Those guns planned for the uncompleted battleships Sachsen and Württemberg were instead used on the Western Front where they were known as "Lange Max" or Long Max. At least five guns were used in the coastal batteries Deutschland and Pommern along the Belgium coast. The Pommern battery, located at Dunkerque, is perhaps best known for firing about 500 rounds between June 1917 and October 1918 at ranges of up to about 48,000 yards (44,000 m).
The naval mountings for these guns used electric pumps to drive hydraulic elevation gear while the training was all electric. These guns also had hydraulically worked shell hoists, rammers and breeches.
SMS Bayern in 1916
|Designation||38 cm/45 (14.96") SK L/45|
|Ship Class Used On||Ersatz Yorck and Bayern Classes|
|Date Of Design||1913|
|Date In Service||1916|
|about 176,370 lbs. (80,000 kg)|
|Gun Length oa||673 in (17.100 m)|
|Bore Length||634.3 in (16.112 m)|
|Rifling Length||544 in (13.816 m)|
|Chamber Volume||16,482 in3 (270 dm3)|
|Rate Of Fire
(see Note 2)
|2.5 rounds per minute|
1) For an interesting comparison of British and German guns as seen by British ordnance personnel, see the extract from "Progress in Gunnery Material, 1921" ADM 186/251 on the British 15"/42 (38.1 cm) Mark I datapage.
2) Post-war loading tests by the British on Baden found that it took only 23 seconds from the time the guns fired until they were ready to fire again, compared to 36 seconds for Queen Elizabeth.
|Type||Cartridge - Bag|
|Projectile Types and Weights||AP - 1,653 lbs. (750 kg)
Special Coastal Projectile - 881 lbs. (400 kg)
|Bursting Charge||about 55 lbs. (25 kg)|
(see Note 3)
|AP - about 49 in (124 cm)
Special Coastal Projectile - about 75 in (190.5 cm)
(see Note 1)
|610.7 lbs. (277 kg) RPC/12
Brass case for main charge: 140 lbs. (63.5 kg)
|Muzzle Velocity||AP - 2,625 fps (800 mps)
Special Coastal Projectile - 3,412 fps (1,040 mps)
|Working Pressure||20.0 tons/in2 (3,150 kg/cm2)|
|Approximate Barrel Life||300 rounds|
|Ammunition stowage per gun||90 rounds|
1) From ADM 186/251, it would appear that the main charge was about 360 lbs. (163 kg), which would imply that the fore charge was about 250 lbs. (114 kg).
2) The Coastal Artillery Projectile used a long, streamlined nose for maximum range.
3) These length numbers were estimated by measuring the relative sizes of the 30.5 cm and 38 cm projectiles shown in photographs.
4) There was probably a 1,653 lbs. (750 kg) HE projectile developed for these guns, but I have no information on them.
|Elevation||With 1,653 lbs. (750 kg) AP Shell|
|Range @ 16 Degrees||22,310 yards (20,400 m)|
|Range @ 20 degrees||25,370 yards (23,200 m)|
|Range @ 45 degrees
|42,000 yards (38,400 m)|
|With Coastal Artillery Streamlined Shell||52,000 yards (47,550 m)|
|10,936 yards (10,000 m)||
|13,670 yards (12,500 m)||
|21,872 yards (20,000 m)||
|27,340 yards (25,000 m)||
1) The above information is from "German Capital Ships of World War Two" and is derived from trials conducted in 1938 when these guns were compared against the 38 cm guns intended for the Bismarck class battleships.
2) There is evidence to suggest that these guns achieved penetrations of 13.23 in (336 mm) at 21,872 yards (20,000 m) against World War I-era armor.
Baden (4) and Ersatz Yorck (4): DRH LC/1913
|Weight||This data is only for Bayern, other ships
may be different.
A: 853.7 tons (867,440 kg)
B: 856.1 tons (869,880 kg)
C: 853.3 tons (866,950 kg)
D: 836.8 tons (850,240 kg)
|Elevation||Baden (as completed): -8 / +16.0
Bayern (as completed and possibly also Baden later in the war): -5 / +20.0 degrees
Battery Deutschland reportedly had three BSG mountings capable of +45 degrees and one BSG mounting capable of +55 degrees
|Elevation Rate||5 degrees per second|
|Train||About +150 / -150 degrees|
|Train Rate||3 degrees per second|
1) Each gun had a combined shell and charge cage that ran on rails behind the breeches. These could be used for either gun.
2) Typical of German designs, these turrets ran on ball races containing 144 steel ball bearings of about 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) in diameter.
3) Projectile hoists ran directly from the handling room to the gunhouse.
4) ADM 186/251 notes that the shell grabs and the foot grip plating used in the shell rooms were both very efficient and should be copied in future British designs. However, it also notes that the Auxiliary Loading Chamber was "both a poor and an elaborate arrangement." The Auxiliary Loading Chamber allowed an "alternate supply of six projectiles per gun to be sent to the gun-house by means of an electrically driven hoist. There is no ready means of replenishing the secondary loading compartment from the shell room."
of the Great War
Data for use on Land Mountings (in French): Les Canons de l'Apocalypse
HMS Hood Association Website