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RodB

German AA gun. 37-mm Maxim-Nordenfelt ?

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RodB

This picture appears in "War of the Nations" published in 1919. Looks to me like the Maxim-Nordenfelt 37mm autocannon, used by the British as the QF 1-pounder. I understand Germany had bought some years before, does anybody know if this one of them ? Or is it the case that anything descended from the Maxim gun inevitably looks similar even if not related ?

A second examination seems to incate that the ammunition drum (presumably holding a belt) appears too narrow for the 37-mm round, looks more like the width of the 7.92 mm round. Difficult to judge the degree of perspective compression and exaggeration of muzzle size..

thanks, Rod

GeremanAAAutocannonQuality50.jpg

Here's the 1-pounder at the IWM for comparison :

450px-QF1pounderMkIIgunIWMApril2008.jpg

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trenchtrotter

Hi,

According to Dolf Goldsmiths Devils Paintbrush book it is a "Maxim FLAK M14" made by DWM. He has the same photo captioned.

TT

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TonyE

It is as Trenchtrotter says. The holes in the belt drum are simply lightening holes and do not reflect the size of the rounds in the belt.

Regards

TonyE

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RodB

Thanks Tony and TT, seems to confirm that this is a German version of the 37-mm pom-pom - I've found the earlier thread which concerned the shell, 37x94 and had the photo. What gave me doubts was that looking end-on, the ammunition drum looks much less than 7 inches wide i.e. the drum sides look a lot less than 7 inches apart, and it would have to be 7 inches wide to accommodate the round which was approx 168 mm long (at least the British round was). Presumably this is due to the compression effective of the lens used ?

Rod

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TonyE

You can see the nose and fuse of the next 37mm round to enter the feed block on the Maxim.

Regards

TonyE

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Old Tom

Hello,

The 37mm keeps popping up. My impression has been that its muzzle velocity was too low for effective AA use and that in British service it was tried and discarded in that role.

I had not come across it in German use. Any comments?

Old Tom

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centurion

Often used in the German service as a signaling/navigational guidance device for home coming night bombers firing pre arranged sequences of different coloured signal/pyrotechnic shells. In such instances muzzle velocity was not a significant factor.

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Cnock

..called 'Nacht befeuerungsdienst' or night lighting service.

special pyrotechnic ammunition was fired at time intervals,

these Machinen-Flak guns were known as 'Feuerspucker' or fire-spitters.

Cnock

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RodB

Would that mean that this photo is just a publicity shot rather than indicating actual military capability or deployment then ?

Rod

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centurion

Depends on one's interpretation. The English language publiction is mis interpreting the photo for sure (and probably assuming all those little holes represent rounds!) but I don't see who it benefits (apart from possibly circulation) On the other hand the Germans must have posed the photo for some reason as I can't see those guns being deployed in range of gas delivering artillery.

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Paul Hederer

I have a picture of the same weapon in "Die deutschen Luftstreitkräfte im Weltkriege," by Neumann. It's labeled with (the somewhat generic name) 3.7 cm Sockel Flak. It has the distinctive drum.

It was indeed used by the German, known as M-Flak (Machinenflak). One role being mentioned above, "'Nacht befeuerungsdienst." It was used to protect balloons, artillery and troops and used because of the limitations of large calibre guns against low-flying targets. It was noted as being having a sometimes "dramatic" effect on enemy fliers when fired at night because of its tracer ammunition.

The muzzle velocity is listed as 1,050 ft/sec. I'm not sure about it being a Maxim, or of Maxim origin. It is listed as a seperate type, 3,7 cm SockelFlak, and has a lower muzzle velocity.

If there is real interest I see the local library here has quite a selection of books on FLAK, and I can check some of them out.

Paul

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RodB

I thought this was the sockelflak :

511px-Sockelflak_-_German_AA_cannon.jpg

My info is that its ammunition was in 10-round clips loaded vertically. Or is sockel just a generic term ?

Rod

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Paul Hederer

Yep,

I saw that too. That seems to be a 3,7 cm Luftschiff Flak. See the distinctive plate at the back, and the lack of belt window higher on the side. It was fed by a clip inserted on the top.

I had thought before that Sockel Flak was generic term. The picture in the book I mentioned was captioned as such, and I thought at least I had found a picture.

Checking further I saw it listed as a sperate type. I took a quick look in "German Artillery of World War One," by Herbert Jaeger, and saw the type also listed as a seperate type. I looked into some of the more technical books I have on German artillery but they didn't provide much detail on any M-Flak types.

Paul

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RodB

Thanks for that Paul. So "sockelflak" was a separate type of gun , if I understand you ? Also, does this mean that the M-flak described is the same as the "Maxim Flak M14" and whether it is effectively the Maxim-Nordenfelt 1-pounder pom-pom, presumably made under license ?

