by: Mike High [ ]
IntroductionThe origins of the famed 88 of WWII can be traced back to WWI, when Krupp had produced the 8.8 cm S. K. Flak. This weapon, which like its successor was transported on a four-wheel carriage, was first fielded in 1917. Effective and powerful, the weapon proved itself in the defense of the Ruhr and Rhine valleys a situation that would repeat itself in later years. These early weapons, each equipped with a semi-automatic breech, could fire 10 21-pound shells per minute in the hands of an experienced crew. The eight-ton weapon featured a pedestal mount and could be elevated to 70 degrees. This permitted the shell to reach an elevation of just over 4000 yards. The mount provided traverse of 360 degrees and a muzzle velocity of 2575 feet per second which was more than adequate to destroy fragile aircraft of the era.
In September of 1928 Krupp was directed by the German weapons design office to develop an improved version of the 8.8 cm anti-aircraft cannon. The basic specifications of the weapon were to be as follows: Fire a 22 pound shell at 2800 feet per second, be mobile on a four-tired trailer, and feature a 360 degree traverse and a -3 (depression) to 85 (elevation) degree range of elevation. Responding to this design request, Krupp created the initial designs of what would become the 8.8 cm Flak 18. This book is authored by David Doyle and is published by Ampersand Publishing and is organized in the following sections:
Flak 18 in detail
Flak 37 in detail
Flak 41 in detail
Range Finding Equipment
ReviewAs indicated by the title, this book covers the development and deployment of the 88 with 108 pages and over 170 excellent black and white photos. Just about every angle and facet of the 88 is covered. There are a multitude of pictures showing the 88s in just about every conceivable posture; being hauled (transported), being set up, in their firing positions, and being fired. One particular picture on page 75 would be a delight for the diorama-minded individual a Flak 36 or 37 position (destroyed) showing the walls of the firing pit. The walls are a combination of brick, concrete, wood, and
two visible concrete sewer pipes (?) used to store the 3-round wicker cases. There are a large number of close-up photos showing items such as the breech, rammer, fuse setter, carriage and limber, wheels, cradle, muzzle lock, and many more. Additionally, there is a small section covering the ammunition (to include the 3-round wicker container and shell color). In the section that covers the range finding equipment, there are a couple of nice pictures of the 60-cm searchlight. Each picture comes with a caption that is quite descriptive.
ConclusionAs a photo reference, this book gives the reader/viewer a wonderful resource for the 8.8 cm Flak guns. The book offers up a generous variety of photos, from details to overall shots, which will certainly aid the modeler. Regardless of which manufacturers version of a Flak (-18, -36, -37, or -41) you have, this book will be invaluable.