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Flakpanzer IV "Möbelwagen": Flak in the Box


3.7 cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf) "Möbelwagen"  

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  1. 1. Would you like to see the Möbelwagen be added to War Thunder?

    • Yes.
    • No.



Welcome to the suggestion post for the 3.7 cm Flak auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (sf), also known as the Möbelwagen, or Moving Van in German, due to its boxy shape. This is currently the only member of the Flakpanzer IV family not in-game, and for both historical and gameplay reasons, could be a decent addition to the German tree. It's likely it could be an event vehicle since it has the same armament and chassis as the Ostwind, but could also be a predecessor to the Ostwind in the tech tree, since the side folding walls need to be lowered for the vehicle to rotate the gun 360°, leaving the crew open to even coaxial rifle caliber machine guns, as opposed to the turreted Ostwind. Regardless, feel free to leave any corrections, information, sources, or just your opinion on this vehicle's addition in a comment, vote, or both! Now then, let's look into why the Möbelwagen was created.





Allied air superiority was a primary reason for the development of German Flakpanzers.


In 1943, with the skies over Western Europe becoming full of Allied aircraft, the Germans slowly began to lose control of their own air space. During their experience from fighting in North Africa, German ground units had seen first hand the effects of Allied fighter bombers. On the Eastern Front, Soviet aircraft also began to take their toll on German tank divisions, who often found themselves in the most intense parts of combat. While the Germans had a number of half-track anti-aircraft vehicles, these themselves were vulnerable to enemy infantry, tanks, and of course, aircraft. The Germans hadn't been idle though, and in late 1942, the Krupp company, following a request from General Heinz Guderian, worked on a vehicle with a shortened Panzer IV chassis with only 6 road wheels and three return rollers. Several different armaments were considered for this vehicle before the project was dropped.


During a series of meetings in May through April of 1943 in Berlin, Krupp received an urgent request from the Army, desiring an armored anti-aircraft escort for tanks. Due to the urgent nature of this request, a normal Panzer IV chassis fitted with a 2 cm Flakvierling 38 would be used as an interim vehicle, primarily to build it as soon as possible and take advantage of equipment already in production. Production of a prototype was to be done by Grusonwerk, who had also manufactured the prototypes of the Panzer I and IV, as well as the StuG and Dicker Max. By September 1943, the vehicle was ready, and as requested, the turret was removed and replaced with folding armored platform sides, forming a box-like superstructure that housed a 2 cm Flakvierling 38. The vehicle was driven to Kummersdorf from Magdeburg at a speed of 27.7 km/h, reaching Kummersdorf after 6 hours and 30 minutes. While there was no damage to the vehicle, the vehicle swayed a lot on uneven surfaces, such as on cobble roads. After arriving at Kummersdorf, around 800 rounds were fired, with the vehicle remaining relatively stable despite all four guns firing. After being given to the Truppe for testing for several days, the vehicle was returned to Grusonwerk to be fitted with radios.


General Heinz Guderian, who oversaw the testing at Kummersdorf, and several other Heer and Luftwaffe generals, were impressed by the vehicle. Thanking Krupp for their quick completion of the vehicle, General Guderian and General of anti-aircraft artillery Otto Wilhelm von Renz agreed that the vehicle fit the requirements put forth by the Panzertruppe. After a discussion with Karl Saur, an official from the Reich Ministry of Armaments and War Production, they both agreed on a production rate of 20 vehicles per month beginning in April 1944. However, at a meeting on December 21st, 1943, this was halted, as Hitler, possibly even Guderian, thought the 2 cm Flakvierling 38 was too weak and had limited range. Despite the halt in production plans, a decision to continue development of the concept was allowed to move forward. 





The 2 cm Flakvierling auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV prototype, noted by the smaller 2 cm Flakvierling 38 guns, as opposed to the larger 3.7 cm Flak 38.


For the next phase of development, the 3.7 cm Flak 43 was chosen for use instead of the 2 cm cannon mount, and to speed up the process of creating a prototype, the vehicle that underwent testing at Kummersdorf was refitted with the 3.7 cm Flak 43 mount. The 3.7 cm Flak 43 was a new anti-aircraft gun at the time, which featured the gas-operated breech mechanism of the 3 cm MK 103 cannon, and in turn had a higher rate of fire. Minor modifications were done to fit the larger cannon, but the vehicle itself remained relatively the same. Krupp considered going back to the idea of using the shortened Panzer IV chassis with 6 road wheels and 3 return rollers, but this idea was ultimately rejected. In order for the gun to be traversed with the side walls up, the right side of the gun shield was shortened, as were the side walls themselves by 250 mm. The Flakpanzer's chassis was that of a Panzer IV Ausf. H and later Ausf. J, some of which were brought back from the battlefield for repairs, and then converted into a Flakpanzer. 


