The Kommando-Gerät 40 is an anti-aircraft fire director used principally for major caliber weapons such as the 8.8 cm FlaK 36 and 10.5 cm FlaK 40. However, by installing the proper ballistic cams, it may be used with any type of gun. The director is basically an analog computer that uses visual observation to solve the firing parameters.
The director is operated by five men. Two are required to track in azimuth (horizontal angle to the target) and elevation; a third sets in slant range (straight line distance) by means of a 4-meter base stereo range finder mounted on the director; the fourth man sets in horizontal angle of approach; and the fifth man operates various switches. By continuously monitoring these parameters, in sync, a whole variety of values can be calculated, such as speed, direction, etc. This machine did this using analog devices, no Pentium chips here!
The director computes continuously by using a target speed and angle of approach method, and can handle diving and curving target courses. The time from initial pickup to first round is estimated to be 20 or 30 seconds. When shifting to a new target in the vicinity of the target previously tracked and flying an approximately parallel course, as little as 10 seconds may be required
The slant range (linear distance to the target) was accurate up to 18,000 meters (11.2 miles). This is about the maximum range of the Flak 40. A trailer equipped with devices for lifting the director is used for transport. However, one reference indicated the delicacy of the optics might have made transport impractical. Therefore, its use might have been limited to fixed batteries around cities and such, where the Luftwaffe deployed its AA guns in batteries of 4-6 pieces. Allied air crews hated FlaK, so apparently the device was effective.
The kit comes packaged in a typically-sized box from Bronco. However, the box is mostly empty, so the sprues can rattle around. I found no damage, however I think a smaller box— or some padding— would be appropriate.
This is basically two kits in one: the director itself and the transport trailer.
The director consists of three unique sprues, and a photo etch sheet.
• B has the body of the director, range finder tube and parts of the base
• C (x2) has various small bits
• Db (there’s a Da) has parts for the crucifix base
• PE sheet has grill work for the base and other details
The transport cart consists of two unique sprues
• A has the main structure and suspension
• Da (x2) has the wheels and associated bits
• The PE sheet above has many parts (all small) for the cart
The instruction booklet is printed on twelve glossy A4-size pages. This includes an introduction, guide, sprue inventory, construction steps, and painting guide. There is a separate two-sided painting guide for two additional options.
This is a really nice little
As I said earlier, it is really two kits.
The director itself is a quick and easy build, with one exception: I managed to break two of the “grab handles” (part C3) attenpting to attach them. They are very thin and brittle. I ended up getting out my Grab-Handler and making my own. I think if you added these before assembling, the two halves of the tube you wouldn’t break them– then. However, given my clumsy fingers I’m sure I would have broken them eventually.
One picture I found (taken from Wikimedia here
) shows an intact director (very rare) in a museum. This and other photos found in the references indicate the model is a very accurate representation. I only question the overall height. Period pictures show the operator standing well over the console, and men weren’t so tall then. I posed a figure next to the console, and he doesn’t clear it like the pictures. The other issue would be the binoculars at the far left in the picture: an operator would need a step stool to use them– by scale these would e over six feet off the ground.
Bronco has gotten a lot of miles out of the crucifix base and the trailer, with the latter used in at least two other kits that I can find, and the base once. The trailer isn’t large, but it’s a much more complex kit than the director. I didn’t attempt to find resources to verify its accuracy.
The director would look very cool in a diorama with one of the large FlaK guns. It’s an unusual subject, but an essential part of any anti-aircraft unit. The guns themselves have any number of kits; it was time for a “support” piece.
Googling (who’d have thought there’d be such a verb) Telemeter KDO produces very little but references to the kit itself. I tried KommandoGerät 40 and found several useful sites, which I won’t list; you can do your own Google.
I did find one site that had a few pictures of the director in use here
. There are many related pictures, and you have to scroll down a ways to get to the ones you want.