28 cm K5 (E): Railway Gun

28 cm K5 (E): Railway Gun

The German 28 cm K5 (E) has an unconfirmed range of 31 miles and fires a pre-engraved projectile weighing approximately 550 pounds. It is fired from a turntable affording a 360° traverse.

The gun has a 70-foot 8-inch barrel held in a sleeve-type cradle. The barrel recoil mechanism, fitted between two arms projecting downward from the cradle, consists of two hydropneumatic cylinders and a single hydraulic buffer cylinder. The cradle is supported by trunnions which rest in bearings on top of a box-like frame, of girder construction, which in turn is supported on two pintles resting in bearings in the center of two 12-wheel trucks. The front pintle bearing rides in a rail on the front truck and can be positioned six inches either side of center, thereby allowing a car traverse of approximately 1°.

The equipment in effect has a double recoil action. Besides the barrel recoil which is approximately 32 inches, the gun car recoils. It is coupled to the front of the turntable platform by a hydraulic buffer and a hydropneumatic counterrecoil mechanism which returns the car to battery position.

A turntable platform is transported as part of the equipment and in transport forms a flat car with a 103-foot bed resting on two 8-wheel trucks.

A central jack helps support the tremendous weight of the gun and carriage which amounts to around 230 tons and also serves as a central pivot for the turntable.

The powder chamber is approximately 10 feet 5 inches long. Obturation is obtained by means of a short brass cartridge case and the breech is closed with a horizontal sliding type of breechblock. Firing is of the percussion type.


Caliber      280 mm (11 ins.)
Length of barrel 70 ft., 8 ins.
Length of tube 67 ft., 5 ins.
Length of rifling 57 ft.
Rifling Right Hand uniform twist
Weight of barrel (Leopold)* 187,880 lb.
Length of car 95 ft., 7 ins.
Length of carriage 69 ft., 8 ins.
Width of carriage (overall) 8 ft., 8 1/2 ins.
Number of grooves 12
Width of grooves 5/8 in.
Depth of grooves 17/64 in.
Max. range 54,680 yds.**
Traverse on turntable 360°
Carriage traverse (approx.) 1/2° R; 1/2°
Elevation (estimated) 50°
Ammunition Separate loading—steel splined projectile
Weight of projectile (approx.) 550 lb.

*Two of these guns were found in Italy; one was called “Leopold,” and the other “Robert.” The weight of the barrel on the latter model is 187,165 pounds.
**Not verified.

German: p. 100.2

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