How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

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heinzrondorf
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How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by heinzrondorf » Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:50 am

I read a lot about 8.8cm FlaK 36 and it seems many people on here love it. I like it too for instance in Piatek (GC39), Spoils of War (GC39) and one of the GC40 scenarios where you move very slowly along a very long front. Forgot the name of that one…

Anyhow, how do you use it properly? It can only move one hex per turn unless you tow it and then becomes a sitting duck for the enemy. I only find it useful in static scenarios where it can say guard a bridge, city etc.

I would appreciate some advise on how people use it to the best effect?

proline
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by proline » Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:18 am

Well there's no magic, you use it very carefully. The thing is, the 88 is far, far better than any AT the Germans have, at least until 1942 when the Stug 3 series comes out. Even after that, it still has advantages- tank destroyers have virtually no soft attack and so basically can't fight back against it. For fighting things like French heavy tanks, Matildas, and KV-1 / KV-2 tanks, the 88 is far more cost effective than tanks or early war tank destroyers. It's worth the hassle. Oh, and did I mention it also kills air?

One tactic I find helpful to bring it into battle faster is that when the enemy attacks you with a heavy tank, say a KV-1, move two of your medium tanks to opposite sides of it but do NOT attack. Then move your 88 (in its truck) behind one of those units. The KV-1 won't be able to get to the 88. It might take a shot at one of your tanks, but that's the only shot it's going to get. The next turn, your 88 will blow it to smithereens and the tanks can mop up.

Another way to get them into battle is to cross your fingers and hope for a move hero. Once their move is 2, they can keep up pretty ok.
Last edited by proline on Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

PeteMitchell_2
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:49 am

Yeah, the 8.8 is basically a Tiger I tank without its hull... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8.8_cm_KwK_36

As proline said, I also usually bring the 8.8 immediately behind the frontline (i.e. protected by infantry or other tanks) and then move it forward to attack in the next turn (maybe then covered by artillery to prevent/limit revenging counterattacks by the enemy).

Best is to start using it as an AT as early as possible so you already build up AA experience for later…

heinzrondorf
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by heinzrondorf » Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:18 pm

proline wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:18 am
One tactic I find helpful to bring it into battle faster is that when the enemy attacks you with a heavy tank, say a KV-1, move two of your medium tanks to opposite sides of it but do NOT attack. Then move your 88 (in its truck) behind one of those units. The KV-1 won't be able to get to the 88. It might take a shot at one of your tanks, but that's the only shot it's going to get. The next turn, your 88 will blow it to smithereens and the tanks can mop up.
Thanks! That's the kind of advice I was looking for. I will try that!

heinzrondorf
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by heinzrondorf » Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:21 pm

PeteMitchell_2 wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:49 am
Yeah, the 8.8 is basically a Tiger I tank without its hull... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8.8_cm_KwK_36

As proline said, I also usually bring the 8.8 immediately behind the frontline (i.e. protected by infantry or other tanks) and then move it forward to attack in the next turn (maybe then covered by artillery to prevent/limit revenging counterattacks by the enemy).

Best is to start using it as an AT as early as possible so you already build up AA experience for later…
Sounds reasonable. Thanks, will try this tactic next time I start a new GC!

auda
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by auda » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:29 am

There is also the way of a trap if by circumstance you're unable to bring up the 88 in time.

Taking the opponent's vision in account, you can set up the line in a way you usually do: a front line backed by artillery, but leave the immediate flank open. Then position your 88 slightly behind, on the flank, so there is a gap of one or two hexes between the front line and the 88 on the flank. The enemy will spot your artillery and try to swing around your seemingly exposed flank, getting itself impaled on your 88, or is at least stopped by its zone of control. Then you get your shot on your turn.

faos333
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by faos333 » Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:42 am

I would like to add my comments in this discussion about the use of Flak.
Historically the Germans used in N. Afrika campaign with great success to wipe out numerous opponent tanks. The tactic involved the use of a “decoy” unit.

A single or a few DAK tanks were advanced in front of British armor, if the”bite” was taken allied tanks advanced forward and tried to attack them. Soon German armor was falling back to their lines and the attackers continued the chase… then they suddenly came to the longer range of the deadly Flak 88’s, deployed on the front line. Due to their superior range and power they were able unpunished to attack and destroy the opponent’s armor.

