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 its coastal variant used to be mounted in open concrete barbettes. However, 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 guns, which limited its maximum traverse to 100º.
Originally, these guns must have been the main artillery for German Bismarck battleships class, (16 guns), to rearm German battleship Gneisenau, (6 guns) and for the projected German “O” class battlecruisers, (18 guns). They were also going to be used to arm the new Soviet Kronstadt battlecruisers class, (12 guns). Finally, only Bismarck class would get to mount these excellent guns, using some of the leftovers as coastal and 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 their effectiveness were not very great, they did a remarkable psychological damage among ships crews 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). The last two shells were only for use in 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 use the three turrets planned to rearm Gneisenau battleship and one from the Soviet order as coastal batteries. Their locations would have been in Paimpol and Cap de la Hague, France, and two more in Blaavand-Oksby, Denmark. Nevertheless, only the Danish batteries were semi-finished at the end of the war, but far from being able to enter service.


Todt Battery’s electric rangefinder along with other fire control stations, covered a sector of 342º. The guns were mounted in single armoured mounts (Bettungsschiessgerüst C/39). This 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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