1:72 Standard-Flakpanzer E-50/88mm (Sd.Kfz. 192/3), early 1946

Started by Dizzyfugu, August 25, 2021, 03:58:15 AM

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1:72 Einheits-Flakpanzer E-50/88 mm (Sd.Kfz. 192/3); vehicle ,212', 1st Panzer-Fla-Zug, 2nd company, Deutsches Heer 506th Heavy Panzer Battalion; Siegen (Arnsberg region, Western Germany), early 1946 (What-if/modified Trumpeter kit)
by Dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Einheits-Flakpanzer E-50/88 mm (Sd.Kfz. 192/3); vehicle ,212', 1st Panzer-Fla-Zug, 2nd company, Deutsches Heer 506th Heavy Panzer Battalion; Siegen (Arnsberg region, Western Germany), early 1946 (What-if/modified Trumpeter kit)
by Dizzyfugu, on Flickr

Some background:
The "Entwicklung" tank series (= "development"), more commonly known as the E-Series, was a late-World War II attempt by Germany to produce a standardized series of tank designs. There were to be six standard designs in different weight classes, from which several specialized variants were to be developed. This intended to reverse the trend of extremely complex tank designs that had resulted in poor production rates and mechanical unreliability.

The E-series designs were simpler, cheaper to produce and more efficient than their predecessors; however, their design offered only modest improvements in armor and firepower over the designs they were intended to replace, such as the Jagdpanzer 38(t), Panther Ausf. G or Tiger II. However, the resulting high degree of standardization of German armored vehicles would also have made logistics and maintenance easier. Indeed, nearly all E-series vehicles — up through and including the E-75 — were intended to use what were essentially the Tiger II's 80 cm (31½ in) diameter, steel-rimmed road wheels for their suspension, meant to overlap each other (as on the later production Tiger I-E and Panther designs that also used them), even though in a highly simplified fashion. For instance, while the E-50/75's running gear resembled outwardly the Tiger II's, the latter's torsion bar suspension, which necessitated a complex hull with many openings, was replaced by very compact conical spring coil packages that each held a pair of interleaved road wheels – with the benefit that all suspension elements remained outside of the hull. This considerably simplified production and saved time as well as scarce material.

Focus of initial chassis and combat vehicle development was the E-50/75 Standardpanzer, designed by Adler. These were two mostly identical vehicles and only differed in armor thickness, overall weight and running gear design to cope with the different weights. While the E-50 was the standardized replacement for the medium PzKpfw. V "Panther" and the last operational PzKpfw. VI "Tiger", with an operational weight of around 50 tons, the E-75 was intended to become the standard heavy tank in the 70 ton class, as a replacement for the Tiger II battle tank and the Jagdtiger SPG.  They were to share many components, including the same Maybach HL 234 engine with up to 900 hp output and the drivetrain, as well as running gear elements and almost all peripheral equipment. Both E-50 and E-75 were built on the same production lines for ease of manufacture.

This universal tank chassis would, beyond the primary use for battle tanks, also become the basis for a wide range of specialized support vehicles like self-propelled artillery, assault guns, tank hunters and anti-aircraft weapon carriers, which would gradually replace and standardize the great variety of former support vehicles, dramatically optimizing maintenance and logistics.
The E-50/75 SPAAG sub-family itself was quite diversified and comprised a wide range of vehicles that mainly carried different turrets with the respective weaponry as well as air space surveillance, targeting and command equipment. The range of armament included not only guns of various calibers for short, medium and long range in armored and mostly fully enclosed turrets, there were furthermore armored launch ramps for anti-aircraft missiles, including the guided "Rheintochter", "Wasserfall" or "Enzian" SAMs as well as batteries with unguided "Taifun" anti-aircraft missiles.

