Talk:Schwerer Gustav

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Not really railway[edit]

From the German article it seems that Dora only needed the tracks for moving during fiering. Otherwise it seems that it was not rail based. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:23, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Something is very wrong here![edit]

Gustav, Schwerer Gustav, Karl and Dora are all mixed up in this article. Robert and Leopold, together known as Anzio Annie, have slipped in some of their data too.

Gustav, Robert and Leopold (and many others!) had a calibre of 28 cm. One is at the Batterie Todt Museum, one at Aberdeen Proving Grounds Museum. These and their type all rode on a single track of railway.

Dora had a calibre of 80 cm and traveled on two railway tracks; she seems to be the one in the picture. As already stated below, there are many good pictures on the net. And fair use permits one to link to there!

Schwerer Gustav was quite something else: a very short-barreled mortar on tracks of the tank / caterpillar type, not on railway gauge.

In other words, the title is very misleading and the info a hodgepodge.

Check the Karl-Gerät article in Wikipedia for a better start:ät

The Railway gun article helps too:

And then there is, rather thorough, mostly correct and full of pics. —Preceding unsigned comment added by VNCCC (talkcontribs) 18:03, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

And please, cross-reference these and all such such lemmata.

--VNCCC (talk) 17:33, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

concrete penetration[edit]

"... while the concrete piercing projectile proved capable of penetrating nearly 90 meters of reinforced concrete before exploding."

That must be 9 metres, unless the Germans were planning on bisecting the Hoover Dam from top to bottom. Michael Z.

I pasted this from one of the external links,by translating feets into meters,and the original wrote about 300 feet...besides,concrete is not steel. However, there is another (less "incredible") version which says that it could pierce 10 or meters of reinforced concrete AFTER crossing 30 meters of sea bottom/dirt. This mustn't surprise anybody, there are modern-day anti-bunker missiles designed to "pierce" several meters of reinforced concrete AND soil,if necessary. A projectyle over 2 tons would surely behave in the same manner... EpiVictor 14:32, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)
9 metres is plausible--barely. 90 m is not. (The 30 m of dirt doesn't add nearly as much as the concrete, because it's plastic). Compare this to the Tallboy bomb, noting that the work to penetrate that layer goes roughly as the square of the thickness. Better optimisation of the nose design for particular targets will get you some improvement, but not orders of magnitude. Now with a diameter of 95 cm, mass of 5.4 t and terminal velocity around 1100 m/s, for 4.6 GJ/m2, Tallboy penetrated around 5 m of reinforced concrete (and the modern "bunker busters" you refer to penetrate only about 3.5 m of concrete), or up to 40 m of soil. The Gustav concrete penetrator had a diameter of 80cm, a mass of 7.5 t and an initial velocity of 720 m/s, for 3.9 GJ/m2 at the muzzle. It is just plausible that it would penetrate 9 m of concrete--some 4.5 times the work we expect--if it had a nose very cleverly optimised for concrete. 90 m of concrete is not at all believable. Even 90 m of soil is barely plausible. Furthermore, it is clear that of the 48 operational rounds Gustav fired, none were at targets with anything remotely resembling 300 feet of concrete (indeed, as Michael Z. points out, there are hardly any such targets in the world.) I wonder if this confusion is caused by someone misreading "260 feet of earth followed by 10 feet of concrete" as "260 feet of conrete". Securiger 15:29, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I agree that it 260 feet of concrete seems unlikely. I think it's most likely someone has mistranslated 264 inches (6.7 meters) or 26' 4" (8.0 meters almost exactly). Given that the information was almost certainly originally in german and therefore metric - it's most probable that someone wrote 26'4" and then forget the inches and feet when they put it on the web / in a book. Does anyone have a definitive source for the penetration depth ? Megapixie 08:31, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
Actually reading carefully through the sources confirms that it could only penetrate 7m concrete + 1m of armour. And even then only with the barrel "near vertical" uses a special load of propellent. Megapixie 12:21, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

-- The incident where the cannon penetrated sea bottom was a day-long attack involving 9 shells. Severnaya Bay. Presumably several dozen meters of water, '30 meters' of sea bottom, and the concrete structure of the magazine itself. (Attacking the ammunition of White Cliff's stationary artillery, apparently)

"Schwere Gustav" gramatically wrong[edit]

The term "Schwere Gustav" is gramatically wrong.