This tactic was used extensively by DAK forces, with often a devastating result on the numbers of allied tanks.

PS. In Panzer Corps this tactic can not be simulated, since the range of 88 is one hex, BUT something similar can happen. Advance in enemy territory and use a light screen force eg a Recon to block the way of the allied tank counterattack, then move one hex and engage with your 88. Enjoy…

If by chance during your play, as the forum member “proline” suggests above, you win a +1 move for this unit, then is great fun to use for a long time with devastating results, till the end of your campaign play.

JaM2013
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by JaM2013 » Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:53 pm

Actually, DAK did not use just 88s in such role, but antitank guns in general... They had antitank guns attached even to tank units, and antitank guns created a reserve line, behind which tanks could withdraw, after feinted attacks.. PaK38 was quite potent gun against British tanks, plus it had much smaller silhouette than 88 therefore could be hidden quite easily...
Image

faos333
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by faos333 » Mon Feb 25, 2019 2:28 pm

Thanks for the clarification JaM2013, very interesting topic this one.

JaM2013
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by JaM2013 » Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:38 pm

Personally, i feel like towed anti-tank guns would deserve some buff to defense, as these were quite hard to spot and destroy.. early war tanks did not have HE capable dealing with them effectively, while late war tanks started to prefer higher AP performance, and therefore again their HE was less potent to deal with anti-tank guns effectively. For example, while German 75mm gun in Panzer IV and StuGs had HE shell with 680g of Amatol, 75mm for L70 in Panther, had just 350g of amatol and therefore generated a lot weaker shrapnel effect.. similarly, US 76mm M1 gun (255g of TNT) and British 17Pdr (482g of TNT) were all impacted by less effective HE rounds.. which is main reason why 75mm Shermans were used till the end of war - their HE round was very effective (760g+ of TNT). For example Soviet 76mm gun fired HE with 627g of Amatol (UO-353M) or 710g TNT(UO-355A). overall, Amatol was slightly more effective than TNT per gram.

Main reason why those high velocity guns had to have smaller explosive fillers was the fact that projectiles had to be strengthened to withstand pressure generated in high velocity gun, therefore less "space" was available in the shell.

in my personal eqp file, i gave certain anti-tank guns slightly higher ground defense to accommodate, while i also reduced HE effect for certain tanks to be less effective against soft targets..
Image

PeteMitchell_2
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:46 pm

JaM2013 wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:38 pm
Personally, i feel like towed anti-tank guns would deserve some buff to defense, as these were quite hard to spot and destroy.. early war tanks did not have HE capable dealing with them effectively, while late war tanks started to prefer higher AP performance, and therefore again their HE was less potent to deal with anti-tank guns effectively.
Yes, I tend to agree, one option is to give them camo trait (as in Battlefield Europe and others), maybe compare here as well: http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=65738

AEWHistory
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by AEWHistory » Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:05 am

PeteMitchell_2 wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:49 am
Yeah, the 8.8 is basically a Tiger I tank without its hull... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8.8_cm_KwK_36

As proline said, I also usually bring the 8.8 immediately behind the frontline (i.e. protected by infantry or other tanks) and then move it forward to attack in the next turn (maybe then covered by artillery to prevent/limit revenging counterattacks by the enemy).

Best is to start using it as an AT as early as possible so you already build up AA experience for later…
That is an interesting way of looking at it. Given that the Tiger was basically buI’ll around the 88, you really can make this argument..... even if it is a bit tongue-in-cheek. :P

heinzrondorf
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by heinzrondorf » Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:30 pm

auda wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:29 am
There is also the way of a trap if by circumstance you're unable to bring up the 88 in time.

