In the later stages of the Second World War, the Germans lost control over the skies and their ground forces had to endure extensive enemy air attacks. The use of self-propelled anti-aircraft guns (SPAAGs) based on half-track chassis offered some way to fight back, but these were themselves highly vulnerable, as they lacked proper armor protection.
A SPAAG based on a tank chassis was more desirable. Starting from 1944, the German focus was on producing such vehicles based on the Panzer IV chassis. This led to the development of the Flakpanzer IV 2 cm Flak 38 Vierling, better known today as the Wirbelwind (Eng. Whirlwind).
With its four 2 cm guns, it shot down many Allied aircraft, but by late 1944 standards, something with more firepower was desired and needed. Thus, the Germans developed a new version armed with four 3 cm anti-aircraft guns. The late start of this project meant that only a few prototypes were allegedly created by the war’s end.
Height: 2.76 m.
Weight: 25 tonnes.
Engine: Maybach HL120 TRM 12-cylinder petrol engine 300 PS (296 hp, 220 kW).
Speed: 42 kmh.
Crew: 5 (guner, loader, commander, driver and radio operator) some documents sugest that there is a second loader making crew 6 in total.
Armor: Turret: 16mm all around, Hull: 80mm front, 30mm sides, 20mm rear.
Armament: 4 x 30 mm MK103/38 cannon (belt capacity 150-200 rounds)(ammunition 3200 rounds in total), one 7.92mm MG34 machine gun (600 rounds).
Late into the war, a four-barreled version of the 3 cm MK 103, known as the 3 cm Flakvierling, was tested and possibly even built-in smaller numbers. Due to the late introduction, the overall characteristics of this four-barreled version are barely mentioned in the sources. Based on a few available photographs, it was provided with cylindrical-shaped magazines that were fixed to the gun but could be opened to place belt-fed ammunition inside of them. Another interesting feature was that these ammunition magazines were placed above (on the upper) and under (on the lower) guns, not on the side, like for the 2 cm four-barreled version.
Lastly, for self-defense, the crew could rely on the hull-mounted MG 34, retained from the Panzer IV design, and their personal weapons.
3 cm Flakvierling is able to use the same ammunition that the Kugelblitz use:
Pzbrgr.(Elektron) o.Zerl. (Ap-I) 0,5kg 800m/s 0g 58mm/10m
Pzsprgr. L`Spur. o.Zerl. (Aphe-T) 0,5kg 800m/s 14g Pent (23,8g) 58mm/10m
Pzbrsprgr. L`Spur. o.Zerl. (ApheIcbc-T) 0,455kg 800m/s 5,2g Pent (8,84g) 58mm/10m
H-Pzgr. L`Spur. o.Zerl. (HVAP-T) 0,360kg 960m/s 0g 77mm/10m
Sprgr. L`Spur. o.Zerl. (He-T) 0,44kg 800m/s 27g Pent (45,9g)
M-Gesch. L`Spur. o.Zerl. 0,33kg 900-920m/s 70g HTA 5g Pent (92,5g)
M-Gesch. o.Zerl.: 0,33kg 860-900m/s 85g HTA (102g)
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12-1 – Flakpanzerkampfwagen IV and other Flakpanzer projects development and production from 1942 to 1945.
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Captured ammunition Bulletin
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