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flak batteries

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by denny, Oct 15, 2016.

  1. denny

    denny Member

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    Was it possible to bomb, with a big bomber force, the flak guns themselves.?
    Were they too small, protected, mobile, easily replaceable to bomb into destruction.?
    Thank You
     
  2. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    It was possible to attack flak guns with bombs, rockets, cannon and machine guns from aircraft or, if in range field or naval artillery.

    Flak guns were small targets often protected by blast walls from near misses. An aircraft making a precision strike on a flak gun also may give the flak gunner an opportunity for a zero deflection shot on the aircraft. An Fw190 attacking one of the Bofors guns at Pegasus Bridge found this out then hard way.

    There is an operations research report carried out on the flak suppression missions for the Rhine crossing. These make for sober reading.
     
  3. denny

    denny Member

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    I suppose there was some dignity in being able to shoot back at a fighter plane. Having to drive through those heavy Flak Fields must have been maddening, not to mention terrifying.
     
  4. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    From the AA Gunners point fo view there were some serious duels. F troop of 92 (Loyals) Light AA regiment shot down 10 aircraft in 14 days defending Pegasus bridge. Read the story of a British flak Regiment here - written by a forum member http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/out-of-print-true-loyals-book-available-in-pdf.61555/

    For the airman's POV read "The big Show" by Pierre Closterman.

    I think there was a big difference between dodging flak at 25,000 ft with each round fired 60 seconds earlier; and diving into low level flak. Closterman wrote about losing half a flight attacking an airfield in 1945 and concluded "not worth it"
     
  5. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Thinking of the 'protected' aspect & Flak Towers protecting major cities, I believe they were simply too solid to realistically destroy with bombing (and too 'small' to target with Grand Slam etc.), and if memory serves even resisted extremely heavy Russian Artillery in the final phases of the war. The ones that were taken down were done with demolitions, and even then rather patchily. Still a fair few standing.
    I suppose the odd bomb might hit the odd gun, but in a civil defence environment that had become efficient at shifting millions of tons of rubble about after raids I imagine replacing a lost gun was reasonably straightforward.

    Always had a passing interest in Helferinnen working the towers.
    There was a decent memoir site from one chap, teenager at the time, but I can't find it now.


    [​IMG]
     
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  6. denny

    denny Member

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    Jesus...i can see i completely misrepresented my thought. :)
    I was not talking about those giant Berlin Flak towers...just the "normal" flak batteries that a bomber would have to fly through on a bombing mission through Europe.
    And yeah...not talking about something like a P-47. THAT was incredible. Not sure how many of those P-47 guys got shot down after D-Day.
    I was thinking of B-17 and B24.....if they could somehow wipe-out the known flak batteries that were set up to hit the big bomber groups at different points in Europe.
    Thanks
     
  7. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Weren't such FlakKorps designed very much with mobility in mind?
    Hard to place, and even if you found them, even harder to hit from the air. Another pickle barrel.

    I would think like the old maxim that the best form of air defence is tanks on their runways, the best form of anti-flak defence was troops pressing emplacements.
     
  8. denny

    denny Member

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    Yeah...i follow you.
    No doubt...if it HAD Been possible... it would have been implemented a lot better, before wars end.

    Cannot remember the exact figures, but Albert Speer remarked that it was several hundred thousand Soldiers/Flyers, thousands of guns, a few thousand (precious) aircraft, and millions of rounds of ammo that Germany Could Not send East, because they needs it to defend The Reich from The West.
    I suppose the "success" of the bombing campaign was just as much from the drain it took on German Resources as it was from actual bombing damage.?
     
  9. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Most flak was positioned to protect an area such as a city or vulnerable points such as airfields, radar sites, fortifications etc. These could be supported by static emplacements. There was no need to provide a gun tractor for every gun - or even a mobile mount. Mobile Flak Corps were intended to protect the field army, but could be moved to provide a "flak ambush", fill a gap or strengthen defences.

    A B17 isn't a great weapon to use on a flak emplacement. Despite the claimed virtues of the Norden bombsight it was not easy to put a bomb onto a point target from 20,000 ft. A bomb which missed a sand bagged emplacement was wasted.
    Read the Operations Research reports here. http://lmharchive.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/The-Full-Monty2.pdf

    Putting it another way. The aim of AA defences are to prevent bombers from striking their target. A B17 which unloads its bombs on a flak position is not dropping its bombs on the target and has wasted its flight.
     
  10. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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  11. denny

    denny Member

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    Holy Toledo -
    I will never get through all that, but what Great Info...Thank You
    Something i have learned already from the first few pages....."German Flak Troops wore the uniform of The Luftwaffe....."
    Those types of "trivial" comments have always interested me.
    I have, also, always had a Interest/Admiration for WWII German Uniforms in general.
    You can kind of see why/how military personnel would take pride in their individual units, and i am sure the Specific/Unique uniforms contributed to that.
    No doubt there were large amounts of Hitler Youth involved with Flak...especially later in the war.?
    F
     
  12. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    #5- great pic ViP
    Never seen a dual 88 AA .
    And to see them being served - breakfast in bed?
    The two guys with lab coats on...excellent.
    Were the white stripes on barrels - a destruction of an aircraft?...does each barrel get a stripe if a plane is hit?
    Why is there one large gap between stripes?
     
  13. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    You like dual FlaK guns eh, Pops?
    Shhh, but so do I.
    Think that One's actually a 128mm FlaKZwilling 40
    having a look in Gander/Chamberlain: Prototyped in 1940. Ordered '41 & deployed in Berlin Spring '42.
    "Proved rather complex & costly to produce, and only limited numbers delivered."
    Rate of fire (per barrel) - 12-14 rpm
    Shell weight - 2x26kg
    Muzzle velocity - 880m/sec
    Vertical ceiling - 14,800m

    That pic did intrigue me.
    Couldn't decide if it was crew readiness or some sort of sanitorium activity.
    Might be captioned in the Bundesarchiv or something.


    Here's a bigun. Not a zwilling, but hefty:
    Gerat 50. Abandoned by 1940. - 149.1mm (.1 ??? :confused: )

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    Yeah, they look like 88's on steroids...Geeze, dual 128mm. Like the Bismark.
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I remember my uncle (a squadron navigator in the 8th AF) telling me about a small air field in France that they were routed over. They never got any fighters coming up out of it that he remember but he said they had some very good FLAK gunners. One mission his squadron was at the rear of the bomber stream and they got the word that the primary and secondary targets were socked in so the pilot asked him to find a "target of opportunity". The airfield above came to mind and he plotted a course for it. Some time later the pilot asked him if he was sure where they were going. He was a bit irritated at this and responded: "yes, why?". The pilot replied because the whole 8th AF is following us to the target. The rest of the raid(s) apparently decided that if someone had a target that was good enough. They didn't have any significant FLAK from that location afterwards.
     
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