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Old 04-21-2009, 10:53 PM   #21
Maarek Stele
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A superb thread, with terrific information and insights straight from one intimately in the know Learnt quite a bit here that one wouldn't normally find in typical reference books...

Originally Posted by 602Sqn_Puff View Post
Would it be possible to try and find out the reload time for the rounds in a Tiger..we have had quite a debate on the Tiger v T34 forums about this one and no-one can give a good answer.
The rate of fire of the KwK 36 should be quite close to that of its FlaK sibling, or around 15-20 rounds per minute. The relatively high rate of fire is due to the fact that the 88 uses a semi-automatic sliding breechblock. Hence, the loader just needs to ram the round into the chamber and the rim of the brass case would engage the extractor, which in turn releases the breechblock that then slides shut into battery - all in one smooth motion. On firing, the recoil releases a catch which drops the breechblock automatically, which in turn engages the extractor and yanks out the empty case as the gun slides back into battery. You can see this in action on various videos of 88s in action, but here are some good ones:

Notice that the empty case is clear of the breech and the gun is hence clear to receive a fresh round even before the gun is back in battery; the gun can thus fire pretty much as fast as the loader can feed it.

It would appear that there are two main differences with regards to the Tiger's KwK 36 as opposed to the FlaK. First is that the loader is working in the confines of the turret; he has to pull a round from the rack then load it in, and this of course adds to the reload time unless he stands with another round already in his hands while the gun is loaded. The other potential factor that may affect reload time (if only slightly) is the fact that on the KwK, the loader stands on the right of the breech rather than on the left as in the case of the FlaK. Hence, the loader would be using his left hand to ram the rounds into the breech. Good training and practice may well offset that, though, but there it is.

Furthermore, most if not all the ammunition for the main gun is stored in the hull sides of the Tiger; as such, the rounds on one side would run out if the turret is not rotated throughout the combat engagement, and so after a while the rate of fire might be expected to drop slightly as rounds from the other side of the hull have to be passed across the turrent to the loader. However, this is perhaps not really worth modelling in all but the most hardcore of tank sims.

Other than those differences, the Tiger's KwK should have a rate of fire very similar to that of the FlaK, rather than the slightly anaemic one many sims (including T-34 v Tiger) use - probably as a result of assuming that the KwK 36 uses a manual breech like many other guns. :P
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