German
28 cm/54.5 (11") SK C/34
Updated 13 October 2006

This weapon was used for the small battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and was an improved version of the 28 cm SK C/28 gun used for the Deutchsland class Panzerschiffes.  The high muzzle velocity of this weapon gave its relatively light-weight projectiles long range and good penetration power against belt armor, at a cost of relatively poor performance against deck armor.

Scharnhorst made one of the longest hits ever scored by a naval gun on an enemy ship when she struck the British carrier HMS Glorious at approximately 26,465 yards (24,200 m).  See the Technical Board essay Longest Gunfire Hit for further details on this action.

When Gneisenau was disarmed in 1943 her guns were then used for coastal artillery emplacements.  Turret Caesar still remains as a museum exhibit at Austrat (Batterie Oerlandat) which is near Trondheim in Norway.  Turret Bruno was used at Fledt, near Bergen.  Individual guns from Anton were used in Denmark and the Netherlands.

"This 28 cm gun had the same kind of projectiles, more-or-less, as did the guns on the Bismarck and Hipper; the Psgr.m.K. L/4,4 AP rounds, scaled to the 28.3 cm size from the 38 cm and 20.3 cm size, respectively.  The 28 cm SAP round was similar to the 38 cm round, but the 28 cm size did not have the light AP cap used with the 38 cm projectile.  This was perhaps because the Germans knew that the French were using KC armor for their new BB and BC turret roofs, so the Germans designed their 38 cm SAP projectile to defeat this armor at long range, reserving the 38 cm AP projectile for closer ranges where penetration of the main side armor was possible.  A 28 cm SAP design of this kind would be too small to penetrate this kind of armor." -- Nathan Okun

Constructed of A tube, loose liner, two-part shrunk-on jacket, a breech end piece was screwed on hot to the jacket, and a breech block supporting piece was screwed into the breech end-piece.  The breech block was a horizontal sliding type.

The Netherlands Navy planned to use a very similar 28 cm gun for their never-built "Design 1047" Battlecruisers.

All German 28 cm guns had an actual bore diameter of 28.3 cm (11.1").

WNGER_11-545_skc34_Scharnhorst_fwd_pic.jpg

Forward 28 cm turrets of Scharnhorst
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 101571

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Click here for additional pictures
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Gun Characteristics
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Designation 28 cm/54.5 (11") SK C/34
Ship Class Used On Scharnhorst and Kreuzer "P" classes
Date Of Design 1934
Date In Service 1938
Gun Weight including breech 111,739.6 lbs (53,250 kg)
Gun Length oa 607 in (154.415 m)
Bore Length 571.1 in (14.505 m)
Rifling Length 461.6 in (11.725 m)
Number Of Grooves (80) 0.128 in deep x 0.265 in (3.25 mm x 6.72 mm)
Lands 0.173 in (4.4 mm)
Twist Increasing RH 1 in 50 to 1 in 35
Chamber Volume 10,984 in3 (180 dm3)
Rate Of Fire 3.5 rounds per minute
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Ammunition
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Type Cartridge - Bag
Projectile Types and Weights APC L/4,4 - 727.5 lbs. (330 kg)
HE L/4,4 base fuze - 694.4 lbs. (315 kg)
HE L/4,5 nose fuze - 694.4 lbs. (315 kg)
Bursting Charge APC L/4,4 - 14.55 lbs. (7.84 kg)
HE L/4,4 base fuze - 35.27 lbs. (16.0 kg)
HE L/4,5 nose fuze - 48.06 lbs. (21.8 kg)
Projectile Length APC L/4,4 - 49.0 in (124.5 cm)
HE L/4,4 base fuze - 49.0 in (124.5 cm)
HE L/4,5 nose fuze - 50.1 in (127.3 cm)
Propellant Charge Fore:  93.7 lbs. (42.5 kg) RPC/38 (15/4.0)
Main: 168.6 lbs. (76.5 kg) RPC/38 (15/4.9)
Total main cartridge weight:  273.4 lbs. (124 kg)
Muzzle Velocity APC - 2,920 fps (890 mps)
Others - N/A
Working Pressure 20.3 tons/in2  (3,200 kg/cm2)
Approximate Barrel Life 300 rounds
Ammunition stowage per gun 150 rounds (see note 2)
Notes:

1) These guns, like most large caliber German guns, used a "fore charge" which was propellant in a silk bag, and a "main charge" which was propellant in a brass case.  The brass case helped to seal the breech of the gun.

