Luftwaffe Flakturm ca. 1943

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  • Michel Verschuere said 4 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Hello,

    I am glad to join this group!
    For some time now, I have researched the subject of Flak towers in Berlin, Hamburg and Vienna. When studying in Vienna, I lived in the shadow of the G-Turm Augarten park in the 20th district. I was always amazed by these structures which have stood the times for almost 80 years. Some were destroyed but attempts to destroy these in Vienna failed because of the sturdiness of the concrete, with walls over 6m of reinforced steel…

    This is no airplane but the huge guns mounted atop these structures were manned with Luftwaffe personnel, even very young kids (Luftwaffe-Helfer) that had to feed these 105 and 128mm monsters.

    I intend to make a little dio on these guns in action. Here are some pictures I will work towards!

    I will take my time but will update you on progress!

  • Pedro L. Rocha said 4 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Michel, judging by your wonderful previous scratch works, like the Arco and the East German tower, this one will be a show stopper! Any ideas about the guns, I mean plastic or scratch?
    I’ve been to the Wien tower and another somewhere in Germany but can’t recall the exactly the city… they are some gigantic brute concrete walls

  • Erik Gjørup said 4 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Awesome choice!

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 4 months, 4 weeks ago:

    You never stop to amaze me, my friend @michel-verschuere!
    This is a truly wonderful entry! A granted masterpiece will emerge from your hands!
    Looking forward to it.

  • Chuck A. Villanueva said 4 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Michel, if there were a hundred ways to say “wow”, I would say them all in the languages for this rather ambitious and unique project. The network of air defense guns the Germans had in place to defend the airspace in Europe leading to the “Fatherland” was rather intense. Not just the 88’s and 37MM flak guns, but these towers with the larger guns, really explains the huge losses of allied bombers as they flew their daily mission night and day, not just dealing with the Luftwaffe. This will be nice close look into one of these towers that I myself do not know much about. So ready to learn a bit more on this project as you progress.

  • John vd Biggelaar said 4 months, 4 weeks ago:

    This is definitely a great subject, Michel.
    Very impressive towers and for sure your build will be as well.

  • Michel Verschuere said 4 months, 4 weeks ago:

    @holzhamer @airbum @fiveten @uscusn
    @johnb
    Thanks for liking my proposed entry!
    Here is the rough plan:
    I will scratch build part of the tower in 1:35. The real thing was between 50 and 60m high depending on the placement. The top level of the towers were always level with all others in the city and there were always three around the center of the city. The towers came in pairs, one of them being the observation tower, featured of optical- and radar equipment to track the airplanes. The other tower was the one with the heavy Flak guns, usually Flak 29 10,5 cm or Flak 40 12,8 cm in mono- or twin configuration.

    I do not plan to scratch build the guns. The construction of cradle, breach mechanism and recoil system is too complex for that. I don’t have that much time and want to focus on the surroundings of the gun. I still puzzle whether to build the 12.8 in mono- or twin configuration, I have both kits available.

    Main focus will be on the detailing of the gun with some PE and then the part of the tower that needs to get the appearance of concrete. There are a few pictures and plans but I lack some dimensions. This means there is still some study work ahead.

    If you guys want to hint what gun type you want me to build, go ahead. I kind like the picture below which represents the Berlin Zoo tower.

    The twin guns are very impressive as well though…

    There was a cast steel lid on the main ammunition elevator, you can see it in the above picture lower left corner, here it is again (compare the size of it to the Luftwaffe loader).

    I will design this for 3D printing I think.

    The kits will be Amusing Hobby 35A020 for the single barrel Flak 40 or Takom 2023 for the twin Flak 40 version, both are 128mm guns.

    I wish I had the time and space to build a 1:35 version of the entire tower, but at 55m, this would imply 1.57m in scale, which is huuge! So I will restrict to a cut-out of one tower corner! Here is a picture of Berlin’s Zoo tower right after the war. This one actually was demolished entirely.

    Regarding the effectiveness of German Flak in WWII one word: COMPUTERS!
    The Germans had an accurate fire guidance system based on triangulation across the direction towers that stood in pairs to the combat towers. The formations of enemy bombers were optically or electromagnetically (radar) tracked by three towers in different locations and via triangulations, the speed, position and bearing could be inferred. This was then fed into an analog computer (one using radio tubes) which calculated elevation and deflection for every gun. These signals were electrically fed to the individual guns and fuses set to the required flight time. The German Flak was well designed and hence deadly. Attrition rates of 25pct (destroyed or damaged) on planes was not an exception, especially in daylight.

    I have always been interested in early computing, and the fire direction computers used for laying these guns is quite a feat, given it happened before the digital age set in.

    Let me know what you think about my plans!

    Michel.

  • Erik Gjørup said 4 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Michel, I am a tiny bit puzzled – are there 4 on each tower top and then again at least 4 around the upper part of the tower? That is judging from the modern day picture the case?

    Anyway, I think the twin is the most ompressive on top of that massive structure you are going to build.

  • Michel Verschuere said 4 months, 4 weeks ago:

    @airbum the Flak 40 128 mono- or twin guns were in the large circular basis in the corners of the tower top. The sides were protected by smaller 20mm or 36mm Flak guns, usually in quadruple (Flakvierling) or triad configuration. Here are some respective pictures for 3x20mm and 4x20mm configurations on the auxiliary platforms under the main tower pits:

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 4 months, 4 weeks ago:

    I vote for the twins too, my friend @michel-verschuere : they look most impressive!
    Loved to read the story behind those towers: quite impressive, had no idea of them; one of the reasons I love this site and my good friends here.

  • John vd Biggelaar said 4 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Another vote for the twins, Michel. @michel-verschuere
    If you also include the four Flakvierling, that would be an impressive diorama.

  • Erik Gjørup said 4 months, 4 weeks ago:

    My question seems to have crossed the last picture Michel, as it was the first picture that was present. With such a massive structure and 4 positions, I suppose it will be a matter of building a quarter of a tower? In 1:35 that is going to be massive!

  • Tom Cleaver said 4 months, 4 weeks ago:

    As several Allied airmen told me, they were incredibly lucky the Germans never came up with the radar proximity fuse – that could have really put a dent in the Allied air offensive.

    I look forward to seeing this one.

  • Paul Barber said 4 months, 4 weeks ago:

    @michel-verschuere you never fail to surprise with these architectural builds. Just fascinating! Like the rest of the guys I’m looking forward to your take on this huge structure!

  • Michel Verschuere said 4 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Here is the first attempt to reconstruct one of the elevator heads in 3D.

    I used a piece of open source software called OpenScad (https://openscad.org/). It is basically a programing language for 3D objects that delivers the typical filetype used later for 3D printing purposes.

    Will finish that throughout the other work and then find a way to cut up the shape so it can be printed in pieces.

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