12.8 cm FlaK 40

12.8 cm Flak 40

A static mounted 12.8 cm Flak 40.
Type Anti-aircraft gun
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1942–45
Used by Nazi Germany
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Rheinmetall-Borsig
Designed 1936
Manufacturer Rheinmetall-Borsig
Produced 1942
Number built Total 1,125
Variants 12.8 cm FlaK 40
12.8 cm FlaK 40 Zwilling
Weight 17,000 kg (37,478 lbs)
Length 7.835 m (25 ft 8 in)
Barrel length 61 calibers

Shell 26 kilograms (57 lb)
Caliber 128 mm (5.03  in)
Breech Horizontal sliding
Recoil Hydropneumatic
Carriage Static or railcar mounted.
Elevation -3 to +88 degrees
Traverse 360 degrees
Muzzle velocity 880 m/s (2,887 ft/s)
Maximum firing range 10,675 m (35,025 ft)
Feed system Power rammer

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.

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 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, delaying Soviet forces from entering the Tower for several hours. Approximately 200 were mounted on railcars, providing limited mobility.

The gun fired a 27.9 kg (57.2-pound) shell at 880 m/s (2,890 ft/s) to a maximum ceiling of 14,800 m (48,556 ft). Compared with the 88mm FlaK 18 & 36, the 128 used a powder charge four times as great which resulted in a shell flight time only one-third as long. This made aiming against fast-moving targets much easier.


Flakzwilling 40 at US Army Ordnance Museum.

See also

Weapons of comparable role, performance and era


  1. 1 2 Westermann, Edward B. Flak: German Anti-aircraft Defenses 1914-1945 (2005); pp. 108, 128-129.
  2. http://www.ww2technik.de/sites/dflak/12,8%20cm%20Flakzwilling.htm
  • Gander, Terry and Chamberlain, Peter. Weapons of the Third Reich: An Encyclopedic Survey of All Small Arms, Artillery and Special Weapons of the German Land Forces 1939-1945. New York: Doubleday, 1979 ISBN 0-385-15090-3
  • Hogg, Ian V. German Artillery of World War Two. 2nd corrected edition. Mechanicsville, PA: Stackpole Books, 1997 ISBN 1-85367-480-X
  • Hogg, Ian V. (2002). Anti-aircraft artillery. Crowood Press. ISBN 1-86126-502-6. 

External links

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