Forces of Valor 80027 German Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind Anti-Aircraft Vehicle - schwere SS Panzer Abteilung 101, Normandy, 1944 (1:32 Scale)
"If the tank succeeds, then victory follows."
- Major-General Heinz Guderian, "Achtung Panzer!"
The Flakpanzer IV Wirbelwind ("Whirlwind") was a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun based on the Panzer IV tank. It was developed in 1944 as a successor to the earlier self-propelled anti-aircraft gun Mobelwagen.
In the first years of the war, the Wehrmacht was not very interested in developing an effective self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, as the Luftwaffe had total air superiority. But, as the allies developed and began to use more powerful aircraft, the Germans realised that they must not only have stationary anti-aircraft guns, but also self-propelled anti-aircraft guns to protect vehicle convoys and so forth.
The Panzer IV's turret was removed and replaced with an open-top, nine-sided turret which housed a quadruple 2 cm Flakvierling 38 L/112.5. A closed-top design would have been preferable, but this was not possible due to the heavy smoke generation of the four anti-aircraft guns. Production of the tank was carried out by Ostbau Werke in Sagan, Silesia.
As the 2 cm shells used proved less effective against aircraft than the 3.7 cm shells the Wirbelwind was eventually replaced by the Ostwind which was equipped with a single 3.7 cm FlaK 43. The armor and rapid fire from the four guns of the Wirbelwind was also very effective against infantry. One Wirbelwind could take out large numbers of enemy infantry.
It is believed that either 87 or 105 Wirbelwinds were produced during the war, but due to discrepancies between the recorded production numbers at Ostbau Werke and Wehrmacht service records, the exact number will probably never be known. In any case, there were too few of them to have any major influence on the war.
This particular 1:32 scale replica of a German Wirbelwind was used during the battle for Normandy in the summer of 1944.
Length: 7 inches
Width: 3 inches
Release Date: October 2005
Original Issue Price: $39.99
Historical Account: Schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 101 was formed in July 1943 around a cadre of units from 1.SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, which was attached to I SS Panzerkorps Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler. The unit was attached to SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler and sent to Italy in August 1943. Two of the companies were then sent to the eastern front where they remained until April 1944. The unit was assigned to 12.SS Panzer Division Hitler Jugend in the spring of 1944 where it suffered heavy losses in the Battle for Normandy. It was refitted with King tanks in September 1944, and redesignated Schwere SS-Panzer Abteilung 501. The unit fought in the failed Ardennes offensive before being sent to the Eastern front where it was eventually destroyed.