The German 8.8 cm Flugabwehrkanone (flak) gun is one of the most famous weapons of the Second World War. It was greatly feared by Allied soldiers and airmen alike. Just as every tank they encountered was a Tiger, so too was every German gun an “88.” In December 1998, the Canadian War Museum set out to restore the 88 in the museum’s collection and return to public view one of the few such artifacts in Canada. The museum’s gun was in extremely poor condition, and needed major work. Its components had been disassembled before it had come to the museum and had obviously been at the mercy of the elements for many years. In order to return this complicated weapon as close as possible to its original specifications, an enormous amount of technical information had to be amassed. Some of this should be of interest to readers of this journal, both as an account of a gun that wreaked havoc amongst Canadian soldiers in the Second World War, and as an insight into the nature of museum restoration procedures.

The Friends of the Canadian War Museum raised $10,000 for the gun’s restoration, and without their funding the project could not have been undertaken. Several companies bid on the project and Musetek Ltd. won the contract. Work commenced during the second week of January 1999 and the gun’s restoration was completed by the first week of April 1999. The following article will be divided into three sections: 1) the history and development of the 8.8 cm; 2) the process of identifying the particular gun owned by the CWM, and 3) the story of the gun’s restoration.