38cm SK C/34 gallery

These guns were 52 calibers in length and the barrel measured 18.40 meters. The range was 55.7 km with normal ammunition but would have reached 67.8 km using the rocket-assisted “Trommsdorf-Granaten” experimental ammunition. However, this ammunition never went beyond the laboratory stage due to its huge complexity, which even in the 90s remained without being able to be developed.
The barrel weighed 111 tons and in its coastal variant used to be mounted in open concrete barbettes, but the Todt battery was reinforced by express request of Hitler. These guns were installed in a 3.50 meter thick concrete casemate built over and around the mounts, which limited its maximum traverse to 100º.
Originally, these guns must have been the main artillery for the German Bismarck battleships class, (16 guns), to rearm the German battleship Gneisenau, (6 guns), for the new German “O” class battlecruisers, (18 guns) and to arm the Soviet Kronstadt battlecruisers class, (12 guns). Finally, only the Bismarck class would get to mount these excellent guns, taking advantage of some of the planned as coastal guns and as railway guns.
The first 38cm SK C/34 was installed in July 1940 at Audinghen, south of Cap Gris Nez, Pas-de-Calais, France, forming the Siegfried battery. In 1942 the name was changed to Todt battery and its number was increased to four guns. They actively participated during the cross-Channel gunfight from August 1940 to September 1944. Although the effectiveness of such guns was not very great, they did a remarkable psychological damage among the crews of the ships forced to pass through the Dover Strait.
These guns fired 6 different types of ammunition: 800 kg APC L/4.4 (38 cm Psgr.L/4.4 m.Hb), 800 kg HE L/4.5 base fuze (38 cm L/4.5 Bdz m.Hb), 800 kg HE L/4.6 nose fuze (38 cm L/4.6 Kz m.Hb), 789 kg HE L/4.6 nose fuze AA ( 38 cm Spgr L/4.6 Kz m.Hb – unscrewed cap), 510 kg HE L/4.4 base and nose fuze (38 cm L/4.4 Bdz and Kz m.Hb) and 495 kg Siegfried HE L/4,5 (38 cm L/4,5 Bdz u.Kz m.Hb), being the last two shells only for the use of coastal guns. The first four shells had a muzzle velocity of 820 mps and the last two of 1,050 mps.
There were plans to be able to use the three turrets planned to rearm the Gneisenau battleship and one from the Soviet order as coastal batteries. Its locations would have been in Paimpol and Cap de la Hague, France, and two more in Blaavand-Oksby, Denmark, but only the Danish batteries were semi-finished at the end of the war, but far from being able to enter service.
This is the Todt battery’s electric rangefinder, that together with other fire control stations, covered a sector of 342º. The guns were mounted in simple armored mounts (Bettungsschiessgerüst C/39). The guns had a maximum elevation of 60º and a variable traverse depending on their emplacement. The casemate consisted of two floors, the upper one containing the guns and the loading systems and the lower one containing the traverse and elevation motors and the ammunition hoists with their motors. There was also an underground magazine and the mount was fully powered.

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