2) This is the design figure.  "German Warships 1815-1945" says that the actual outfit ranged from 105 to 150 rounds.

3) Fore and Main charges were rammed together.

4) APC and HE ballistic caps had a radius of 10 calibers.

5) Actual Projectile designations were as follows:
   APC L/4,4 - Pz.gr. L/4,4 (mhb)
   HE L/4,4 base fuze - Spr.gr. L/4,4 Bdz (mhb)
   HE L/4,5 nose fuze - Spr.gr. L/4,5 Kz (mhb)

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Range
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Elevation
With 727.5 lbs. (330 kg) APC L4,4
Striking Velocity
Angle of Fall
2.0 degrees
5,470 yards (5,000 m)
2,513 fps (766 mps)
2.5
4.3 degrees
10,940 yards (10,000 m)
2,139 fps (652 mps)
5.7
7.4 degrees
16,400 yards (15,000 m)
1,824 fps (556 mps)
10.3
11.3 degrees
21,870 yards (20,000 m)
1,578 fps (481 mps)
17.2
16.2 degrees
27,340 yards (25,000 m)
1,430 fps (436 mps)
25.7
22.0 degrees
32,810 yards (30,000 m)
1,371 fps (418 mps)
35.3
29.2 degrees
38,280 yards (35,000 m)
1,404 fps (428 mps)
44.0
38.2 degrees
43,740 yards (40,000 m)
1,509 fps (460 mps)
52.0
40.0 degrees
44,760 yards (40,930m)
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Armor Penetration with 727.5 lbs. (330 kg) APC L4,4 Shell
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Range
Side Armor
Deck Armor
0 yards (0 m)
23.79" (604 mm)
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8,640 yards (7,900 m)
18.09" (460 mm)
0.76" (19 mm)
16,514 yards (15,100 m)
13.18" (335 mm)
1.63" (41 mm)
20,013 yards (18,288 m)
11.47" (291 mm)
1.87" (48 mm)
30,000 yards (27,432 m)
8.08" (205 mm)
2.99" (76 mm)
Note:  The above information is from "Battleships:  Axis and Neutral Battleships in World War Two" for a muzzle velocity of 2,920 fps (890 mps) and is based upon the USN Empirical Formula for Armor Penetration.
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Range
Side Armor
Deck Armor
10,936 yards (10,000 m)
13.70" (348 mm)
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16,404 yards (15,000 m)
11.02" (280 mm)
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21,872 yards (20,000 m)
8.86" (225 mm)
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27,340 yards (25,000 m)
7.64" (194 mm)
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Note:  The above information is from "German Capital Ships of World War Two."  The data is based upon the pre-war Krupp test shoots on their range in Meppen with L/4,4 APC projectiles using RPC/32 propellant against KC-type armor at an impact angle of 70 degrees.  It should be noted that RPC/32 propellant was replaced by the more powerful RPC/38 type which was the only propellant used in World War II.
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Mount / Turret Data
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Designation Three-gun Turrets
   Scharnhorst (3):  Drh LC/34
Weight  1,653,467 lbs (750,000 kg)
Elevation A and C turrets:  -8 / +40 degrees
B turret:  -9 / +40 degrees
Elevation Rate 8 degrees per second
Train about +150 / -150 degrees
Train Rate 7.2 degrees per second
Gun recoil N/A
Loading Angle +2 degrees
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Data from
"Schlachtschiff Scharnhorst" by Heinrich Bredemeier
"Naval Weapons of World War Two" by John Campbell
"Battleship Design and Development 1905-1945" by Norman Friedman
"Battleships:  Axis and Neutral Battleships in World War II" by W.H. Garzke, Jr. and R.O. Dulin, Jr.
"German Warships 1815-1945" by Erich Gröner
"The Big Gun:  Battleship Main Armament 1860-1945" by Peter Hodges
"German Capital Ships of World War Two" by M.J. Whitley
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Special help from Peter Lienau and Nathan Okun

Off-site Resources

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