click here to K5(E) main index

click here to one35th main index

German Railway Artillery During World War II more
History of 28cm K5 Eisenbahngeschütz more
Why the name 'Leopold' ? more
The Marking
Deployment of K5(E)
Preparing for firing
Aiming station - Ausf C and Ausf D
Line Drawings from Jan Coen Wijnstok
Line Drawings Original - by Greg Heuer
K5 Vorläufige Beschreibung Band I by Greg Heuer
BR52 and PS360 photos by Greg Heuer go
K5 Crews layout by Greg Heuer
Vögele Turntable by Greg Heuer go
Other Collections by Greg Heuer go
Other Collections by Greg Heuer Page 2 go

k5 aluminum barrel set for dragon and trumpeter kits
limited stock only !
German Railway Artillery During World War II

firing !The Railway gun has always been particularly attractive to a continental army, since its allows heavy support weapons to be moved rapidly across the country in time of need. World war 1 saw the first large-scale use of railway gun and their utility was not lost on the German Army. During the interwar years, too, there was a wide spread opinion that this type of weapon would form a useful addition to coast defenses; groups of guns could then be held at convenient rail centers and rapidly deployed to a threatened coast area.

Railway guns generally came in two types : those in which the gun was pivot-mounted, to fire in any direction relative to the line of track, and those in which the gun was rapidly aligned in its mounting and was capable only of a very small amount of traverse by moving the mounting bodily across the supporting bogies. The first type required stabilizing outriggers to resist the firing stress and to prevent the mounting tipping over when firing across the track. The second type - by and large those above 20cm / 8 in caliber - required either a curved track or a track turntable to allow them to point over a wide arc. Pushing the gun mounting along a curved track obviously changed the direction of fire and this was done for coarse pointing, the fine laying being done by the small on-mounting traverse. A turntable mounting was self-explanatory. Both these system demanded that special preparation, whether laying the curved track or assembling the turntable, was done before the gun could operate. Moreover it was usually necessary to construct track from the commercial railway system to the gun's chosen location.

A point usually made in arguments against railway guns was the very fact that they relied on tracks, either commercial or specially - laid, and that such tracks were particularly vulnerable to air attack. This was quite true, but the track could also be easily and quickly repaired and one of the design features of a railway gun was that the suspension could negotiate indifferent and hastily-laid track without mishap.

The Volege Drehscheibe (Vogele turntable)was developed by the German during the late 1920sas a necessary and vital accessory for   the consequent employment of railway guns, and it was perfected in good time for extensive use during the war. The turntable gave all-round traverse to all railway guns and was a standard item of equipment. many German positions along the captured French and Belgian coasts were equipped with these turntables, ready to receive guns whenever needed for defense and thus speeding reaction time.

German railway guns fell into two broad groups, those that were the result of long-term development and those that were hurriedly produced as a result so called Sofort-Programm ( Crash programme ) initiated in 1936 with the object of providing a sizable force of railway guns by the summer of 1939. One weapon fell into neither of these groups : the 80cm K(E) Gustav Gerät was developed outside both programs by Krupp, in its early stages more or less as a private venture.

The long term programme was principally concerned with the slow development of very long-range guns for bombardment. In this the memory of the Paris - Geschütz ( Paris Gun ) of 1918 played a part. The sofort-programm was begun when it became obvious that the long-term development was not going fast enough to give time to the development of smaller modern weapons, and so the products of the ' Crash programme ' were elderly naval weapon that could be obtained from store and mounted on modifications of World War 1 carriages. It is an odd fact that all German railway guns were Krupp products; Rheinmetall-Borsig did design two models, one of caliber 15cm and one of 24cm, but neither was accepted for service or even built in prototype form.

Original Drawings from KRUPP - by Greg Heuer

History of 28cm K 5 Eisenbahngeschütz

K5 ready to fire.. This weapon,  one of the best railway guns ever made, became  the standard army railway gun.   Design of the   K 5 began in 1934, concurrently with the design of the 21cm K 12, the first gun entered service in 1936 and from then until the end of war the K 5 was in regular production, some 28 weapons having been made by 1945.
The design of the K5 and the K12 overlapped to some extent, as both were intended as a super long-range weapons employing deep-grooved barrels and splined projectiles. The K 5 barrel was made with 12 grooves 10mm (0.39"). A 15cm experimental barrel, known as the 15cm K 5M, was first made and tested, and as with the K 12 a normally-rifled barrel (the 15cm K 5 MKu) was built for comparative trials.
K5 ready to fireBy 1936 a full-size barrel had been made and proof-fired successfully at Krupp's Meppen test-range, and by 1937 a complete equipment had been built and tested. Production then began and by 1940 eight were in service. Then a sudden spate of split barrels occurred; an investigation produced no definite conclusions but, more or less at hazard, the depth of the rifling grooves was reduced to 7mm(0.28"). This appears to have been the correct solution since the trouble never occurred again; the resulting guns well called K 5 Tiefzug 7mm.
Leopard K5The mounting was a straightforward box-girder assembly carried on two twelve-wheel bogies. The gun was fitted into the usual ring cradle and trunnioned directly to the mounting's side girders. It was originally intended to brace the barrel, in similar fashion to the K 12, but trials proved that bracing was un-necessary.
The war time development of iron driving bands gave Krupp's designers hope that it might be possible to produce a normally-rifled K 5 barrel to work with FEW-banded shell. Towards the end of 1943, after successful completion of their experiments, a production multi-grooved barrel was issued. This was known as the K 5 Vz (Vielzug, many grooves) and about siw were manufactured.

Consideration had meanwhile been given to extending the range. The first project was to develop a rocket-assisted shell that was eventually issued as the Raketen Granate 4331(R Gr 4331) and carried a cast-propellant rocket motor in the nose section. 

Why the name "Leopold" ?

A picture tells a thousand words...
K5 name : Leopold
Photo Courtesy from :

continue.. Page 2 click NEXT.

k5 battries on the Atlantik wall
K5 Batteries on the Atlantik Wall more




© one35th - Last updated on  :  Sunday, April 27, 2008