Flak.36 (88 mm)
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Vehicles equipped with this weapon
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Comparison with analogues
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Usage in battles
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Pros and cons
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The FlaK 18 was developed before World War II in secret as a German anti-aircraft gun. After gathering combat experience during the Spanish Civil War, where it was found to be just as, if not more, effective as an anti-tank or bunker-buster weapon, the design was improved into the FlaK 36. The main changes between the two guns was that the FlaK 36 had a two-piece barrel for replacing worn barrel liners while the FlaK 18 had a single piece barrel. The FlaK 36 also had a gun shield to protect the crew from small arms fire, but this modification was retrofitted to FlaK 18s too. The FlaK 36 became one of the most famous German weapons of World War II. Known alongside its cousins as simply the "Flak 88" by the Allies, the FlaK 36 was just as effective in the air defense role as it was an anti-tank weapon.
The FlaK 36 in the air defense role was often connected to Kommandogerät analogue computers to improve accuracy along with Würzburg radars to better track targets. However, the air defense over Germany was expensive and seen as ineffective against Allied bombing raids. In the anti-tank role however, the FlaK 36 truly shined. Continuing the trend from the Spanish Civil War, the FlaK 36 was first used as an anti-tank gun in Europe during the Battle of France as their 37 mm PaK 26 anti-tank guns couldn't penetrate the British Matilda or French Char B1 bis, but the FlaK 36 was more than capable of doing so. The anti-tank was also prominent on the Eastern Front where the Soviet KV-1 heavy tanks was similarly all but impervious to other German anti-tank weapons. It was from these experiences that the decision was made to the arm the infamous Tiger I with the KwK36, a FlaK 36 adapted to fit inside a tank turret. In North Africa, the FlaK 36 played a significant role in getting the Halfaya Pass in Egypt its grim nickname "Hellfire Pass" and destroying M4 Shermans in a devastating feint during the Battle of Kasserine Pass in Tunisia. They were also mounted on some of the Sibel ferries developed for the planned invasion of Great Britain known as Operation Sea Lion that never came to pass.
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- FlaK.18 (88 mm): Original version of the gun
- KwK36 (88 mm): Tank variant of the FlaK.36 developed for the Tiger
- Flak.37 (88 mm): further improvement of the Flak.36
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|Germany naval cannons|
|15 mm||MG 151|
|20 mm||2 cm/65 C/30 · 2 cm/65 C/38 · 2 cm/65 Flakzwilling 38 · 2 cm/65 Flakvierling 38 · MG 151/20|
|37 mm||FlaK-Lafette C/36 · 3.7 cm FlaK-Lafette LM/42 · SK C/30 · FlaK.36 · FlaK43|
|40 mm||40 mm/70 MEL58 · Bofors Flak 28 · Bofors L/70 model 1948|
|52 mm||52 mm/55 SK L/55|
|88 mm||8.8 cm/76 SK C/32 · S.K.C/35 · FlaK.18 · Flak.36 · 88 mm/45 AA SK L/45 · 88 mm/45 casemate SK L/45|
|100 mm||100 mm/55 MLE model 53|
|105 mm||SK C/32 · SK C/33 AA|
|128 mm||12.8 cm/45 SK C/34|
|150 mm||150 mm/45 SK L/45 · 15 cm/48 KC/36 · 15 cm/55 SK C/28 · 15 cm/60 SK C/25|
|203 mm||20.3 cm/60 SK C/34|
|283 mm||283 mm/45 SK L/45 · 283 mm/52 SK C/28 · 283 mm/54,5 SK C/34|
|305 mm||305 mm/50 SK L/50|
|380 mm||38 cm SK L/45|
|23 mm||ZU-23 (USSR)|
|30 mm||AK-230 (USSR)|
|37 mm||V-11 (USSR)|
|76 mm||76 mm/62 OTO-Melara Compact (Italy)|
|100 mm||100 mm/56 B-34 (USSR)|