15" Mark I and 38cm SK. C/34 naval guns

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Javier L.
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15" Mark I and 38cm SK. C/34 naval guns

Post by Javier L. » Thu Nov 11, 2004 6:50 pm

I would like to know what do you think about these two naval guns. Are the British 15" Mark I and the German 38cm SK. C/34 comparable weapons? I realize that the German gun was more modern and perhaps more accurate too, but I understand that the shells fired by the British rifles were heavier.

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Re: 15" Mark I and 38cm SK. C/34 naval guns

Post by Tiornu » Thu Nov 11, 2004 9:28 pm

This will help you in your comparison:
http://www.geocities.com/kop_mic/

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José M. Rico
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Post by José M. Rico » Fri Nov 12, 2004 1:45 am

Hello Javier,

The German gun has much better penetration capabilities against vertical surfaces such as armored belts mainly because of its higher muzzle velocity (820 vs. 750 mps), however against horizontal decks at long range the British gun is best suitable because of its greater angle of fall and heavier shells (870 vs. 800 kg). At 20,000 yards for example the angle of fall of the German 38cm projectiles is only about 14º (according to 100/40 g.Kdos) while British 15" shells land at about 20º I think. The explosive charge of the British shells is also greater than that of the Germans.

Un saludo y bienvenido al foro.

José

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Post by tommy303 » Fri Nov 12, 2004 3:24 am

Off hand I would say that both guns were very good, although they somewhat reflect the differing design principles of the originating countries. The 15-in British continued a trend established prior to WW1 in which increasing armour penetrative performance and range was accomplished by introducing a larger gun firing a heavier shell, rather than attempting to increase muzzle velocity and striking power within a given gun and shell size.
This kept muzzle velocities at a relatively moderate level, and helped to increase power without diminishing barrel life and accuracy. This philosophy was apparently influenced by the poor results produced by streching the 12-in 45 calibre gun to 50 calibres; the gun in question had excessivie barrel wear with full charges and accuracy dropped off very rapidly during the life of the gun. The trend which started with the 13.5-inch and was carried through with the 15-inch was probably a wise move considering the high calorific values of British cordite propellants of the time.

The German design philosophy seems to have been the opposite. When an inrease in range and penetrative power was desired, increasing barrel length and powder charge was the norm, and made possible by the cooler burning of their RP propellants. Thus they achieved relatively high muzzle veolocities keeping trajectories fairly low. The resut was good armour penetration against vertical plates, good hit probabilities due to the fairly wide danger space.

Which of the two guns was better is probably a bit of a coin toss if you figure in the differing variables. Certainly the British gun had been around a long enough time for it and its associated mountings to be quite reliable.

In terms of explosive charges, the larger British payloads might not always have been beneficial to penetrative ability. The larger cavity necessary often weakens the sturctural integrity of the shell. However, their philosphy appears to have been to achieve maximum damage results from shells which did penetrate. At the opposite end of the scale, the USN minimized explosive payloads in AP shells to achieve maximum penetration. The German shells appear to have been somewhat in between the two.

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Post by hsk1 » Sat Sep 03, 2005 1:43 pm

Hola!

This is an old topic,but I wonder,why the most sources called the german gun "38cm SK L52 C34"?
In 1934 the germans wanted to mount a 33cm (13 inch)gun for the Bismarck.
Early in 1935 they decided to take a 35cm gun.
The 09.05.1935 was the day,in which admiral Erich Reader(the later grandadmiral) ordered,to take the 38cm caliber for the battleship F.
The construction workings were not finished before the year 1936.
For that reason the 38cm guns of the Bismarck-class must be rename in "38cm SK L52 C36".

The source is:"Die Deutsche Kriegsmarine,1935-1945,Band 6,Siegfried Breyer".
I dont now,if there are a english edition.

MfG hsk1

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Post by Tiornu » Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:24 pm

The gun is usually called the C34 because that was its name. The connection with the Bismarck design history may have little to do with the name. The 16in guns of the "H" class were also C34; perhaps the weapons program began as a coast defense project even before plans for mounting afloat.

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Post by hsk1 » Sat Sep 03, 2005 5:23 pm

@ Tiornu.

I don`t think so.
All the german sources(books)explain the same:
The letter C with the following numbers stands for the year of the development of the guns.
Since the nineteen century the germans used this designation.
They don´t changed it until the end of WW2.
Where did you have the information about the C34 for the 40,6cm guns?

