2 cm FlaK 30
The 2 cm FlaK 30 (2 cm Flugabwehrkanone 30) was a 20mm anti-aircraft gun used in the early years of World War 2 by the German armed forces. Due to the Treaty of Versailles, it was forbidden for Germany to develop any anti-aircraft guns. This is why Rheinmetall ordered the Swiss company Solothurn to develop this weapon in 1930. It was introduced to German armed forces in 1934 but soon it was found that it needed some improvements. It was followed by the similar looking 2cm FlaK 38, which solved most of the problems of the FlaK 30.
By the time the new German armed forces were ready to rearm in the early 1930s, armament manufacturers in Germany had accumulated considerable expertise in heavy automatic weapons. This was particularly true of the giant Rheinmetall-Borsig group, and accordingly, the company received an order for a 20-mm caliber light antiaircraft gun. This 2 cm FlaK was ready for use as early as 1935. Designated the 2 cm FlaK 30, this light autocannon was the first in a series of weapons so feared by the crews of low-flying aircraft during World War II.
The FlaK 30 was a fairly complex weapon for its light caliber, which was mounted on a carriage with two wheels for towing and rested on a floor plate when in use. This floor plate provided a stable firing platform with a 360° swivel range and had a seat for the gunner, who in the FlaK 30's original configuration was equipped with a rather complicated version of a reflector sight. However, these sights were further complicated when simple position prediction systems were fitted. This then reached a point where the whole sight was clockwork driven. The whole thing became so complicated that the idea was dropped and later versions were given a simple iron sight.
The gun had a crew of five, but in combat, it was often handled by fewer men, especially when in a static position. Generally, the number mainly consisted of four men, with one usually using a stereoscopic rangefinder. In 1944, however, its function was eliminated, as it had become apparent that the additional range of information was unnecessary in the field. Ammunition was fed to the gun in 20-round magazines but for reasons never fully explained, the FlaK was prone to jamming. At the time of its introduction to the troops, its rate of fire was nevertheless perfectly adequate, but by the beginning of World War II, it was found to be too low to be adequate for the increased speeds of aircraft types after 1940. Consequently, the FlaK 38 was put into production, but those FlaK 30s which were already in troop use continued to be used until they wore out or were lost in action. In the Army's light antiaircraft divisions, there were usually three batteries of 2 cm FlaK to every 3.7-cm battery. But as the war progressed, there were several different compositions of these units.
The FlaK 30 was not only used by the Wehrmacht, however, before 1939 some were sold to the Dutch and even to China. The FlaK was equally used by the German Luftwaffe for defending airfields and other ground installations, and there were also special naval versions for the Kriegsmarine, both on warships and ashore, designated 2 cm MG C/30. Some of the guns also saw service on armored trains, and the weapon was mounted on a variety of half-tracks and trucks for securing motorized columns and troop units. The FlaK 30 was also frequently used against ground targets and there was even a special armor-piercing shell for engaging tanks.
2 cm FlaK 30
(1934 - 1945)
- Weight: 450 kg (992 lbs)
- Length: 4.08 m (13.38 ft)
- Barrel Length: 1.3 m (4.26 ft) (L/65)
- Width: 1.81 m (6 ft)
- Height: 1.6 m (5.24 ft)
- Crew: 7
- Caliber: 20x138mm B
- Elevation: -12°to +90°
- Traverse: 360°
- Rate of Fire: 280 rounds/min (cyclic), 120 rpm (practical)
- Muzzle Velocity: 900 m/s (2,953 ft/s)
- Effective Range: 2,200 m (2,406 yds)
- Feed System: 20 round box magazine
The 2 cm FlaK 30 and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:
|Moscow Skies (Nebo Moskvy)||Abandoned on battlefield||1944|
|Shock Troops (Un homme de trop)||German troops||1967|
|Walter Defends Sarajevo (Valter brani Sarajevo)||German troops||1972|
|Only Old Men Are Going to Battle (V boy idut odni "stariki")||German troops||Documentary footage||1973|
|From Hell to Victory||US Army soldiers||1979|
|Das Boot||MG C 30; mounted on Submarine||1981|
|R2B: Return to Base||North Korean troops||2012|
|The Eight Hundred||Nationalist Chinese soldiers||2020|
|Game Title||Appears as||Note||Release Date|
|Call of Duty: United Offensive||MG C/30; mounted on German PT boat||2004|
|Death to Spies: Moment of Truth||Mounted on German submarine||2009|
|World of Warships: Legends||MG C/30; mounted on German warships||2019|
|Call to Arms - Gates of Hell: Ostfront||2021|
|Strike Witches 2||MG C/30 mounted on Bismarck-class battleships||2010|
|Strike Witches: Operation Victory Arrow||MG C/30 mounted on Bismarck-class battleship||2014-2015|
2 cm KwK 30
The 2 cm KwK 30 (2 cm Kampfwagenkanone 30) is the vehicle-mounted variant of the FlaK 30 which served as the main armament in the Panzerkampfwagen II light tank and in some armored reconnaissance vehicles. The Wehrmacht first gained operational experience with this weapon during the Spanish Civil War.
