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8.8 cm Flugabwehr-Kanone

An Australian infantryman said it all when he quipped that the "eighty-eight" was anti-everything. The 8.8 cm Flugabwehr-Kanone was introduced in 1934 as an anti-aircraft gun and was first used in the anti-tank role in the Spanish Civil War and later in North Africa. Throughout World War II it was continually improved and appeared in three versions: the FlaK 18, FlaK 36 and the FlaK 38. It could knock out any Allied tank at distances up to 2,000 yards. Considered by some to be the best gun of the war, the deadly and versatile eighty-eight could be pressed into service not only in anti-aircraft and anti-tank roles, but also used as normal field artillery and has been used against fortified bunkers. Features included a telescopic sight, an armored sheild to provide a little protection to the crew when engaging ground targets and an advanced semi-automatic breech. When used as an anti-tank gun it employed a carriage, from which the gun could be fired without being taken off its wheels. When used as an anti-aircraft gun the mount's platform rested squarely on the ground with four outriggers providing stability. Its effective ceiling was 34,770 feet and maximum horizontal range was 16,600 feet. The crew could fire 15 to 20 rounds a minute. Over 18,000 of these guns were produced in all variants.

Sources: "German Artillery." Oct. 22, 2010.
"The 88." Oct. 22, 2010.