Tag Archive for '88mm'

Pz. Kpfw. “Tiger” (8.8 cm Kw. K. 36 L/56) (Sd. Kfz. 181): Heavy Tank “Tiger”

Pz. Kpfw. "Tiger" (8.8 cm Kw. K. 36 L/56) (Sd. Kfz. 181): Heavy Tank "Tiger"

The Pz. Kpfw. VI was introduced into service by Germany in the latter part of 1942.

Its construction incorporates a notable departure from past German practice in that the superstructure is welded to the main hull instead of being bolted. The use of heavy armor called for flat plates wherever possible, resulting in a simple box-like contour. Another interesting development in construction involves plate interlocking, secured by welding, in addition to the normal step jointing. This has no doubt been made necessary by the use of thicker armor, which ranges from 102 mm in the front nose plate to 92 mm in the cast steel gun mantlet, and 80 mm in the side superstructure.

The hull is divided into four compartments. The floor of the fighting compartment is suspended from and rotates with the turret. The turret is centrally mounted between the hull side plates. A circular fixed cupola, with an inside diameter of 20 inches, is mounted in the turret roof.

The suspension consists of front sprocket, rear idler, and eight triple, rubber-tired bogie wheels 31 1/2 inches in diameter sprung on torsion bars. The wheel assemblies straddle each other in such a manner that the outer rims of four of the wheels on each side may be removed to accommodate the narrow (20 1/2 inch) transportation track. For combat a wider (28 1/2 inch) track is utilized.

The mechanical layout follows orthodox German practice. The Maybach, V-12, 642 hp. engine is mounted centrally at the rear.

The armament consists of an electrically fired 8.8 cm Kw.K. 36 with coaxial 7.92 mm MG 34 in the turret, a ball-mounted MG 34 in the vertical plate, a 9 mm machine gun stowed, six smoke generators, and three mine throwers mounted on the superstructure roof. The existence of a Model “P” has also been reported.


Weight (in battle order)         63 tons
Length (excl. gun) 20 ft., 8 1/2 ins.
Width 12 ft., 3 ins.
Height 9 ft., 4 3/4 ins.
Ground clearance 17 ins.
Tread centers 9 ft., 3 1/2 ins.
Ground contact 12 ft., 6 ins.
Width of track 28 1/2 ins.—20 1/2 ins.
Pitch of track 5 1/8 ins.
Track links 96
Fording depth 96 ft.
Theoretical radius of action
     Roads 87 miles
     Cross-country 53 miles
     Roads 25 miles
     Cross-country 15 miles
     Front plate 102 mm at 70° to horiz.
     Sides 80 mm at 80° to horiz.
Armament 8.8 cm Kw.K 36
2 MG 34′s
M.V. 2624 f/s
Wt. of projectile 21 lb.
Ammunition 8.8 cm 92 rds.
MG’s—5100 rds.
Engine Maybach HL 210, V-12, 642 hp.
Transmission Preselector, hydraulic—8 speeds forward, 4 reverse
Steering Controlled differential, hydraulic
Crew 5

German: p. 38

8.8 cm Racketenpanzerbüchse 43 (8.8 cm R PzB 43) and 8.8 cm Racketenpanzerbüchse 54 (8.8 cm R PzB 54): Rocket Launcher

Panzerschreck Rocket Launcher: 8.8 cm Racketenpanzerbüchse 43 (8.8 cm R PzB 43) and 8.8 cm Racketenpanzerbüchse 54 (8.8 cm R PzB 54) Rocket Launchers

The German antitank rocket launcher (Racketenpanzerbüchse 43), one of which was recently captured in Italy, is a comparatively new design, similar in appearance and operation to the American “Bazooka.” The German weapon is of larger caliber and is heavier than its American counterpart. It employs an 8.8 cm rocket (3.5 inches) weighing 7.16 pounds; the 2.36 inch American rocket, M6A3, weighs 3.5 pounds. The launcher, which is shoulder fired and handled by a two-man team, has a maximum range of 132 yards and a muzzle velocity of 346 f/s. It is 64.5 inches long, has an outside diameter of 3.7 inches; weighs 20.5 pounds; and is equipped with a foresight, a rearsight, and a carrying sling. An improved model with a face shield is known as 8.8 cm R PzB54.