Article 168 of the Versailles Peace Treaty imposed severe restrictions on the German Reich's production of war weapons and munitions. Beginning in the postwar period, there were long discussions about the equipment of the weapon classes. With regard to combat tanks, the view was still held in the late 1920s and early 1930s that all calibers between 2 and 4.7 cm were suitable.
As early as June 1931, during the development of the later Panzer I, a tank destroyer (Panzerjäger) with an automatic 2 cm gun on the chassis of the Krupp-Kleintraktor, as the vehicle was called at the time, was already being considered. Automatic 2 cm guns were probably also already envisaged for the armored vehicles for the reconnaissance troops, which had already been in development since 1927. The German government had already decided in favor of the automatic 2 cm gun.
Germany had finally decided on the 3.7-cm caliber for anti-tank purposes, while France first used 2.5-cm and later 4.7-cm guns. Great Britain had decided on the 4 cm caliber (2pdr) for anti-tank and for combat vehicle guns. Thus, the 2 cm KwK 30 did not correspond to what was originally planned for the future tank force. However, the success of the weapon of this caliber was to lead to a long service life for the KwK 30 and its successor, the KwK 38.
The first vehicle type to be equipped with the gun in the Wehrmacht was the 6-wheel armored reconnaissance vehicle Sd.Kfz. 231 / 232, followed by the Panzerkampfwagen II, still in development as "La.S. 100", the armored reconnaissance vehicle Sd.Kfz. 222 and the 8-wheel armored reconnaissance vehicle Sd.Kfz. 231 / 232.
The Panzerspähwagen were heavily armed with the automatic 2 cm KwK 30 relative to other scout cars of the same years. The effect of the armament of the Panzerkampfwagen II was just sufficient for a light tank at the beginning of the war. However, the high rate of fire from the 10-round magazines had a shocking effect on many opponents, and in some cases, the psychological effect on the crews of tanks and armored vehicles was stronger than the physical damage of the projectiles to the vehicles. This occasionally brought combat success to the crews, even though the weapon was unable to penetrate the armor of enemy vehicles.
The 2 cm KwK 30, where available, was used throughout the war, although production ended in favor of the 2 cm KwK 38.
The 2 cm KwK 30 and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:
|Valkyrie||mounted on Sd. Kfz. 222||2008|
|April 9th||mounted on Panzer II and Sd. Kfz. 222||2015|
|Three Days of June||mounted on Panzer II||2005|
|Game Title||Appears as||Note||Release Date|
|Call of Duty 2||mounted on Sd. Kfz. 222||2005|
|Call of Duty 2: Big Red One||mounted on Sd. Kfz. 222||2005|
|Sniper Elite V2||mounted on Sd. Kfz. 222||2012|
|Company of Heroes 2||mounted on Sd. Kfz. 222||2013|
|Assassin's Creed Unity||mounted on Panzer II||2014|
|Sniper Elite III||mounted on Sd. Kfz. 222||2014|
|Sniper Elite 4||mounted on Sd. Kfz. 222||2017|
|Post Scriptum||mounted on Panzer II and Sd. Kfz. 222||2018|
|Land of War: The Beginning||mounted on Panzer II and Sd. Kfz. 222||2021|
|Call of Duty: Vanguard||mounted on Sd.Kfz. 231||2021|
|Enlisted||mounted on Sd. Kfz. 222||2021|
|Call to Arms - Gates of Hell: Ostfront||mounted on Sd. Kfz. 222||2021|
|Sniper Elite 5||mounted on Sd. Kfz. 222||2022|
|Girls und Panzer: der Film||mounted on Panzer II||2015|
|Joker Game||mounted on Sd. Kfz. 222||2016|
|Girls und Panzer das Finale: Part 2||mounted on Panzer II||2019|