Altaya IXO Flakpanzer IV “Wirbelwind” sch. SS-Pz.Abt.501 – Ardennes (Belgium) – 1944
1 x 4 Flakvierling 38 L/11 (20mm)
1 MG 34 (7,92mm)
Range: 200 Km.
At begging of the war, the Lutfwaffe supremacy avoid development of self-propelled anti-aircraft gun as they were unnecessary. By 1943 this situation was inverted and Germany begun development of such vehicles.
First solutions were a quick approach with open platforms and poor (nothing) protection for crew.
By 1944 a previous attempt based on Panzer IV, known as Möbelwagen, was improved with a new turret, still open at top, but capable to have a quad Flakvierling inside with the crew, the Wirbelwind.
The turret can traverse 360º and the gun can operate with +10/+90º, with a maximiun fire rate of 1800 rounds per minute. Although loaders of 20 rounds probably don’t allow to get this rate even for expert crew.
Around 100 units were developed.
On of the odds was the open turret, and the other was the 2cm calibre, not capable to down all the planes.
It was intended to be replaced by the Ostwind, equipped with a single 3.7 cm FlaK 43, but just 43 units were completed before war ends.
Even this it was a good anti aircraft and also was a terrible weapon used against ground targets like infantry and unarmoured vehicles.
Altaya’s model is not one of the best in the collection, guns are unaligned and there are some painted details, although not the ugly sights. Turret have some interior details, such space for chargers which are not bad.