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28cm K5  (E) Ausf C
US Army Ordnance Museum - Aberdeen, MD
Extracted from the book : Leopold by Jan Coen WIjnstok / ISBN-83-920254-5-8)
In early 1944, the Allies were up against the Gustav line running across Italy, south of Rome. The actions around Monte Cassino are a well known part of the campaign. To force the issue, the Allies landed a force at Anzio, north of the Gustav line. However, the invasion force was contained in its beachhead for months. Among the German forces containing it was Eisenbahnbatteries 712. It had been meant for the North African campaign but the Afrikakorps was defeated before its arrival. Subsequently stationed near Milan in the north of Italy, they were nicely at hand. The two guns of the battery, named 'Leopold' and 'Robert' by their crews, bombarded the beachhead from the safety of railway tunnels. They became known collectively as Anzio Annie by the Allies.
When the German army finally had to retreat, the guns had to be abandoned because bombing destroyed the railway. The crews tried to destroy their guns, but only damaged 'Leopold'. Eisenbahnbatteries 712's personnel escaped and they were reequipped with new K5's. The American 168th Infantry Regiment captured the guns. 'Leopold' was subsequently shipped to Aberdeen Proving Ground, one of the US Army's test facilities for assessment.
The official designation of 'Leopold' is 28cm Kanone 5 (Eisenbahn), abbreviated to 28 cm K5 (E). This literally translates into English as 28cm Cannon 5 (Railway). This particular gun is an Ausf C model, with the aiming platform in a low position. Its transport cover doubles as a roof when in use. K5's were built by KRUPP and Hanomag without a manufacturer's plate and date, it is impossible to know when and where the gun was built. Since it has a relatively low carriage number, it probably is an early gun. 'Leopold' is reasonably complete. The generator unit, which is missing, would not have been on the gun since it was in transport mode when captured. It was probably never shipped.
The woodwork has completely rotted away on the work surfaces of both the gondola and the front railway truck.
'Leopold' was overall Dunkelgelb (dark Yellow), with white lettering, when it was captured. It has been repainted since but the lettering is accurate, if complete. There should be alot more, both on the gondola and on the railway trucks. The latest coat of paint is camouflage, which is not historically accurate. Period photographs show camouflage made up of board band of color, probably the paint scheme used between 1935 and 1939, which was made up of 2/3 Dark Gray and 1/3 Dark Brown (See photo below)

K5 at APG
K5 at APG K5 at APG K5 at APG
K5 at APG K5 at APG K5 at APG
K5 at APG K5 at APG K5 at APG
  K5 at APG  
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Acknowledgement :
I would like to thanks :
Chris Potter, Dr. N.Robinson, Michael Boyd
who have allowed the use of pictures on their sites.

 

Karl Morser 60cm
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one35th - Last updated on  :  Wednesday, May 28, 2008
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