Taking the opponent's vision in account, you can set up the line in a way you usually do: a front line backed by artillery, but leave the immediate flank open. Then position your 88 slightly behind, on the flank, so there is a gap of one or two hexes between the front line and the 88 on the flank. The enemy will spot your artillery and try to swing around your seemingly exposed flank, getting itself impaled on your 88, or is at least stopped by its zone of control. Then you get your shot on your turn.
Thanks, I will try that!

faos333
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by faos333 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:11 pm

thanks auda for the tip, next time I will also try this

StuccoFresco
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by StuccoFresco » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:36 am

PeteMitchell_2 wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:46 pm
JaM2013 wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:38 pm
Personally, i feel like towed anti-tank guns would deserve some buff to defense, as these were quite hard to spot and destroy.. early war tanks did not have HE capable dealing with them effectively, while late war tanks started to prefer higher AP performance, and therefore again their HE was less potent to deal with anti-tank guns effectively.
Yes, I tend to agree, one option is to give them camo trait (as in Battlefield Europe and others), maybe compare here as well: http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=65738
I've done in a mod of mine and it works wonders. I also made them artillery-class so they can be set up behind infantry and act like fire support for the frontline units. You can try this way too instead of the camo trait; i use both because AT-guns were REALLY efficient in real, while ingame i found them severely underwhelming.

Camo+artillery class makes rushing ahead with tanks much less palatable, i tell you.

GiveWarAchance
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by GiveWarAchance » Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:45 am

proline wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:18 am
Well there's no magic, you use it very carefully. The thing is, the 88 is far, far better than any AT the Germans have, at least until 1942 when the Stug 3 series comes out. Even after that, it still has advantages- tank destroyers have virtually no soft attack and so basically can't fight back against it. For fighting things like French heavy tanks, Matildas, and KV-1 / KV-2 tanks, the 88 is far more cost effective than tanks or early war tank destroyers. It's worth the hassle. Oh, and did I mention it also kills air?

One tactic I find helpful to bring it into battle faster is that when the enemy attacks you with a heavy tank, say a KV-1, move two of your medium tanks to opposite sides of it but do NOT attack. Then move your 88 (in its truck) behind one of those units. The KV-1 won't be able to get to the 88. It might take a shot at one of your tanks, but that's the only shot it's going to get. The next turn, your 88 will blow it to smithereens and the tanks can mop up.

Another way to get them into battle is to cross your fingers and hope for a move hero. Once their move is 2, they can keep up pretty ok.
Nice advice about trapping enemy tank and trucking in an 88.
I never really used 88s on ground except for anti-air which I like them a lot for. But there is a dedicated ground only 88 AT gun by 1943 I think. Do you use that one? Like you said, there are vehicles with the high velocity 88 too like the deadly Nashorn (deadly in theory but weak in game cause of no defense), Elephant and Jadgpanther and King Tiger. I prefer using tanks instead of AT cause of the lack of soft attack so I only have a couple AT vehicles. And I like tanks to go with my infantry in combined arms attacks. If an enemy tank is too strong, I will call in various bombers which I have a variety of. I like bombers a lot.

PeteMitchell_2
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by PeteMitchell_2 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:49 am

GiveWarAchance wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:45 am
But there is a dedicated ground only 88 AT gun by 1943 I think. Do you use that one?
Extensively, I have only used it to hold defensive positions in McGuba's Battlefield Europe mod.
Last edited by PeteMitchell_2 on Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

proline
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by proline » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:39 pm

GiveWarAchance wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:45 am
proline wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:18 am
Well there's no magic, you use it very carefully. The thing is, the 88 is far, far better than any AT the Germans have, at least until 1942 when the Stug 3 series comes out. Even after that, it still has advantages- tank destroyers have virtually no soft attack and so basically can't fight back against it. For fighting things like French heavy tanks, Matildas, and KV-1 / KV-2 tanks, the 88 is far more cost effective than tanks or early war tank destroyers. It's worth the hassle. Oh, and did I mention it also kills air?

One tactic I find helpful to bring it into battle faster is that when the enemy attacks you with a heavy tank, say a KV-1, move two of your medium tanks to opposite sides of it but do NOT attack. Then move your 88 (in its truck) behind one of those units. The KV-1 won't be able to get to the 88. It might take a shot at one of your tanks, but that's the only shot it's going to get. The next turn, your 88 will blow it to smithereens and the tanks can mop up.

