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Post Info TOPIC: 38cm SKL/45 family discussion


Corporal

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38cm SKL/45 family discussion
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I have lots of questions about the big German guns, especially the Big Bertha and Paris Cannon.  I've decided to start with the 38cm SKL/45 gamily of guns.  While snooping around I found this really excellent website on the subject, written in French:


http://html2.free.fr/canons/canmax.htm


It dovetails nicely with the Paris Cannon article that Roger wrote for Landships.  To the extent that Babelfish can translate two languages at once, the webpage seems to indicate that there were several firing carriages built for this family:


1. anschiessgerŁst (special test firing platform?)


2. BettungsschiessgerŁst sur caissons mťtallique (static metal firing platform?)


3. static metal firing platform with armor plate (?)


4. Eisenbahn und BettungsschiessgerŁst Betonbettung (rail transportable firing platform on non-transportable concrete base?)


5. Eisenbahn und BettungsschiessgerŁst Bettung mit Eisenunterba (rail transportable firing platform on transportable metal base?)


Assuming this list is roughly corrrect, I am having trouble telling the difference between the type 4 and 5.  Which type of setup is shown in these photos:


Untitled-854sm.jpg  [Paris Cannon on type 5?]


paris%20gun%20koblenz%20(2).jpg  [Paris Cannon on type 4?]


maxgoue.jpg  [38cm SKL/45 on type 4?]


Untitled-838sm.jpg  [38cm SKL/45 on type 4?]


0382.jpg  [type 5 foundation?]


maxchat.jpg  [type 5 foundation?]


Untitled-835sm.jpg [38cm SKL/45 on type 5?]


Just curious. 


 



 



-- Edited by JonH at 19:51, 2006-03-12

Attachments
0382.jpg (91.1 kb)
maxchat.jpg (22.7 kb)
Untitled-835sm.jpg (125.1 kb)
maxgoue.jpg (31.6 kb)
Untitled-838sm.jpg (107.7 kb)
Untitled-854sm.jpg (132.8 kb)
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Legend

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Jon, excellent site, thanks - I've seen that page before, but they appear to have updated it since I last looked as there are new images!


As far as I know (and I don't have much material), there were three basic types of firing platform (two of which were very similar, being used in coastal emplacements and on firing ranges; and the other, which is the fully-traversable rail-transported version):


First, the coastal type, which was used on firing ranges as well, as seen here:


http://www.landships.freeservers.com/jpegs/parisgun/Paris_Gun_-_assembly_on_test_range_5.jpeg


And in a coastal installation (note that at the rear, the wheels which engage with the training arc are immediately beneath the main body, due to the 'step' in the concrete emplacement; whereas on the firing range mounting, above, the wheels are on extended 'legs', so that they are level with the bottom of the pintle at the front):


http://html2.free.fr/canons/max/planmaxbeton.gif


Here is much the same platform, but on a metal base, which was presumably devised to be much quicker to set up than a concrete emplacement (note that the wheels are level with the bottom of the pintle, exactly as on the firing range versions):


http://html2.free.fr/canons/max/platmax.gif


These all, I suspect, correspond to your Type 2, Static Firing Platform. I say this, because I think that the image I've attached (scanned from Bull's book), which shows a hooded platform, I assume is your Type 3, Armoured Static Platform.


Then the 'classic' Lange Max/Paris Kanonen platform, the fully-traversable carriage which was transported by rail:


http://html2.free.fr/canons/max/longmax.jpg


http://www.activeboard.com/download.spark?ID=5859&forumID=63528&abKey=3146888af219adcc82d5297d4622c9b9 Fantastic photo, Jon, I've never seen it before, where is it from?


And, of course, the Paris Gun:


http://www.activeboard.com/download.spark?ID=5861&forumID=63528&abKey=3146888af219adcc82d5297d4622c9b9


http://www.landships.freeservers.com/jpegs/parisgun/Paris_Gun_-_model.jpeg


These correspond to your Types 4 and 5. The carriages are much the same, the only difference being that some were mounted in concrete, and some on metal platforms, probably similar to that mentioned above.


This leaves your Type 1, Special Test Firing Platform. It's clearly this one, a quite simple carriage used only on firing ranges (see, too, the other two photos at the top of the French page):


http://html2.free.fr/canons/max/planexpe.jpg



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Corporal

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Roger, thanks for your detailed response. 


