19 March 2018: A new manual from publisher Haynes takes an in-depth look at one of the most successful and feared artillery gun types in the German arsenal in the Second World War - the 8.8cm Flugzeugabwehrkanone 18/36/37/41, more popularly known as the Flak 88.
The Flak 88 Manual tells the historical, technical and tactical stories of this legendary gun, supplemented with more than 300 archive and modern-day colour photographs and technical illustrations.
Developed during the 1920s and 1930s, the gun combined accuracy with a high muzzle velocity and a rapid rate of fire. Although initially developed as an anti-aircraft gun, the Flak 88 went on to achieve equal repute as an anti-tank weapon, inflicting horrific casualties on Allied armour across all major European and North African battlefronts.
Author Chris McNab, a military historian, reviews the gun’s history, including an explanation of each variant type, before going on to provide an exhaustive analysis of the 88’s operation.
He also examines the types of ammunition used in both the anti-tank and anti-aircraft roles, and explains the in-flight and terminal ballistics of each munition. In addition to describing the gun’s technical characteristics, he provides a detailed assessment of both the crew roles and experience, and the weapon’s performance in all key theatres – the Eastern and Western Fronts, Italy and the Balkans, and in North Africa.
Drawing on first-hand accounts of the gun in actual combat, plus engineer and operator manuals produced before and during the Second World War, the manual represents one of the most complete single-volume guides to this infamous weapon.
Chris McNab commented: “It is rare that an artillery piece gains a high level of notoriety or public awareness – this kind of status is usually bestowed on guns of prodigious size, from the monstrous Big Bertha of the First World War, through to Saddam Hussein’s ‘Supergun’. But such was the unrivalled and utterly fearsome power of the Flak 88 that it has become one of the most infamous weapons in military history.
“The guns were primarily intended as anti-aircraft weapons, and they did indeed provide the true backbone of air defence for the Third Reich, but they mainly built their reputation on the battlefield as an anti-tank gun. This manual explores each of the gun’s roles in detail, showing how, in each scenario it was used, it offered a unique and powerful attack option.”
TheFlak 88 Owners’ Workshop Manual is priced at £25.00 and is available from www.haynes.com. The book number is H6133. The ISBN is 9781785211331. It is published in March 2018.
About the author
Chris McNab is an author and editor specialising in military history and military technology. He has published more than 100 books, including the Haynes Kübelwagen/Schwimmwagen Manual, RAF Chinook Manual and the Dreadnought Battleship Manual. He lives in South Wales.
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