The prototype was ready in early 1944, and was inspected by German officials, who found few problems with the vehicle, seeing that it was meant to be an interim vehicle for other vehicles such as the Ostwind or Kubelblitz. Krupp was given an order for production in February 1944, with planned production to begin in April, with a goal of 100 vehicles being built by the end of the year. Since the newer Ostwind and Wirbelwind were seeing low production numbers, an order for 140 more of the "Möbelwagen", as it had begun to be called.



A Möbelwagen with its side armor walls put down, revealing the gun mount. This is an early version with the sloped top of the side walls.



A later production model, with completely flat side walls.


Around four vehicles were sent to Denmark in March of 1944 for trials, conducted by German Army anti-aircraft artillery staff. The vehicle proved satisfactory, the only notable issues found being exhaust gasses that came out when firing and the poor quality gunpowder used for the gun's ammunition. While a fully enclosed turret would have been preferable to anti-aircraft units, since there was such a desperate need for mobile anti-aircraft guns, the vehicle was approved for service.


When enough Möbelwagen had been built by June of 1944, they were given to the 9th, 11th, and 116th Panzer Divisions stationed on the Western Front, with eight Möbelwagen each. The next units to receive the vehicle were the 6th Panzer Division, which had been undergoing reorganization at the time, as well as the 19th Panzer Division, which was in the Netherlands being refitted following its escape from the Kamenets–Podolsky pocket. These latter two divisions would be sent to the Eastern Front following the destruction of Army Group Center by the Soviets during Operation Bagration. From June of 1944 until the end of the war, more units would receive the Möbelwagen platoons, consisting of four vehicles each. From September of 1944, some of these units used the Möbelwagen in combination with the Flakpanzer IV 'Wirbelwind'. One issue found in combat was that taking down the side walls took some time, meaning that if a plane was spotted or if enemy infantry fired upon the exposed vehicle, the crew used precious time to move the panels up or down.



A Möbelwagen crew in Normandy, 1944.


While the combat effectiveness of the Möbelwagen is not entirely clear, it filled the role specified by the Army, being able to follow Panzer Divisions on rough terrain and provide effective fire against air and ground targets with its 3.7 cm Flak 43 cannon. An estimated 240 were produced in total, and it is likely more would have been produced had the war continued, despite the Army intending to replace the Möbelwagen with better armored vehicles such as the Wirbelwind and Ostwind. Today, two vehicles survive, one being at Musée Saumur in France and the other at Technikmuseum Sinsheim in Germany.



A surviving Möbelwagen at Musée Saumur. Source



The other surviving Möbelwagen at Technikmuseum Sinsheim. Source




041a33c0407ef197bf4667c8a87429b2.jpg sd_kfz_161_3_flakpanzer_iv_mobelwagen_3_



  • Manufacturer: Deutsche Eisenwerke
  • Total produced: 240
  • Produced from: March 1944 to March 1945


Specifications from Panzer Tracts No. 12-1, source book found in sources section.































That's all for this post, hopefully you enjoyed. Again, if you have any corrections feel free to let me know, I strive for historical accuracy in making suggestion posts, and if something is not correct, it is not intentional. Thank you for reading!

Edited by OddPhenomena
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3 hours ago, G1label said:

Surprised this wasn't suggested already +1

It was, but it was cleaned away.


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  • 6 months later...

You should do a topic on the 2 cm one as well


On 20/07/2022 at 04:39, OddPhenomena said:

walls need to be lowered for the vehicle to......depress the gun fully


The weapon could do that without lowering the walls:







Edited by Aquasama
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Would be cool if you could choose between "buttoning up" the armor or to drive "commando" with a free gun, and change it on the fly.
As a matter of fact, all vehicles with foldable walls/skirts should be able to change it in the game. Too many times have I managed to snag a tree or rock and lose all speed because some armor is folded down and is locked firmer than king Arthur's sword in a rock in that position.


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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

A +1 from me as well, interestingly according to Hillary Doyle the 3cm Flak 103/38 from the Flakpanzer IV (3 cm Flakvierling) ‘Zerstörer 45’ was also test fitted to a Mobelwagen at one point. There are definitely quite a few variants of this thing that could be added. 

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