Among this new vehicle family, the heaviest gun that was carried in a fully enclosed turret was the Rheinmetall 8.8 cm Flak 41. This was an improved version of the powerful pre-war 8.8 cm Flak 36/37 that was also developed into an anti-tank gun and became the main armament for Germany's heavy battle tanks like the Tiger I: the 8.8 cm PaK 43 and KwK 43, respectively.
The 8.8 cm Flak 41 was a mobile field weapon on a new pedestal mounting that lowered its silhouette, and it used a longer barrel and a longer 88 mm cartridge with an increased propellant load. The shells had a weight of 9.4-kilogram (20 lb) and achieved a muzzle velocity of 1,000 m/s (3,280 ft/s), giving the gun an effective ceiling of 11,300 meters (37,100 ft) and a maximum of 14,700 meters (48,200 ft). The barrel initially consisted of three sections and had a length of 74 calibers but was then redesigned to a simpler dual-section barrel with a length of 72 calibers, for easier manufacture. Improvements in reloading raised the manual firing rate, with 20 to 25 rounds a minute being quoted. The Flak 41 could also be used against ground targets and was able to penetrate about 200 mm (7.9 inches) of armor at 1,000 m (3,280 feet), allowing it to defeat the armor of any contemporary tank from a relatively safe distance. Because of the high cost and complexity of this weapon, however, Rheinmetall manufactured relatively few of them, 556 in all. 399 were fielded, the rest went into SPAAG production.

The new pedestal mounting made it easy to adapt the weapon to a vehicle, so that this formidable weapon was immediately earmarked to be combined with a tank chassis to improve its mobility. Since an SPAAG would not need the massive frontal armor of a battle tank, the hull from the lighter E-50 was used (which still had a maximum armor thickness of 60mm at the front at 30°, which was effectively 120 mm vs. the E-75's 185 mm), but instead of the E-50 MBT's running gear with six steel wheels per side, the Flak 41 SPAAG used the heavier E-75's running gear with eight wheels per side and wider tracks, effectively creating a hybrid E-50/75 chassis. This measure was taken to better distribute the vehicle's overall weight and stabilize the it while moving and firing. In this form the new vehicle received the designation Sd.Kfz. 192/3, also known as "Einheits-Flakpanzer E-50 (88 mm)" or "E-50-41" for short.

The Flak 41 was integrated into Rheinmetall's standardized SPAAG turret that could carry a wide range of automatic anti-aircraft weapons. It was a spacious, boxy design, optimized for maximum internal space than for effective armor protection, resulting in almost vertical side walls and a high silhouette. However, the level of armor was sufficient to protect the crew and the equipment inside from 20 mm gun shells – the typical armament of Allied fighter bombers of the time like the Hawker Typhoon and Tempest.

A heavy-duty hydraulic gun mount with a reinforced recoil system allowed an elevation of the Flak 41 between +83° and -3°. As a novel feature the weapon received a semi-automatic loading mechanism. This was the attempt to increase the gun's excellent manual rate of fire even further, and it mimicked the magazine clips of the smaller 37 mm Flak 37 that contained seven rounds for short, continuous bursts of fire. A belt feed for truly continuous fire had been envisioned, but not possible with the long and heavy 88 mm rounds within the turret and chassis limits. A mechanical magazine solution, e. g. a drum with several rounds, was impossible, too. The most practical solution was a spiral-shaped magazine, driven by simple gravitation and directly attached to the Flak 41's breech. This feeding could – beyond an initial round already in the barrel – hold up to three more rounds, and upon firing and expelling the empty case, a fresh round automatically fell into place. The rounds from the magazine could be fired in a fully automatic mode in a short burst with a rate of 50-55 RPM. The magazine itself had to be filled manually, though, and the gun could alternatively be fed directly, too, so that different types of ammunition could be prepared and the gunner could switch between them on short notice.

To accommodate the weapon's longer ammunition (the Flak 41's cartridge was 855 mm long) and a crew of four (commander, gunner and two loaders), the standard Rheinmetall Flak turret had to be extended at the rear. Anti-aircraft aiming was done visually, a stereoscopic rangefinder with a span of 200 cm (78¾ in) was integrated above the gun mount. A secondary ZF.20 scope for ground targets was available, too. Two more crewmen, the driver and a radio operator, sat in the hull in front of the turret, similar to the E-50/75 battle tank's layout. The radio operator on the right side also acted as a third loader for the ammunition supply stored in the hull's front.

