The last Flakpanzer to be constructed in real-life was the Kugelblitz. The Kugelblitz was first suggested late in 1943, when it was decided to atempt to mount a double 3 cm Flak (the one supplied by either Brünn or Rheinmetall-Borsig) on a Pz.Kpfw.IV chassis. The turret was to come from a U-boat (fully-enclosed spherical turrets had been designed for U-boats to replace the unprotected deck anti-aircraft cannons). Alkett investegated the possibility to mount such a turret, but because of the diffrent requirements of a U-boat and a Panzer the idea was dropped.
Early in 1944, Daimler-Benz made a new design, still based on the Pz.Kpfw.IV and still mounting a 3 cm Flakzwilling. Rheinmetall-Borsigs 3 cm M.K.103 was chosen, being originally intended for the Henschel Zerstörer. The rate of fire of this weapon was 480 rounds per minute, which was very high compared to other German weapons. (The M.K.108 and M.K.112, two other anti-aircraft guns by Rheinmetall-Borsig, did have a rate of 930 and 400 rounds per minute respectively). Two of these were decided to be mounted in a fully enclosed armoured turret, being formed at a half sphere.
Since the guns were quite large, it was decided to use the Pz.Kpfw.Tiger Ausf.E turret ring in stead of Pz.Kpfw.IV one. The reason to go with the Pz.Kpfw.IV chassis was that it was the only chassis readily available at the time.
The original production plan was to begin in 1944-09 with a rate of 5 per month, increasing to 30 a month in 1944-12. In 1944-09, this was changed to 2 in October, and 3 in November (the latter being reduced Stahlindustrie). This was delayed once again, and by the end of the war, only 3 had been produced because of the Allied advance. Had the Allied not captured Deutche Eisenwerke when they did, the Germans would have been able to initiate series production.
The traverse and elevation of the turret was hydraulic, making a full elevation in little over 4 seconds, and a full traverse in 15.5 second.
2 of the Kugelblitz turrets were driven to Berlin as air defence, and the fate of the last Kugelblitz is onknown. Wheter the two turrets actually fired is also unknown.
The Kugelblitz featured many advanced features, and differed from the other Flakpanzers in having the only fully-enclosed turret. It was well-armoured, and had a high rate of fire. Despite this, the turret had several shot traps, and the high rate of fire meant that only 150 seconds of fire was possible, despite the 1,200 rounds stored. The turret was also quite smal, and had to accomodate 2 gunners and a commander. The designer of the Panther turret at one point stated that in his oppinion no profesisonal engineer would have designed such a turret.
Today, one turret is on display in Heeresflakkaserne, Rendsburg, Germany.
|Width||2.95 m.||2.90 m.||2.95 m.|
|Height||3 m.||2.76 m.||2.96 m.||2.40 m.|
|Weight||25 t.||22 t.||25 t.||23 t.|
|Engine||Maybach HL 120 TRM 12 cylinder water cooled 11.9 l. gasoline|
|Main gun||3,7 cm Flak 43/1||2 cm Flak 38-Vierling||3,7 cm Flak 43/1||2 * 3 cm M.K.103|
||3,200 * 2 cm Spgr. and 2 cm Pzgr.||-||1,200 * 3 cm|
|Ammunition storage||192 * 9 mm.||
|Maximum speed||38 km./h.|
|Road speed||25 km./h.|
|Cross-country speed||20 km./h.|
|Range (on road)||200 km.|
|Range (cross country)||130 km.|
|Fuel capacity||470 l.|
|Fuel usage (on road)||2.35 l./km.|
|Fuel usage (cross-country)||3.62 l./km.|
|Step climbing||0.6 m.|
|Trench crossing||2.2 m.|
|Groud pressure||0.81 kg./cm2||0.78 kg./cm2||0.81 kg./cm2||0.81 kg./cm2|