 88mm Flak 36 (Hasegawa) and a 1/35 scale 88mm Flak 37 (Tamiya). There is a youtube channel called Panzer Group South (an organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of historical vehicles and weaponry). They actually own one (I believe a Flak 37) and you can see it firing real shells in a couple of their videos. Just watching the thing recoil on the ground is enough to make your jaw drop. Devastating weapon with a fascinating history and a primary example of the superior German weapons technology of the time.
 

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...

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Another was that the ammunition used steel cases with sintered iron driving bands on the warhead. They don't explain why but copper driving bands were more abrasive to the bore.

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If that's what the manual says, they've got it backward. The impetus to develop sintered iron driving bands was simple: the Germans were critically short of copper. Sintered iron dramatically increased bore wear by 30-50%. This in turn forced the Germans to undertake an extensive (and utterly fascinating) research program in barrel design to ameliorate it. The story is in Ott-Helmuth Lossnitzer, An Oral Recollection, ISBN 978-9-08-173780-7. Lossnitzer was Technical Director of Mauser, 1933-45.

He also discusses electric primer ignition. A main developmental problem was that initially it wouldn't work below 0 degrees C. This was overcome by an additive to the priming mix. In any event it was not practical for ordinary artillery but only in AFVs and aircraft which had their own power source.

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My grandma's brother was a 8,8 gunner. Guy was stone deaf.
You got the name right, it was called the acht-komma-acht. My old friend that was a Flakhelfer had still surprisingly good hearing, better than my father came home with from Russia.

I was searching for the fragments yesterday but think that I have them in storage. My friend has painted them with clear lacquer, so that they would not rust and I also have a driving band from a fired shell that is marked with calibre (8,8) and all kind of numbers, it is made out of aluminium. He also had a 20mm projectile with WaA and a live Mills bomb which his uncle brought back from WWI and a British rifle grenade, which I delaborated.



 

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Courtesy of the crew of a Flak 88, my Dad received an all expense paid trip to a health spa near Barth, Germany. He lost 60 pounds on their rutabaga diet. As I recall, the place was called Stalag Luft 1.;)


Looks like a cool series of books. I'll have to check them out.
 

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Dubbing it a 'shop manual' is clever. I may have to look for a copy.
Do you recall Bill Mauldin's Willie and Joe characters? In one cartoon, a German soldier is being interrogated, and Willie asks if he knows the guy who invented the 88.
That gun was credited with more conversions to Christianity than Sts Peter and Paul combined.
Moon
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Looks like a cool series of books. I'll have to check them out.
There are probably 75+ volumes total. Mostly WWII and modern combat aircraft but also some tanks and spaceships (real and science fiction). I started buying these when they first started coming out and have all the aircraft titles and most of the armor ones.

What I like about these is that in addition to being more technical oriented there is usually a chapter on maintenance and several volumes have been written by my fellow aircraft mechanics. It's a nice change from books that are focused on pilots.

The best ones I've read so far were the Concorde and de Havilland Comet airliners. Right now I'm reading the Panzer III.
 

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"You may all go to hell. I'll go to Texas."

Can't remember who said it, but someday. *wistful look in my eyes*
My youngest son is here and he misses Florida a lot, he is really homesick and so is also his girl friend, they both miss all the family, too. Texas has a great job market and is not bad at all but South Florida is definitely much prettier. The heat here is worse than Florida even and property taxes are about four times of South Florida while the roads are so bad that I bought a pick up:confused:.

The carry permit is cheaper, though:).
 
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