SP AAA Effectivness

Discussions on the fortifications, artillery, & rockets used by the Axis forces.
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gavmeister13
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SP AAA Effectivness

Post by gavmeister13 » 06 May 2003 10:07

were any SP AAA weapons ever very effective? they seem to fire smallish shells which i wouldnt have thought were any good.

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 06 May 2003 12:58

Well, it depends if you want to destroy a high flying level bomber or a fighter bomber in a CAS mission I think.

Some vehicle like :

german
Wirbelwind (Flakvierling 38 20 mm)
Ostwind (37 mm Flak43 L60)
Möbelwagen (37 mm Flak43 L60)
SPW-251/21 (MG151/15 Drilling)
SdKfz-7/1 (Flakvierling 38 20 mm)

US
M16A1 MGMC (Quad .50 cal AAMG)
M19 Duster (Twin 40 mm Bofors)

Commonwealth
Crusader AA MkI (40 mm bofors)
Crusader AA MkII (Twin 20 mm)

etc.

I guess they weren't too bad but someone perhaps will give some stats or numbers. At least the Flakvierling was very effective and frightened the allied pilots in their jabos I think but it was still rare (on vehicles or as arty piece) in comparison to simple 20 mm Flak38 and 37 mm Flak43 guns. MGs in AA configuration like the MG34 Dreibein were also used but were probably less effective :)
A 20 mm or 40 mm shell hitting a plane cannot be considered as useless or smallish I think :)
An for higher flying bombers the guns like the dreaded german 88, the US 90 mm and the britishe 3inch CWT were not bad in their work I think.

David

daveh
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Post by daveh » 15 May 2003 14:54

To Panzermeyers list I would add the 2cm 3.7cm and quad 2cm weapons
mounted on various half track vehicles. These were especially important in the early years of the war. Given the efforts the Germans continues to put into the design and building of AA vehicles in the later part of the war they at least thought SPAA vehicles were worth while. The British included SPAA vehicles in their armoured divisions readying for the Normandy invasion despite the strength of their air force.

Remember that AA fire was not designed solely to destroy enemy aircraft. The presence of AA fire degraded the effectiveness of enemy attacks to the benefit of friendly units. The SPAA could be present with ground units at all times while aircraft could not be. Several hits from the lighter weapons ie 2cm and below would be required but a ground attack fighter would suffer serious damage from a 3.7cm or 4cm shell.

Overall the answer to your question must be that both sides believed that SPAA vehicles were worth having and this must mean they were thought to be effective weapons.

Toomas
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Post by Toomas » 16 May 2003 07:23

I believe it should also be mentioned that those light SP (as well as non-SP) anti-aircraft weapons were quite effectively used against infantry. I have read several stories describing a situation on eastern front were light AA weapons deployed behind frontline repelled enemy infantry which had broke through the line and moved towards the batallion headquaters.

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 16 May 2003 07:59

I think that the most important feature of the SP AAA is that it is possible to upkeep column movement during the day, and provide instant fire support against attacking aircrafts. The alternative would be to unload the AAA first, and by then the enemy aircrafts are gone...

Don't forget the Kugelblitz either - while not being produced in quatity, the armamant was very deadly.

Christian

Matt L
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Post by Matt L » 16 May 2003 08:32

Hi Gavmeister,

2cm and 3,7cm Flak were extremely effective against low-flying aircraft. remember that the heavy weapon of most fighter aircraft, even today, is a 20mm cannon. 2cm Flak also used a wide variety of ammunition types including high explosive, HE incendary, armor piercing, AP explosive and AP incendiary (phosphorus)... all very nasty to airplanes loaded with fuel and ammunition. I've seen photographs of a British test of the 3cm MK108 cannon where one shell completely blew off the tail section of a Spitfire (ground test), so the 3,7cm Flak shell , which is considerably larger than the 3cm MK108 shell, would be even more devestating.

As for whether specifically the self-propelled Flak was effective, I should think that because the Wirbelwind and Ostwind (2cm and 3,7cm, respectively) were mobile they could move into better firing and protective positions than would regular towed guns.

Matt

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