Osprey New Vanguard 46 : 88 mm FlaK 18/36/37/41 and PaK 43 1936-1945
The German 88 mm was by far the most famous and versatile artillery weapon of World War II. The original plans for such a weapon were drawn up in the closing stages of World War I; however, the Treaty of Versailles prevented Germany from openly developing artillery. In order to get around this clause of the treaty, engineers from the German armament firm Krupp began to develop guns whilst working alongside the Swedish company Bofors. The 88 mm was one of those projects. With the coming to power of Adolph Hitler in 1933, the need for secrecy was past and Krupp began to develop the weapon in the open. It was first used as an anti-aircraft weapon by the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War. It saw further service in the German invasions of Poland and France, and during this period it was first used in the anti-tank role. Apocryphally, this conversion was attributed to Rommel either in France or North Africa. This new role was particularly successful and the 88 became feared by tank crews from North Africa to Russia. These weapons were often incorporated into lethal 'PaK Fronts', interconnected anti-tank units, which took a heavy toll of Soviet and Allied armoured vehicles. Apart from these two main roles the 88 mm was used as the main weapon on late-war German tanks, as a self-propelled gun, mounted on battleships such as the Bismarck and the Scharnhorst and even as an aerial weapon. Text by John Norris with illustrations by Mike Fuller.
- Design and Development
- Operational History
- The Plates
Osprey New Vanguard