Initially, no secondary defensive armament was provided since the new SPAAGs were to be operated in specialized anti-aircraft units, the so-called Fla-Züge, in which the SPAAGs' protection would be taken over by supporting infantry and other dedicated vehicles. However, initial field experience quickly revealed this weak spot in the vehicle's close-range defense: due to material and personnel shortages the Fla-Züge units could hardly be equipped with everything they needed to operate as planned, so that they were in most cases just an underserved mix of SPAAGs, occasionally augmented by a command vehicle and rarely with the protection these specialized vehicles needed. Most of the time the units' vehicles had to operate independently and were therefore left to their own devices. As a solution, a commander cupola was soon added to the Sd. Kfz.192/3's turret that not only improved the field of view around the vehicle to assess the tactical situation and detect approaching infantrymen that tried to attach mines or throw Molotov cocktails, it also featured a remote-controlled MG 42 that could be aimed and fired by the commander from the inside. However, to re-supply the ammunition, the cupola hatch had to be opened and someone had to leave the turret's cover and manually insert a new box of rounds. Furthermore, a 100 mm grenade launcher, a so-called  "Nahverteidigungswaffe", was mounted into the opposite side of the turret roof, too. It fired SMi 35 leaping mines for close defense against approaching infantry. This made the cramped turret interior even more cluttered, but significantly improved the vehicle's survivability, especially in a confined, urban combat environment. Updated vehicles reached the frontline units in late 1945 and were immediately thrown into service.

Despite being a powerful weapon, several operational problems with the Sd.Kfz. 192/3 became soon apparent. The complex Flak 41 and its feeding mechanism needed constant proper maintenance and service – otherwise it easily jammed. Spent shell casing also frequently jammed the gun. The high silhouette was an innate tactical problem, but this had already been accepted during the design phase of Rheinmetall's SPAAG standard turret. However, the tall turret was the source of an additional conceptual weakness of the Sd.Kfz. 192/3: the sheer weight of the large turret with the heavy gun frequently caused imbalances that overstressed the turret bearing and its electric drive (which had been taken over from the E-50/75 battle tanks), resulting in a jammed turret — especially when either fully loaded or when the ammunition supply was depleted. Due to the large and heavy turret, the vehicle's center of gravity was relatively high, too, so that its off-road handling was limited. Even on paved roads the early Sd.Kfz. 192/3s tended to porpoise in tight corners and upon braking. Stiffer coil springs, introduced during the running production and retrofitted through field kits to existing vehicles, countered this flaw, even though these kits were rare due to material shortages. Sometimes the harder coil springs were distributed between two vehicles, only replacing the suspension on the front and rear pair of wheels.
A different tactical problem was the limited ammunition supply for the Flak 41. While 57 rounds were sufficient for a comparable battle tank, the semi-automatic Flak 41's theoretical high rate of fire meant that the Sd.Kfz. 192/3 quickly depleted this supply and could only keep up fire and its position for a very limited period, or it had to save ammunition to a point that its deployment became pointless. After spending its ammunition, the vehicle had to retreat to a safe second line position to re-supply, and this was, due to the vehicle's limited mobility, size and the heavy and bulky rounds, a risky undertaking and meant tedious manual labor with poor protection for the supply crews. The resulting supply logistics to keep the Sd.Kfz. 192/3 operational and effective were demanding.

Nevertheless, despite these shortcoming, the Sd.Kfz. 192/3 greatly improved the heavy Flak units' mobility and firepower, and the weapon's effectiveness was high against both air and ground targets. Until mid-1946, a total of around forty Sd.Kfz. 192/3 were built and put into service, primarily with units that defended vital production sites in Western Germany and Saxonia.