After insertion into the tube, the round is prevented from slipping back by a retaining catch and from slipping forward by a spring-loaded plunger which engages the front edge of the tail unit. An electric socket inside a housing is located at the rear left side of the tube. The firing mechanism, which is also situated underneath the tube, consists of a spring-loaded rod (which is drawn forward into a compressed position when the piece is cocked) and a cylindrical component which appears to contain a magnetized rod and a coil. Two wires attached to this current-producing component connect with the socket on the launcher and with the plunger which contacts the tail of the projectile. When the trigger is pressed, the magnetized rod under the action of the compressed spring passes through the coil generating a current which is transmitted to the sparking element of the propellant igniting it.

The projectile, which is of the hollow charge type, has a nose fuze; the motor tube contains the propellant; and the tail is of the circular-fin type.

Pz. Jäg. III/IV (“Nashorn”) für 8.8 cm Pak 43/1 (Sf) (Sd. Kfz. 164): S.P. Antitank Gun—”Rhinoceros” (formerly “Hornet”)

Pz. Jäg. III/IV ("Nashorn") für 8.8 cm Pak 43/1 (Sf) (Sd. Kfz. 164): S.P. Antitank Gun—"Rhinoceros" (formerly "Hornet")

The German 8.8 cm gun was designed in 1934 as the standard semimobile antiaircraft gun. Encouraged by success in Spain against armored vehicles the Germans went ahead with the production of A.P. ammunition for the weapon and the design of a more mobile carriage. Both were ready in time for the Battle of France. The 8.8 cm gun was a success in this battle, when it proved capable of dealing with the heavier French tanks, against which the standard German 3.7 cm A.T. gun was comparatively ineffective. The Germans next provided the gun with a new mounting from which the gun could engage tanks without being taken off its wheels. Finally a self-propelled mounting was introduced from which the gun can be fired against ground targets but cannot be used in its original A.A. role. Such an equipment is the tank destroyer “Hornet,” which consists of the 8.8 cm Pak 43/1 mounted on the chassis of a modified Pz. Kpfw. IV tank, the engine of which has been moved forward to a central position to provide a clear space for the fighting compartment at the rear. The “Hornet” mounts in effect the same gun as the “Ferdinand” but it is much more lightly armored and relatively much faster. Comparative figures for weight and maximum road speed of “Hornet” and “Ferdinand” are: 28 tons and 22 m.p.h., 80 tons and 12 1/2 m.p.h., respectively.

The 8.8 cm gun, fitted with muzzle brake, is mounted over the engine within a high, open-topped superstructure of thin armor plate and extends well over the front of the chassis. Its length, with muzzle brake, is 21 feet, 6 inches and its muzzle velocity with H.E. shell is 3,280 f.s.; with A.P.C.B.C. shell, 3,214 f.s. It will defeat 5 1/2 inches of homogeneous armor at 1,000 yards range and 30° angle of attack. Its maximum horizontal range is 16,200 yards and its rate of fire 15 to 20 rounds per minute.


