Webster

The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Gustav Gun....Largest Gun ever built.

 I was surfing around and ran across a mention of this weapon used by the Germans in WWII, I figured it would make good "blogger fodder" and I like history stuff I figured I would do a bit of research on it and post some pictures.  I remembered reading about these guns in my history books.  The Germans built some impressive weapons, but the resources that got tied up in these super weapons was incredible.  You know how many regular tanks they could have built instead of these super weapons.  The Germans did the same thing with their "V for Vengeance" weapons that they built.  They tied up a lot of material and resources, and the Russians and the Americans just churned out a pile of T-34's and Sherman tanks  instead.

Schwerer Gustav (English: Heavy Gustaf, or Great Gustaf) and Dora were the names of two German 80 cm K (E) railway guns. They were developed in the late 1930s by Krupp as siege artillery for the explicit purpose of destroying the main forts of the French Maginot Line, the strongest fortifications then in existence. The fully assembled guns weighed nearly 1,350 tonnes, and could fire shells weighing seven tonnes to a range of 47 kilometres (29 mi). The guns were designed in preparation for the Battle of France, but were not ready for action when the battle began, and in any case the Wehrmacht's Blitzkrieg offensive through Belgium rapidly outflanked and isolated the Maginot Line's World War I-era static defenses, forcing them to surrender uneventfully and making their destruction unnecessary. Gustav was later employed in the Soviet Union at the siege of Sevastopol during Operation Barbarossa, where among other things, it destroyed a munitions depot buried in the bedrock under a bay. The guns were moved to Leningrad, and may have been intended to be used in the Warsaw Uprising like other German heavy siege pieces, but the rebellion was crushed before they could be prepared to fire. Gustav was later captured by US troops and cut up, whilst Dora was destroyed near the end of the war in 1945 to avoid capture by the Red Army.
It was the largest-calibre rifled weapon ever used in combat, the heaviest mobile artillery piece ever built in terms of overall weight, and fired the heaviest shells of any artillery piece. It is only surpassed in calibre by the British Mallet's Mortar and the American Little David mortar (both 36 inch; 914 mm).
Schwerer Gustav
DoraVSScarab.svg
Schwerer Gustav (black) compared to an OTR-21 Tochka SRBM launcher (red) with human figures for scale.
Type Railway Gun
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1941–45
Used by Wehrmacht
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Krupp
Designed 1934
Manufacturer Krupp
Unit cost 7 million Reichsmark
Produced 1941
Number built 2
Specifications
Weight 1,350 tonnes (1,490 short tons; 1,330 long tons)
Length 47.3 metres (155 ft 2 in)
Barrel length 32.5 metres (106 ft 8 in) L/40.6
Width 7.1 metres (23 ft 4 in)
Height 11.6 metres (38 ft 1 in)
Crew 250 to assemble the gun in 3 days (54 hours), 2,500 to lay track and dig embankments. 2 Flak battalions to protect the gun from air attack.

Caliber 80 centimetres (31 in)
Elevation Max of 48°
Rate of fire 1 round every 30 to 45 minutes or typically 14 rounds a day
Muzzle velocity 820 m/s (2,700 ft/s) (HE)
720 m/s (2,400 ft/s) (AP)
Effective firing range about 39,000 metres (43,000 yd)
Maximum firing range 47,000 metres (51,000 yd) (HE)
38,000 metres (42,000 yd) (AP)


In 1934 the German Army High Command (OKH) commissioned Krupp of Essen to design a gun to destroy the forts of the French Maginot Line which were nearing completion. The gun's shells had to punch through seven metres of reinforced concrete or one full metre of steel armour plate, from beyond the range of French artillery. Krupp engineer Erich Müller calculated that the task would require a weapon with a calibre of around 80 cm, firing a projectile weighing 7 tonnes from a barrel 30 metres long. The weapon would have a weight of over 1000 tonnes. The size and weight meant that to be at all movable it would need to be supported on twin sets of railway tracks. In common with smaller railway guns, the only barrel movement on the mount itself would be elevation, traverse being managed by moving the weapon along a curved section of railway line. Krupp prepared plans for calibres of 70 cm, 80 cm, 85 cm, and 1 m.
Nothing further happened until March 1936 when, during a visit to Essen, Adolf Hitler enquired as to the giant guns' feasibility. No definite commitment was given by Hitler, but design work began on an 80 cm model. The resulting plans were completed in early 1937 and approved. Fabrication of the first gun started in mid-1937. Technical complications in the forging of such massive pieces of steel made it apparent that the original completion date of early 1940 could not be met.
Krupp built a test model in late 1939 and sent it to the Hillersleben firing range for testing. Penetration was tested on this occasion. Firing at high elevation, the 7.1 tonne shell was able to penetrate the specified seven metres of concrete and the one metre armour plate.[3] When the tests were completed in mid-1940 the complex carriage was further developed. Alfried Krupp, after whose father the gun was named, personally hosted Hitler at the Rügenwalde Proving Ground during the formal acceptance trials of the Gustav Gun in early 1941.