At the time of the Sd.Kfz. 192/3's introduction, anti-aircraft aiming was already augmented by mobile radar systems like the "Würzburg" device or special command vehicles like the Sd.Kfz. 282 "Basilisk" which combined an autonomous radar system with a powerful visual rangefinder and an integrated analogue range calculator, the Kommandogerät 40. However, fire control development had continued, and at least one Sd.Kfz. 192/3 was used in late 1946 during trials to fully automatize gun aiming and firing remotely through electric drives through "slaving" a turret to an external director. This was a modified Sd.Kfz. 282/1 that successfully controlled the Sd.Kfz. 192/3 via cable from an elevated location 50 m away from the SPAAG's firing position. The objective of these trials was to connect several anti-aircraft weapons to a single command unit with improved sensors and high accuracy under any weather condition for concentrated and more effective fire and an improved first shot hit probability.

    Crew: Sixe  (commander, gunner, two loaders, radio operator, driver)
    Weight: 64 tonnes (71 short tons)
    Length: 7.27 m (23 ft 10 ¾ in) (hull only)
                   9.57 m (31 ft 4 ½ in) with gun forward
    Width: 3.88 m (12 ft 9 in)
    Height 3.46 m (11 ft 4 in)
                 3.81 m (12 ft 6 in) with commander cupola
    Ground clearance: 495 to 510 mm (1 ft 7.5 in to 1 ft 8.1 in)
    Suspension: Conical spring
    Fuel capacity: 720 liters (160 imp gal; 190 US gal)

    30 – 60 mm (1.2 – 2.4 in)

      - Maximum, road: 44 km/h (27.3 mph)
      - Sustained, road: 38 km/h (24 mph)
      - Cross country: 15 to 20 km/h (9.3 to 12.4 mph)
     Operational range: 160 km (99 miles)
     Power/weight: 14 PS/tonne (12.5 hp/ton)

    V-12 Maybach HL 234 gasoline engine with 900 PS (885 hp/650 kW)

    ZF AK 7-200 with 7 forward 1 reverse gears

    1× 8,8 cm Flak 41 L/72 anti-aircraft cannon with 57 rounds in turret and hull
    1× 7.92 mm Maschinengewehr 42 with 2.400 rounds, remote-controlled on the commander cupola

The kit and its assembly:
This fictional German SPAAG never existed, not even on the drawing boards. But I wondered, after ModelCollect had released an E-100 SPAAG with a twin 88mm gun some years ago, why there was no lighter vehicle with the powerful 88 mm Flak in a closed turret? There were plans to mount this weapon onto a tracked chassis in real life, but it would have been only lightly armored. Then I recently came across a whiffy aftermarket resin turret with a single 88 mm Flak, based on the Tiger II's Porsche turret, and I liked the idea – even though the rather MBT-esque aftermarket turret looked rather dubious and too small for my taste – esp. the potential angle of the AA weapon appeared insufficient. From this basis the idea was born to create a personal interpretation of a Flak 41 in a fully enclosed turret on a tank chassis.

The basis became the Trumpeter 1:72 E-75 kit of the twin 55 mm Flak with its boxy turret. While I initially considered a totally different turret shape, I eventually settled on a generic design that would have been used for a variety of weapons. This appeared more realistic to me and so I stuck to the Rheinmetall AA turret. However, due to the heavy weapon its certainly massive mount and bulky recoil system as well as the long rounds and a crew of four, I decided to enlarge the Rheinmetall turret. The turret was cut into a front and rear half and an 8 mm wide plug, made from 1.5 mm styrene sheet, was implanted and PSRed. To keep the turret rotatable, the rear extension had to be raised, so that the "oriel" could move over the air intake fairings on the engine cover.

Due to the longer roof, some details were modified there. The most obvious addition is a commander cupola on the left, taken from an early Panzer IV, together with a MG 42 and a small shield on a swing arm, inspired by the remote-controlled installation on some Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer. A stereoscopic rangefinder was added to the turret flanks and a periscope added to one of the loader's hatches. A cover for a ventilator was added on the right side of the roof, together with a cover for a vertical grenade launcher underneath.

