12.8 cm FlaK 40

The 12.8 cm FlaK 40 was a German World War II anti-aircraft gun. Although it was not produced in great numbers, it was one of the most effective heavy AA guns of its era.

12.8 cm FlaK 40
Class Vehicle
Type Specialty
Manufacturer Rheinmetall
Origin Germany
Country Name Origin Year
Germany 1942
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Germany 1942 1945 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Rheinmetall 1942 1125 View

Development of the gun began in 1936, with the contract being awarded to Rheinmetall Borsig, the first prototype gun was delivered for testing in late 1937 and completed testing successfully. The gun weighed nearly 12 tonnes in its firing position, with the result that its barrel had to be removed for transport. Limited service testing showed this was impractical, so in 1938 other solutions were considered.

The eventual solution was to simplify the firing platform, based on the assumption it would always be securely bolted into concrete. The total weight of the system reached 26.5 tonnes, making it practically impossible to tow cross-country. In the end this mattered little, since by the time the gun entered production in 1942, it was used in primary static defensive applications. There were four twin mounts on the fortified anti-aircraft Zoo Tower, and they were also on other flak towers protecting Berlin, Hamburg, and Vienna. Approximately 200 were mounted on railcars, providing limited mobility.

The gun fired a 27.9 kg (57.2-pound) shell at 880 m/s (2,890 ft/s) to a maximum ceiling of 14,800 m (48,556 ft). Compared with the 88mm FlaK 18 & 36, the 128 used a powder charge four times as great which resulted in a shell flight time only one-third as long. This made aim against fast-moving targets much easier.

Type Anti-aircraft gun
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1942–45
Used by Nazi Germany
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Rheinmetall-Borsig
Designed 1936
Manufacturer Rheinmetall-Borsig
Produced 1942
Number built Total 1,125
Variants 12.8 cm FlaK 40
12.8 cm FlaK 40 Zwilling
Specifications
Weight 17,000 kg (37,478 lbs)
Length 7.835 m (25 ft 8 in)
Barrel length 61 calibers
Shell 26 kilograms (57 lb)
Caliber 128 mm (5.03  in)
Breech Horizontal sliding
Recoil Hydropneumatic
Carriage Static or railcar mounted.
Elevation -3 to +88 degrees
Traverse 360 degrees
Muzzle velocity 880 m/s (2,887 ft/s)
Maximum firing range 10,675 m (35,025 ft)
Feed system Power rammer

End notes