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The Flakpanzer I or SdKfz 101 was an self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG) that was used by Germany during World War II

Description

Considering the Flakpanzer I was based on the chassis of the Panzer I light tank, it naturally shared many of the same components, allowing for easy conversions. Notably, the Flakpanzer I was powered by a single Krupp M305 engine that was capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 40 km/h.[1] Its armament consisted of a single 20 mm FlaK 30 anti-aircraft gun with which to attack low-flying enemy aircraft and an assortment of infantry weapons to defend against ground attack. 

The total weight of the Flakpanzer was around 5,500 kilograms with a total length of 4.3 meters. In order to operate effectively in the field, a crew of upwards of eight men was needed, though a minimum of four had to have been met.[2] There was little in the way of actual armor plating on the vehicle, comprising around 13 mm worth of plating in the hull. The operational range of the vehicle was around 130 kilometers, fairly decent for a vehicle of its type. As noted in the field by its crews, the Flakpanzer had a far too powerful engine for its needs and thus suffered when driving. Furthermore, the crew was hardly more protected in the Flakpanzer I than in an unarmored half-track AA conversion, in which they could sport a far greater armament. 

History

The Flakpanzer I was initially developed in 1940 during the Battle of France after seeing that there was a need to further armor Germany's AA vehicles to better protect them in the field. Thus, the designers based their design on the Panzer I, an already available tank, which could be easily converted. The first units were finished in 1941, with a total of twenty-four examples being produced during its production run. All of these were used by the same regiment along the Eastern Front, and most likely, all were destroyed by early 1943, in the Battle of Stalingrad.

References

  1. http://www.achtungpanzer.com/panzerkampfwagen-i.htm
  2. http://www.panzernet.net/panzernet/stranky/flaky/flak1.php


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