German
15 cm/45 (5.9") SK L/45
Updated 06 July 2007

A good, reliable weapon used as secondary armament on battleships and battlecruisers as well as on most cruisers built during World War I.  Some pre-war cruisers were rearmed with these weapons during the war.

In the 1920s, this weapon was used to arm the Light Cruiser Emden.  During the Second World War, it was notable for equipping some of the famous merchant raiders and was used in coastal artillery batteries.

  All German 15 cm guns had an actual bore diameter of 14.91 cm (5.87 in).

WNGER_59-45_skc16_Ostfriesland_pic.jpg

15 cm/45 Gun on SMS Ostfriesland
NARA Archives picture, courtesy of Peter Lienau

WNGER_59-45_skc16.jpg

Sketch of one of the 15 cm casemate guns on the KM Baden
Sketch courtesy of Peter Lienau

WNGER_59-45_skc16_Emden_pic.jpg

Light Cruiser Emden in the 1930s
WZB Photograph

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Gun Characteristics
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Designation 15 cm/45 (5.9") SK L/45
Ship Class Used On Most Capital Ships of World War I
Many cruisers were rearmed with this gun 1915-1918
Emden (1925)
Merchant Raider Ships of World War II
Date Of Design 1906
Date In Service 1908
Gun Weight 12,632 lbs. (5,730 kg)
Gun Length oa 264.2 in. (6.710 m)
Bore Length 249.1 in (6.326 m)
Rifling Length 200.6 in (5.095 m)
Grooves 48
Lands N/A
Twist RH Increasing from 1 in 45 to 1 in 30 at the muzzle
Chamber Volume 1,324 in3 (21.7 dm3)
Rate Of Fire
(see Note)
5 - 7 rounds per minute
Note:  In "Jutland:  An Analysis of the Fighting" by John Campbell, it is stated that German capital ships were provided with an ammunition hoist for each 15 cm (5.9") gun and that these could provide 7 or more complete rounds per minute.  For light cruisers the rate of supply was about three to five rounds per minute per gun once the ready ammunition had been used up.
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Ammunition
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Type Separate
Projectile Types and Weights HE, base fuze - 99.8 lbs. (45.3 kg)
HE, nose fuze - 99.8 lbs. (45.3 kg)
Bursting Charge HE, base fuze - 8.6 lbs. (3.90 kg)
HE, nose fuze - 9.0 lbs. (4.09 kg)
Projectile Length HE, base fuze - 24.1 in (61.2 cm)
HE, nose fuze - 24.0 in (60.9 cm)
Propellant Charge World War I:  31.2 lbs. (13.7 kg) RPC/12
World War II:  31.6 lbs. (14.35 kg) RPC/38 (7.5/3)
Cartridge 150 x 865 mm

World War I Filled Cartridge - 49.8 lbs. (22.6 kg)
World War II Filled Cartridge - 50.2 lbs. (22.8 kg)

Muzzle Velocity 2,740 fps (835 mps)
Working Pressure 20.0 tons/in2 (3,150 kg/cm2)
Approximate Barrel Life 1,400 rounds
Ammunition stowage per gun Nassau, Helgoland, von der Tann, Moltke, Brummer:  150 rounds
Kaiser, König, Bayern, Seydlitz, Derfflinger, Mackensen:  160 rounds
Blücher (1914):  165 rounds
Wiesbaden:  128 rounds
Königsberg (1918), Cöln:  130 rounds
Emden (1925):  120 rounds
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Range During World War I
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Elevation With 99.8 lbs. (45.3 kg) HE Shell
Range @ 19 degrees 14,760 yards (13,500 m)
Range @ 20 degrees 16,300 yards (14,900 m)
Range @ 22 degrees 17,280 yards (15,800 m)
Range @ 25 degrees  18,040 yards (16,500 m)
Range @ 27 degrees 18,373 yards (16,800 m)
Range @ 30 degrees 19,250 yards (17,600 m)
Range @ 45 degrees
(Proving Grounds)
20,120 yards (18,400 m)
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Range During World War II
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Elevation With 99.8 lbs. (45.3 kg) HE Shell
Range @ 30 degrees
(World War II Raiders)
21,220 yards (19,400 m)
Note:  During World War II, Merchant Raiders armed with these guns were apparently supplied with the more streamlined shells as used for the 15 cm/55 SK C/28.
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Mount / Turret Data
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Designation Single pedestal mounts in casements
   Nassau (12), Helgoland (14), Kaiser (14), von der Tann (10), Moltke (12) and Blücher (8):  MPL C/06
   König (14), Seydlitz (12) and Derfflinger (12):  MPL C/06.11
   Bayern (16), Hindenburg (14) and Mackensen (14):  MPL C/13

Single pedestal mounts in open half-shields
   Wiesbaden (8) and Königsberg (8):  MPL C/14
   Cöln (8) and Emden (8):  MPL C/16
   Kormoran (6):  MPL C/16 Modified

Weight  MPL C/06:  34,767 lbs. (15,770 kg)
MPL C/06.11:  36,449 lbs. (16,533 kg)
MPL C/13:  39,573 lbs. (17,950 kg)
MPL C/14:  35,681 lbs. (16,185 kg)
MPL C/16: 37,734 lbs. (17,116 kg)
Elevation
(see Note 1)
MPL C/06:  -7 / +20 degrees
MPL C/06.11:  -10 / +19 degrees
MPL C/13:  -8.5 / +19 degrees
MPL C/14:  -10 / +22 degrees
MPL C/16:  -10 / +27 degrees

World War II Raiders:  -10 / +30 degrees

Elevation Rate Manual operation, only
Train about +150 / -150 degrees
Train Rate Manual operation, only
Gun recoil MPL C/06:  11.4 in (29.0 cm)
MPL C/06.11:  16.9 in (43.0 cm)
MPL C/13:  17.1 in (43.5 cm)
MPL C/14:  17.1 in (43.5 cm)
MPL C/16:  17.7 in (45.0 cm)
Notes:

1) The elevations shown above are "as designed."  After the Battle of Jutland (Skagerrak), many mountings were modified to increase their maximum elevations to +22 or +25 degrees.  The MPL C/13 was modified to allow +22 degrees and this increased the total weight to 40,454 lbs. (18,350 kg).  Late in the war, some light cruisers may have been modified to increase elevation to +30 degrees and these are the mountings that appear to have been used on the Merchant Raiders of World War II.

2) Emden was rearmed with 15 cm/48 SK C/36 guns in 1942.

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Data from
"Jutland:  An Analysis of the Fighting" and "Naval Weapons of World War Two" both by John Campbell
"German Warships 1815-1945" by Erich Gröner
"German Cruisers of World War Two", "Cruisers of World War Two" and "German Capital Ships of World War Two" all by M.J. Whitley
and
Tony DiGiulian's personal data files
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Special Help from Peter Lienau