The Kommandogerät 40 or Kdo.Ger.40 was a military range finder that was used by Germany during WWII.
It was of a stereoscopic design and had a four meter optical tube. It was designed to work with heavy FlaK 18s and Flak 40s. In order to operate effectively, the Kommandogerät 40 required at least a crew of five men. Inside were two telescopic lenses, operator lenses, and adjustable mirrors.
By calculating the length of the tube and the angle at which the lenses were positioned, the crew could pinpoint where the target aircraft was. The optics used in the design were high quality like most made in Germany at the time. Furthermore, the Kommandogerät 40 was a crucial part of any FlaK defense and was met by praise from many a fire-control team.
Reliability in the field was fair and it did not require much time to set up. Through good coordination between sections of fire-control the positions of enemy aircraft could predicted in advance and thus be fired at to score accurate fire. The machine itself could rotate a full 360 degrees and had an elevation range from 0 to 90 degrees.
The total weight of the Kommandogerät 40 was around 915 kilograms and this did become a disadvantage because it made the machine near immobile. Another disadvantage was that it took a skilled crew to operate.
The Kommandogerät 40 was designed in the late 1930s to replace aging World War I era equipment in Germany's anti-aircraft divisions. In 1940, it was accepted for service. It was produced in the thousands and was used in a variety of settings where it was needed. It is most famously used to combat the Allied Strategic Bombing Campaign over Germany from 1942 onwards.
- Lepage. Denis-Jean. The Illustrated Handbook of FlaK. The History Press (2012), Pages 130-135