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.

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.

12.8 cm Flak 40
German 12.8 cm Flak 40 - static mount.jpg
A static mounted 12.8 cm Flak 40.
TypeAnti-aircraft gun
Place of originNazi Germany
Service history
In service1942–45
Used byNazi Germany
WarsWorld War II
Production history
No. builtTotal 1,125
Variants12.8 cm FlaK 40
12.8 cm FlaK 40 Zwilling
Weight17,000 kg 
Length7.835 m 
Barrel length61 calibers

Shell26 kilograms 
Caliber128 mm 
BreechHorizontal sliding
CarriageStatic or railcar mounted.
Elevation-3 to +88 degrees
Traverse360 degrees
Muzzle velocity880 m/s 
Maximum firing range10,675 m 
Feed systemPower rammer

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 Flakzwilling twin-gun mount 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. During the Battle of Berlin, the guns on the Zoo Tower were used successfully to support ground forces, where the heavy 128mm shells obliterated Soviet armor, especially when hit from the side. The rush to capture the Reichstag led to dozens of tanks being destroyed. Approximately 200 were mounted on railcars, providing limited mobility.
The gun fired a 27.9 kg  shell at 880 m/s to a maximum ceiling of 14,800 m. Compared with the 88mm FlaK 18 & 36, the 128 used a powder charge four times as great.

12,8-cm-Flak on a Flak tower.

12.8 cm FlaK 40 -12.8 cm Flakzwilling 40/2 The 12.8 cm Flak 40 ordnance on a static dual mounting with a total weight of 26 tonnes, capable of firing 20 rounds per minute. Used mainly on flak towers. Production started in 1942 with 10 twin sets produced, another eight in 1943, and in February 1945 a total of 34 were available.

12.8 cm PaK 40 A derivative anti-tank gun, rejected in favour of the Krupp 12.8 cm Pak 44, used to arm the Sturer Emil prototypes

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