|Upkeep per Minute||-10.752|
|Produced By||Panzer Command|
|Primary armament||37 mm Flak 43|
|Max. Speed||5 m/s|
The Ostwind Flakpanzer, Ostwind for short, is one of only 2 Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Guns (SPAA) in the game, and the sole non-doctrinal example. The vehicle is a simple variant on the Panzer IV basis, with the original turret removed and replaced with a new mounting for a 37mm autocannon, the Flak 43, as a way to allow mobile divisions an equally mobile Anti-Air platform.
However, this fast-firing, medium-caliber weapon is also very effective against ground forces- the Flak cannon acts almost as a super-heavy machine gun, giving it the ability to suppress enemy Infantry very easily, and kill them very quickly if they don't seek heavy cover or run away. The only units that the Ostwind clears even faster are light vehicles, shredding any unarmored target in seconds flat, meaning any recon vehicles, halftracks, or armored cars still on the battlefield when the Ostwind arrives will be in serious danger until the vehicle is dealt with.
Because of this, plus the vehicle's mobility, it is a very good compliment to heavier tanks that the Wehrmacht can field. The Ostwind can sweep the infantry specifically to make sure no nasty Anti-Tank Infantry (or Guns, if you can get the drop on them) can flank your heavy tanks, and free up a Panther or Tiger to focus more on higher priority enemy targets- like the Pershing, for instance.
The other main use of the Ostwind is as a cost-effective armored unit. The Ostwind is the cheapest heavily-armored turreted vehicle, being very comparable to a medium tank in all respects but its main gun, making the Ostwind an attractive option as the very first thing to build with a new Panzer Command, especially if it's established earlier than Allied tank production buildings. To ensure a safe vehicle if you plan to spawn one early, back it with Grenadiers or Stormtroopers armed with Panzerschreks. The Ostwind will be able to tear up any enemy Infantry or Support Weapons with total ease, while the Panzerschreks will deter any Tanks or Tank Destroyers built as a reaction.
37 mm Flak 43
The Flak 37 mm anti-aircraft cannon is the main weapon of this vehicle. It fires up to 40 meters in bursts containing three shells. After five bursts the weapon has to be reloaded, which can take from 4 to 6 seconds. The pause between bursts is very small and equal to about 0.5 seconds, which adds up to 15 total shells delivered in 2.5 seconds before reloading, or a very fast 6 shots per second.
Each shell delivers 40 points of damage, which together with the unit's high rate of fire leads to devastating results, especially among enemy infantry units. Even with the 10% reduced damage that Soldier-type Infantry such as the Infantry Section take with this weapon, a burst is practically guaranteed to take out at least 3-4 Infantry minimum.
While the cannon is great against unarmored vehicles, the weapon is almost useless when armor comes into play. Even against the rear armor of medium tanks this weapon will only seldom penetrate or do any significant damage- as such, the Ostwind is not recommended in any degree in an Anti-Tank role.
Of course, as an Anti-Aircraft weapon, the Ostwind's highest priority targets are those in the sky. Practically everything in the Airborne Company save for supply drops will attract the ire of the Ostwind, to the point where it will stop attacking ground units to perform its intended duty- this will also apply to Gliders from the Royal Commandos. The likelihood of shooting a plane down is rather slim, especially if the Wehrmacht commander only has 1 Ostwind available, but Airborne will take significant casualties if trying to land near an Ostwind, and Gliders attempting to land will very likely be destroyed before they can open.
The MG42 mounted in the hull is the secondary weapon of the Ostwind Flakpanzer, and is ultimately one of the weakest weapons in the entire game overall, a far cry from its Infantry-based counterparts.
The MG42 fires in bursts of 12 to 24 bullets, which lasts for 3 or 4 seconds. Each bullet deals only 3 points of damage, which will be reduced further by most advanced types of Infantry. After five bursts weapon must reload, which takes about 6 seconds.
The maximum range of the MG42 is less than the main gun at 25 meters, and its accuracy is terrible at any distance, being comparable to the Engineer or Pioneer's SMG. For all practical purposes, the only real use of the MG on this vehicle is to kill off Infantry that were already brought nearly to death by the main gun.
The Ostwind Flakpanzer is classified as a heavy vehicle, and gains veterancy through researching Tank veterancy upgrades available at the Kampfkraft Center. These bonuses are cumulative and apply both to new and existing vehicles..
|Level 1 Veterancy:
|Level 2 Veterancy:
|Level 3 Veterancy:
The Ostwind's Veterancy 3 bonus is particularly powerful, as a 40% increase in accuracy to the main gun will essentially translate to killing enemy Infantry squads 40% faster- which, on top of the defensive bonuses granted by the first two levels, will allow the Ostwind to quickly and safely dispatch any Anti-Tank infantry. This bonus will also make it far more likely to actually accomplish its Anti-Air related tasks, making it more likely to successfully shoot a plane down before it can finish its task.
- The Ostwind has very strong chemistry with its fellow Anti-Aircraft weapon, the Flak 36. The Ostwind can quickly kill the Infantry that can easily swarm the 88mm Flak, which in turn can destroy the threatening enemy tanks.
- While almost totally unacceptable for use as an Anti-Tank platform, the Ostwind is a great counter to enemies using lots of halftracks and armored cars- in particular, the Quad .50 Halftracks that can be a scourge to Infantry are no match for the Flakpanzer.
- Hull positioning can be important with the Ostwind. Since the Hull MG isn't a valuable asset and the turret traverse speed is incredibly high, keep the front of the hull pointed where you think enemy AT will be coming from, not simply at whatever the Ostwind is firing at.
- Always retreat an Ostwind in any danger whatsoever of taking a critical hit. If the Ostwind's main gun is desttroyed, it's as good as helpless.
The Ostwind is a strong support unit, but is a support unit nonetheless, and should not be considered to hold the same strengths as a standard tank. It cannot fight enemy armor at any point, and sufficiently amassed Anti-Tank infantry will be able to at the very least take their toll on the vehicle. Anti-Tank Guns will make short work of the Ostwind in no uncertain terms, and while the Flakpanzer can stand up to shots from the Bofors without a sweat, the 17 pounder, either in emplacement or on the Sherman Firefly, will easily destroy this vehicle. If you are expecting any serious resistance from enemy Tanks, it would be wise to save your fuel for a Panzer IV as an alternative. Knights Cross Holders also fill the same role as the Ostwind, not as efficiently but for a far cheaper price- an Axis commander should mostly consider veterancy when choosing what to produce in this case- producing an Ostwind if it has or will soon reach Veterancy 3, or the Knight's Cross if not.
In addition, the actual Anti-Aircraft function is only of marginal use. Very rarely will it actually shoot down an enemy plane (besides the Gliders) and even when it succeeds, shooting down a plane that has already dropped its bombs is of no use whatsoever- and that requires the Allied commanders to take the 1/3 chance to use the Airborne or Commando doctrines. In addition, unless the Axis side has been doing exceptionally well, it is almost a guarantee that by the time the Ostwind arrives, the Allies will already have tanks to hunt down the Flakpanzer if necessary, if this Anti-Air role comes in use- in particular, the M10 and M18 are faster than the Ostwind and can kill it in only a few hits, making these units very dangerous counters.
An article about this unit in real life can be found here.
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