Antiaircraft gun director + listening device

Discussions on the fortifications, artillery, & rockets used by the Axis forces.
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Mak Los Mien Schnitzel
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Antiaircraft gun director + listening device

Post by Mak Los Mien Schnitzel » 27 Nov 2003 01:46

Thought I'd share this with you all.

I am selling some photos on a popular auction site at the moment and one potential customer sent me this comment about one particular piece of equipment which may interest you all:

Thanks for offering this great photo. My information indicates the device the
men are standing next to is a Kommandohilfegerat 35 antiaircraft gun director.
It was a mechanical computer that could control the gun pointing and fuse
setting. I believe the device on the left is a listening device, with two
microphone horns. It was used to identify the range and direction of approaching
enemy aircraft that were beyond the horizon or or otherwise not visible.


Given the fact that the allies were so dominant in the air over europe, I didn't even know such devices existed. Can anyone say when they were introduced and where?
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Xavier
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Post by Xavier » 27 Nov 2003 04:12

the round objects, I think are the wheels for turning the range finder,

I wil scan later thuis week a photo I have of a sound rangefinder for the forum.

is a really big object, mounted in a carriage like the ones used on the big searchlights and the flakvierling

regards

Xavier
the link scrounger

gabriel pagliarani
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Post by gabriel pagliarani » 28 Nov 2003 09:51

The crew in the photo is aiming thru an optical device, a sort of vertical scoped telemeter. I have just seen those device on ships, but the difference is in flat horizontal optics. This device seems to use a vertical periscope. And I am not sure that is an AA device: it may be an AT. Probably those wheels in the other site are not directly related to this device.

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JTV
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Post by JTV » 28 Nov 2003 15:18

I think the person who contacted you first is correct. That looks like German "Kommandohilfegerat 35" mechical computer used as help for aiming heavy AA-guns. These machines were also called as "antiaircraft gun directors".

The Finns acquired exactly the same mechanical fire-control computers with 8,8 cm Flak 37 AA-guns around at 1944 from Germany and called them "antiaircraft gun director M/35 Delta". This exact machine was probably the most effective version that the German had and the Finns kept using them with 88-mm AA-guns until 1969. The machine needed seperate rangefinder, but once the correct range and high values are set it can count the correct values directly to meters of aiming system at 8,8 cm Flak 37 AA-guns. The Finns used telephones to tell correct numbers to the guns. Kommandohilfegerat 35 could be set 500 metres from the heavy aa-guns used with it.

The much more complicated (also German) m/40 Lambda mechanical FC-computer had 4 meter rangefinder on top of it (information from this rangefinder was electically transmitted to antiaircraft gun director under it) and once counted by the machine could sent the aiming data directly to 88-mm AA-guns via 108-strand cable. (After that the crew just had to aim the gun to direction that the meters indicated, use the system included to gun for giving the ammunition correct timer setting and start shooting at the correct moment. If the combination of mechanical fire-control computer and (other then Flak 18 model) 8,8 cm Flak 18 were attached also to fire-control radar such as FuMG 62 Wurtzberg 39 T version C (as used in Finland) the situation would get yet more interesting for hostile bombers.

Mechanical fire-control computers were usual equipment used with heavy AA-guns during WW2.

Knowing how the situation developed in Finland here is bit information: Finnish military acquired their first mechanical FC-computer (Austrian Goertz) to be used with heavy AA-guns (76-mm Bofors AA-guns) at year 1929. It didn't really worked, but Vickers machines acquired bit later worked quite well. Finnish military also tested counting systems for using the guns without mechanical FC-computers at 1930's and developed these as socalled "3T-method". The 3T-method (mainly developed by Finnish artilellery General and gifted mathematician Nenonen) demanded large number of men to do calculations and information being shouted from man to man, it barely worked in peacetime rehersals but proved too uneffective for battle-use. The tests done revealed that FC-computer was absolutely necessary for the heavy AA-guns to be effective. During WW2 Finnish military used following mechanical FC-computers with heavy AA-guns:
- Vickers M/34 (British, quite good)
- Gala-Borletti M/34 (Italian, outdated)
- Äldre M/30 (Swedish, outdated)
- Delta M/35 (German, excellent)
- Aufiere M/35 and M/44 (French, first version outdated, M/44 had been improved by the Germans and was relatively good)
- Juhanz-Gamma M/36 (licensed Finnish made copy of Hungarian design, good)
- Skoda T 7n (Czechoslovakian, good)
- Puazo 3 (captured Soviet, based to Skoda T7, good)
- Lambda M/40 (German "Kommando Gerät 40" aka "Kappa-Gerät", excellent)
As you can see the designs were numerous and their quality varied. Some were too complicated to be used effectively and ever faster aircraft simply got too fast for some.

