2 cm Flak 30/38/Flakvierling

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The 2 cm Flak 30/38/Flakvierling is a series of anti-aircraft auto cannons developed by Nazi Germany and used as their primary light anti-aircraft gun in the course of World War II. It fired a 20x138 mmB round and was considered one of the more powerful 20 mm ammunition at the time. The auto cannon underwent developmental improvement from the initial Flak 30, to the Flak 38, then the Flakvierling 38.


KwK 30

Flak 38

Flakvierling 38


Ammunition Penetration in mm @ 90° Type of
in m/s
Mass in kg
Fuse delay
in m:
Fuse sensitivity
in mm:
Normalization At 30°
from horizontal:
10m 100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m 0% 50% 100%
PzGr 46 45 33 23 15 11 API-T 780 0.15 0.8 5 -1° 43° 30° 15°
PzGr 40 64 63 26 8 3 1 HVAP-T 1050 0.1 N/A N/A +1.5° 24° 22° 18°
Sprgr.* 4 4 4 4 4 4 HEFI-T 900 0.12 0.3 0.1 +0° 28° 21° 17°

* - Not available on the Panzer II tanks.

History of creation and combat usage

The 2 cm FlaK was used throughout World War 2, primarily as an anti-air weapon but also, in some circumstances, a ground support role, particularly when mounted in an armoured vehicle.

As the war progressed, and aircraft became larger, faster and better-protected, the FlaK 38 began to lose effectiveness - the shell simply wasn't powerful enough to inflict fatal damage to most aircraft in the latter half of the war. Steps were made to improve this, e.g. mounting four 2cm FlaK guns together to greatly increase firepower. However, this did little to improve the gun's two main flaws, that were only exacerbated as the war progressed - its range, and the explosive and penetrative power of the individual shells. So, gradually, the 2cm FlaK was replaced by the 3.7cm FlaK, although its production continued until the war's end as its usefulness didn't disappear completely.


Additional information (links)