Information is for Wikipedia article.

thanks

Rod

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Paul Hederer
Thanks for that Paul. So "sockelflak" was a separate type of gun , if I understand you ? Also, does this mean that the M-flak described is the same as the "Maxim Flak M14" and whether it is effectively the Maxim-Nordenfelt 1-pounder pom-pom, presumably made under license ?

Information is for Wikipedia article.

thanks

Rod

Rod,

It's confusing--as can happen when trying to identify larger weapons based on a few photos. The Sockel-Flak and the Maxim K are listed as seperate types with different characteristics. The Sockel-Flak is listed as being built by Krupp. The 3,7 cm Luftschiff Flak was also built by Krupp. I noticed that on the list of types that the latter is not listed even though there is a picture, which looks exactly like the one you posted yesterday. :wacko:

This is where the confusion comes in on the identification of the picture. One source says it's the Maxim K, one says it's a Sockel-Flak. Again, not an unusual situation, but without any more references I'm not sure which book is correct.

I used to default to the older German sources on German weapons, such as the "Ehrenbuecher," but on close examination even they contain errors, captioning pictures of guns as the wrong type!

Using all my inconsiderable brain power I would conclude that the Sockel-Flak and the Luftschiff Flak are possiblly the same thing. I don't know if Krupp manufactured more than one 3,7 cm Flak. My educated guess is that picture above is indeed a Maxim K.

Sorry for adding to the confusion. I do find it interesting that of two sources, both of which I would consider reliable, each has an error/omission concerning this particular weapon. Makes you wonder what else we take for granted is actually incorrect!

Paul

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Cnock

Hi,

I always thought that Sockel Flak referred to the pedestal mounting.

There was Sockel Flak in different calibres.

Cnock

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Paul Hederer
Hi,

I always thought that Sockel Flak referred to the pedestal mounting.

There was Sockel Flak in different calibres.

Cnock

You could well be right. I also thought this was simply a generic term. The two sources I have on these guns both have mistakes, so I don't have much more to bring to the table.

Paul

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Cnock

Paul,

Herbert Jäger ' German Artillery of World War One' is not very clear on this subject.

Sockel Flak gave a traverse of 360 degrees, which is also the case for the 3,7 cm Maschinen Flak showed in the first pic of this topic.

Regards,

Cnock

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Jasta72s

Hi all,

there were three German Flak with 37 mm or 3.7 cm calibre:

1) the so-called "Revolverkanone" (a poor dog with undeserved merites)

2) Maschinen-Flak (short: M-Flak)

3) Sockel-Flak (short: S-Flak) 37 mm or more often called 3.7 cm

Note: The term Sockel-Flak is a general term and also used for other calibers with pedestal mouning.

The pictured "Maschinenkanone" was the German equivalent to the pom-pom 1 pdr. and at first used by the German Navy on ships.

However, the urgent need for AA artillery resulted in a re-building for AA use and transfer of many to the German Army in 1915.

Already in 1914 the British had tried use of pom-pom for AA but the unit was pushed around and nobody of the higher commands had any idea how to use the guns and the men.

However, the M-Flak was too heavy for use near to the frontline and short in supply. The most were used to defend balloon sites and they shot down a considerable number of enemy aircraft. As well the impact on moral was important because of long strings with balls of green lights (German Army Flak used 37 mm projectiles with tracer for every grenade, different to the Navy).

In 1918 the Navy handed over the so-called 3.7 cm Luftschiff Flak (I think this term in Mr Jägers book is a bit misleading) to the Army and it became the 3.7-cm-Sockelflak there after some modifications. BTW Paul did obviously mix the photo captions in Jägers book.

I have never seen the term "Maxim Flak M.14" in any contemporary German Flak document or book! I think the term is misleading and was created later. The Germans connected the "Maschinen-Flak" or "M-Flak" always with the name Hotchkiss (probably because of the ammunition) and called it sometimes "Hotchkiss" in spite of the fact that this gun is a "huge" Maxim.

Problem solved?

Regards

Jasta72s

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bilagaana

I hope that, as a first-time poster, I will be forgiven if this topic has been done to death, but can it be assumed that the photo shown in the first post above is the weapon responsible for the infamous "flaming onions"? And, am I to understand from the immediately preceding post (from Jasta72) that each round was a tracer, or were the illuminated rounds interspersed among standard projectiles? The subject of "flaming onions" appears often in WWI forums and I have never seen a definitive discussion. I am hoping this thread is that discussion. Thanks.

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Robert Dunlop

There are several threads on this topic, which you can pick up using the 'Search' facility. Here is one of them:

 

Robert

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bilagaana
Robert Dunlop said:
There are several threads on this topic, which you can pick up using the 'Search' facility. Here is one of them:

Robert

Thanks, I appreciate the response. I had read that thread--Much good information but most of the posts in that thread concerned the origins of acronyms for antiaircraft fire and it did not seem to settle the issue of which weapon was responsible for the "flaming onions." In that thread, Ralph J. Whitehead identified it as the 37mm Maschinen Flak and mentioned having a photo but I did not find that he has posted it. (I tried to contact him, but his inbox is full). Among other sites, I've searched on The Aerodrome forum where, as wherever WWI aviation enthusiasts gather, the subject of flaming onions often comes up. Some posters there expressed that the final word on flaming onions remains to be written. I'm hoping this current thread is it, to the extent the passage of years will allow.

