Nuts & Bolts Vol.27 2 cm Flakvierling 38

Even as the Flak 30 was entering service, the Luftwaffe and Heer (army) branches of the Wehrmacht had doubts about its effectiveness, given the ever-increasing speeds of low-altitude fighter-bombers and attack aircraft.

The 20 mm weapons had always had weak development perspectives, often being reconfigured or redesigned just enough to allow the weapons to find use. Indeed, it came as a surprise when Rheinmetall introduced the 2 cm Flakvierling 38, which improved the weapon just enough to make it competitive once again. The term Vierling literally translates to “quadruplet” and refers to the four 20 mm autocannon constituting the design.

The Flakvierling weapon consisted of quad-mounted 2 cm Flak 38 AA guns with collapsing seats, folding handles, and ammunition racks. The mount had a triangular base with a jack at each leg for leveling the gun. The tracker traversed and elevated the mount manually using two handwheels. When raised, the weapon measured 307 cm (10 feet 1 inch) high.

Each of the four mounted guns had a separate magazine that held only 20 rounds. This meant that a maximum combined rate of fire of 1,400 rounds per minute was reduced practically to 800 rounds per minute for combat use – which would still require that an emptied magazine be replaced every six seconds, on each of the four guns. This is the attainable rate of fire; the sustained rate of fire is significantly lower due to rapid heat buildup and barrel erosion.

The gun was fired by a set of two pedals — each of which fired two diametrically opposite barrels — in either semi-automatic or fully automatic mode. The effective vertical range was 2,200 metres. It was also used just as effectively against ground targets as it was against low-flying aircraft.

From the publisher’s website:

In Nuts & Bolts Vol. 25 (Flakpanzer IV) we only provided a brief summary of the 2 cm Flakvierling 38 as the armament of the Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind. During research, we were surprised by the technical complexity of this weapon, and therefore, from our initial studies, it was apparent that this important weapons system deserved its own in-depth Nuts & Bolts. For the first time in recorded literature, an extensive technical description of the gun is given with highlights on the sights used with the gun, as most of the constructional changes of the gun are directly related to the sights. Also, the service history of the Flakvierling is described with organizational schemes and historical photos showing the gun from 1940 to the War’s end, together with a comprehensive review and example of the models available at this time:

  • by Detlev Terlisten
  • published on May 15, 2011
  • softcover
  • german & English texts
  • 160 pages
  • 336 photos (169 historic, 18 models, 149 modern)
  • 65 blueprints
  • 12 camouflage schemes, tactical markings, table of organization (KStN)
  • Available for €29.90 from the Nuts & Bolts website.

The texts are in English and German with the English texts on the left of the page and the German on the right. All images and photographs have captions in both languages. The English translation is excellent. Now, let’s take a look at the book to see what we get.

The various sections of the book are:

  • Development, page 2
  • technical description page 5
  • Technical data page 14
  • trailers page 17
  • camouflage page 20
  • in service page 22
  • modeling page 27
  • acknowledgments page 32
  • bibliography page 33
  • contemporary photos page 34
  • drawings page 74
  • color profiles page 93
  • preserved guns and components, page 97
  • modeling page 157

The book starts with the reasons for the development of the weapon form the single barrel Flak 38. There’s a good overview of the development of the weapon and the changes made as production progressed during the war. The different sights used are also covered in depth and the differences between them. Ammunition and the carrying trailers are also covered.

The crew and what each member did is described along with the weapon’s organization in the Army and Luftwaffe units.

There’s a complete list of all the kits and aftermarket parts available for the Flakvierling, along with notes on each kit giving which gunsight is included and other details.

Then after the bibliography, there are the 169 contemporary photos that cover all the different variants of the flakvierling from the early versions to the end of the war. Then follows the 65 1/35 scale line drawings of every variant, including trailers and some larger-scale close-ups of the gunsights. Next follows the 12 color camouflage scheme profiles based on black and white images from the contemporary photos section of the book. Lastly, we come to 149 modern color photos of weapons in museums. These photos show all the parts of the weapon you never normally get to see.

Overall this is a definitive reference for the Flakvierling and its variations. There is a wealth of information and photographs that will cover all your modeling needs and it will most likely be the only book you will ever need on this topic.

I have bought several books direct from the publisher at Nuts & Bolts.

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International
HobbyLink International
Hoblylink International Shop
eBay Store

Paul Tosney

Paul has been with Model Builder International since almost the beginning. He started building models as a boy, and took a hiatus, but started building again a few years ago. He builds pretty much anything, but mostly WW2, with a smattering of modern and the occasional SciFi model.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: