FMP - Anti-aircraft Weapons 1939 - 1945

ANTI-AIRCRAFT WEAPONS AND EQUIPMENT

1939 - 1945

 

AAMGs and Light AA Guns

In 1939 Finnish Air Defence was very weak. New twin anti-aircraft machine gun model 7.62 mm ItKk/31 intended for the close defence of troops was although under production which continued until the end of the war with improved model 7.62 mm ItKk/31-40 but the total number of these weapons was rather low. During the Winter War Light AAMG Platoons and Companies were equipped with these weapons. Also many anti-aircraft batteries had these for close-defence. During the Continuation War light AAMGs were additionally issued to artilllery and Air Force units.

A notable amount of new modern 20 mm ItK/30 light AA cannons had been ordered from Germany before the war but only about 100 pcs had arrived in Finland before the deliveries ended because of the Winter War. Heavy AAMG Companies were equipped mainly with these guns. Light 20 mm guns were also bought from Italy (Breda) and for the Navy from Denmark (Madsen). Late in 1942 a new more effective Finnish 20 mm ItK/40 light twin AA cannon designed by A. Lahti finally entered service. It had light but too weak carriage.

The most important light anti-aircraft gun model during the Winter and Continuation War was Swedish 40 mm Bofors m/38 (40 ItK/38) which was also licence-made in Finland by State Gun Factory (VTT). In the late summer 1944 the deliveries of 37 mm German AA guns were about to began to replace the losses of Bofors guns but only first batch of four second hand pieces arrived in Finland by the end of the Continuation War.
.

Heavy AA Guns

There were only a few heavy 75 or 76 mm AA batteries in 1939 and their guns were largely obsolescent and fixed. Heavy guns were urgently obtained from Great Britain and Italy and since late 1940 also from Germany. During the Continuation War in 1941 Finnish troops captured a large number of heavy Soviet AA guns. In 1943 and 1944 a considerable quantity of German 88 mm ItK/37, Soviet-made 76 mm ItK/31 ss and re-worked Soviet-made 88 mm ItK/39 ss (originally 85 mm) heavy AA guns were bought from Germany to strengthen the anti-aircraft defence of the largest cities in Finland and also for the coastal defence.

In November 1942 modified heavy anti-aircraft shells for Skoda and Bofors guns were tested in Finland. "Electron metal" was added to shells which were designed to flash stronger than normally used ones to imitate explosions of much heavier calibre guns and hits closer to planes. The idea was to bluff enemy pilots to drop their bombs away too early especially at night and escape immediately to avoid direct hits. Evaluation was succesful and shells for other gun models were also re-worked.
.

Battery Computers, Range-Finders, Searchlights and Audible Direction-Finders

In 1939 there were a total of ten battery computers (one m/29 Berkog, and nine m/34 Vickers: 2x "Va", 3x "Vb", 4x "Vc"), eighteen two to four meter range-finders (8x 2 m, 7x 3,5 m and 3x 4 m), 31 searchlights and five audible direction-finders in Finland.

Computers used in heavy AA batteries were largely obsolete or worthless during the Winter War. Therefore many heavy batteries used simple 3-T firing method developed by Lt.Gen. P. Nenonen. It was a development of the WW I calculating methods: firing values were calculated mean values of several estimates. Method was too slow against any faster aircraft but all heavy batteries used it used as back-up. New more advanced computers were bought from Germany soon after the Winter War but equipment stayed very heterogeneous until the end of the WW II.

Light AA batteries used lighter range-finders for measuring distance between target and guns. During the war a total of 32 different models were in use in Finland and their base widths varied from 0.6 to 4 m. A typical small one was German-made 1.25 m range-finder Hahn-Cassel which had been used already during the WW I and was obsolete by WW II. Stereo range-finders like the British 3.5 m range-finder Barr & Stroud were although better suited for AA batteries.

There were also too few searchlights in 1939. After the Winter War and during the Continuation War a lot more anti-aircraft equipment was obtained both from Germany and Finland. Searchlights were either designed for searching targets or to follow a certain target. Audible direction-finders were used in conjuction with searchlights and belonged to searchlight batteries but their meaning was quite minimal because their accuracy proved to be too weak. New radars bought in 1943 from Germany were much more accurate but their number remained low.

.

Designation
Calibre [mm]
Type/Model Year
.
Effective
Range

[m]
Rate of
Fire
[rds/sec]
Number
[pcs 39/
(40)/41/44]
Country
of Origin
Notes
Anti-Aircraft Machine Guns (AAMG) / Ilmatorjuntakonekiväärit (It.Kk.)
.
7.62 ItKk/09

7.62 ItKk/31,
7.62 ItKk/31-40

7.62 ItKk/33-39
.

7.62 ItKk/09-31

8.00 ItKk/36
.

<1.000

1.000
.

1.000
.

<1.000

1.000

7,5/15

30
.

15,5
.

30

?

?

80/135/
475

-/-/130
.

-/80/?

(?)/-/-

Rus, Fin

Fin
.

Fin
.

SU

Swe

Ordinary Maxim MG, part with AA mount.

Twin AAMG, 135 made by 1940,
improved version made 1940-44.

AA version of Lahti L-33 observer MG,
mainly used by Navy on small craft.

In-line quad AAMG, war booty 1939 - 1942.

Twin AAMGs of Swedish SFK in 1940.

Anti-Aircraft Rifles / Ilmatorjuntakiväärit (It.Kiv.)
.
Lahti L-39/44
(20 ItKiv/39-44)
.
1.200 5 -/-/300 Fin 20 mm full-automatic version of L-39 AT rifle.
Light Anti-Aircraft Guns / [Kevyet] Ilmatorjuntakanuunat (It.K)
.
20 ItK/23

20 ItK/39 M
.

20 ItK/30 BSW
.

20 ItK/38K
.

20 ItK/35

20 ItK/40
.

40/40 V15
40/40 V34

40 ItK/35 B
40 ItK/36 B
40 ItK/36 BK
40 ItK/36 BK2
40 ItK/38 B
40 ItK/38 BK
40 ItK/39 B
.

1.000

1.200
.

1.200
.

1.200
.

1.200

1.200
.

1.500
 

2.500

2,5

6,6
.

4,6
.

7,5
.

4

23
.

3,3
3,7

2
2
2
4
2
2
2

4/4/4

(50)/150/
200

30/132/
172

-/-/53
.

-/88/83

-/-/170
.

9/9/6
8/8/8

64/210/290

Sui

Den
.

Ger
.

Ger
.

Ita

Fin
.

UK/Ita
UK

Swe, Pol
Swe, Hun
Swe
Swe
Fin
Fin
Swe

Semag-Oerlikon, bought for trials in 1924.

Madsen automatic gun, used mainly
on ships in 1939-44.

Gustloff-Werke and Berliner Suhlen
Werke (BSW).

Gustloff-Werke and BSW,
K = fixed model.

Breda. 48 pcs delivered between 2.-3.1940.

Twin gun made by State Rifle Factory
(VKT) mainly in 1943-44.

Vickers-Armstrong / Terni 2 pdr
"Pom-Pom", used on ships.

Bofors,
MAVAG,
used also in ships, K = fixed
twin guns of Väinämoinen and Ilmarinen,
State Gun Factory (VTT),
K = fixed/static,
special model used in trains.

Designation
Calibre [mm]
Type/Model Year 
.
Range
[km]
Rate of
Fire
[rds/min]
Number
[pcs 39/
(40)/41/44]
Country
of Origin
Notes
Heavy Anti-Aircraft Guns / [Raskaat] Ilmatorjuntakanuunat (It.K)
.
75 ItK/97-14 PK
.

75 ItK/30 B
.

75 ItK/37
.

76 ItK/14

76 ItK/02-34

76 ItK/16 
.

76 ItK/16 Br,
76 ItK/16-35 Brk  

76 ItK/27K
76 ItK/28
76 ItK/29

76 ItK/31 ss
76 ItK/31-40
.
.

76 ItK/34 V

88 ItK/37 RMB
88 ItK/37K

88 ItK/39 ss
.
.
.

 

?
.

5
.

4-6
.

5

5

4
. 

?
.

5
.
.

?
.
.
.

?

6
.

?

?
.

?
. 

12
.

12

4-5

5-6
.

?
.

12
.
.

12
.
.
.

?

12
.

12

-/24/24
.

-/9/9
.

-/20/20
.

2/-/-

8/8/8

-/24/24
.

-/12/12
.

8/8/8
4/4/4
4/4/4

-/-/115
=

.
.

12/12/12

-/-/18
-/-/72

-/-/18

Fra/Ger
.

Swe
.

Cze/Ger
.

Rus

Rus/Fin

UK
.

Ita
.

Swe
.
.

SU/Ger
.
.
.

UK

Ger
.

SU/Ger

Puteaux, bought from Germany in 1940
for coastal AA batteries, K = fixed.

Bofors, arrived in February 1940 for
the defence of the city of Turku.

Skoda, second-hand guns bought
from Germany in 1940.

Putilov "Zenit", originally naval guns.

Obuhov "Zenit", originally naval guns.

Vickers-Armstrong, donated from
UK in 1940.

Breda, arrived in 1940.
.

Bofors, K = fixed/static.
.
.

Fixed or with two-wheel carriage;
with four-wheel ZU-8 carriage,
war booty
of 1941, 72 bought from
Germany
in 1944 for coastal AA batteries.

Vickers-Armstrong, bought in 1936.

Rheinmetal-Borsig, bought in spring 1943
K = fixed, bought in the summer 1944.

Former Soviet 85 mm, reworked in
Germany to 88 mm, bought in 1944,
ss = sotasaalis [war booty].

Designation
Model Year
Name

.
.
Range
distance
/ altitude
[km]
Max
Target

Speed
[m/s]
Max Dist.
from the
Guns

[m]
Country
of Origin
Notes
Battery Central Computers (Anti-Aircraft Gun Directors) / Keskuslaskimet
.
m/29 Berkog
.

m/30 Äldre
.

m/34 Vickers
.
.

m/34 Gala-Borletti

m/35 Delta
.

m/36 Gamma-Juhasz
.

m/37 Skoda T7n,
Puaso 3

m/35 Puaso-Aufiere
and
m/44 Puaso-Aufiere

m/40 Lambda
.
.
.

?/?
.

?/?
.

?/7
.
.

?/?

1.2-12
.

0.9-10/
0.1-8

1-12/
0-9.6

12.7/8
.
.

1.2-18/
0-12

180
.

?
.

?
.
.

?

150
.

I, II 166
III 260

140
.

200
.
.

300

500
.

?
.

?
.
.

?

?
.

500
.

600
2000

200
.
.

500

Ned
.

Swe
.

UK
.
.

Ita

Ger
.

Hun/Fin
.

Cze/Ger
SU/Ger

SU/Fra/
Ger
.

Ger

Zeiss Holland, with range-finder, one was
used at Viborg during the Winter War only.

Three computers came in spring 1940,
with 75 ItK/30 B guns.

Three sub-models: "Va" for 76 ItK/28,
"Vb" for 76 ItK/27, "Vc" for 76 ItK/34,
the best computer used in the Winter War.

Three bought with Breda guns, worthless.

With 88 ItK/37.
.

Licence-made in Finland by Strömberg,
three sub-models: I, II and improved III.

With Skoda guns, improved Soviet
copies were bought from Germany.

German-made combination of French
and Soviet computers, for 76 ItK/31;
improved m/44 for 88 ItK/39 ss.

Three were bought in spring 1943 for
88 ItK/37 RMB, the best computer used
in WW II, actually a full fire control device.

Note: there was a spelling mistake in the names of the Finnish Puaso models. Correct spelling should have been Puazo.
.
Designation
Model Year
.
Diameter
[cm]
Range
[m]
Type Country
of Origin
Notes
Searchlights / Valonheittimet
.
m/32 SIA

m/35 SIA

m/37
.

MUG-62 Strömberg

m/41 Strömberg

m/42 AEG
.
.

150

90

110
.

62

210

150

10.000

8.000

6.000
.

?

15.000

12.000

Search

Follow

Follow
.

?

Search

Search

Swe

Swe

Fin
.

Fin

Fin

Ger

Svenska Instrument Ab.

Svenska Instrument Ab.

Valonheitinkorjaamo
[Searchlight Repair Shop].

Strömberg Oy [Ltd].

69 pcs produced by Strömberg Oy.

Allgemeine Elekricitäts Gesellschaft,
180 pcs bought during the war.

Designation
Model Year
.
Range
[km]
    Country
of Origin
Notes
Audible Direction Finders / Kuulosuuntimet
.
m/39 Goerz

m/40 Tepas

m/42 [ET-2]

m/42 RHI

m/43 Strömberg
.

?

?

?

?

?

    Aut/Ger

Bel

SU

Ger

Ita/Fin

Also for route determination.

.

War booty.

Bought together with AEG searchlights.

Licence-made in Finland by Strömberg Oy.

.

Sources: VEHRA1, PALMA1, LAPAH1, TALHI, JATHI
.
:

© 2001 - 10.2004 Harri Anttonen