[Lone Sentry: The Battle of the Omars]
  [Lone Sentry: Photos, Articles, and Research on World War II]
Home Page  |  Site Map  |  What's New  |  Search  |  Contact Us

The Battle of the Omars (Information Bulletin No. 11, U.S. War Department)
§Table of
§List of
  Part 1
  Part 2
§7 Ind Inf
§U.S. Army
§4 Ind Arty
  Part 3
   and Lessons
  Appendix A
   88-mm. Gun
Appendix B

Appendix A


[Two Views of the German 88-mm. Multipurpose Gun: In Firing Position, Right Side View.]

a. In Firing Position, Right Side View.

[Two Views of the German 88-mm. Multipurpose Gun: On Special Trailer, Left Side View.]

b. On Special Trailer, Left Side View.

Figure 13. Two Views of the German 88-mm. Multipurpose Gun.




        The German 88-mm. multipurpose gun, which was used so effectively in the Battle of the Omars, was designed primarily as an anti-aircraft weapon, but like all German antiaircraft guns, it may also be employed against ground targets. The high muzzle velocity and resultant striking power of this weapon make it particularly effective against armored targets and fortified gun positions, even at considerable ranges. Using H.E. and armor-piercing ammunition, it is employed with deadly effect against medium and heavy tanks. Mobility, which is a prerequisite of an antitank gun, is secured either by a self-propelled carriage or by a special trailer drawn by a tracked prime mover (see cover design and fig. 13).

        The barrel is jacketed, with an easily detachable breech ring, a supported, interchangeable A tube (the rifled part of the tube), and a removable guide ring. It is 16 feet long and has 32 rifling grooves. The breech is semiautomatic and self-cocking, opening when the barrel runs out after the shot has been fired, ejecting the cartridge case, and at the same time compressing the striker spring.

        The carriage consists of a mounting built into the platform of the chassis, the upper carriage with a protective armor shield, a buffer fitted into the barrel cradle, a hydropneumatic recuperator fitted above the barrel, two balancing springs to distribute the excess weight of the barrel and cradle, and the traverse and elevator gear.

        The standard German antiaircraft sight, modified to give range readings in meters rather than elevation angles, is normally used, but the armor shield also has a loophole for the wide-angle (emergency) sight. With the telescopic sight, the line of sight is parallel to the axis of the barrel when both deflection and range drums are set at zero. Since, however, the sight is 28 inches to the right of and 8 inches below the barrel, the aiming point must be taken low and to the right if direct hits are to be obtained.

        The elevation field is determined by fixing an attachment on

- 1 -

the sextant from minus 3 to plus 15 degrees. The traverse field is limited by the upper carriage striking agaimst the armor of the driver's seat. It is 151 degrees to the right and 181 degrees to the left, or a total traverse of 332 degrees.

        The 88-mm. unit, which is under divisional control for tactical purposes, goes into action from the ammunition line. Here the ammunitions trucks are left, and the battery commander, chief of section, and driver reconnoiter the assembly point, gun position, and observation post, The gun is driven to the assembly point, usually within 225 yards of the gun position, in march order, and the crew prepares it for action when that command is given at the assembly point.

        Rules on the selection of a firing position are as follows: the angle of impact should be not greater than 60 degrees; the range should generally not exceed 1,100 yards; the gun level most slope downward with the wheels nearer the target lower (the gun level varies from minus 3 to plus 15 degrees from the horizontal of the muzzle); the position should be concealed and as near to the target as possible to insure maximum accuracy and surprise in opening fire; the field of fire must be prepared, if necessary, by sawing through trees and branches; the lanes of approach and withdrawal must be as firm, level, and wide as possible.

        The prime mover can knock down trees up to 3 inches in diameter, and the self-propelled carriage can level 5-inch trees. The minimum widths, which must be considered in choosing lanes of approach and withdrawal, are: with barrel at right angles, 20 feet; with side supports in rest position, 16 feet; and with side supports in march position, 10 feet. If narrow points have to be negotiated on the way to the firing position, the side supports are not put down until these points are passed, nor is the barrel swung free until there is sufficient room. At all times, however, the barrel, with its armored shield, is directed toward the enemy.

- 2 -

        Following is a list of characteristics of the German 88-mm. multipurpose gun:

         Muzzle velocity
Maximum ordinate
Maximum range
Weight of piece in firing posi-
   tion including outriggers
Weight of tube
Length in calibers
Height of fire over outriggers
Height of fire over earth
Longest recoil
Shortest recoil
Weight of trailer
Diameter of wheels
Weight of projectile
Weight of propelling charge
Weight of bursting charge
     2,756 feet per second
36,000 feet
16,623 yards
minus 3 to plus 85 degrees
360 degrees
11,354 pounds
3,175 pounds
52 inches
63 inches
41 inches
28 inches
16,426 pounds
70 inches
36 inches
32 pounds
20 pounds
1.5 pounds

- 3 -

[Back] Back


Web LoneSentry.com