This is a tricky thing in the german language. The title of this article is called "Schwere Gustav" which is no encyclopedia-like item. It is gramatically wrong if it would be in a German lexicon. Because there's no "Artikel" (maybe you have heard of "der/die/das" in German) in the title of this wikipedia-article, the correct subject should be "Schwerer Gustav". If there *was* an Artikel, like in a sentence or something like that, "Der Schwere Gustav" (without the trailing r I'm talking about) would be correct. We Germans call that Declination. I guess this mistake came from picking this term out of German military literature (which uses whole sentences.. "Der Schwere Gustav.. this.. und der Schwere Gustav that...").

In short: In my opinion this article's title should be renamed to "Schwerer Gustav" because this is the correct form if no Artikel is given.

Done. Pilatus 03:06, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Reworking of the article[edit]

I actually spent a couple of days working on a dupe (which I've now converted to a redirect to this article) - I've merged in the content, and I think the results are good. I've tried to keep everything that I thought was good in the previous article. Megapixie 12:19, 26 July 2005 (UTC)


The General Characteristics section lists maximum elevation as 48 degrees. However, the image from its Rügenwald trials at the top of the article includes text referring to "its maximum elevation of just over 65 degrees", and the image certainly looks like it's more than 48 degrees. I'm guessing the discrepancy comes from a change in carriages, but maybe this could be clarified? --Calair 04:05, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Sources are very thin on the ground for the weapon. It's not even 100% clear if there were one or two of the weapons deployed. Ian Hogg in German Artillery of World War Two gives the elevation as 65 degrees. Megapixie 10:33, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Historical Inaccuracies[edit]

1. Operation Felix "In 1934 the German High Command (OKH) gave to the firm of Krupp of Essen, Germany the problem of designing a gun to destroy the fortresses of the French Maginot Line which was then nearing completion, as well as taking part in Operation Felix against Gibraltar."

The Germans had absolutely no operational plans for attacking Gibraltar in 1934. Operation Felix was not planned until after the Germans defeated France in 1940 (and Felix was completely infeasible until that occurred).

2. Operation Barbarossa "As part of the planning for Operation Barbarossa in October 1939, Hitler initiated orders for the production of three 80-cm guns."

Operation Barbarossa was the German invasion of the USSR in 1941. The decision to invade the USSR and all planning for the operation occurred only after the defeat of France in 1940.

Further, the guns were ordered earlier than Oct. 1939. All these errors appear to have been copied from

Instead, the guns were ordered in 1937. See the more accurate (this is in German).

3. I suspect there are several other errors in the article along these lines, but I don't have time to check. Someone should thoroughly go over this article.

John M. Astell

  • Thanks John, I intend to. Guinnog 18:40, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
I have made some tweaks to the article - based on Hoggs' German Artillery of World War 2. However there are many differences between sources. The most telling of which is the total number of guns - some claim that there was only a single gun (Dora being a pet name for the gun), and that the remains of Gustav were found twice. What the article really needs is someone who reads German who has time to go and talk to the people at Krupp - I'm sure they have an official history that would shed a definitive light on the matter. Megapixie 01:42, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

"...The decision to invade the USSR and all planning for the operation occurred only after the defeat of France in 1940...." Germany, as with most other modernised countries for decades previously, and still do always have up to date invasion plans for all its neighbours and enemies, it is regarded as important to do so by most leaders as when under threat, it is much quicker and cohesive to act rather than react. The plan against Poland was known as case white, France was yellow, Green was Czechoslovakia, so it is more than likely there was a plan for russia as well, and highly unlikely that the decision was ONLY planned for and made after the fall of France. Squad'nLeedah 14:24, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

"Little David" Trivia[edit]

The Little David also makes an apprearance in the Leon Uris book "Exodus" as the weapon that saved the town of Safed, not knowing what it was the antagonists were facing, they fled when the weapon was employed against them. QUESTION - Was this part of this book in any way accurate, Was "Little David" used in Safed, Palestine in Spring of 1948? Or is it pure fiction. (Yes its a fictional book but does use some historical fact in it.Squad'nLeedah 14:15, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

FA Magazine[edit]