I found the photos with the German captions in a book titled "DER WELTKRIEG IN SEINER RAUHEN WIRKLICHKEIT", by Hermann Rutz, published in 1926 by Meisenback Riffarth & Co. A.-G.  I found it on ebay, and spent a minor fortune on it, but it is worth every penny.  It has almost 600 pages of photos on all subjects related to WWI, many fairly technical, none overly "propagandistic". I have been posting images from it here and there in this forum, and will continue to.  I'm not sure of the best way to present them; what do you think?


As to firing platforms, are you aware of the ways to tell the non-movable concrete base for the railroad-type firing platform from the movable metal one?  Have you ever seen photos of the setting-up of one of these railroad guns?  I'm dying to see what that would look like; apparently the RR carriage is pulled across the slot in the base, using some kind of temporary bridges over the annular groove around it, then the base is turned 90 degrees to bring the higher portions of the base into position under the carriage.  There must be considerable jacking involved to get the bogies out and the carriage down onto the base.  Maybe the gun in image "Untitled-835sm.jpg" is actually not yet fully installed.  Or maybe both bogies are turned 90 degrees and the carriage is moved sidways on parallel tracks over the base.  FYI, I think images "0382.jpg" and "maxchat.jpg" show the same abandoned base from different angles.



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Legend

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I've never seen any photos of one of these monsters being set up, apart from this:


https://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a172/GrandLunar/Artillery/Paris_Gun_onsite_installation_1.jpg


Herbert Jaeger, who reproduces that photo in his book, speculates that this was taken in Germany as there is no attempt at concealment - normally, they were assembled in forests with leafy netting slung over the trees (I would imagine photography would have been tricky under such conditions). Perhaps it was a training exercise.


The turntable had rails in the 'slot' between the raised sections, as can be seen here (and on the attachment, a scan of a photocopy I made years ago from Col. Miller's book):


http://html2.free.fr/canons/max/maxchat.jpg


The turntable would have been laid at the end of the railway line, and then extra track laid beyond, to enable the gun-train to drive over the turntable, causing the gun-carriage to straddle it. Here one can see the train clearly:


http://html2.free.fr/canons/max/maxtrain.gif


The gun carriage would have then been jacked up and the turntable rotated 90 degrees beneath it, the carriage would then have been lowered onto it and bolted in place (here you can actually see the rails on the turntable between the raised sections upon which the carriage is bolted):


http://html2.free.fr/canons/max/maxgoue.jpg


The outer rail tracks seen in the Miller plan carried a crane which straddles the whole assembly (see the photo above in the first link). The model at Koblenz also depicts a version of the crane (bottom of the page; for some reason I get a 'remote linking forbidden' warning if  try to post a direct link to the image):


http://www.landships.freeservers.com/parisgun_history.htm


I don't think there would have been any need for temporary bridges on the turntable as the rail-track is integral to it; the jacks would have been built into the connecting sections that join the pairs of railway bogies on the gun-train. It actually seems to me to have been a very simple and extraordinarily well thought out process (typical German efficiency! ).


That book of yours sounds incredible, you can count yourself very lucky to own it!


Oh, and as for telling apart the concrete and metal bases, I don't know. I should imagine one would need very clear photos from good angles. I'll guess, though, based on the photos from the French site, as follows:


This one (http://html2.free.fr/canons/max/maxgoue.jpg) appears to be on a concrete base. That's certainly what the caption says. Note how around the turntable there's a flat expanse, quite devoid of features, going out for several yards. I believe that's the concrete bedding.


Now this (http://html2.free.fr/canons/max/maxchat.jpg) appears to be on a metal base. Note how the chap in the foreground is standing atop what looks like the wide brim of a cylinder of some kind, which is not present in the other mounting. I suspect this to be some kind of metal cylinder which was buried in the earth to form the bedding. Beyond it the ground just seems to be dirt, it's quite uneven.


These last comments, however, are pure conjecture, and I'm happy to be proven wrong!



-- Edited by Roger Todd at 01:58, 2006-03-13

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Colonel

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There exists a book concerning "Lange Max", a†German "Krupp"gun†of 38 Cm who was standing (untill end 1940 when it was transported to Germany by the Germans) in Koekelare (West Flanders-Belgium). This gun†was operational from 26 Apr 1915 untill†09†Aug 1915; It fires until Dunkerque (France, about 45 Km further)††The gun site (bunkers)†are restored an can be visited (with museum). Must say that I wasn't there untill now.

