Manuferey wrote:And another one from ebay.de (location unknown).
According to Grezio, there were 25 vehicles that saw actions in 1940 and 1941, and 14 more built in 1943 and used in Italy. There are a lot of pictures for such a small number of units!
Those allegedly used in Italy were built on the 18-ton tractor (SdKfz 9) and could be used as both for ground fire and anti-aircraft fire. The one pictured here and in the other photos above is the version built early in the war on the 12-ton tractor (SdKfz 8) which could only be used for ground fire against tanks and bunkers.
I've never been entirely convinced about the production numbers.
The entry in "Encyclopedia of German Tanks...." makes little sense. It combines the two vehicles in one article and in the data part of the article claims 10 were made in 1939 and another 15 in 1940 - no mention of how many were built on each chassis. Then in the text, it is said that 10 were ordered on the 12-ton chassis in 1939 while another order was placed in 1940 for an unknown number of vehicles to be built on the 18-ton chassis. Later, it is claimed that an order for 112 vehicles on the 18-ton chassis was ordered by the Luftwaffe in 1942 with 14 to be delivered in 1943. it then says that interest faded and the order was dropped.
If anything meaningfull can be derived from these numbers, then it must be that 10 12 ton tractors with 8,8cm FlaK was made in 1939 and 15 on the 18 ton chassis made in 1940 - but what does one then make of the 14 18-ton vehicles allegedly made in 1943 - and how does that compare with the total of 25 made? (p. 186)
According to Hahn, the Luftwaffe delivered a 126 of 8,8cm FlaK 18/36 guns to the Heer in May 1941 after the army had conducted a number of experiments in 1940. Of those 126, 6 were labelled Flak 37 and mounted on the 18-ton tractor as part of a program ordering 112 such vehicles of which only 14 were made in February 1943 before the program was stopped. (p. 207). The version on the 12-ton tractor is briefly mentioned as a few being made and employed in France.
Fleischer, in "Die Deutschen Panzerjägertruppe" (p. 27-29) talks exclusively about the gun mounted on the 12-ton tractor. According to his rather more detailed account, in 1938 the Generalstab des Heeres worked together with the Heereswaffenamt, Luftwaffenamt and Daimler-Benz on employing the 8,8cm Flak as an anti-tank/anti-bunker weapon. This resulted in two prototypes, one being the 8,8cm FlaK mounted on the armoured 12-ton tractor, the other a similarily armoured 8-ton tractor (SdKfz 7) towing a specially equipped 8,8cm FlaK with armoured shield and a 6 round ready magazine on the side of the gun. After the guns had been presented in the autumn of 1938, and order for 30 guns was issued. It seems that this order included both the self-propelled and towed versions. Then Flesicher gets a bit vague, as he assumes that the order was increased (he uses a word my dictionaries have a bit of trouble with: "Die Bestellung had man vermutlich aufgestockt
.."), but goes on to say that the towed version was employed in France by Heeres-Panzerjägerabteilung 525, 560 and 605, each having 12 guns while 6 self-propelled guns were used in an independent company.This would of course require 36 towed guns to have been made.
The 6 self-propelled guns seems to be spot on, as the relevant KStN for such a company is KStN 1146 of 01.02.40 which calls for a "Pz.Jäg.Kp. 8,8cm-Flak 18 (6 Gesch.) (mot S)" and the unit in question would of course be the 1. Kompanie/PzJgAbt 8 which travelled with 1. Panzerdivision into France in 1940. It was later renamed Panzerjägerkompanie 601 and attached to PzJgAbt 559 in Russia, by June 1942 having 4 8,8cm 12-ton tractor vehicles with another one in reserve. By the summer of 1943, the remaining guns had been used up (this info according to Leo Niehorster).
I have to say that my personal take on this is that only 10 vehicles were ever made, 6 sent to France in 1940 were at least one was damaged/destroyed, the often photographed vehicle seen in Manufereys picture above, which was bombed by Stukas at Chemery near Sedan. My guess is that the company was resupplied from the remaining four vehicles and then went to Russia where the vehicles were gradually used up, the ones mentioned being at hand in June 1942 possibly being the last five.
I think the reason there is a lot of pictures of this vehicle is that it is an impressive and unusual vehicle, which every passing soldier would take a picture of and possibly that someone in the unit was a keen photographer. In Nuts & Bolts #16 by Nicolaus Hettler, there is 19 pictures, only one of which is the same as those posted here, even though many are of the same vehicle, particularily the one destroyed at Chemery.
Apparently a lot less photographed is the towed version, of which the "Encyclopedia..." has one shot and Fleischer has four (+ two of the selfpropelled version, both of the Chemery vehicle)