Weight         25 tons
Length (excl. gun) 19 ft., 4 ins.
Width 9 ft., 7 ins.
Ground clearance 15 ins.
Tread centers 7 ft., 11 ins.
Ground contact 11 ft., 6 ins.
Width of track 15 ins.
Pitch of track 4 3/4 ins.
Track links 98
Fording depth 3 ft.
Theoretical radius of action:
     Roads (est.) 100 miles
     Cross-country (est.) 65 miles
     Road 22 m.p.h.
     Cross-country 12 m.p.h.
     Front plate 50 mm
     Sides 30 mm
Armament 8.8 cm Pak 43/1
Engine Maybach HL 120 TRM, 320 hp.
Transmission Synchromesh—6 speeds forward, 1 reverse
Steering Epicyclic, clutch brake
Crew 5

German: p. 34

8.8 cm Pzgr. patr.: 8.8 cm A.P.C.B.C., H.E. Ammunition

8.8 cm Pzgr. patr.: 8.8 cm A.P.C.B.C., H.E. Ammunition

The German 8.8 cm A.P.C.B.C., H.E. ammunition consists of an armor-piercing capped projectile of conventional design, crimped in a primed brass cartridge case. The projectile is loaded with a TNT bursting charge and fuzed with a base-detonating fuze containing a tracer. The brass cartridge case holds a double base, single-perforated propelling charge with a nitrocellulose powder igniter and a short percussion type primer.

The projectile as fired weighs 20.71 pounds. Both the projectile body and the armor-piercing cap are made of steel. The cap is soldered to the body, and a sheet steel windshield is attached to the cap by a series of spot welds. The large fuze body occupies a considerable part of the explosive cavity which is comparatively large for an armor-piercing projectile. The weight of the explosive charge is approximately 1.8% of the total weight of the projectile. The bursting charge is contained in an aluminum case conforming to the contour of the cavity except that the forward end is flat. A molded plastic button which conforms to the contour of the cavity is located between the front of the charge case and the small forward end of the cavity. This button acts as a cushion for the charge upon impact of the projectile on the target. A tar-like compound fills the space between the projectile walls and the aluminum charge case to prevent the case from slipping upon rotation of the projectile.

The pressed bursting charge has 5.5% wax blended with it. The base fuze has a steel body with a threaded extension at the base end to receive a tracer assembly.

The fuze has a slight delay and arms on centrifugal force.


Type of ammunition         A.P.C.B.C., H.E.
Weight of complete round         32.74 lb.
Weight of projectile         20.71 lb.
Weight of bursting charge         37 lb. (1.8% of wt. of proj.)
Weight of propellant         2,471 grams
Weight of fuze with tracer and detonator assembly         2.18 lb.

German: p. 308

8.8 cm Pak 43/41: Antitank Gun

8.8 cm Pak 43/41: Antitank Gun

The Pak 43, one of Germany’s newer antitank guns, is a more solidly built weapon than the 7.5 cm Pak 40. The gun is mounted on large rubber-tired metal wheels. A sloping double shield, 6 feet, 3 inches in height, is fitted to the carriage for the protection of the gun crew. Split trails, approximately 12 feet long, are also supplied.

A muzzle brake is fitted to the barrel. The semi-automatic breech mechanism of the horizontal sliding block type is operated by a small auxiliary cylinder on the left side of the breechblock.

The buffer and recuperator are contained in one cylinder which is fitted above the barrel; the balancing cylinders are mounted vertically on either side of the carriage.

The sight bracket is marked for 8.8 cm Pak 43/41 and 8.8 cm Pak 43 Sfl. This marking tends to confirm the opinion that the Pak 43 is a modification of, or development from, the 8.8 cm Flak 41, which it resembles superficially. This marking also confirms the information that this gun, with the designation 43/1, is used in the self-propelled piece Pz. Jag. III/IV (the “Hornet”).


Caliber         88 mm (3.46 ins.)
Weight of gun 4.8 tons
Length of piece (including muzzle brake) 21 ft.
Diameter of wheels 4 ft., 6 ins.
Recoil (maximum) 2.46 ft.
Muzzle velocity Not known
Range Not known
Elevation 38°
Depression -5°
Traverse 58°
Ammunition A.P.C.: H.E.; Hollow-charge
Height 6 ft., 3 ins.

