Book Review
The Eighty-Eight
The Eighty-Eight: A Visual History of German 8.8 cm Flak Guns in WWII
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by: Mike High [ TACFIREGURU ]

The 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:

• Introduction
• Flak 18
• Flak 18 in detail
• Flak 36
• Flak 37
• Flak 37 in detail
• Flak 41
• Flak 41 in detail
• Range Finding Equipment

As 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 “88’s” 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.

As 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 manufacturer’s version of a Flak (-18, -36, -37, or -41) you have, this book will be invaluable.
Highs: Pictures are of an excellent quality, nice variety of detail and general photos, each photo caption is concise and descriptive.
Lows: None noticeable.
Verdict: An excellent reference that will certainly aid a modeler in building and detailing one of the 8.8 cm Flak guns.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-0-9773781-4-2
  Suggested Retail: $19.95 USD
  PUBLISHED: Aug 08, 2008

Our Thanks to Ampersand Publishing!
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About Mike High (TacFireGuru)

Like most, I started out in my young years; building Monogram armor and aircraft. Joining the Army at 17 in 1981 put a stop to my building for many years, I retired in 2001 and ran across Armorama....I've been re-hooked since. I'm a notoriously slow builder and seem to have more than one buil...

Copyright ©2021 text by Mike High [ TACFIREGURU ]. All rights reserved.


Nice Review, Mike
AUG 07, 2008 - 09:04 PM
Agreed. Nice write up. What is special about Doyle's book is that he writes clearly about the differences between the Flak 18, 36 and 37. So much confusion abounds about that. (if you stay tuned, I have an extensive writeup about 8.8cm Flaks in the Sept Boresight issue, with a long list of errata from many Flak 88 books)
AUG 08, 2008 - 09:12 AM
Roy, I'd love to see some excerpts from that issue of Boresight. Ultimately, I'd like to get a really nice styrene kit of an "88" down the road and maybe a set of good PE. I'd like to see what Boresight shows. Thanks, Mike
AUG 25, 2008 - 03:44 PM

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