MfG hsk1

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Post by Tiornu » Sat Sep 03, 2005 7:20 pm

The C34 for both 15in and 16in guns is found in Naval Weapons of World War Two by Campbell, German Capital Ships of World War Two by Whitley, and (15in only) Battleships of the Bismarck Class by Koop/Schmolke. Remember, development of the guns may have nothing to do with development of the ships.

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Post by hsk1 » Sat Sep 03, 2005 9:19 pm

Hola!

@ Tiornu.
I believe,that shortly after the 2nd world war only little knowledge about the german ships was available and only the construction-data of the gunplateform(on which the guns were mounted)was there.
It said,that the gunplateform was constructed in 1934.
For the 38cm(14.96 inch)guns was possibly no construction date available and the naval-authors tooks the same contruction date for the guns,because they believed that it stand for both(the gunplateform and the guns).
But actuality it stands only for the gunplateform.
With the years the false information was established in all navalbooks.
I think too,that the construction date for the 40,6cm(16 inch)gun is false for the same reason.
No navy gives it´s guns such a marking without an important reason.
Moreover,the guns were only developed for the ships,because germany hasn´t the production-capacity and the cash to produce additionaly guns of these caliber for coastdefence-batterys.
But that is only my opinion.
You have your opinion.

MfG hsk1

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Post by mike1880 » Sat Sep 03, 2005 9:48 pm

Tiornu isn't stating an opinion, he's stating a fact. C/34 was the official designation of the gun.

Standardisation years bear no relation to the year a given gun actually went to sea, the most blatant example is probably the WW1 Blucher's 21-cm C/01.

Mike

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Post by tommy303 » Sat Sep 03, 2005 10:51 pm

German official designations for weapons were frequently haphazard and confusing, even to the Germans themselves. The actual nomenclature for a gun could be the year in which the official specification was issued to manufacturers for development of a new weapon (changes in specifications before the first trial weapon appeared might or might not result in a new nomenclature, but usually did not), the year in which the designer started design studies, the year in which a weapon or weapon system was adopted for service (if bought off the shelf by the government without an official specification), or even an arbitrarily selected number assigned to the weapon in question by the appropriate ordnance group to avoid duplication and confusion.

In the case of the 38cm L/52 C34, the specification was issued in 1934 as the 38cm Geraet 34. When the trial guns was produced and approved by the OKM, it received the official nomenclature C34 even though first test firings and adoption was not made until 1936. Specifications had also included possible calibres of 33cm, 35cm, and 40,6cm and these had the specification names Geraet34, ie 33cm Geraet34, 35cm Geraet34, and 40,6cm Geraet34. Krupp and Rheinmetal-Borsig both produced appropriate design drawings and submitted them with calculated performance tables to the Kriegsmarine, which then decided on which one or ones to produce. In the event, the decision was made to produce only the two larger guns, and after Krupp demonstrated its prototype at Meppin, the 38cm was officially adopted as the C34. The 40,6cm I believe was demonstrated and adopted in 1937 as the 40,6cm C34.

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Post by tommy303 » Sat Sep 03, 2005 11:09 pm

As something of an aside, at the end of the war there were a number of 38cm guns surviving in coastal installations, plus a great deal of related material at Krupps, including several test and proof guns. All one would need to find the official designation would be to look at the breech ring of any surviving 38cm gun and write down the nomenclature stamped into the metal of the breech ring. Everything you would want to know would have been there in the form of official nomenclature, year of production, serial number, proof marks and even the number of the orndnance inspector who passed the gun for service.

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Post by José M. Rico » Sun Sep 04, 2005 3:54 am


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Post by hsk1 » Sun Sep 04, 2005 12:13 pm

Hola!

@ tommy 303.
Thank you for your reply!
I really don´t knew,that in 1934 there were constructiondrawings for 4 different calibers.
The date of Erich Readers decision to take the 38cm guns for the Bismarck,confused me a bit.
Sorry.

MfG hsk1

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Post by Ulrich Rudofsky » Sun Sep 04, 2005 1:23 pm

As late as 1941 the 38 cm gun and gun mount were called "C/34", a shown on the cover of this "Marinedienstvorschrift" [Navy Administrative Instructions] Preliminary description of the 38 cm rapid-loading gun in the 38 cm "turntable" platform gun mount
http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b138/ ... 8_p001.jpg
Ulrich

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