German: p. 113

8.8 cm Flak 41: Multi-Purpose Gun

8.8 cm Flak 41: Multi-Purpose Gun - German 88mm

This new German multi-purpose 8.8 cm gun is built on massive proportions. The piece, which has an overall length of approximately 262 inches, has a built-up tube with a securing collar at the forward end of the jacket.

A breech mechanism of the horizontal sliding type is operated manually by a handle on top of the breech ring; it may also be operated semi-automatically, opening action and extraction taking place during counter-recoil, and closing action following when a round is rammed home.

The hydropneumatic recuperator cylinder is fitted above the barrel; and the buffer is in the cradle. A lug riding in a cam below the left trunnion is geared to rotate the control rod, varying the length of recoil with the elevation. Spring equilibrators are located on either side of the upper carriage.

The elevating mechanism is of the single rack and pinion type. Three elevation speeds are provided and selected by positioning a lever on top of the gear box to which the handwheels are fitted. Three traverse speeds are also provided and selected in the same manner as the elevation speeds.

The cannoneer has the choice of two sitting positions. For direct fire he sits facing the front and fires the gun by pressing an electric push-button with his right foot. The left foot rest, when not depressed, brakes the traverse. When sitting in the antiaircraft position, the cannoneer faces the side of the gun and matches pointers. Here again the left foot rest is a brake pedal, braking the traverse when released. The gun has a total traverse of 360°. The gun crew is protected by a shield 5/16 inch thick and 7 feet, 3 inches high. Both steel casing and normal casing shells are used.


Caliber         8.8 cm
Length of tube 248 ins.
Weight (travelling position) 12.3 tons
Weight (firing position) 8.8 tons
Length (travelling position) 30 ft., 8 ins.
Height (travelling position) 7 ft., 6 ins.
Height (firing position) 50 ins.
Width (overall) 94 ins.
Length of tube and breech ring 8.8 ft.
No. of grooves 32 lands and grooves, R.H. twist
Width of grooves .110 ins.
Depth of grooves .038 ins.
Width of lands .242 ins.
Muzzle velocity (H.E. shell) (3,280 f.s.); (A.P. 3,215 f.s.)
Max. range (horizontal) 21,960 yds.
Max. range (vertical) 16,075 yds.
Rate of fire 20-25 rds. per minute
Traverse 360°
Elevation +90°
Depression -3°
Length of recoil
Ammunition H.E. (3 types of A.P.)
Wt. of projectile H.E. 20.7 lb.; A.P. 22.4 lb.

German: p. 112

8.8 cm Flak 18, 36, 37: Multi-Purpose Gun

German 88mm Flak 18, 36, and 37

This multi-purpose weapon emerged as the most highly publicized artillery piece of the German army during the North African campaign. It is primarily an antiaircraft gun adaptable to antitank and general artillery use. In its antitank role it is fitted with a shield. In its mobile form it is towed on four wheels, usually with an 8-ton half-tracked tractor.

The tube assembly of the gun is of a construction not comparable to any design now in use in this country. It consists of an outer tube or jacket, an inner locking tube and a loose three-section liner. The front and center sections of the liner are keyed in place so as to align the rifling and prevent relative rotation.

The mount is provided with two outriggers for stability when firing in traverses other than directly front or rear. These are hinged to the bottom carriage to travel in a vertical position. During firing the outriggers are let down and secured by half-round locking pins.

The mount is equipped with three means of fire control depending on the usage: data transmission for antiaircraft fire, direct laying for antitank fire and indirect laying for indirect fire.

Specifications listed herewith are based on tests conducted at Aberdeen Proving Ground of a captured 88 mm model Flak 18, under Ordnance Program 5772. The mechanical-type fuse setter and the azimuth indicators were examined at Frankford Arsenal.

The differences implied by the nomenclatures, Flak 18, 36 and 41, refer to different methods of construction.