Here is an article from the 1974 edition of Field Artillery MAgazine. Perhaps an interested editor might find something of use. --Gadget850 ( Ed) 04:11, 17 March 2007 (UTC)


The article claims: "In the history of artillery, only the American 36-inch Little David and the German V-3 cannon have had a larger caliber." However, the article on Little David and the article on mortars contradict this claim. Burschik 12:27, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

I've attempted to resolve it. The V-3 was only 6-inch (I'm not sure when that crept in). Little David, Mallet, and Monster fired puny two ton (or less) shells. Thanks for pointing it out. Megapixie 12:50, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Trivia Section[edit]

The trivia section should be removed or incorporated into the article in accordance with the style manual. WP:AVTRIV Thought I'd post this here to let somebody a little more familiar with the article make the changes. Scope2776 07:32, 31 March 2007 (UTC)


I'm just wondering, how do you reload a gun with a shell that weighs 7 tons? Wouldn't the Germans need something like an extra train with a loading mechanism just to carry the rounds in one by one? Someone please respond, I'm very eager to find out how they managed to pull this off. Bogdan 02:45, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

There are some descriptions and plans in the reference web link articles. Yes, you brought more ammo in on freight cars, and there was a large crane at the back of the Dora gun to lift the shells up to the gun from the freight cars. Georgewilliamherbert 02:56, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Location of the remnants[edit]

"when its ruins were discovered in a forest 15 km (9 miles) north of Auerbach about 50 km (31 miles) southwest of Chemnitz." I checked Google Earth: Chemnitz lies exactly 15 km north of Auerbach. Something went wrong here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:20, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

You have Auerbach/ Vogtland 50 km southwest of Chemnitz. Maybe thats it ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:48, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

why is there no good images of the cannon[edit]

can't something be dug out from archives? --Obrez (talk) 04:19, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

There are plenty of good photographs of the gun in various books, however the images are most likely still protected by copyright and unusable under terms of fair use. I can recommend a Japanese book "German Railway Guns and Armored Trains of World War II" ISBN 978-4-7698-1372 as having the most complete set of photographs of the gun, while the English language "German Railroad Guns in action" ISBN 0-89747-048-6 has a good set of photographs and an excellent technical painting by Don Greer. Megapixie (talk) 04:30, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Meh, copyright sucks. (talk) 21:33, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Clean up references and Notes[edit]

I'll be cleaning up the notes and references, as well as intending to move the article to the Cite.php method of referencing. There are also a number of references to a page no longer existing, so I'll add some better references from some books on the subject. I'm intending to also Webcite any currently working external pages so the data is not lost, as the pages are on places like geocities, etc. Lantrix ::Talk::Contrib:: 04:52, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Train Length[edit]

The article mentions that the train taking Gustav to Sevastopol was 1.5 kilometers long, but consisted of only 25 cars. By my calculations, this would mean an average length of car of almost 180 feet. Even today, railroad cars in the US rarely exceed 90 feet, so I'm thinking that one of those two figures is off. Kalmbach (talk) 05:39, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Two guns vs. one[edit]

The lead of this article states that "Schwerer Gustav and Dora" are the names of "two German 80 cm K (E) ultra-heavy railway guns". However, today when I was reading in the book of "Artillery, Missiles & Military Transport" by Christopher Chant I found the following:

The 'Gustav Gerat' was an enormous German rail gun with a calibre of 280mm, named in honor of Gustav von Bohlen und Krupp, but was generally known as the 'Dora Gerat' as German artillerymen preferred to give their equipment female names. This fact has often led to the suggestion that there were in fact two such guns, but this is definitely not the case.

Does anyone knows something about this? --aad_Dira (talk) 12:41, 4 June 2013 (UTC).

There were two of them. Ironically, this english article here confuses both. It was "Dora", which fired in anger at Sewastopol, not Gustav. "Gustav" stayed in Rügenwalde, where it was dismantled in 1943. A third one, named "langer Gustav" (long Gustay) was in production, but never completed. American Troopers found parts of it in Krupps factory in Essen after the war. (talk) 01:35, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
A reliable, independent source to that would be very welcome since most sources seem to contradict each other. Would you be able to supply one? Richard 08:48, 15 December 2014 (UTC)