German Railway Artillery During World War II
History of 28cm K5 Eisenbahngeschütz
Why the name 'Leopold' ?
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
K5 Crews layout by Greg Heuer
Vögele Turntable by Greg Heuer
Other Collections by Greg Heuer
Other Collections by Greg Heuer Page 2
for firing :
Extracted from the book : Leopold by Jan Coen WIjnstok / ISBN-83-920254-5-8)
In transport, K5 and the Vögele Brehscheibe (Turntable) were concealed under tarpaulins over a framework, to make them look like normal box cars. On arrival, the tarpaulins and frames would be taken off first and laid to the side. The handbrake of the front railway truck was applied. The chain connecting the rear railway truck and the gondola of the gun was unhooked and hung on the gondola. A three way valve next to the aiming stand regulated the compressed air system. It was moved from 'transpot mode' to 'closed', and then the pressure hose was closed, and uncoupled from an angle cock beneath the aiming stand. The front locking system of the gondola was unlocked, and it was raised slightly by hydraulics to make moving it easier. From the transport position, the rear railway truck was moved backwards 1.9 m to its firing position and locked in place with the rear locking mechanism. The rear railway truck could be moved either by locomotive or by hand. The pressure hose was then reconnected to a valve further back on the gondola. The three way valve was set to 'firing mode'. Firing mode didn't make the gun immobile. The extra length would make it harder to operate on the railway for long distance transport. The generator had to be moved from its transport position on the ammunition supply car to the rear railway truck. Rails were fixed between them. The generator was jacked up and put on rollers, one side at a time. It was then pulled onto the rear railway truck by means of pulleys attached to eyes on the back of the gondola. The rollers were removed and the generator secured to the rear railway truck. The electrical connections were then made. Meanwhile, the railings would have been erected., ladders extended or attached, the barrel clamp released, the cover removed from the barrel, the aiming stand put into operation and all equipment needed to operate the gun put in place
could either been fired from a curved length of railway (Schiesscurve) or
from the Vögele Drehscheibe. In the first case, the gun would be aimed
roughly by shunting forward or backward. Handbrakes were applied and a
ruler was attached to the track forward of the aiming stand to measure
backslide caused by recoiled. The gun could then be accurately
repositioned after firing.
Ammunition cars would be placed away from the gun, fuses were set here and charges prepared. Projectiles and charges were stowed in sperate cars. They were loaded onto ammunition trolleys, with the projectile in the middle and the charges stowed to the sides. Rails ran along the length of the ammunition cars and between them, the latter movable, to allow the trolley to move through them. The ammunition supply car was used to bring the trolleys to the gun. It operated under its own power. The Vögele COmpany produced turntables for conventional railway purposes; these were used, for instance, to turn locomotives around in railway yards.
The Vögele Drehscheibe was conceived between the two World Wars, during the same studies that produced the theoretical basis for the development of K5. It consists of a circular rail and a firing bec, to give a 360 degree arc of firing, it was used with other railway guns as well. The firing bed rotated on a pivot attached to the railway and the circular rail. A complete K5 was moved onto the firing bed and secured to recoil and recuperator cylinders on the front of the firing bed. The large coupling is used for this. The gun's generator also powered the firing bed.
When using the turntable, ammunition trolleys were transferred from the ammunition supply car to a special car running on the rail of the turntable to get them to the gun. The trolley was hoisted to the loading platform and rolled to the breech. The granate was loaded using a rammer. The charge consisted of several bags of propellant, the main one in a metal cartridge. The bags and the cartridge were put in the chamber with another rammer. Both rammers were stored on the loading platform. The breech could now be closed. The loading flap was raised and the gun was aimed from the aiming stand and fired by means of a lanyard.
Officially all personnel had to be off the gun when firing. After firing the cartridge was caught on the cartridge catcher that swiveled to the side in order to reload the gun. The gun was reloaded and the empty cartridge was put on the empty trolley and hoisted to the ground.
This is a very good view of the generator and crane in action. The railings on the generator unit are small; the large gap was necessary to accommodate the ammunition trolley. Note that it can be closed with chains. The instrument panel of the generator can be seen clearly. The inside of the door is padded and probably white or off-white. The carriage number on the generator is 919201. The wheels of the ammunition trolley have round holes. (Marcel Verhaaf Collection)
This is the
carriage number 919214 seen from the other side. The layout of the aiming
stand's instrument panel can be seen quite well. The
soldier on the right is setting the sight. Beneath it is the hand wheel
that controls the speed of traverse and elevation. To
the right of the instrument panel is the three way valve for the pressure
system. The platform is
detachable and hangs from pegs on the gondola; note the folding step.
The two men on the left have folded down the indicator for recoil slide.
There is a white strip on the firing bed that could be the ruler. The
pressure hose attached to the rearmost cock is in the far right of the
photograph. Details of the firing bed can be seen very well.
(Marcel Verhaaf Collection)
K5 Firing a round, the men on the gun are bracing themselves for the recoil. All personnel seem to be wearing overalls.
The pivot of the firing bed can be seen resting on the existing rail across which the turntable is built.
No carriage number can be read (Marcel Verhaaf Collection)
the Atlantic Wall : (page 190)
Extracted from the book : Fortress Third Reich by J.E.Kaufmann & H.K.Kaufmann - ISBN 0-306-81239-8
The K-type 280mm railway guns could move on their railroad carriage into these dome bunkers, sometimes called cathedral bunkers. Once inside the armored doors, the concrete shelter provided all the protection needed as long as the guns were not in the firing position. These bunkers were large enough to house the two 280mm guns and the locomotive of one battery. One of these dome bunkers was situated on the northwest side of Calais, about one kilometer from the coast. Another one was at Vallée Heureuse, about four kilometers east of Marquise, almost half way between Calais and Boulogne, about six kilometers from the coast. A third one was at about one kilometer north of Wimereux, five kilometers north of Boulogne, near the coast. A fourth even larger bunker for a railroad gun battery was built later, not far from the first dome bunker near Calais.
Since the big K-type rail guns were too large for their own carriage to mount a turntable, curved sections of track were used for aiming. After 1936 the Vögele turntable was adopted. It consisted of a platform on which the gun car was mounted and which revolved around a circular track for aiming the gun. This made it possible for the gun to cover a full 360 degrees. The Vögele turntable was transported with each gun and assembled at the firing site. Nine railway artillery regiments totaling sixteen batteries were available in the summer of 1940. Some of them were stationed on the Channel coast during the autumn of 1940. The navy also had one of the two 150mm rail-gun batteries known as Batterie Gneisenau. ...
one35th - Last updated on :
Sunday, April 27, 2008