Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Small Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks Military Pay Chart (2024) Special Forces
Land Systems / Battlefield

8.8cm FlaK 41

Anti-Aircraft / Anti-Tank Gun [ 1943 ]

The FlaK 41 was devised in 1939 to combat the ever-increasing capabilities of enemy aircraft but development delayed introduction until 1943.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/14/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

Leading up to World War 2, no other nation was seemingly on the same technological edge as the Germans who spent years prior building up their formidable military inventory and the refined tactics to go along with them. The development of the excellent FlaK 18 series anti-aircraft gun - bettered in the upcoming FlaK 36 and FlaK 37 versions - served as a platform to other later artillery programs. By 1939, German authorities were keen on aircraft advancements across the globe and understood that their initial anti-aircraft defense guns would soon become outmoded artifacts for the presence of all-metal skinned aircraft and better engines promised airframes that could now fly higher and faster than ever before.

As such, the German government commissioned the Rheinmetall firm to produce a suitable advanced replacement for the existing family of "88s" - the casual term used to signify the excellent 8.8cm FlaK series guns. However, this time around, the Germans held the advantage of being able to use the excellent inherent qualities of its predecessors to make an even better end-product. Additionally, it was discovered that these earlier FlaK guns could also double as effective tank-killing machines so the new gun design would be a dual-purpose weapon system from the get go - capable of lobbing exploding shells at advancing enemy aircraft or firing on advancing enemy tanks with equal fervor. Rheinmetall responded by delivering the 88mm (8.8cm) "Gerat 37" for evaluation in 1941. By this time, Germany was fully embroiled in World War. The system was of an all-new design that required its own special 88mm ammunition supply apart from pre-existing 88mm gun developments.

The Gerat 37 was formally designated as the "8.8cm FlaK 41" in the German military inventory and its design followed along the same conventional lines of the original FlaK guns in terms of scope and function. Caliber remained the aforementioned 88mm and the weapon could reach out to aircraft as far as 48,230 feet. A new, longer gun barrel of three or four sections was issued and an all-new gun mount was used. The multi-sectioned barrel assembly allowed crews to only replace the worn out portions of the barrel as opposed to the entire assembly, saving both time and cost. The individual projectiles weighed in at 20.7lbs and the vehicle itself sported a weight of 17,200lbs when stationary and 24,700lbs when set up for transport. The weapon measured in at 31 feet, 8 inches long with a width of 7 feet, 10.5 inches and a height of 7 feet, 9 inches. The barrel itself was 21 feet, 6 inches in length and rifling ran through some 17 feet, 9 inches of it. Elevation was limited to +90 and -3 degrees to make it an effective dual-purpose weapon capable of engaging ground and air targets alike. As the FlaK 41 sat atop its own turning gun mount, traverse was a full 360-degrees. Muzzle velocity was rated at 3,280 feet per second and a trained crew could fire up to 25 rounds per minute. An automatic fuse setter was instituted with the loader mechanism as was a powered ramming device. The FlaK 41 was issued with a conventional cruciform mount and would be set up to attach to mover vehicles for transit.

From the outset, the FlaK 41 proved a complex weapon when introduced to German gunnery elements and was therefore an expensive weapon to mass-produce - a common issue to many of the excellently engineered German weapons of the war. Some early evaluations brought about various inconsistencies in her performance and teething problems soon arose. Special brass ammunition cases had to be manufactured to cover a persistent jamming issue when the system extracted a spent shell casing. While some issues were formally addressed, others proved too complex to fully iron out, forcing development to flounder until 1943. By now, Germany was at war along multiple fronts and being stretched for resources throughout, desperate for more war-making implements.

The FlaK 41 was therefore sent into combat with issues still outstanding and its baptism of fire became Tunisia in the North African Campaign where tank warfare ruled the battlefield. Once in action, the ferocity of the system was highly apparent but the inherent issues were enough to limit their effectiveness throughout. The FlaK 41 proved a needy weapon requiring constant attention and service to prolong her usefulness and service life. Once her time in Africa had come to a close and Germany had officially lost their foothold on the continent, FlaK 41s were brought closer to home to defend the periphery of the Reich Empire on the European continent. Its proximity to the German homeland allowed Wehrmacht maintenance personnel quicker access in servicing their FlaK 41 systems. Not all was lost for the FlaK 41 for she did serve expertly in providing an improved rate-of-fire over that of earlier FlaK gun series and few doubted her capabilities making the FlaK 41 a success in at least one respect.

Regardless, fate would inevitably work against the rather excellent FlaK 41. Its technical issues were ever-present and the maintenance requirements were unsuitably high. Her complexity proved cost-prohibitive and the relentless Allied bombing campaign on German factories only served to keep her operational numbers down to just a few hundred - quite the contrast to the tens of thousands of FlaK 18 / 36 / 37 guns fielded by the end of the war. To help keep FlaK 41 production optimal, there was even an attempt to shift manufacture to Pilsen (from Dusselforf) but this only served to delay service numbers even further.

Some 318 FlaK 41 examples were made available by early 1945 but supply would never meet up with the demand. The war for Germany would be over by May of that year and, with it, the tenure of the FlaK 41 as well. Regardless, the FlaK 41 was viewed in after-war reports as a stellar weapon design of technical superiority and came to be regarded as the best of the German anti-aircraft guns of the entire war by herself and her enemies.

Krupp attempted various experimental uses involving the FlaK 41 gun system including a self-propelled, tracked anti-aircraft gun platform. The chassis featured overlapping road wheels for good cross country support and fold-down platform floors along the sides for the gunnery crew. The gun was mounted at the center of the hull on its typical turning base which still offered excellent range and unlimited traverse. This experimental model was trialed in 1941. Other FlaK 41 gun systems were fitted to specialized platforms for static defense purposes.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


State Factories - Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Operators National flag of modern Germany National flag of Nazi Germany
Service Year
Nazi Germany
National Origin

Base model or variant can be used to search, track, and neutralize airborne elements at range.
Support allied forces through direct / in-direct fire, assault forward positions, and / or breach fortified areas of the battlefield.

31.7 ft
(9.65 meters)
7.9 ft
(2.4 meters)
7.7 ft
(2.36 meters)
17,284 lb
(7,840 kg)
8.6 tons

None. This is a towed artillery piece.
Drive System
9 miles
(15 km)
Road Range

1 x 88mm main gun
Dependent upon ammunition carrier.

FlaK 41 - Base series designation

Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of the Bulge
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Kursk
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental military vehicles


1 / 1
Image of the 8.8cm FlaK 41
Right side view of the 8.8cm FlaK 41 anti-aircraft gun

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons. Special Interest: RailRoad Junction, the locomotive encyclopedia.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)