BTW: Is that thing at the background really listening device for spotting the direction of aircraft or is it part of the mount for the instrument on top of it? The photo is not too accurate in that area, but it looks to me that there is something looking a lot like large optical rangefinder (also standard issue for heavy AA-gun units) on top of it.

Attached is pic of Kommandohilfegerat 35 taken by yours truly at Finnish Antiaircraft Museum.
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Last edited by JTV on 02 Dec 2003 14:56, edited 1 time in total.

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Juha Tompuri
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Post by Juha Tompuri » 28 Nov 2003 18:54

The equipment at left, behind is quite probably a standard 4m base rangefinder ( Em.R 4m R40 ?)
range: from 700m
weight: 190kg

Regards, Juha
Last edited by Juha Tompuri on 28 Nov 2003 19:19, edited 1 time in total.

Mark V
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Post by Mark V » 28 Nov 2003 18:59

Good info JTV,

Thanks.

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Juha Tompuri
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Post by Juha Tompuri » 29 Nov 2003 13:34

hi,
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Juha Tompuri
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Post by Juha Tompuri » 29 Nov 2003 19:45

Some German fire control computers
same source:
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JTV
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Post by JTV » 02 Dec 2003 15:20

Bit more information about "Kommandohilfegerat 35" aka M/35 Delta in Finland:
Originally the Germans had intended these as spare equipment for the M/40 Lambda (Kommando Gerat 40). The Finnish soldiers liked the machines, because they were quite fast and simple to use. The weaknesses were that M/35 Delta needed to be located in middle of guns as it could count the numbers only for its own location. 4-meter Zeiss made rangefinders were used with them (also in Germany).

The limits for targets that the M/35 Delta could handle were:
- Distance to target: 1,2 km - 12 km
- Maximum speed for the target: 150 metres/second aka 540 km's/hour
- Largest advance: 8,4 km
- Weight in action: the machine itself 156 kg + mount
- Weight in transport: 905 kg
- Crew: 7 men

After WW2 Finnish M.Sc. (and Colonel) Niilo Siltamaa designed improvements to M/35 Delta. He managed to modify it so that the machine could handle targets, which had double the speed (targets with speed upto 300 metres/sec aka 1,080 km/hour). Besides this he added wind-correction counter to the system (so wind-direction and wind-force could be included into counting). It was this modified version, that served until 1969 in Finland.

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Mak Los Mien Schnitzel
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Post by Mak Los Mien Schnitzel » 03 Dec 2003 20:51

Wow this thread has been busy since I last looked.

Juha, are you a member of the WW2 forum? I posted this thread just before entering the Kommandohilfegerat in the Weapons Quiz, my handle on that thread is "bratwurstdimsum" :)

Thanks all for your inputs, it certainly is an unusual piece of equipment and if I'd known what it was I would not have sold the photo! :cry:

What I would like to know is how effective were these machines at knocking down bombers?

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Juha Tompuri
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Post by Juha Tompuri » 03 Dec 2003 22:27

M.L.M.S,
Yep, the same guy :wink:
Bratwurst/Schnitzel, you seem to be interested in German food?
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Radar
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Listening device

Post by Radar » 04 Dec 2003 15:39

Here is a picture of a "Horchgerät" listening device from the Air Defence Zone West.

Radar[size=18][/size][size=24][/size]
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nublu
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Post by nublu » 04 Dec 2003 18:34

Just one short question. Estonia ordered also from Germany AA guns and sighting equipment what is named in Estonian documents as "Wikog".

What kind of device it was? can anyone provide some details? It was never delivered, but just interesting to know...

rgrds

Toomas

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Juha Tompuri
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Post by Juha Tompuri » 05 Dec 2003 22:22

Nublu,

Were the Wikogs for the your German origin 37mm AAA?
I´ve read about an Estonian FC-computer (automaattulejuhtimisaparatuur, designed by Karl Papello) T-5 at mid 30´s. Do you have any info more?



JTV,

AFAIK also the 3-T method and mechanical FC-computer Berkog were used at Winter War. The Dutch origin Berkog can be seen at the right at my previous pic. The rust brown one. Also here a pre-war pic from the book "Ilmapuolustus Sanoin ja Kuvin" :
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Harri
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Post by Harri » 05 Dec 2003 23:00

3-T method was a "development" of Gen. V. Nenonen based on WW I style "estimated fire leading". During Winter War most Finnish AA batteries used it although it was only a spare method. It was used because most computers didn't work in extreme coldness.

I think we had only one single m/29 Berkog and it was located at Viipuri in 1939. It was made by a Dutch subsidiary of Zeiss and was already obsolete. Also m/34 Vickers computers worked like they should have to but not in -50 C!!

The best computer used in Finland was German m/40 Lambda bought in spring 1943 with 88 mm RMB AA guns. Finland bought only three of devices. It was without doubt the best computer produced during the WW II - actually a full fire control device. It was so accurate that it took 30 years to develop better computers.

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