Saturday, 27 November 2010

Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind - The low flying nightmare

Now I present one of my older 1/72 scale models, when I played WWII with this scale, before I found the fantastic 1/144 scale.
Have fun!
 Hasegawa 1:72 scale kit
Wirbelwind and Ostwind were fitted with very similar (especially designed) open-top (Wirbelwind's turret had 9 side panels and Ostwind's had 6 side panels) turrets mounted in the place of standard turrets. Ostwind's turret was nicknamed Keksdose - cookie tin. Main difference was that Wirbelwind was armed with quadruple 20mm Flak 38 L/112.5 guns while Ostwind was armed with single 37mm Flak 43 L/89 gun (both could be used against ground targets as well). 20mm Flak proved to be less effective than 37mm Flak and was eventually replaced by it. Both were produced by Ostbau Works in Sagan, Silesia in limited numbers due to the material shortages and the fact that Ostbau Works moved to facilities of Deutsche Eisenwerke in Teplitz and Duisburg due to danger of being overrun by the Soviets. Overall from May to November of 1944, only 87(105) Wirbelwinds were made, contrary to only 44(43) Ostwinds produced from July 1944 to March of 1945. Both vehicles were issued to Flugabwehrzug (AA platoons) units of Panzer Divisions. There were never enough of them to equip frontline units, which were in the need for adequate mobile AA defense. Both proved to be very effective against low flying aircraft. The interesting fact is that prototype Ostwind was combat tested by 1st Waffen SS Panzer Division "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler" during the Ardennes Offensive (December 16 to 22 of 1944) and returned to factory undamaged.


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