German 60 cm Flakscheinwerfer – lot 215

Auction Expired

1939 / 1941 AEG SW 36 Flakscheinwerfer 60cm
„A wonderful asset for owners of vehicles of German origin to complete their collection”

The SW 36 Flakscheinwerfer 60cm was developed in the late 1930s, with a 60 centimeters (24 in) diameter parabolic glass reflector. It was powered by an 8-kW generator. The lamp output was rated at 135 million candelas, and it had a detection range of about 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) for targets travelling at an altitude of 1,500 meters (4,900 ft). With the beam dispersed, this reduced to about 3.2 kilometers (2.0 mi).

The unit required a basic crew of three (including commander and driver 5) and could be transported using a single axle (Sondre Anhänger) model Sd .Ah 51. Naval versions of the searchlight included a shutter, to allow them to be used for Morse signaling. The searchlight was controlled in azimuth and altitude by two, hand-operated cranks. The searchlight operator also had a footswitch that operated a lamp on the generator. Therefore, he was able to send simple Morse signals to the generator operator, requesting, for example, more or less power.

The searchlight included a sophisticated system to control the carbon arc lamp, extending the carbon electrodes to keep a constant arc distance as the ends of the electrodes burned away. The 8-kilowatt, direct current generator that powered the searchlight was driven by a six-cylinder, BMW engine, of a type used in pre-war cars. Typical tactics were to sweep the search light in an S-shaped pattern along the targets’ expected course with the beam dispersed, once the target was detected, it was then tracked using the focused beam.

The 60 cm searchlights were not powerful enough to reach the allied bomber streams later in the war, so were typically employed organically with 20 mm and 37 mm low-level flak guns.

© Tracks & Trade BV, the Netherlands, February 2023

The anti-aircraft searchlight-Sw 36 Flakscheinwerfer was developed at the end of the 1930s. It was light and handy and easy to transport and operate. Its primary use was the search and illumination of enemy aircraft flying at low and medium altitude. The projector is connected to a generator which supplies it with electricity.

The 60 cm projector is fitted with a 60 cm diameter parabolic reflector glass. The focal length is 250mm. As on heavy projectors, the high-density arc lamp is mounted in an inverted position in the projector. The diffused light is 135 million candelas. The light bar can carry in favorable weather conditions at a maximum altitude of 5.200 meters. The altitude of optimal use is 1500 m. However, with beam dispersion, the search for a target can go up to a distance of 3.500 meters.

The Flakscheinwerfer was operated at 60 Volts / 90 amps. The projector can be directed manually operated by the operator seated behind the projector. During operation the beam can be blocked by a shutter. A crew of at least three soldiers (including) commander is required to set up and operate this type of Flakscheinwerfer:
• 1 soldier is in charge of setting up the equipment at site, monitoring it, and maintaining and repairing the unit in the event of a failure or breakdown.
• 1 soldier is in charge of operating the unit (aiming the beam at the target).
• 1 soldier is in charge of the generator operations.

The power supply is normally provided by a Stromaggregat (generator) with an output of 380V / 60V; 90A; 8 KW). The generator is equipped with a BMW Type 315 engine. It was connected to the projector by a 1.100-meter-long cable. This generator, weighing 750 kg, was normally mounted on the rear platform of a light truck which also provides traction for the trailer/headlight assembly. When moving, the searchlight is installed on a light 1-axle trailer of the Sd .Ah 51 type. In combat conditions, the generator, like the searchlight, can be installed on the ground. During operations the Flakscheinwerfer crew is connected to the light Flak battery.

This SW 36
This SW 36 is a very nice piece of WW2 militaria and is very interesting as well as technically as historically. It comes with the, now a days, difficult to find Sonder Anhaenger 51, which is also used on the single barrel 2 cm Flak 38. Furthermore, this particular SW 36 still contains the cover used to protect the spotlight, which are hard to find. Especially if the only thing you need is a cover to complete your SW 36, it’s almost impossible to find one. In other words, this SW 36 is a beautiful piece of history which is an upgrade for every collection; technical or military.

Location: & Collection

Current location of this object is Overloon, The Netherlands.
Local collection is available for this lot.

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General Conditions of Sale Version 2.0 dated 29-04-2022 are applicable.

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Flakscheinwerfer / Flak-SW 36 60 cm on Trailer Sd.Ah 51


Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft AG (AEG), Bodenbach Zeiss, Jena Germany


1,417 lb. (643 kg)


5 (including commander and driver)


Length:      74     in           (1,88 m)
Width:        53 ½ in           (1.36 m)

Height:       61 ¾ in           (1.56 m)

Power supply:

60 Volts / 90 amps


Basically, no specific permits are required.

Production date:

1939 / 1941

ID Nr.:

22337 / 7075

Number produced:

Mobile: 5.582 units; Fixed: 794          units so total number produced (1939-1945) 6.376


Very complete; not tested if it is operational; cover included.


Roy Jacobs 

Museum Director & Historian

As director and curator of the “Streekmuseum Maaskant 44” ( and historian (with focus on the regional WW2 history of the province Limburg in the Netherlands and Dutch East Indies), I have frequently researched the wartime history of Limburg and (parts of) North Brabant. For this purpose, I frequently visited the National War and Resistance Museum in Overloon. I visited Overloon at a very young age with my parents and had therefore the opportunity to meet the founder and manager in these days, Mr. Van Daal, many times.
There II gained knowledge of the history of this particular gun.

In complete but unrestored condition this piece, with the Sd. Ah.51 would bring around € 20.000,-, but as it is, in its beautiful restored condition I value it between € 25.000,- and € 30.000,- and, being in this very nice condition, it will bring more over the years as it is not only a collectable piece, but an investment for the future, as it doesn’t fall under any arms legislation and is easy to be sold without a lot of paperwork/permits. 

In 40 years of collecting, this being one of the nicest restored pieces I’ve ever seen

Estimated value: between Euro 20.000 and 30.000,- (December 2022)