Using the original turret as base, the model's movable mount for the twin 55 mm guns was retained and the rear extension would also become a good visual balance for the new main weapon. The armor at barrels' base was cut off and a 1:72 Flak 41, taken from a Zvezda field gun kit, was glued to it, together with parts of the field gun's recoil system and styrene bits to blend the new gun into the rest of the turret.

The E-75 chassis was taken OOB, since it would be a standardized vehicle basis. Outwardly the hull did not bear recognizable differences to the lighter E-50, which it is supposed to represent, just with more wheels to better cope with the bulky and heavy new turret.

Thankfully, this Trumpeter kit's vinyl tracks were molded in black – sometimes they come in a sandy beige, and it's a PITA to paint them! As another bonus, Trumpeter's running gear on the 1:72 E-50/75 model is of a more sturdy and simpler construction than the one on the alternative ModelCollect kit(s), making the assembly and esp. the mounting of the tracks much easier. The Trumpeter kit is simpler than the comparable ModelCollect models with the E-50/75 basis, but the result is visually quite similar.

Painting and markings:
The paint scheme uses once more typical German late WWII "Hinterhalt" camouflage colors, namely Dark Yellow, Olive Green and Red Brown. This time, however, to adapt the livery to the boxy hull and the huge turret, the pattern ended up as a kind of a splinter scheme – inspired by a real Panzer V Panther from the Eastern Front in 1943.
The basic colors became Humbrol 57 (Buff) for the RAL 7028 Dunkelgelb, in this case as a rather pale (stretched?) shade, plus large areas of brown (RAL 8017, I used this time Humbrol 98 for a darker and less reddish shade) and Humbrol 86 for the green (RAL 6003), which appears quite pale in contrast to the dark brown. The camouflage was applied over an overall coat of sand brown as a primer coat, with the intention of letting this uniform basis shine through here and there. The distribution of the darker colors is quite unique, concentrating the brown on the vehicle's edges and the green only to the flanks of hull and turret. However, the pattern works well on the huge E-50/75, and I can imagine that it might have worked well in an urban environment, breaking up the tank's outlines.
As a match for the upper hull the wheels were painted uniformly in the same standard colors – without any pattern, because this would be very eye-catching while on the move. The many delicate tools on the tank's hull are molded, and instead of trying to paint them I tried something else: I rubbed over them with graphite, and this worked very well, leaving them with a dark metallic shine. Just some wooden handles were then painted with a reddish brown.

Decals/marking came next, everything was procured from the scrap box. The Balkenkreuze came from a Hasegawa Sd.Kfz. 234/2 "Puma", the tactical code from a TL-Modellbau sheet and the small unit badges on front and back from an UM Models Bergehetzer. A dry brushing treatment with light grey followed, highlighting surface details and edges, and after painting some details and adding some rust marks with watercolors followed a coat of matt varnish.

The tracks were painted with a cloudy mix of dark grey, red brown and iron acrylic paints, and mounted after hull and running gear had been assembled. The antennae, made from heated spure material, were mounted to the turret and, finally, the tank's lower areas were dusted with a greyish-brown mineral pigment mix, simulating dust and mud residue.

This project was realized in just two days, made easy through the Trumpeter kit's simple construction. Most work went into the extended turret and the different main weapon, but all parts mostly fell into place – and the result looks IMHO quite believable. In fact, the E-50/75 with a Flak 41 reminds a bit of the Italian Otomatic 76 mm SPAAG from the late Eighties?


That's a terrific build  :bow: and then I see it was realised in just two days  :o :o
Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.


Thank you, glad you like it. :mellow: Yes, this was done last weekend (Friday evening until Sunday afternoon, pics came extra). I had the idea and the hardware in store, so that work did not really evolve gradually on the way. The turret took most of the time, and I was surprised how quick this one was finished.

