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Flakpanzer IV Ostwind (East Wind)

Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun Platform

Nazi Germany | 1944

"The Flakpanzer IV Ostwind succeeded the limited-value Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind series in the air defense role."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/05/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The limitations of the earlier quad-20mm-armed, Panzer IV tank-based "Wirbelwind" Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun (SPAAG) system led to the development of, yet another, Panzer IV-based form in the Flakpanzer IV "Ostwind" ("East Wind"). This version reverted to a single 37mm autocannon (similar to the earlier "Mobelwagen") though with an all-new, six-sided, open-air turret. The crew remained five (driver, commander/gunner, radioman and two loaders) while all other automotive aspects of the Panzer IV tank were retained including its Maybach 296 horsepower gasoline engine.

Development of the Ostwind began in earnest during 1944 and was intended as a direct replacement for the limited-value Wirbelwind line. The Ostwind brought about improved capabilities, primarily through its more powerful gun which could reach farther with better penetration value than the preceding 20mm types of the Wirbelwind. The turret was simpler in its design which aided construction and added better protection for the partially exposed gunnery crew. The 12-cylinder engine coupled with a leaf-spring suspension system allowed for serviceable cross-country travel and speeds on roads reached 24 miles per hour with operational ranges out to 120 miles.

The 3.7cm FlaK 43 L/89 autocannon was centrally fixed in the traversing turret with its gunnery crew manning the particular aspects of direction, gun laying and ammunition loading. 1,000 x 37mm projectiles were carried aboard and loaded through cartridges by the dedicated ammunition handlers. A single 7.92mm MG34 machine gun was retained for point self-defense duty of the vehicle, primarily to defend it from oncoming enemy infantry. When not engaging low-flying aerial targets, the 37mm main gun could be brought to bear, with surprising success, against light-armored vehicles and infantry as required - making the Ostwind something of a dual-role battlefield presence.

In August of 1944, the German Army commissioned for 100 Ostwinds in an ever-growing desperate situation. As with the Wirbelwind before it, the concern of Ostbauwerke would be charged with manufacture of the SPAAG and this from the period spanning December of 1944 to March of the following year. However, only some thirty-seven vehicles emerged from existing Panzer IV stocks and a further seven "new-build" vehicles were added - the 100-strong agreement would never be reached amidst the collapsing German war industry.

To that end, the war in Europe was over in May of 1945 and this saw Ostwinds serve as best they could until the conclusion of the conflict.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Flakpanzer IV Ostwind (East Wind) Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun Platform.
1 x Maybach HL 120 TRM 12-cylinder gasoline engine developing 296 horsepower.
Installed Power
24 mph
38 kph
Road Speed
124 miles
200 km
The physical qualities of the Flakpanzer IV Ostwind (East Wind) Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun Platform.
19.4 ft
5.92 meters
O/A Length
9.7 ft
2.95 meters
O/A Width
9.8 ft
3 meters
O/A Height
55,116 lb
25,000 kg | 27.6 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Flakpanzer IV Ostwind (East Wind) Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun Platform.
1 x 37mm FlaK 43 L/89 autocannon.
1 x 7.92mm MG34 machine gun.
1,000 x 37mm projectiles.
1,350 x 7.92mm ammunition.
Nightvision - NONE.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - NONE.
Notable series variants as part of the Flakpanzer IV Ostwind (East Wind) family line.
Flakpanzer IV ("Ostwind") - Base Series Designation
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Flakpanzer IV Ostwind (East Wind). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 44 Units

Contractor(s): Nazi Germany
National flag of modern Germany National flag of Nazi Germany

[ Nazi Germany ]
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Image of the Flakpanzer IV Ostwind (East Wind)
Image courtesy of the Public Domain.

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to battlefield requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Flakpanzer IV Ostwind (East Wind) Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun Platform appears in the following collections:
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