An automatic AA gun designed for easy production and in service in both the Army and the Navy. This was a modified Rheinmetall 108 MK103 aircraft cannon that was a short recoil, gas operated, air cooled and used an eight-round ammunition strip. Trained by shoulder stirrup but elevated via a handwheel. A wet-mount was provided for U-boats.

Gun Characteristics

Designation 3.7 cm/57 (1.5") Flak M43
Ship Class Used On Adm. Scheer, Lützow, Nürnberg, Köln and Type 35 and Type 37 torpedo boats
Date Of Design 1943
Date In Service 1945
Gun Weight 783 lbs. (355 kg)
Gun Length oa 130 in (3,300 m)
Barrel Length 82.9 in (2.106 m)
Rifling Length 72.4 in (1,838 m)
Grooves (20) 0.0217 in deep x 0.142 in (0.55 mm x 3.6 mm)
Lands 0.087 in (2.2 mm)
Twist Increasing RH 1 in 60 to 1 in 35.9
Chamber Volume 13.85 in3 (0.227 dm3)
Rate Of Fire 250 rounds per minute cyclic
180 rounds per minute practical


Type Fixed
Weight of Complete Round HE incendiary: 3.28 lbs. (1.49 kg)
AP tracer: 3.31 lbs. (1.50 kg)
Projectile Types and Weights HE incendiary: 1.38 lbs. (0.625 kg)
AP tracer: 1.51 lbs. (0.685 kg)
Bursting Charge HE incendiary: N/A
AP tracer: N/A (probably solid bullet)
Projectile Length N/A
HE incendiary, complete round: 14.5 in (368 mm)
Propellant Charge HE incendiary: 0.419 lbs. (0.190 kg) Digl RP-8-2 (2.2/0.85)
AP tracer: 0.408 lbs. (0.185 kg) Digl RP-8-2 (2.2/0.85)
Cartridge Case Type, Size and Empty Weight Brass, 37 x 263B, N/A [1.0 lbs. (0.51 kg) loaded]
Muzzle Velocity HE incendiary: 2,690 fps (820 mps)
AP tracer: 2,592 fps (790 mps)
Working Pressure 16.5 tons/in2 (2,600 kg/cm2)
Approximate Barrel Life 8,000 rounds
Ammunition stowage per gun 2,000 rounds
  • The sources below differ in many areas for this weapon. The figures given in this table come mainly from "German Cruisers of World War Two."


Range with 1.38 lbs. (0.625 kg) HE
Elevation Distance
45 degrees 7,100 yards (6,500 m)
AA Ceiling @ 90 degrees 15,750 feet (4,800 m)

Mount / Turret Data

Designation Single Mount: Flak LM43
Twin Mount: Flak LM44 (modified Flak LM42 mount)
Weight 1.38 tons (1.4 mt)
Elevation -10 / +90 degrees
Elevation Rate Manual operation, only
Train 360 degrees
Train Rate Manual operation, only
Gun recoil N/A

External Pictures

The Vickers Photographic Archive
See photograph numbers 0203 and 0204


"Naval Weapons of World War Two" by John Campbell
"German Warships 1815-1945" by Erich Gröner
"German Destroyers of World War Two" (2nd Edition) and "German Cruisers of World War Two" both by M.J. Whitley
Special help by Anthony G. Williams

Page History

05 September 2006 - Benchmark
20 May 2012 - Updated to latest template
02 December 2015 - Changed Vickers Photographic Archive links to point at Wayback Archive
23 April 2020 - Converted to HTML 5 format and reorganized notes