Krupp K5

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Krupp K5
Anzioanniegun.jpg
The Krupp K5 in United States Army Ordnance Museum
TypeRailway Gun
Place of originNazi Germany
Service history
In service1940
Used byNazi Germany
WarsWorld War II
Production history
ManufacturerKrupp
No. built25
Specifications
Mass218 t (215 long tons; 240 short tons)
LengthTravel: 27 m (89 ft)
Combat: 26 m (85 ft)
Barrel length25.539 m (83 ft 9 in) L/76.1

Shell243 kg (536 lb)
Caliber283 mm (11.1 in)
Elevation+50°
Traverse
Rate of fire15 rounds per hour
Muzzle velocity720 m/s (2,362 ft/s)
Maximum firing range64 km (40 mi)

The Krupp K5 was a heavy railway gun used by Nazi Germany throughout World War II.

Description[edit]

Krupp's K5 series were consistent in mounting a 21.5 metres (71 ft) long gun barrel in a fixed mounting with only vertical elevation of the weapon. This gondola was then mounted on a pair of 12-wheel bogies designed to be operated on commercial and military rails built to German standards. This mounting permitted only two degrees of horizontal traverse. The carriage had to be aligned on the rails first, with only minimal fine leveling capable once halted. Hence the gun could only fire at targets tangential to an existing railway track.

To track targets needing greater traverse either a curved length of railway was used with the gun shunted backwards or forwards to aim; a cross-track was laid with the front bogie turned perpendicular to the rest of the gun and moved up and down the cross-track to train the weapon; or for 360 degree traverse, the "Vögele Turntable" could be constructed, consisting of a raised rail section (the "firing bed") carrying the gun, running on a circular track with a central jack to raise the gun during traverse and to take some of the enormous weight.

The main barrel of the K5 is 283 mm (11.1 in) in calibre, and is rifled with twelve 7 mm (0.28 in) grooves. These were originally 10 mm (0.39 in) deep, but were made shallower to rectify cracking problems.

History[edit]

The K5 was the result of a crash program launched in the 1930s to develop a force of railway guns to support the Wehrmacht by 1939. K5 development began in 1934 with first testing following in 1936 at Darlowo (German: Schießplatz Rügenwalde-Bad) in the former Farther Pomerania at the South coast of the Baltic Sea. Initial tests were done with a 150 mm barrel under the designation K5M.

Production led to eight guns being in service for the Invasion of France, although problems were encountered with barrel splitting and rectified with changes to the rifling. The guns were then reliable until the end of the war, under the designation K5 Tiefzug 7 mm. Three of them were installed on the English Channel coast to target British shipping in the Channel, but proved unsuccessful at this task.

Two K5 guns, named "Robert" and "Leopold" by German crews, were shipped to Italy to help counter the American landing at the town of Anzio in February 1944. The Allied soldiers stuck on the beach nicknamed the two German guns "Anzio Annie" and "Anzio Express" due to the express train-like sound the shells generated. On 18 May 1944 the guns fired their rounds and then escaped along the coastal railroad into the rail yard in Civitavecchia, in preparation for evacuation. This proved impossible and the guns were destroyed by their crews[1][2].

Towards the end of the war, development was done to allow the K5 to fire rocket-assisted projectiles to increase range. Successful implementation was done for firing these from the K5Vz.

A final experiment was to bore out two of the weapons to 310 mm (12.2 in) smoothbore to allow firing of the Peenemünder Pfeilgeschosse arrow shells. The two modified weapons were designated K5 Glatt.[3]

Several other proposals were made to modify or create new models of the K5 which never saw production. In particular, there were plans for a model which could leave the railway by use of specially modified Tiger II tank chassis which would support the mounting box in much the same manner as the railway weapon's two bogies. This project was ended by the defeat of Germany.

Projectiles[edit]

Two types of high explosive projectile were used with the K5. The 28cm G35 weighed 255 kilograms (562 lb) and contained a charge of 30.5 kilograms (67 lb) of TNT. The 28cm Gr.39 m. Hbgr. Z. was slightly heavier, weighing 265 kilograms (584 lb) and containing around 44.5 kilograms (98 lb) of TNT. These projectiles were pre-rifled with angled splines along their midsection which were aligned with the guns rifling before firing.[4]

The rocket assisted projectile was known as the 28cm R. GR.4351. This carried 14 kilograms (31 lb) of explosive and was boosted by around 20 kilograms (40 lb) of double-base powder rocket propellant. The total weight was 248 kilograms (547 lb).[5] 19 seconds after firing the rocket motor was ignited and the projectile was accelerated through the stratosphere. When the rocket burnt out the center section containing the rocket motor fell away and the projectile continued on its course. The maximum range for this projectile was 86 km (53 mi) but due to the weigh of the rocket motor the projectile carried less explosives.[4]

Surviving guns[edit]

A K5(E) is preserved at the United States Army Ordnance Museum in Fort Lee (Petersburg, Virginia). Leopold was shipped to the United States Aberdeen Proving Ground, (Aberdeen, Maryland) where it underwent tests and evaluations. In early 2011 it was moved to Fort Lee, Virginia (37°15′01″N 77°20′26″W / 37.250338°N 77.340492°W / 37.250338; -77.340492) as a result of the 2005 Base Relocation and Closure (BRAC) Act.

The guns were discovered on a railroad siding in the town of Civitavecchia, on 7 June 1944, shortly after the allies occupied Rome.[6] Robert had been partially destroyed by the gun crew before they surrendered and Leopold was also damaged but not as badly.

A second surviving gun can be seen at the Batterie Todt museum, near Audinghen in northern France.[7]

Photo Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Krupp K5 (Anzio Annie) Heavy-class Railway Gun
  2. ^ Wildenboer, Louis (June 2005). "Anzio Annie the story of a gun". 13 (3). South African Military History Society. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  3. ^ "One35th presents the 28cm K5(E) Eisenbahngeschutz - Ammunitions,Projectiles and Fuzes". www.one35th.com. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b Engelmann, Joachim (1976). German railroad guns in action. Warren, Mich.: Squadron/Signal Publications. pp. 27–33. ISBN 0897470486. OCLC 3167850.
  5. ^ German Explosive Ordnance (Technical report). Departments of the Army and the Air Force. March 1953. pp. 527–529. Department of the Army Technical Manual TM9-1985-3.
  6. ^ "The Ordnance Department, On Beachhead and Battlefront". United States Army in World War II. United States Army Center of Military History. 1991 [1968]. p. 200. CMH Pub 10-11, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 67-60000 https://web.archive.org/web/20071229174446/http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/Beachhd_Btlefrnt/. Archived from the original on 29 December 2007. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Batterie Todt museum website
References
  • Wildenboer, Louis (June 2005). "Anzio Annie the story of a gun". 13 (3). South African Military History Society. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  • Engelmann, Joachim (1976). Armor in Action - German Railroad Guns. Squadron/Signal Publications. ISBN 0-89747-048-6.
  • Ulrich Ziervogel: Der Schießplatz in Rügenwalde-Bad, in: Der Kreis Schlawe - Ein pommersches Heimatbuch (M. Vollack, ed.), Vol. I: Der Kreis als Ganzes, Husum 1986, ISBN 3-88042-239-7, pp. 284–296.
  • O'Rourke, R.J. (1995). Anzio Annie : she was no lady (1st ed.). Fort Washington, Md. ISBN 978-0-9645084-0-8.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°48′50″N 1°45′17″E / 50.81389°N 1.75472°E / 50.81389; 1.75472