Caliber        8.8 cm (3.46 ins.)
Length of tube 184.6 ins.
Weight (travelling position) 7.9 tons
Weight (firing position) 5.5 tons
Length (travelling position) 25 ft., 3 ins.
Length (firing position)
Height (travelling position) 102 ins.
Height (firing position) 63 ins.
Width (overall); (traveling position) 94 ins.
Width of trail spread
Length of bore 162.4 ins.
No. of grooves 32
Diam. of grooves 3.552 ins.
Depth of grooves
Diam. of lands 3.473 ins.
Muzzle velocity (H.E. shell) 2,690 f.s.
       (A.P.) 2,624 f.s.
Max. range (horizontal) 16,183 yds.
Max. range (vertical) 11,591 yds.
Rate of fire 15 to 20 r.p.m.
Traverse 2 x 360°
Elevation +85°
Depression -3°
Length of recoil (H.E.) 31.5 ins.
Ammunition H.E. and 3 types of A.P.
Wt. of projectile (H.E.) 20.35 lb.; (A.P.) 20.75 lb.

German: p. 111

88 mm Antiaircraft Gun Type 99

Japanese 88 mm Antiaircraft Gun Type 99

This weapon which was recovered at Rangoon has a barrel of monobloc construction, machined to take a rectangular breech ring. A large threaded brass locking collar holds the breech ring in position. Rifling is right hand twist. The breech mechanism is semi-automatic of the vertical sliding type; the firing mechanism is a percussion type.

The piece fits in a sleeve type cradle to which are fitted the buffer cylinder, the recuperator cylinders, the trunnions, and the elevating arc. The recoil mechanism is hydropneumatic. Two recuperator cylinders are located one on each side of the recoil cylinder which is centrally mounted above the piece. The elevating arc is mounted under the piece offset slightly to the left. It is operated by a handwheel and crank on the left of the gun, and like the traversing handwheel, on the right of the gun, is forward of the trunnions.

The upper carriage consists of two side plates joined by three cross members, and revolves on a ball race fitted to its base. A pintle, bolted to the center of the base, extends down into a bearing in the pedestal. Three brackets are set at regular intervals around the upper carriage to prevent lateral play. The pedestal is a single cast truncated cone, reinforced internally and externally by six ribs. Twelve bolts secure it to a circular steel base plate.

Follow-the-pointer dials are provided for azimuth, elevation, and fuze setting. Three mechanical fuze-setters are also provided. Some of the guns examined were equipped with open sights of very primitive design.


Caliber         88 mm (3.5 ins.)
Weight (complete) 14,560 lbs.
Weight of cradle 1,256 lbs.
Weight of carriage (including elevating & traversing mech.) 4,894 lbs.
Length (traveling position)
Length of barrel assembly 255.8 ins.
Height (traveling position)
Height (firing position)
Width (overall)
Length of bore
No. of grooves 32
Width of grooves
Depth of grooves 1 mm
Width of lands
Muzzle velocity (shell) 2,650 f/s
Max. range (horizontal)
Max. range (vertical)
Rate of fire
Traverse 360°
Elevation 80°
Length of recoil (approx.) 14-15 ins.
Ammunition H.E.
Wt. of projectile (H.E.) (approx.) 18 lbs.

Japanese: p. 114.2 (August 1, 1945)

8.8 cm Raketenwerfer 43 (“Püppchen”): Rocket Launcher

8.8 cm Raketenwerfer 43 ("Püppchen"): German Rocket Launcher

The piece is aimed by grasping two handles fitted to the left rear of the cradle and aligning the open sights on the target. The rear sight is adjustable from 180 to 700 meters.

The launcher fires from a closed breech which is operated by a handle on top of the breech ring. Opening of the breech cocks the hammer which is held in firing position by a sear. When the projectile has been inserted and the breech closed, a squeeze of the right handle depresses the sear, releasing the hammer. A safety device fitted to the left of the firing pin in the center of the breechblock must be turned to “F” position before the launcher can be fired. An additional safety feature prevents the hammer from striking the firing pin unless the breech is fully closed. The small shock of recoil developed by the rocket gases against the closed breech is transmitted directly to the spade.