Another way to get them into battle is to cross your fingers and hope for a move hero. Once their move is 2, they can keep up pretty ok.
Nice advice about trapping enemy tank and trucking in an 88.
I never really used 88s on ground except for anti-air which I like them a lot for. But there is a dedicated ground only 88 AT gun by 1943 I think. Do you use that one? Like you said, there are vehicles with the high velocity 88 too like the deadly Nashorn (deadly in theory but weak in game cause of no defense), Elephant and Jadgpanther and King Tiger. I prefer using tanks instead of AT cause of the lack of soft attack so I only have a couple AT vehicles. And I like tanks to go with my infantry in combined arms attacks. If an enemy tank is too strong, I will call in various bombers which I have a variety of. I like bombers a lot.
Yes, I use the 1943 88 which is even more powerful than the AA 88. The problem is, 1943 is too late to train up a fresh AT unit- you need to buy some towed AT units early on when it is safe to train inexperienced units.

You can train up a fresh towed AT using a variation of my tactics listed above. In this variant, surround the enemy tank and truck in the AT as above. After you fire on the enemy tank, don't finish it off- send your tanks away to fight other units leaving the AT alone next to the damaged enemy tank. The enemy tank will take replacements brining it up to 8 health, 3-5 of which will be suppressed. Your AT can then fire again dealing another 5 points of damage and taking at most 1. Just continue to do this throughout the rest of the scenario. That will allow you to get from zero to nearly 2 stars in one scenario.
GiveWarAchance wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:45 am
I prefer using tanks instead of AT cause of the lack of soft attack so I only have a couple AT vehicles. And I like tanks to go with my infantry in combined arms attacks. If an enemy tank is too strong, I will call in various bombers which I have a variety of. I like bombers a lot.
AT units, even armored ones, cost several hundred bucks less than a tank with similar stats. That means it also costs proportionally less to repair. Considering they are just as good as tanks against tanks, recon, armored AA, armored artillery, and are better than tanks against other AT, it makes sense to use them. Over the course of a multi-year campaign we're talking thousands of dollars in savings per AT used.

A bomber is weather dependent. Since a bomber requires an escort fighter it effectively takes up more than one deployment slot and costs more than an AT. It also cannot hold ground.

GiveWarAchance
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by GiveWarAchance » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:57 am

I tried to train a new 88 in 43 and it was a disaster as you said. What I did in an earlier game is use a couple of Marders in early war to get XP and then transformed them into a latewar AT usually Jagdpanthers which I like a lot. I wish Germany had made lots of Jagdpanthers instead of costly projects like King Tigers and Jagdtigers. I would like to use a towed 88 AT which would be good and wipe out tanks pretty good if it has a lot of xp.

What you said about AT units saving money makes sense. I never thought about the economics of that but ya tanks must be more costly to refill. My great fear with ATs was the lack of soft attack so I guess you must be exceptionally careful about the terrain they are sitting on. I will try using more AT if I do another run through the grand campaign.

What I have been doing is using the cores (I have 3) from a few years ago to start campaigns in either east or west. There are only a couple of ATs with xp in those cores so I would have to start up a fresh campaign from Poland to train a larger AT pool. In the last core I made, there is a very lucky Marder with 2 leaders of +3 attack and +3 defense which is incredibly rare cause I always take whatever leaders I get even if bad luck.

proline
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Re: How to use 8.8cm FlaK 36 to best effect?

Post by proline » Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:42 pm

GiveWarAchance wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:57 am
I wish Germany had made lots of Jagdpanthers instead of costly projects like King Tigers and Jagdtigers.
I don't wish that. It would have prolonged the war and increased the total casualties (most WW2 casualties were due to starvation / disease / genocides not combat, so anything the prolonged the war would necessarily have killed more people, while anything that shortened it, including nukes, saved lives).
GiveWarAchance wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:57 am
What you said about AT units saving money makes sense. I never thought about the economics of that but ya tanks must be more costly to refill. My great fear with ATs was the lack of soft attack so I guess you must be exceptionally careful about the terrain they are sitting on. I will try using more AT if I do another run through the grand campaign.
The lack of a soft attack isn't a problem if you back your AT with some kind of artillery. Dedicated anti-soft artillery such as mortar units are best, but any artillery, even the Brumbar, will deter a soft attacker sufficiently. The advantage of using soft AT is that hard AT units have no soft attack to they can't fight back in AT vs. AT duals. The disadvantage of using soft AT units are that they are vulnerable to artillery and bombers.

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