Friday, August 7, 2015

Flak MG-42 Team of SS Hitlerjugend in Normandy

A Flak (AA or Anti-Aircraft) MG-42 team of 12. SS-Panzer-Division "Hitlerjugend" in Normandy, summer 1944. They are using a standard bipod and not a special anti-aircraft tripod or mount (Zwillingssockel), a desperate attempt to fight allied low-flying fighter bombers (The MG-42 or MG-34 is used for close-in AA support whenever 20mm or 30mm AA guns are few or nonexistant.). Very occasionally a rifle-calibre MG like the MG 42 managed to shoot down an aircraft, but it was mostly a waste of ammunition. Even the .50 Browning wasn't that effective (some sources said that it need a 50,000 rounds fired for every plane shot down!). 20mm was really the smallest calibre to be worth bothering with, which is why it was the smallest gun used by German FlaK units. Towards the end of the war even the 20mm was seen as too weak, according to Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin's 'Die deutschen Geschütze'. The focus on damage capability does of course ignore the deterrant effect on the pilots, who may not have been very keen to expose themselves to even quite ineffective fire. So it was maybe less the idea to shoot them down, and more to keep them away, that made use of the weapons seem attractive. Photo by SS-Kriegsberichter Wilfried Woscidlo

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