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bilagaana

Incidentally, I have since found a detailed discussion regarding "flaming onions" on The Aerodrome forum. http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/other-ww...ns-5-shots.html

The primary contributor cites a number of sources from the original German and appears to have made a study of the subject. This thread appears to be a valuable reference for anyone interested in the topic.

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saintlo990

Hi! May this will help clear up the 37 mm German WW I Flak types.

1. German 3,7 cm Masch. K. - 37 mm Maxim Automatic cannon;

The 37 mm Maxim Pom Pom in Pre WWI German Navy service was called the 3,7 cm Masch. K. ( 3.7 cm Machine Cannon) Taken fron data plate on gun. Almost all were transfered to the German Army in WW I and then called the 3,7 cm M. FLAK (3.7 cm Maxim Flak) Some time between 1918 and 1935 the Name was changed to 3,7 cm Flak M 14 - Taken from German manual Flakartillerie Waffen, Gerate, Kreftfahrzeuge. Dated 1 Mai 1935 L.Dv.425 It shows the weapon still in stock but mounted on a truck in 1934. At the same time the Flak 18 was being issued. The WW I pedestle mount and drum was factory produced at Krupp. The Pom Pom was very useful when placed directly behind the front lines where British aircraft were trench straffing. Field reports state that in these location the British aircraft lossed were excessive - and reports were made of finding firing platforms where there were piles of fired 37 mm cases 8 feet tall.

When used by the army as a flak unit it was mounted on a revolving pedestle with seats and a large drum magazine holding a long 100 round cloth belt. It took 2 men to place the Drum. The photo is probably a test or early prototype because the production guns had a metal rod stay attached from the drum to the barrel, and another to the rear of the breech. This was because the drums enertia bent everything when the gun was traversed quickly. Vibration was bad and the mount had to besndbsgged down. Accuracy was not possible but a a lot of ammo was in the air at the same time. It fired the standard 37 x 95R Hotchkiss round using a special tracer shell developed for the 3,7 Sokel Flak.

2. German 3,7 cm Rev. K. (Hotchkiss) - 37 mm Hotchkiss Revolving cannon;

The 37 mm Hotchkiss RC were transfered to the German Army by the navy in WW I. Almost all mounts were locally made as expedient Flak guns. They normally used a 5 round feed tray but longer 10 round trays were also made. A lot of posts and wagon wheels were used. It was very difficut to use and not very effective. These guns were replaced by the Maxim as soon as possible. The individual gun barrels were then used by Krupp to make 3,7 cm trench guns for the German army. It fired the standard 37 x 95R Hotchkiss round with Black powder common shell, then later used a special tracer shell originally developed for the 3,7 Sokel Flak.

3. 3,7 cm S. Flak L14.5 (Krupp)

The 3,7cm Krupp Luftschiff K. was developed by Krupp for the German Zepplin fleet but canceled when the British RFC began issuing the Pomeroy Tracer ammunition. The finished guns were transfered to the German Army who developed a new sokel mount and renamed it the 3,7 cm S. Flak L14.5 - taken from the manual 3,7 cm S. Flak L14.5 Essen 1917 1 Mai 1917 No. D1000.17. It fired a special tracer shell from a ten round magazine. The gun used a more powerful 37 x 101SR cartridge. This projectile was finally issued for all three AA guns, even though it had to be crimped in 3/16 of an inch higher in the 37 x 94 mm Hotchkiss case. It was painted Dark green and traced a bright green. An incendiary type with a black powder component was produced and painted black with wide dark green stripes. Explosive shell was not issued for Flak use in 3,7 cm. This gun wa being consided as an tank gun in 1918. I believe that several existing APT shells with copper tip but matching the tracer shell in shape and loading were the experimental type for this tank gun. A German report states that the matching of AP capability and tracer was not working out.

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Tony Williams

The photo below of early MG/cannon rounds (from the Ammunition Photo Gallery on my website) shows the 37x101SR round (only used in the gun popularly known to ammo collectors as the 'Sockelflak') next to the standard 37x94R used in the Hotchkiss 1 pdr revolving gun and the Maxim/Vickers 1 pdr Pom-poms (and in many other things besides).

oldcart.jpg

11x59R (11mm Gras Vickers), 11.4x60R (.450 Gatling), 11.7x59R (577/450 Martini), 25x88R (replica 1 inch Gatling), 25x94R (1 inch Nordenfelt), 25x87R (1 inch Vickers), 25.4x87 (Revelli-FIAT), 37x94R (Hotchkiss and Maxim), 37x101SR (Sockelflak), 37x69R (Vickers 1 Pr Mk III), 37x190 (COW gun)

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