15 cm SK L/40 naval gun

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15 cm SK L/40
SMS Wolf 15 cm gun AWM P05338.179.jpg
A 15 cm SK L/40 gun aboard the German auxiliary cruiser SMS Wolf circa. 1916–18
TypeNaval gun
Coast-defence gun
Place of originGerman Empire
Service history
In service1898—1945
Used byGerman Empire
The Netherlands
Nazi Germany
WarsWorld War I
World War II
Production history
VariantsNo.2, No.3, No.4, No.5
Krupp 15 cm L/40 K94
Škoda 15 cm L/40 K96
Mass4,460 kg (9,830 lb)
Length6 m (19 ft 8 in)
Barrel length5.4 m (17 ft 9 in)

ShellSeparate-loading, cased charge
Caliber149.1 millimeters (5.87 in)
Breechhorizontal sliding breech block
Elevation-7° to +20°
Traverse-150° to +150°
Rate of fire4-5 rpm
Muzzle velocity800 m/s (2,600 ft/s)
Maximum firing range13.7 km (8.5 mi) at 20°.

The 15 cm SK L/40[Note 1] was a German naval gun that was used as secondary armament on pre-dreadnought battleships, protected cruisers and armored cruisers of the Imperial German Navy in World War I. It was also used as a coast-defence gun during World Wars I and II.


The 15 cm SK L/40 gun was constructed of A tube, two layers of hoops and used a Krupp horizontal sliding-wedge breech block. It used separate loading metallic cased propellant charges and projectiles. Unlike other large naval guns of the time which used separate loading bagged charges and projectiles, this gun used charges inside of a brass cartridge case to provide obturation. The guns were often mounted in single casemates or single turrets amidships. In addition to guns produced for the Imperial German Navy comparable export models were produced for the Royal Netherlands Navy and produced under license by Škoda for the Austro-Hungarian Navy.

Export Models No.2 No.3 No.4 No.5 Krupp 15 cm L/40 K94 Škoda 15 cm L/40 K96
Users Netherlands Netherlands Netherlands Netherlands Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary
Weight 4,420 kg (9,740 lb) 4,850 kg (10,690 lb) 5,200 kg (11,500 lb) 4,880 kg (10,760 lb) 4,500 kg (9,900 lb) 4,500 kg (9,900 lb)
Rifling Length 4.4 m (14 ft 5 in) 4.8 m (15 ft 9 in) 5.5 m (18 ft 1 in) 4.6 m (15 ft 1 in) 4.6 m (15 ft 1 in) 4.6 m (15 ft 1 in)
Muzzle Velocity 680 m/s (2,200 ft/s) 680 m/s (2,200 ft/s) 850 m/s (2,800 ft/s) 745 m/s (2,440 ft/s) 690 m/s (2,300 ft/s) 690 m/s (2,300 ft/s)

Naval Use[edit]

Ship classes that carried the 15 cm SK L/40 include:


Ammunition was of separate loading quick fire type. The projectiles were 39–46.5 cm (1–2 ft) long with a cartridge case and bagged charge which weighed 10 kg (22 lb).

The gun was able to fire:

See also[edit]

Gun plan for a field mounting


  1. ^ SK - Schnelladekanone (quick loading cannon); L - Länge in Kaliber (length in caliber)
  2. ^ World War I Ammunition



  • Reichs-Marine-Amt, ed. (1909). Bedienungsvorschrift für die 15 cm Schnellade-Kanone L/40 in 15 cm Mittel-Pivot-Lafette C/97 in Einzelkasematte. Berlin: E. S. Mittler. OCLC 252061246.
  • Reichs-Marine-Amt, ed. (1909). Bedienungsvorschrift für die 15 cm Schnellade-Kanone L/40 Nr. 617,618 und 619 in 15 cm Minimalscharten-Lafette C/1902. Berlin: E. S. Mittler. OCLC 252061267.
  • Campbell, John (2002). Naval Weapons of World War Two. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-87021-459-4.
  • Friedman, Norman (2011). Naval Weapons of World War One. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth. ISBN 978-1-84832-100-7.
  • Gander, Terry; Chamberlain, Peter (1979). Weapons of the Third Reich: An Encyclopedic Survey of All Small Arms, Artillery and Special Weapons of the German Land Forces 1939–1945. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-15090-3.
  • Hogg, Ian V. (1997). German Artillery of World War Two (2nd corrected ed.). Mechanicsville, PA: Stackpole Books. ISBN 1-85367-480-X.
  • Rolf, Rudi (1998). Der Atlantikwall: Bauten der deutschen Küstenbefestigungen 1940-1945. Osnabrück: Biblio. ISBN 3-7648-2469-7.
  • Rolf, Rudi (2004). A Dictionary on Modern Fortification: An Illustrated Lexicon on European Fortification in the Period 1800-1945. Middleburg, Netherlands: PRAK.
  • Schmalenbach, Paul (1983). "German Navy Large Bore Guns Operational Ashore During World War I". Warship International. XX (2): 123–153. ISSN 0043-0374.

External links[edit]