88mm Flak 36 Anti-Tank/Anti-Aircraft Cannon
A Panzer Elite Flak 36 protecting a bridge.
|Role||Powerful long-range Anti-Tank Emplacement|
|Upkeep per Minute||
-1.34 (each crewman)
|Prereq.||Luftwaffe Tactics: Flak 36 88mm Cannon|
|Produced By||Luftwaffe Ground Force|
|Production XP||+39 xp|
|Primary armament||8.8 cm Flak 36 Anti-Aircraft Cannon|
85 (each crew)
- See also 88mm Flak 36 AT/AA (Wehrmacht)
The 88mm Flak 36 AT/AA (or Flak 36 for short) is an Anti-Tank Defensive Structure built by the Panzer Elite Luftwaffe Tactics company in Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts. Carrying one of the most powerful guns in the entire game, this emplacement can destroy tanks easily, and at a greater range than any other direct-fire weapon. Its accuracy makes it extremely dangerous and potent against other types of targets as well, and it can be deployed to snipe at enemy units as well as protect your own territory. It can also shoot down aircraft with alarming precision.
The 88mm Flak 36 AT/AA is the epitome of German on-field firepower. It is essentially little more than a massive cannon fitted on a frame, with some seats for its crew. The weapon was originally designed to fire large high explosive shells into the air, creating screens of shrapnel to shoot down enemy aircraft. However, it was soon discovered that the cannon's high accuracy and impressive ballistic properties also enabled it to shoot armor-piercing shells to easily destroy enemy tanks. Therefore, it is designated an "Anti-Tank/Anti-Aircraft" gun (AT/AA), and is by far the most powerful cannon available in the game.
A Flak 36 is constructed by a Luftwaffe Ground Force squad. For this to be possible you must first purchase the Luftwaffe Tactics: Flak 36 88mm Cannon Command Upgrade, at the end of the Air Defense branch. The cannon costs 400, 75, and takes up a total of 11 ( 8 for the gun itself, 3 for its crewmen).
Although the Flak 36 is immobile, it makes up for this with an amazing range of 100 meters - longer than any other direct-fire weapon. In other words, it can fire at targets almost a quarter of the map away. It will do massive damage to anything it hits, and can reliably penetrate the front armor of any vehicle. All this is coupled with a relatively-high firing rate, to make one of the most dangerous weapons in the game. Units attempting to attack a Flak 36 position head-on can expect heavy casualties - if they can even make it to firing-range of the gun itself before being wiped out.
On the other hand, the Flak 36's vulnerability is directly proportional to its offensive capabilities. Its crew are basically exposed behind the gun's main protective shield, and can be sniped off, killed by mortars or artillery, or even removed forcibly by enemy infantry. If two of the crewmen die in combat, the gun becomes abandoned and can be captured by enemy infantry - which can be disastrous to you. Even the gun itself is rather flimsy under fire.
This unit epitomizes the entire Panzer Elite battle style: a powerful attack at the expense of minimal defense. If deployed properly, it can wipe out half the enemy force on its own before the enemy targets and destroys it with artillery or other indirect tactics. It is a short-lived weapon that will nonetheless leave its mark on the battlefield.
The Flak 36 is essentially little more than a big cannon - an 8.8 cm (88mm) Flak 36 Anti-Tank/Anti-Aircraft gun. It is by far the most powerful anti-tank weapon in the game.
8.8 cm Flak 36 Edit
The Flak 36 is an anti-aircraft cannon modified to attack ground targets. Its high-explosive fragmenting munitions, normally used to shoot down airplanes, have been replaced with armor-piercing high-velocity shells, designed to puncture thick armor and destroy anything on the other side.
Each of these shell delivers a massive 225 points of damage on impact - easily one of the highest damage values among all weapons, roughly in the same category as heavy artillery shells. Targets 1 meter away from the impact point still receive 112.5 points of damage, and targets 2 meters away receive 56 points of damage - usually still enough to kill infantry in one hit.
Penetration values for this weapon are all but perfect. At a range of 30 meters (just below sight-range) it has a 90% chance to pierce the front armor of an M26 Pershing, the heaviest Allied vehicle. Needless to say, at this range it will also pierce the front armor on an M4 Sherman with absolute precision. The chance of penetration drops with range, reaching 45% against the Pershing at 75 meters, and 22.5% at 100 meters.
Which brings us to the real stinger, because this weapon can fire up to 100 meters away - the longest range of any direct-fire weapon. Naturally, the gun's sight-range is much lower (35 meters, like most other units), so it must utilize forward spotters in order to acquire such far-away targets. The gun is also accurate enough to actually hit its targets at this distance, with a 100% base accuracy against almost all vehicles at up to 75 meters, dropping to 90% at 100 meters. In other words, it will be able to snipe at tanks parked almost 1/4 of the map's length away from its position. Tanks entering the 75-meter zone around the cannon should expect to be hit and penetrated by the weapon.