Two guns were ordered. The first round was test-fired from the commissioned gun barrel on 10 September 1941 from a makeshift gun carriage on the Hillersleben firing range. In November 1941 the barrel was taken to Rügenwalde, where 8 further firing tests were carried out using the 7,100 kilogram armour-piercing (AP) shell out to a range of 37,210 metres.
In combat, the gun was mounted on a specially designed chassis, supported by eight bogies on two parallel sets of railway tracks. Each of the bogies had 5 axles, giving a total of 40 axles (80 wheels). Krupp christened the gun Schwerer Gustav (Heavy Gustav) after the senior director of the firm, Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach.
The gun could fire a heavy concrete-piercing shell and a lighter high-explosive shell. A super-long-range rocket projectile was also planned with a range of 150 km, that would require the barrel being extended to 84 metres.
In keeping with the tradition of the Krupp company, no payment was asked for the first gun. They charged seven million Reichsmark for the second gun Dora, named after the senior engineer's wife.
                    An 800 mm shell next to a Soviet T-34-85 tank at the Imperial War Museum, London


In February 1942, Heavy Artillery Unit (E) 672 reorganised and went on the march, and Schwerer Gustav began its long ride to the Crimea. The train carrying the gun was of 25 cars, a total length of 1.5 kilometres. The gun reached the Perekop Isthmus in early March 1942, where it was held until early April. A special railway spur line was built to the Simferopol-Sevastopol railway 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) north of the target, at the end of which four semi-circular tracks were built specially for the Gustav to traverse. Outer tracks were required for the cranes which assembled Gustav.
The siege of Sevastopol was the gun's first combat test. Installation began in early May, and by 5 June the gun was ready to fire. The following targets were engaged:
  • 5 June
    • Coastal guns at a range of 25,000 m. Eight shells fired.
    • Fort Stalin. Six shells fired.
  • 6 June
    • Fort Molotov. Seven shells fired.
    • "White Cliff" aka "Ammunition Mountain": an undersea ammunition magazine in Severnaya ("Northern") Bay. The magazine was sited 30 metres under the sea with at least 10 metres of concrete protection. After nine shells were fired, the magazine was ruined and one of the boats in the bay sunk.
  • 7 June
    • Firing in support of an infantry attack on Südwestspitze, an outlying fortification. Seven shells fired.
  • 11 June
    • Fort Siberia. Five shells fired.
  • 17 June
    • Fort Maxim Gorki and its coastal battery. Five shells fired.

By the end of the siege on 4 July the city of Sevastopol lay in ruins, and 30,000 tons of artillery ammunition had been fired. Gustav had fired 48 rounds and worn out its original barrel, which had already fired around 250 rounds during testing and development. The gun was fitted with the spare barrel and the original was sent back to Krupp's factory in Essen for relining.
The gun was then dismantled and moved to the northern part of the eastern front, where an attack was planned on Leningrad. The gun was placed 30 km from the city near the railway station of Taizy. The gun was fully operational when the attack was cancelled. The gun then spent the winter of 1942/43 near Leningrad.
The gun appears to have been destroyed to prevent its capture some time before 22 April 1945, when its ruins were discovered in a forest 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) north of Auerbach about 50 kilometres (31 mi) southwest of Chemnitz.                  
  A shell for the Dora gun (without the sharp ballistic cap) found after the war at the former German firing range near Rügenwalde (today Darłowo), on exhibition in the Polish Army museum in Warsaw
 
 Dora was the second gun to be produced. It was deployed briefly against Stalingrad, where the gun arrived at its emplacement 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) to the west of the city sometime in mid-August 1942. It was ready to fire on 13 September. It was quickly withdrawn when Soviet encirclement threatened. When the Germans began their long retreat they took Dora with them. Dora was broken up before the end of the war, being discovered in the west by American troops some time after the discovery of Schwerer Gustav.
 
The Langer Gustav was a long cannon with 52 centimetre caliber and a 43 metre barrel. It was intended to fire super-long-range rocket projectiles weighing 680 kilograms to a range of 190 kilometres. This gave it the range to hit London. It was never completed after being damaged during construction by one of the many RAF bombing raids on Essen.

