The Elecktronick Tyger Roares
28 February 2006
  Today's word, class, is "flak"...
I always wondered (though not on any urgent level, or i would have found out before now) what the derivation of the term "flak" for shrapnel-type anti-aircraft (where the shells are set to burst at the appropriate level all around and among atacking aircraft and destroy them with fragments) was.

Well, while searching for pictures of a B17 that flew home after being essentially torn in half [mid-air with a German fighter], i came across the answer.

I knew that the German 88mm gun, which was used in just about every role possible for an artillery piece (Bill Mauldin cartoon -- officer interviewing German prisoners to a battered, bearded dogface eaning on his desk glaring at the prisoner currently being interviewed: "If I find the one wot invented th' 88, I'll let ya know."), was originally developed as an anti-aircraft piece, and was referred to by the Germans as the "Flak 88".

And, during that search, i came across a picture of one, captioned "88mm Fliegerabwehrkanone ["flier defense cannon", accto BabalFish] (Flak) Anti-Aircraft Gun".

And now i know.

(Incidentally, incredible as it may seem if you clcked the lionk to the photos above, the B17 referred to made it safely home and landed safely -- remember, the B17 was a "tail-dragger" that landed on main gear and tail wheel, not nosewheel. The crew were uninjured, and deplaned in fine shape.

(Subsequently three men boarded the aircraft through the side fuselage door, whereupon the tail fell off.)

(They were tough birds.)

(f course, a single F18 Hornet in full load-out mode carries a greater payload...)
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My interests are broadranging -- comics, music, movies and good ol' science fiction mostly dominate. My Five Most Favouritest Films are (this week) Once Upon A Time in the West, Dark Star, O Lucky Man, Day for Night and Whatever I Watched Recently That Was Good. Currently that's Day for Night.

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Name: mike weber
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Latter fifties, married, out of work (had knee surgery and haven't gotten back to work); my (step) son-in-law is back from Iraq, but a lot of boys are still over there. Support our troops -- throw the Republicans out!

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