A German artillery fire control computer in '45?

I have a question for the readers. I was unable to solve a mystery so far:

I know two books which mention a mysterious artillery fire control computer that was supposedly either in service or about to be introduced in the Wehrmacht at VE-Day.

The device was apparently a real computer, not some slide-rule. The location of several artillery batteries and their type was fed into the computer, a location for an artillery strike was quickly fed into it when the need arose and the machine would automatically compute the bearing, elevation and charge count for all batteries in range. It did then transmit these fire control informations automatically in Morse code through cable or radio to the correct batteries. It was apparently meant to be a corps-level fire control tool for massive ultra-quick artillery salvoes against opponents near a front-line. Sounds a lot like a predecessor of modern artillery fire control networks like Adler.

Both Gudmundsson and Middeldorf make short references to the device in each one of their books.

This study was Gudmundsson's reference:

The only copy known to me (in Bundesarchiv) is a bit too distant and isn't available for lending.

Has anybody a copy or additional details?



  1. computer as in digital or is this some sort of analog device?!

    I'd too be very interested to learn specifics about this thing.

  2. It did certainly not use transistors, for those were invented in the late 40's.

    This should give an idea about state-of-the-art computers of that time:

  3. by digital I am not referring to transistors but to discrete signal processing representing values via binary encoding.

    zuses work as well as turings, von neumanns an vannear bushes are familiar to me. given the technological state of the art of the mid-forties this device - if it existed - was very likely some sort of analog computer. it would be interesting to learn its dimensions.

    I doubt any involvement of zuse here. his work at the dvl had limited exposure and was not recognized in its strategic value.

    see also here: http://www.youtube.com/user/gwz40#p/u/6/_8aH-M3PzM0

  4. Hello Svenn Ortmann,

    there were quite complex fire control computers in service at this time for both naval and anti-aircraft use (including in Germany) so the technology was available though I have no information about this particular system.


  5. Fire control for AAA.Battery central computer-88 ItK/37 RMB and Škoda T7(later PUAZO 3)

  6. Have a look at the study FMS P-023-appendix from the postwar US army foreign military studies programme. This is a good source on this computation device, detailed but nevertheless (mostly) understandable for a non-technician. You can access this and other studies at www.footnote.com (or via the NARA website), though you have pay either for membership or for the order.

    1. IIRC a device of this sort was used before 1945 by the short lived artillery division on the Eastern Front. I think this may be mentioned in Gudmunsson.

      From a computation point of view the tricky bit is applying corrections for non-standard conditions, implementing anything like the Modified Point Mass Model in the 1940s is highly unlikely, polynomials don't seem very likely either. That leaves manual data entry from paper Firing Tables, with the computer doing basic arithmetic, and presumably a bit of trigonometry to calculate polar coords from cartesian.