Ammunition


High Explosive Armour Piercing
Length
3.6 m (11 ft 10 in)
Weight 4,800 kg (10,600 lb) 7,100 kg (15,700 lb)
Muzzle velocity 820 m/s (2,700 ft/s) 720 m/s (2,400 ft/s)
Maximum range 48 km (30 mi) 38 km (24 mi)
Explosive weight 700 kg (1,500 lb) 250 kg (550 lb)
Effect Crater size:
9.1 m (30 ft) wide 9.1 m (30 ft) deep
Penetration:
7 m (23 ft) of concrete at maximum elevation (beyond that available during combat) with a special charge.
Notes
The main body was made of chrome-nickel steel, fitted with an aluminium alloy ballistic nose cone.

Models:

  • 80 cm "Schwerer Gustav" (Heavy Gustav) - Deployed in March 1942 against Sevastopol.
  • 80 cm "Dora" - Deployed against Stalingrad in September 1942. Possibly never fired.
  • 52 cm "Langer Gustav" (Long Gustav) - Started but not completed.

 



The largest gun ever built was the "Gustav Gun" built in Essen, Germany in 1941 by the firm of Friedrich Krupp A.G. Upholding a tradition of naming heavy cannon after family members, the Gustav Gun was named after the invalid head of the Krupp family - Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach. The strategic weapon of its day, the Gustav Gun was built at the direct order of Adolf Hitler for the express purpose of crushing Maginot Line forts protecting the French frontier. To accomplish this, Krupp designed a giant railway gun weighing 1344 tons with a bore diameter of 800 mm (31.5") and served by a 500 man crew commanded by a major-general.

Two types of projectiles were fired using a 3000lb. charge of smokeless powder: a 10,584 lb. high explosive (HE) shell and a 16,540 lb. concrete-piercing projectile. Craters from the HE shells measured 30-ft. wide and 30-ft. deep while the concrete piercing projectile proved capable of penetrating 264-ft. of reinforced concrete before exploding! Maximum range was 23 miles with HE shells and 29 miles with concrete piercing projectiles. Muzzle velocity was approximately 2700 f.p.s.

Three guns were ordered in 1939. Alfried Krupp personally hosted Hitler and Albert Speer (Minister of Armaments) at the Hugenwald Proving Ground during formal acceptance trials of the Gustav Gun in the spring of 1941. In keeping with company tradition, Krupp refrained from charging for the first gun - 7 million Deutsch Marks were charged for the second (named Dora after the chief engineer's wife).



France fell in 1940 without the assistance of the Gustav Gun, so new targets were sought. Plans to use Gustav against the British fortress of Gibraltar were scrapped after General Franco refused permission to fire the gun from Spanish soil. Thus, April 1942 found the Gustav Gun emplaced outside the heavily fortified port city of Sebastopol in the Soviet Union. Under fire from Gustav and other heavy artillery, Forts Stalin, Lenin and Maxim Gorki crumbled and fell. One round from Gustav destroyed a Russion ammunition dump 100 feet below Severnaya Bay; a near miss capsized a large ship in the harbor. Gustav fired 300 rounds during the siege wearing out the original barrel in the process. Dora was set up west of Stalingrad in mid-August but hurriedly withdrawn in September to avoid capture. Gustav next appeared outside Warsaw, Poland, where it fired 30 rounds into Warsaw Ghetto during the 1944 uprising.

Dora was blown up by German engineers in April 1945 near Oberlichtnau, Germany, to avoid capture by the Russian Army. The incomplete third gun was scrapped at the factory by the British Army when they captured Essen. Gustav was captured intact by the U.S. Army near Metzendorf, Germany, in June 1945. Shortly after, it was cut up for scrap thus ending the story of the Gustav Gun.

Read more at http://www.worldsbiggests.com/2010/02/gustav-gun-largest-gun-ever-built.html#WHebmYkbJ6oDRujz.99
The largest gun ever built was the "Gustav Gun" built in Essen, Germany in 1941 by the firm of Friedrich Krupp A.G. Upholding a tradition of naming heavy cannon after family members, the Gustav Gun was named after the invalid head of the Krupp family - Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach. The strategic weapon of its day, the Gustav Gun was built at the direct order of Adolf Hitler for the express purpose of crushing Maginot Line forts protecting the French frontier. To accomplish this, Krupp designed a giant railway gun weighing 1344 tons with a bore diameter of 800 mm (31.5") and served by a 500 man crew commanded by a major-general.

