Forces of Valor 80069 German Krauss-Maffei Sd. Kfz. 7/1 Prime Mover with 2cm Flakvierling Anti-Aircraft Gun - Unidentified Unit, Eastern Front, 1943 (1:32 Scale)
"If the tank succeeds, then victory follows."
- Major-General Heinz Guderian, "Achtung Panzer!"
Development of the Sd. Kfz. 7 can be traced back to a 1934 requirement for an 8-ton half-track. The vehicle first appeared in 1938 and was destined to be used mainly as the tractor for the 8.8cm flak gun. The Sd. Kfz. 7 was an extremely useful vehicle, employed both as a weapons carrier and prime mover by the Wehrmacht. They also saw service as observation and command posts for V2 rocket batteries. The vehicle could carry up to 12 men and a considerable quantity of supplies, as well as pulling up to 8000kg (17,600 lbs) of equipment. Most were fitted with a winch, which enabled them to pull smaller disabled vehicles out of mud or other quagmires. A mainstay of the German Army, the Sd. Kfz. 7 was even admired by the enemies of the Reich. In fact, the British tried to make exact copies of captured Sd. Kfz. 7s and some vehicles were appropriated for use by the Allies after World War II.
Pictured here is a 1:32 scale replica of a German Kraus-Maffei Sd. Kfz. 7/1 prime mover with a 2cm flakvierling anti-aircraft gun then deployed to the Eastern Front during 1943.
Release Date: August 2012
Historical Account: "Steel Rain" - Even as the FlaK 38 was entering service, the Luftwaffe and Army had doubts about its effectiveness, given the ever-increasing speeds of low-altitude fighter-bombers and attack aircraft. The Army in particular felt the proper solution was the introduction of the 37 mm caliber weapons they had been developing since the 1920s, which had a rate of fire about the same as the FlaK 38, but fired a round with almost eight times the volume. This not only made the rounds deadlier on impact, but their higher mass allowed them to travel to much longer distances, allowing the gun to engage targets at longer ranges and over longer periods of time.
The 20 mm weapons had always been something of a stop-gap measure, improving just enough to keep them useful. It was something of a surprise when Rheinmetall was able to "pull a fast one" again, introducing the 2 cm Flakvierling 38, which improved the weapon just enough to make it competitive once again.
The weapon consisted of quad-mounted 2 cm Flak 38 AA guns with collapsing seats, folding handles, and ammunition racks. The mount had a triangular base with a jack at each leg for leveling the gun. The tracker traversed and elevated the mount manually using two handwheels. The gun was fired by a set of two footpedals - each of which fired two diametrically opposite Flak 38s - and could be operated either automatically or semi-automatically. When raised, the weapon measured 307 cm (10 feet 1 inch) high.
Each of the four mounted guns fired from a 20-round magazine at a maximum combined rate of fire of 1,400 rounds per minute (reduced to 800 rounds per minute for combat use). The guns could be fired in pairs (diagonally opposite) or simultaneously, in either semi-automatic or fully automatic mode. Its effective vertical range was 2200 meters. It was also used just as effectively against ground targets as it was against low-flying aircraft.
The gun was normally transported on a Sd. Ah. 52 trailer, and could be towed behind a variety of half-tracks or trucks, such as the Opel Blitz, Sd. Kfz. 251 and Sd. Kfz. 11. It was also mounted onto half-tracks and tank bodies to produce mobile anti-aircraft vehicles, such as the Sd. Kfz. 7/1 (based on the Sd. Kfz. 7 half-track) and the Mobelwagen and Wirbelwind (both based on the Panzer IV tank). In Kriegsmarine use, it was fitted to boats and ships to provide short-range anti-aircraft defense, and was also employed in fixed installations around ports, harbors and other strategic naval targets. The Flakvierling was also a common fixture on trains, where it was mounted on a flatbed car and then covered to make it look like a boxcar.