Ammunition used with the rocket launcher is a modified version of the 8.8 cm rocket projectile, having a percussion primer instead of the electric type. The rocket is fitted with a base plate with a protruding rim to seat the round in the tube. The base plate and primer are the only parts of the round which are extracted after firing.


Caliber       88 mm (3.46 ins.)
Weight (firing position) 315 lbs.
Length of weapon (overall) 9 ft., 9 ins.
Length of barrel 63 ins.
Height (traveling position) 2 ft., 11 ins.
Height (on segments) 1 ft., 7 1/8 ins.
Width (overall) 3 ft., 4 ins.
Length of bore |
No. of grooves |
Width of grooves | Smooth bore
Depth of grooves |
Width of lands |
Muzzle velocity 460 f/s*
Max. range (horizontal) (limited by sight) 765 yds.
Rate of fire
Traverse on wheels: Right (max.) 28°
       Left (max.) 28°
Traverse on firing segments 360°
Elevation 23°
Depression 14°
Length of recoil none
Ammunition 8.8 cm R. Pz. B. Gr. 4312
Wt. of projectile 5 lbs., 13 ozs.

*Not verified.

German: p. 352.1 (August 1, 1945)

8.8 cm Pak 43: Antitank Gun

German 8.8 cm Pak 43: Antitank Gun

The 8.8 cm Pak 43 is an electrically fired, semiautomatic gun, mounted on a cruciform platform (Kreuzlafette) and transported on two single axle limbers similar to those used on the 8.8 cm Flak 18. It has a very low silhouette, on wheels the height to the top of the shield is 5 feet, 6 inches, and to the trunnions, 4 feet. When emplaced it is 12 inches lower.

The gun can be fired from its wheels without extending the side legs, if the direction of fire does not exceed 30° either side of the longitudinal girders. If the direction of fire is greater than 30°, the side legs must be extended and the pads brought firmly in contact with the ground. There is an automatic electric cut-out to the firing gear which restricts elevation to 12° on early equipments and 16° on later equipments when firing over the mounting legs.

There are several other versions of the Pak 43. The Pak 43/41 (page 113) has a two-wheeled carriage with split trails. The Pak 43/1 (page 34) is a self-propelled gun called the “Rhinoceros.” Its chassis is a combination of a Pz. Kw. III and Pz. Kw. IV. The Pak 43/2 (page 39) is a self-propelled gun called the “Elephant”; it is also mounted on the chassis of the Panther (Pz. Kw. V). All of these guns use the same ammunition and have the same ballistic characteristics.


Caliber      88 mm (3.46 ins.)
Weight (traveling position)13,000 lb.
Weight (firing position)7,900 lb.
Length (traveling position)
Length (firing position)
Height (traveling position)5 ft., 6 ins.
Height (firing position)4 ft., 6 ins.
Width (overall)
Length of barrel (w/o muzzle brake)247.5 ins.
Length of bore236.9 ins.
No. of grooves32
Width of grooves.202 in.
Depth of grooves.048 in.
Width of lands.134 in.
Muzzle Velocity (A.P.C.B.C. shell)3,280 f/s
       (H.E. shell)2,460 f/s
Max. range (horizontal)17,500 yds. (H.E. shell)*
Max. range (vertical)
Rate of fire
Length of recoil (normal)47.5 ins.
AmmunitionA.P.C.B.C.; H. E.
Wt. of projectile(H.E.) 20.68 lbs.*
 (A.P.C.B.C.) 22 lbs.

**AP 40 round (tungsten carbide core)
          Pzgr. Patr. 40/43  . . . . . . . . . 16 lb.
          Gr. Patr. 39 HL/A and B . . . . . 16.8 lb.

German: p. 112.1