Title of the book: Lange Max, written by Raf Seus and Luc Commeine
Impregnation by "Drukkerij-Uitgeverij Devriendt N.V, Koekelare Tf: Belgium 051-588427†
Book is in Dutch (maybe existing in other languages)
ISBN: 90-801688-4-X

DJ



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wst


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Thankcommander,

 

At the "Lange Max" in Koekelare, a new museum will open soon.

Follow us at www.langemaxmuseum.be and www.facebook.com/langemaxmuseum !



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wst


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Roger Todd wrote:

Jon, excellent site, thanks - I've seen that page before, but they appear to have updated it since I last looked as there are new images!

As far as I know (and I don't have much material), there were three basic types of firing platform (two of which were very similar, being used in coastal emplacements and on firing ranges; and the other, which is the fully-traversable rail-transported version):

First, the coastal type, which was used on firing ranges as well, as seen here:

http://www.landships.freeservers.com/jpegs/parisgun/Paris_Gun_-_assembly_on_test_range_5.jpeg

And in a coastal installation (note that at the rear, the wheels which engage with the training arc are immediately beneath the main body, due to the 'step' in the concrete emplacement; whereas on the firing range mounting, above, the wheels are on extended 'legs', so that they are level with the bottom of the pintle at the front):

http://html2.free.fr/canons/max/planmaxbeton.gif

Here is much the same platform, but on a metal base, which was presumably devised to be much quicker to set up than a concrete emplacement (note that the wheels are level with the bottom of the pintle, exactly as on the firing range versions):

http://html2.free.fr/canons/max/platmax.gif

These all, I suspect, correspond to your Type 2, Static Firing Platform. I say this, because I think that the image I've attached (scanned from Bull's book), which shows a hooded platform, I assume is your Type 3, Armoured Static Platform.

Then the 'classic' Lange Max/Paris Kanonen platform, the fully-traversable carriage which was transported by rail:

http://html2.free.fr/canons/max/longmax.jpg

http://www.activeboard.com/download.spark?ID=5859&forumID=63528&abKey=3146888af219adcc82d5297d4622c9b9 Fantastic photo, Jon, I've never seen it before, where is it from?

And, of course, the Paris Gun:

http://www.activeboard.com/download.spark?ID=5861&forumID=63528&abKey=3146888af219adcc82d5297d4622c9b9

http://www.landships.freeservers.com/jpegs/parisgun/Paris_Gun_-_model.jpeg

These correspond to your Types 4 and 5. The carriages are much the same, the only difference being that some were mounted in concrete, and some on metal platforms, probably similar to that mentioned above.

This leaves your Type 1, Special Test Firing Platform. It's clearly this one, a quite simple carriage used only on firing ranges (see, too, the other two photos at the top of the French page):

http://html2.free.fr/canons/max/planexpe.jpg


Hi Roger Todd,

 

Where did you get the plans from Batterie Deutschland and the other drawings?

 

I'm looking for plans or the Lange Max gun at Koekelare (batterie pommern, leugenboom). 



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Legend

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Hi WST

The Batterie Deutschland drawing is from Gerald Bull and Charles Murphy's book on the Paris Guns, Paris Kanonen ‚Äď the Paris Guns (Wilhelmgeschutze) and Project HARP.



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Brigadier

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I am looking for the number lands and grooves in a 38cm SK L/45 barrel.  Please let me know if you have this answer.  

 

R/

 

Ralph Lovett



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Ralph Lovett


Legend

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Navweaps has two sets of data for the 38cm SK L/45 barrel

 

British publication "The German Defenses on the Coast of Belgium" gives the following:

Grooves 2(100) 0.118 in deep x 0.236 in (3 mm x 6 mm)
Lands 20.236 in (6 mm)
TwistUniform RH 1 in 30

Norman Friedman in "Naval Weapons of World War One": gives:

  • ¬†At startAt muzzle
    Grooves(100) 0.150 in (3.80 mm) D x 3.05 in (7.74 mm) W0.226 in (5.74 mm) W
    Lands0.165 in (4.20 mm)0.244 in (6.20 mm)
  • ¬†


http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNGER_15-45_skc13.php

Regards,

Charlie



-- Edited by CharlieC on Sunday 7th of June 2020 09:12:13 AM



-- Edited by CharlieC on Sunday 7th of June 2020 09:12:39 AM

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Brigadier

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Thanks Charlie. It looks like for other sources that the 38cm SK L/45 had 90 lands and grooves of rifling.  I have a friend in France that has found a large fragment of a heavy gun barrel that appears to be a 38cm.  He has been trying to identify it.   



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