Sunday, 31 July 2011

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3.7cm Flakzwilling 43, France 1944

The 3.7cm Flugabwehrkanone 43 was introduced in early 1944 as a heavier-calibre replacement for the 2cm Flakvierling 38. It could engage aircraft flying at an altitude of up to 4200 meters, and was frequently used to engage ground targets at a range of up to 6585 metres. In service, it proved to be very successful, but due to it's late introduction there were only 928 (and 185 Flakzwilling) units produced before the war ended.

The double-barreled Flakzwilling 43 was introduced to increase effectiveness against low-flying aircraft travelling at high speeds. It was found that a single hit from the 3.7cm ammunition was not always sufficient to bring a fighter down. This gun was mounted on a heavier Sonderhanger 106 trailer, but as the gun was rather top-heavy, it proved to be rather cumbersome to mount and dismount.

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This Flakzwilling 43 belonged to a Heer flak unit stationed in Northern France in the summer of 1944. The photograph is part of a set depicting the FlaK gun and crew that were taken by Kriegsberichter Kurth.




The crew are wearing the Heer-issue assault-gun wrap, identical in form to the panzer wrap but in field grey rather than black. The Panzer Lehr Division had several units equipped solely with this uniform in Normandy, but I can't make out any of their typical 'L' cyphers on the Flakzwilling crew's shoulder straps. If anyone knows which unit this weapon belonged to then please let me know.

The original photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.
Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-301-1957-35 / Kurth / CC-BY-SA