Two types of projectiles were fired using a 3000lb. charge of smokeless powder: a 10,584 lb. high explosive (HE) shell and a 16,540 lb. concrete-piercing projectile. Craters from the HE shells measured 30-ft. wide and 30-ft. deep while the concrete piercing projectile proved capable of penetrating 264-ft. of reinforced concrete before exploding! Maximum range was 23 miles with HE shells and 29 miles with concrete piercing projectiles. Muzzle velocity was approximately 2700 f.p.s.

Three guns were ordered in 1939. Alfried Krupp personally hosted Hitler and Albert Speer (Minister of Armaments) at the Hugenwald Proving Ground during formal acceptance trials of the Gustav Gun in the spring of 1941. In keeping with company tradition, Krupp refrained from charging for the first gun - 7 million Deutsch Marks were charged for the second (named Dora after the chief engineer's wife).



France fell in 1940 without the assistance of the Gustav Gun, so new targets were sought. Plans to use Gustav against the British fortress of Gibraltar were scrapped after General Franco refused permission to fire the gun from Spanish soil. Thus, April 1942 found the Gustav Gun emplaced outside the heavily fortified port city of Sebastopol in the Soviet Union. Under fire from Gustav and other heavy artillery, Forts Stalin, Lenin and Maxim Gorki crumbled and fell. One round from Gustav destroyed a Russion ammunition dump 100 feet below Severnaya Bay; a near miss capsized a large ship in the harbor. Gustav fired 300 rounds during the siege wearing out the original barrel in the process. Dora was set up west of Stalingrad in mid-August but hurriedly withdrawn in September to avoid capture. Gustav next appeared outside Warsaw, Poland, where it fired 30 rounds into Warsaw Ghetto during the 1944 uprising.

Dora was blown up by German engineers in April 1945 near Oberlichtnau, Germany, to avoid capture by the Russian Army. The incomplete third gun was scrapped at the factory by the British Army when they captured Essen. Gustav was captured intact by the U.S. Army near Metzendorf, Germany, in June 1945. Shortly after, it was cut up for scrap thus ending the story of the Gustav Gun.

Read more at http://www.worldsbiggests.com/2010/02/gustav-gun-largest-gun-ever-built.html#WHebmYkbJ6oDRujz.99
The largest gun ever built was the "Gustav Gun" built in Essen, Germany in 1941 by the firm of Friedrich Krupp A.G. Upholding a tradition of naming heavy cannon after family members, the Gustav Gun was named after the invalid head of the Krupp family - Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach. The strategic weapon of its day, the Gustav Gun was built at the direct order of Adolf Hitler for the express purpose of crushing Maginot Line forts protecting the French frontier. To accomplish this, Krupp designed a giant railway gun weighing 1344 tons with a bore diameter of 800 mm (31.5") and served by a 500 man crew commanded by a major-general.

Two types of projectiles were fired using a 3000lb. charge of smokeless powder: a 10,584 lb. high explosive (HE) shell and a 16,540 lb. concrete-piercing projectile. Craters from the HE shells measured 30-ft. wide and 30-ft. deep while the concrete piercing projectile proved capable of penetrating 264-ft. of reinforced concrete before exploding! Maximum range was 23 miles with HE shells and 29 miles with concrete piercing projectiles. Muzzle velocity was approximately 2700 f.p.s.

Three guns were ordered in 1939. Alfried Krupp personally hosted Hitler and Albert Speer (Minister of Armaments) at the Hugenwald Proving Ground during formal acceptance trials of the Gustav Gun in the spring of 1941. In keeping with company tradition, Krupp refrained from charging for the first gun - 7 million Deutsch Marks were charged for the second (named Dora after the chief engineer's wife).



France fell in 1940 without the assistance of the Gustav Gun, so new targets were sought. Plans to use Gustav against the British fortress of Gibraltar were scrapped after General Franco refused permission to fire the gun from Spanish soil. Thus, April 1942 found the Gustav Gun emplaced outside the heavily fortified port city of Sebastopol in the Soviet Union. Under fire from Gustav and other heavy artillery, Forts Stalin, Lenin and Maxim Gorki crumbled and fell. One round from Gustav destroyed a Russion ammunition dump 100 feet below Severnaya Bay; a near miss capsized a large ship in the harbor. Gustav fired 300 rounds during the siege wearing out the original barrel in the process. Dora was set up west of Stalingrad in mid-August but hurriedly withdrawn in September to avoid capture. Gustav next appeared outside Warsaw, Poland, where it fired 30 rounds into Warsaw Ghetto during the 1944 uprising.

