Anti-aircraft gun on Panzer IV chassis
German World War II armored fighting vehicles gallery
Wirbelwind (a whirlwind) was one of so called Flakpanzers, an anti-aircraft gun mounted on a tank chassis. In this case the chassis came from medium tank Panzer IV. It was supposed to escort moving tank units and provide them close anti-aircraft protection.
Wirbelwinds design was created somewhen before June 1944. It was armed with a set of four 20 mm anti-aircraft guns called 2cm Flakvierling 38. The gun set was installed in a new turret which replaced the original tank one. New turret was open-topped to allow fast target spotting and easy aiming. The vehicle weighted some 22 tons and was operated by a crew of five.
The armored turrets were delivered by Deutsche Rohrenwerk company however the assembly of the final vehicles was not submitted to a commercial company. It was instead assigned to a military tank repair facility in Sagan. Serial production of Wirbelwind started in July 1944 and continued until March 1945 with a total of 122 completed. It proved very effective not only in its primary role, but also in the ground combat.