×
Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Scale Military Ranks
HOME
ARMOR
MODERN ARMIES
COUNTRIES
MANUFACTURERS
COMPARE
BY CONFLICT
BY TYPE
BY DECADE
WORLD WAR 2

Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind (Whirlwind)


Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun Platform (1944)


Land Systems / Battlefield

1 / 1
Image courtesy of the Public Domain.

Jump-to: Specifications

The Wirbelwind SPAAG system was produced with the hull of the Panzer 4 series tanks.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/05/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
As the Allied air campaign against German interests during World War 2 increased in both its intensity and results, it fell to the German Army to develop mobile-minded air defense platforms. The earlier "Mobelwagen" was born from the hull of the Panzer IV medium tank and fitted with a single 37mm FlaK 43 L/89 autocannon affixed to an boxy armored superstructure. The vehicle weighed some 24,000 kilograms, featured a crew of six and managed an ammunition load of 416 x 37mm projectiles. For all intents and purposes, the Mobelwagen became an interim design until better air defense vehicles could be found.

Thus came about the "Wirbelwind" ("Whirlwind"/ "Flakpanzer IV") which was also built atop the hull of the Panzer IV line. Instead of a single gun, a crew of six and a boxy superstructure, the Wirbelwind utilized a quad-gun arrangement (4 x 2cm Flakvierling 38 L/112.5) with a crew of five and an all-new, open-air, nine-sided turret "tub". The Panzer IV tank origins were clearly visible with the eight road wheel arrangement, forward-mounted drive sprocket and rear-mounted track idler. The crew consisted of a driver, commander (doubling as the primary gunner), radioman and two ammunition handlers. Total ammunition stocks were 3,200 x 20mm projectiles for the four cannon and 1,350 x 7.92mm ammunition for a single, defensive-minded, MG34 machine gun. The vehicle retained the Panzer IV's leaf spring suspension and could make headway at 25 miles per hour on ideal surfaces and reach out to a range of 124 miles. Power was through a Maybach HL 120 TRM 12-cylinder gasoline-fueled engine held at the rear. Armor protection ranged from 10mm to 80mm across the various facings.

Only when pressed with the need for protection against Allied attack aircraft did the German Army invest in air defense vehicles and then began a race to find appropriate solutions. Design and development of the Wirbelwind began in 1944 when a German officer - Karl Krause - brought his Panzer IV-based idea to authorities to which the design was ultimately approved by Hitler himself. Work then began on existing stocks of Panzer IV vehicles for the conversion process ahead. In many ways, the Wirbelwind offered a logistically-friendly solution, able to retain and reuse many of the automotive components already in circulation for the Panzer IV tank and the new faceted turret was simple enough to mass-produce. Additionally, the 20mm guns were available in number. Manufacture of Wirbelwinds was charged to Ostbauwerke of Sagan, Silesia.

In early-action use, the Wirbelwind proved valuable against low-flying aircraft through its four-gun, repeat-fire arrangement. Its self-propelled capabilities allowed it to relocate with some ease and keep up with German convoys when required. However, Allied air power and related tactics against ground fire continued to evolve which, in turn, began limiting the effectiveness of the Wirbelwind system. The 20mm shell-of-choice also showcased its limitations which furthered other air defense solutions - one coming in the form of the "Ostwind", another Panzer IV-based vehicle reverting back to the more potent 3.7cm FlaK 43 gun within a new, open-air, six-sided turret design. Despite its now-limited air defense capabilities, Wirbelwinds continued in support of German Army actions as its 20mm quad-guns could be brought to bear against enemy light-armored ground targets and troop concentrations with rather disastrous results.

Around 100 or so Wirbelwind vehicles were ultimately completed, though precise numbers are not recognized in any one source.

Specifications



Service Year
1944

Origin
Nazi Germany national flag graphic
Nazi Germany

Crew
5
CREWMEN
Production
100
UNITS


Ostbauwerke - Nazi Germany
National flag of modern Germany National flag of Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Anti-Aircraft / Airspace Denial
Base model or variant can be used to search, track, and neutralize airborne elements at range.


Length
19.4 ft
5.9 m
Width
9.5 ft
2.9 m
Height
9.0 ft
2.75 m
Weight
48,502 lb
22,000 kg
Tonnage
24.3 tons
MEDIUM
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind (Whirlwind) production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
Powerplant: 1 x Maybach HL 120 TRM 12-cylinder gasoline engine developing 296 horsepower.
Speed
24.9 mph
(40.0 kph)
Range
124.3 mi
(200.0 km)
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind (Whirlwind) production variant. Compare this entry against any other in our database)
4 x 20mm Flakvierling 38 cannons.
1 x 7.92mm MG34 General Purpose Machine Gun.


Supported Types


Graphical image of a tank automatic cannon
Graphical image of a tank medium machine gun


(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
3,200 x 20mm projectiles.
1,350 x 7.92mm ammunition.


Flakpanzer IV ("Wirbelwind") - 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 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


Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies


2021 Military Pay Scale Army Ranks Navy Ranks Air Force Ranks Alphabet Code DoD Dictionary American War Deaths French Military Victories Vietnam War Casualties

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.

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, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft, and SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane.


Facebook Logo YouTube Logo

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-