The only downside to the Flak 36 is reduced accuracy against infantry. Initially, the gun had a reasonably-high chance to hit infantry at most ranges; this was reduced considerably in one patch, and then some more in another. Still, the 2-meter blast radius ensures some damage to infantry hiding behind cover - if the gun manages to hit that cover. As a result of this deficiency, the Flak 36 should always be protected by anti-infantry units, preferably a Wirbelwind Flakpanzer or even a Panzer IV Infantry Support Tank.
Naturally, the Flak 36 can still engage enemy aircraft as it was originally intended to do. It is quite accurate, and will bring down a plane with one hit.
Like all other Panzer Elite units, the Flak 36 can attain 3 levels of Veterancy, by accumulating experience points from the killing of enemy units. As it gains levels, its performance will increase proportionally.
Like all other Panzer Elite units, the Flak 36 uses the Panzer Elite Shared Veterancy system to accumulate Veterancy points. In this system, units share experience from their kills with each other, within a certain radius.
Each kill the Flak 36 makes will grant it 100% of the experience value of the killed unit.
In addition, it will pass 50% of that value to any Panzer Elite units within 35 meters of itself.
Vicariously, the Flak 36 receives 50% of the experience value of kills made by other Panzer Elite units within 35 meters.
Every time the Flak 36 gains a level, you'll be asked to choose which Veterancy Upgrade you wish to apply to it - either a Defensive bonus or an Offensive bonus, but not both. You can choose a different bonus at each Veterancy level, if you want.
The bonuses described below are specific to each level. Due to the way they are applied on top of each other, when computed together (see below) they may or may not add up as you may expect.
Note: Both the weapon and its crew receive the same bonuses you select. However, the crew only actually benefit from Defensive Bonuses, which increase their survivability through extra Maximum Health and resistance to damage. They do not benefit from any of the Offensive Bonuses!
When these bonuses are computed together with each other as well as the unit's basic statistics, the results at each level are as follows:
* Click the button at the top-right corner to view the entire table.
Selecting Veterancy bonuses for the Flak 36 is tricky, because it can benefit greatly from from defensive and offensive bonuses. Defensive bonuses will ensure that the weapon remains intact, and also increase the survivability of the crew, reducing the chance of it being abandoned and captured by the enemy. Offensive bonuses will significantly increase the weapon's deadliness, allowing it to kill targets faster (thus being able to engage larger groups more easily too).
Whatever you choose, like most other Panzer Elite vehicles, it's usually best to at least take the first level in Defensive Bonuses, because it has the most effect and increases the vehicle's chance to reach higher veterancy levels alive.
Crewed Weapon Veterancy RulesEdit
The Flak 36 is treated by the game as a Weapon Team. Unlike normal vehicles, where the crew is part of the vehicle itself, the crew here are independent entities who can also be killed independently (causing the gun to be abandoned). As a result, special (and difficult to explain) rules are in place to govern what happens when the gun loses its crew, or is crewed by new infantrymen, possibly from other factions.
When the weapon is abandoned, it keeps any bonuses it had previously acquired. These bonuses will not change when the weapon is re-crewed, regardless of which infantry unit (from any faction) captures it. The same is true for the capture crew, retaining any existing veterancy bonuses they had before capturing the gun. The "new" unit (gun and crew) is always considered to be at Level 0 Veterancy.
If the new crew is from a non-Panzer Elite faction, the gun and crew will not gain any further veterancy, regardless of how many enemies they kill. It will remain at Veterancy Level 0, with both the gun and its crew retaining only the bonuses they had before joining together.
If the weapon is re-crewed by a Panzer Elite infantry unit, it can continue to accumulate veterancy normally from level 0 to level 3. However, only the new crewmen will receive bonuses from veterancy, and only for levels they have not yet gained before being merged with the gun. Additionally, the bonuses they receive are based on their own Veterancy tables, i.e. the same bonuses they'd have received if those veterancy levels were acquired before crewing the weapon.
- Imagine that a Flak 36 advances to Veterancy Level 2. The crew is then killed, and replaced by a Level 1 Panzer Grenadier crew. The weapon and its crew, now considered to be at Veterancy Level 0, can begin accumulating veterancy as normal.
- The gun itself retains all bonuses it had from advancing to level 2 before its original crew was killed. However, it will not receive any further bonuses from veterancy, regardless of which ones you choose.
- When the unit reaches level 1 again, whatever bonus you select is irrelevant, since the crew already have their level-1 veterancy bonus from before they were joined.
- At level 2 and Level 3 however, the Panzer Grenadier crew will benefit from the new Veternacy Upgrades you purchase - but the bonuses are the ones detailed in the Panzer Grenadier Veterancy Table, not the table shown above in this article.
- The crew of a new Flak 36 are rather tough, having more health than all other Panzer Elite infantry. However, there is some benefit to replacing these crewmen with Panzer Grenadiers, if you can possible arrange it.
