The 8.8cm Flak (Flugabwehrkanone = anti aircraft gun) was one of the most effective and feared German guns of the Second World War especially in ground combat. Thousands of enemy tanks may have been destroyed by this weapon and it was also highly successful as an anti-aircraft weapon. This gun had been in development since 1928 and was available to the army by 1933. It was first used in Spain during the civil war (1936-39). Of the types 18, 36 and 37, there were 10,930 guns in action up to August 1944. The ammunition consumption rose from about 500,000 rounds per month in the year 1941/42 up to 3,175,400 rounds by the end of 1944. The "Achtacht" (eight-eight), as it was called by the soldiers, was in action up to the end of the war. The latest development of the 8.8 cm Flak 41 was first in use in the North Africa campaign. Up to the end of the war there were more than 25,000 guns of the types 18/36/37/41 built.
The Luftwaffe anti-aircraft batteries were equipped with 4 guns each, while there were also heavy batteries with 6 guns each. For use against surface targets, a steel front shield was fitted.