Dora was blown up by German engineers in April 1945 near Oberlichtnau, Germany, to avoid capture by the Russian Army. The incomplete third gun was scrapped at the factory by the British Army when they captured Essen. Gustav was captured intact by the U.S. Army near Metzendorf, Germany, in June 1945. Shortly after, it was cut up for scrap thus ending the story of the Gustav Gun.
Read more at http://www.worldsbiggests.com/2010/02/gustav-gun-largest-gun-ever-built.html#WHebmYkbJ6oDRujz.99
The largest gun ever built was the "Gustav Gun" built in Essen, Germany in 1941 by the firm of Friedrich Krupp A.G. Upholding a tradition of naming heavy cannon after family members, the Gustav Gun was named after the invalid head of the Krupp family - Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach. The strategic weapon of its day, the Gustav Gun was built at the direct order of Adolf Hitler for the express purpose of crushing Maginot Line forts protecting the French frontier. To accomplish this, Krupp designed a giant railway gun weighing 1344 tons with a bore diameter of 800 mm (31.5") and served by a 500 man crew commanded by a major-general.

Two types of projectiles were fired using a 3000lb. charge of smokeless powder: a 10,584 lb. high explosive (HE) shell and a 16,540 lb. concrete-piercing projectile. Craters from the HE shells measured 30-ft. wide and 30-ft. deep while the concrete piercing projectile proved capable of penetrating 264-ft. of reinforced concrete before exploding! Maximum range was 23 miles with HE shells and 29 miles with concrete piercing projectiles. Muzzle velocity was approximately 2700 f.p.s.

Three guns were ordered in 1939. Alfried Krupp personally hosted Hitler and Albert Speer (Minister of Armaments) at the Hugenwald Proving Ground during formal acceptance trials of the Gustav Gun in the spring of 1941. In keeping with company tradition, Krupp refrained from charging for the first gun - 7 million Deutsch Marks were charged for the second (named Dora after the chief engineer's wife).



France fell in 1940 without the assistance of the Gustav Gun, so new targets were sought. Plans to use Gustav against the British fortress of Gibraltar were scrapped after General Franco refused permission to fire the gun from Spanish soil. Thus, April 1942 found the Gustav Gun emplaced outside the heavily fortified port city of Sebastopol in the Soviet Union. Under fire from Gustav and other heavy artillery, Forts Stalin, Lenin and Maxim Gorki crumbled and fell. One round from Gustav destroyed a Russion ammunition dump 100 feet below Severnaya Bay; a near miss capsized a large ship in the harbor. Gustav fired 300 rounds during the siege wearing out the original barrel in the process. Dora was set up west of Stalingrad in mid-August but hurriedly withdrawn in September to avoid capture. Gustav next appeared outside Warsaw, Poland, where it fired 30 rounds into Warsaw Ghetto during the 1944 uprising.

Dora was blown up by German engineers in April 1945 near Oberlichtnau, Germany, to avoid capture by the Russian Army. The incomplete third gun was scrapped at the factory by the British Army when they captured Essen. Gustav was captured intact by the U.S. Army near Metzendorf, Germany, in June 1945. Shortly after, it was cut up for scrap thus ending the story of the Gustav Gun.
Read more at http://www.worldsbiggests.com/2010/02/gustav-gun-largest-gun-ever-built.html#WHebmYkbJ6oDRujz.99

4 comments:

  1. Mobility (lack of) was their downfall... It took days to move/set up/tear down...

    ReplyDelete
  2. My background in Mechanical Engineering and machining makes this even that much more amazing! Designing and building something like that must have been a huge feat back in the 1940's. Can you imagine the machinery needed to make the parts?

    Check out some vids on youtube. Not sure if some of your links point to them


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hf3fgfHoTOc

    or this one

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oLC9XtnVJI


    Simply amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. We built a large gun after the war. Although not as large as the Gustav.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M65_Atomic_Cannon

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey Old NFO;
    It took a lot of time to build up and tear down, they used a LOT of resources to make and move those things. The Germans over-engineer their stuff, it is a national trait I think.
    Hey Pissed;
    It is incredible especially back then because they didn't have the CAD/CAM computers to aid in the design, it was old fashioned drafting tables and old school engineering.'

    ' Hey Robert;
    I remember reading about "Atomic Annie" that we used to develop a delivery system for a tactical nuke. I think there is an example at the national armor museum....

    ReplyDelete