The previous 28 cm gun was the SK C/28 used on the Deutschland class. The Scharnhorst class received an improved version of the SK C/28 which had a longer barrel—the SK C/34.
The 283 mm SK C/34 gun was relatively fast loading, compared with other armament of this size. It could deliver a shot every 17 seconds. The ballistic properties of the guns made them effective against the new French Dunkerque class, which had an armored belt 225–283 mm, barbettes of 310–340 mm, at standard fighting distances.
An improved version of the gun was planned to be mounted on the Netherlands' Design 1047 battlecruisers, but the ships were never begun due to the start of the Second World War.
When Gneisenau was disarmed in 1942-43, her guns were redeployed for coast defence at Fjell festning ´(11.MAA 504) in Sotra, Norway (Bruno turret), at Batterie Oerlandat (4.MAA 507) in Austrått, Norway (Cesar turret), and guns from Anton turret were installed at Battery Rozenburg in the Netherlands.