- The reason for this lies in the Defensive Bonuses that Panzer Elite infantry receive. They gain terrific Maximum Health bonuses, bringing them close to the toughness of the Flak 36's original crew, but in addition also get a steady and constant health regeneration.
- To exploit this, follow these instructions:
- Get the Flak 36 to as high a Veterancy level as you can without losing its entire original crew. Remember to purchase all the Veterancy bonuses you can - levels don't actually count for anything until either a Defensive or Offensive bonus is purchased.
- Get the crew killed. There are several ways to do this, ground-attacks with high explosive weapons work well. Keep a repair crew nearby to repair the gun so it doesn't get destroyed.
- Once the crew is killed, replace them with Panzer Grenadiers. You can use a Fallschirmjäger Squad or Luftwaffe Ground Force squad if you want.
- At each veterancy level this gun attains after the merge, select a Defensive Bonus.
- The resulting Flak 36 has all the Veterancy benefits to the gun itself, a massive benefit to the crew, and on top of this the crewmen will automatically regenerate health, since they are benefitting from Panzer Elite Infantry veterancy!
In terms of sheer direct firepower, the Flak 36 is unmatched. Each shot fired by this cannon can be devastating, especially against enemy vehicles. As such, it is the single most destructive Defensive Structure in the game. However, unlike the majority of Defensive Structures available to other factions, the Flak 36 is also quite fragile. This combination of heavy firepower with weak defenses makes its use very different from all other emplacements.
While the Flak 36 can be used to defend sectors against enemy armored attacks, this is often not as useful as it sounds. After one attack stopped by the Flak 36, the enemy will probably attempt to bombard it with artillery (if he has that capability), and you are then likely to either lose the cannon or, worse, its crew. This makes the Flak 36's combat service short-lived.
Instead, the Flak 36 is often best deployed as an offensive support weapon. Placed in a relatively forward position, it is tasked with knocking out as much of the enemy's defenses as it can, paving the way for an armored assault to breach through into enemy territory.
Defensive Placement Edit
As a defensive weapon, the Flak 36 can be placed in a position that would allow it to destroy any vehicles coming its way. Since the gun is mounted on a 360-degree swivel, the best position to place it in would be in a large open field where it has direct line-of-sight to several sectors. This way, it can attack any enemy unit coming close to these sectors.
Since the cannon has a range of 100 meters, it can defend a very large area. However, remember that the gun is not accurate against infantry, so it will only be able to fend off armored attacks. You can either rely on the sector points' own sight-range to spot your targets, or place other units (preferably ones with increased sight-range, like Marder III Tank Hunters) in key positions to detect incoming enemy troops.
Keep a mobile anti-infantry unit available to tackle enemy infantry. Also, you may want to keep Panzer Grenadiers or other infantry units close (but not too close) to the gun itself. That way you can re-crew the gun if an artillery attack kills its crewmen, and repair it whenever it is damaged.
Offensive Placement Edit
More importantly, the Flak 36 can provide some serious offensive firepower to assist a breach into enemy territory, or simply snipe at enemy defenses. Remember that the Flak 36 out-ranges any other enemy unit!
To do this, locate a position that overlooks a portion of the enemy's territory. Don't put it too close to the enemy, as some enemy units may be able to return fire once the Flak 36 reveals itself. Especially watch out for enemy 17 Pounder AT Guns, as these have a range of 64 meters. Put the Flak 36 just out of reach of such units.
To spot enemy targets, use Camouflaged Kettenkrads - preferably several - to patrol along enemy lines. Any target that comes into view will be accurately shelled by the Flak 36. It can knock out enemy vehicles patrolling his lines, or (more importantly) defensive structures within its direct line-of-sight.
Once a breach has been created in the enemy's defenses, follow up immediately with a powerful assault force to capitalize on this. Against a defensive enemy, especially the British, this will allow you to enter enemy territory and eradicate his units.
Remember that once the Flak 36 begins firing, it reveals itself as a lucrative target for enemy artillery. Once again, try to keep Panzer Grenadiers or other infantry nearby, to reinforce and repair the gun as necessary.
The Flak 36 is as vulnerable as it is deadly. The gun itself is rather weak defensively, and can be knocked out by a few enemy cannon shells - that is, if an enemy unit manages to get near at all. Use forward spotters to make sure the gun is not flanked or approached by any enemy units.
The gun's crew are its most vulnerable weak-spot. They will die rather easily whenever the gun comes under attack from enemy infantry, artillery or snipers. Only two crewmen must die before the gun becomes abandoned (the third crewman will die automatically), which means the enemy only has to inflict 170 points or damage. If the enemy manages to capture an abandoned Flak 36, you are in serious trouble! Do not allow this to happen!
Keep anti-infantry units around to support and protect the gun. Fast, mobile units may be best for this, as they can hunt down any snipers that appear. Always keep the gun in good repair, and have infantry stationed nearby to re-capture the gun when it gets abandoned, denying it to the enemy.