Old Wombat

Impressed by the enclosed turret for dual-role operations. Nicely done, Dizzy! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Has a life outside of What-If & wishes it would stop interfering!

"The purpose of all War is Peace" - St. Augustine

veritas ad mortus veritas est


I like..i like it alot Dizzy..thats right up my alley and a fantastic read too. :thumbsup: ;D
If it aint broke ,,fix it until it is .
Over kill is often very understated .
I know the voices in my head ain't real but they do come up with some great ideas.
Theres few of lifes problems that can't be solved with the proper application of a high explosive projectile .


Thanks a lot. The more models I build and research in this segment, the more complex and interwoven the background becomes. Esp. the late/planned/fictional German SPAAGs are an interesting and vast field.


My Ability to Imagine is only exceeded by my Imagined Abilities

Gondor's Modelling Rule Number Three: Everything will fit perfectly untill you apply glue...

I know it's in a book I have around here somewhere....


Great build and very well thought through story line mate. Well done!


Oh i just love me a piece of self propelled anti aircraft artillery .
Marksman..tunguska ..zu23..Gepard and all the rest..even the Sgt York ..even tho its a POS .
Something about multiple guns with high rates of fire makes me weak at the knees  :lol:
Keep em coming Dizzy mate ..i wanna see more of the same.

If it aint broke ,,fix it until it is .
Over kill is often very understated .
I know the voices in my head ain't real but they do come up with some great ideas.
Theres few of lifes problems that can't be solved with the proper application of a high explosive projectile .


Thank you all. There are still some German Heer 46 SPAAG builds on the list, including a "normal" E-50 with twin 55mm guns, an E-100 with twin 88mm (!) guns (OOB, ModelCollect did one), another Coeilian (w. 2x 37mm guns) with a Panther chassis, the prototype of its predecessor (an MG 151/20 Flakvierling in a closed turret, also on a Panther chassis), a mobile "Taifun" unguided AA-missile launcher and a fictional, massive quad-37mm gun turret, either on an E-75 or even an E-100 chassis... It won't get boring.


Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.


The simple fact is this..if its German..has AA guns..tracks and its WW2ish Dizzy is gonna build it..now this i cant wait to see what he comes up with next..i loved this and as Dizzy said..the more he gets into it the more complex it becomes..i know this all to well too.
Dizzy mate you forgot to mention the E100 with twin 12.8cm guns ..now i think i havenr done you any favours mentioning that  not with the list you already have  :unsure: :o :lol:
If it aint broke ,,fix it until it is .
Over kill is often very understated .
I know the voices in my head ain't real but they do come up with some great ideas.
Theres few of lifes problems that can't be solved with the proper application of a high explosive projectile .


Well, there are some designs I won't build because I find them ridiculous. This includes most E-100 variants, because a) the tactical value of such a vehicle as an SPAAG carrier is HIGHLY doubtful and b) I guess that all the resources that had gone into a 100+ tons monstrosity would not have been wasted on a SPAAG (or on other support vehicles of this kind). There will be the twin 88mm E-100, because I find it quite plausible, but hardly anything else in this category.

BTW, the next German SPAAG family member is on the bench - one of the stillborn "missing links" between the Panzer IV generation and the more of less fictional, heavier E-series vehicles. Stay tuned.  :wacko:


I couldnt agree more and there is one thing about the E100 with the twin 128mm guns ..have you ever seen a way they could load the thing ? ..every model ive seen shows the guns at like 5 metres off the ground which would make it impossible to load and the weight and how slow it would be would make it bait for any Allied fighter..now the E100 with turreted 88s would make much more sense..still tho its possible that might have been built ..much like the Panther with twin AA guns and yeah..im hanging out for your next build  :lol:
If it aint broke ,,fix it until it is .
Over kill is often very understated .
I know the voices in my head ain't real but they do come up with some great ideas.
Theres few of lifes problems that can't be solved with the proper application of a high explosive projectile .