AFP

Nightmare of the Earth and the Sky: The 88 February 18, 2017

During the Second World War years, one of the most frightening weapons for the Allies was definitely the 88mm Flak 18/36/37/41 artillery gun. Often known as the “eighty-eight” and intended for anti-aircraft missions, these weapons owe their fame rather to their anti-tank features. Nevertheless, the gun became one of Germany’s the most reliable systems with its successes in a number of areas from fire support to land units, to coastal defence.

Germany’s experience with this calibre anti-aircraft gun dated back to the First World War. Deployed in the battlefield for the first time in 1917’, the 88 mm Flak 16 was used particularly in protecting industrial facilities. “Flak” was contraction of “Flugzeugabwehrkanone”, meaning “aircraft defence cannon”. Flak 16’s successful career did not last very long owing to the signing of the Versailles Treaty. The defeated Germany was forced to renounce anti-aircraft guns for good.

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