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 Post subject: K5(E) railgun
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:38 pm 
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Railway guns may be on a par with military airships; fascinating to read about but of limited utility in actual employment. This Squadron/Signal publication has all the merits and flaws of that format; intended mostly for modelers there are lots of pictures but limited information on how the equipment actually worked.
The K5(E) – officially 28cm Kanone 5 Eisenbahngeschütz – was the workhorse German WWII railway gun, with 24 produced. They were deployed along the English Channel and traded shots with batteries at Dover; shelled Leningrad, Sevastopol, and Stalingrad, and turned up in Italy at Anzio. “Anzio Annie” was actually a pair of guns; the Germans did cursory demolition when they retreated but American engineers were able to repair one gun with parts from another, and it’s currently on display at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. The French discovered a derelict K5(E) in a railyard in the 1970s, and that one is on show at the Atlantic Wall Museum in Pas-de-Calais.
Despite the “Detail in Action” subtitle, there are only two pictures of a K5(E) actually firing: from a railyard in Belgium in the general direction of the White Cliffs of Dover, and from an uncredited location. More than half the book is color photographs of details on the Aberdeen Proving Grounds gun, handy for modelers who want to make sure they have the right number of teeth in the elevation gears and the proper nameplates for the brake system. What information there is on employment is scattered among the picture captions. The K5(E) only had one degree of built-in traverse. If possible, the gun was fired from a turntable, which was stored disassembled on the accompanying support train. If a turntable was unavailable, the crew could lay a curved siding and fire the gun from that. The text mentions a “cross track” could be used for aiming, but provides no explanation of how that would work; googling shows the front bogie could be turned perpendicular and moved along the cross track to aim the gun.
The cross track setup raises another question; how was recoil handled? The text notes the gun had 32 inches of integral recoil travel, and some sort of small track car could be coupled to the front and provide additional recoil recovery. However, there’s no explanation on how the recoil recovery car worked, and there are no pictures of one in place. I’m of the impression that a lot of railguns handled recoil by just letting the piece slide backward along the tracks after firing and pushing it back into position with a small switch engine; however, pictures of the gun on its turntable mounting show very little room for track recoil and obviously track recoil would be impossible if the cross track setup was used. I note the K5(E) was capable of 50° elevation and some of the pictures show it elevated that high; perhaps that was one of the recoil solutions.


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 Post subject: Re: K5(E) railgun
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:01 am 
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Attachment:
sm unexpected memes gustav the railway gun thomas tank engine.jpg
sm unexpected memes gustav the railway gun thomas tank engine.jpg [ 32.92 | Viewed 4 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: K5(E) railgun
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:16 pm 
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The "Gustav" gun was even bigger than this; it actually sat on a pair of tracks, meaning it took weeks to emplace before firing. An example of shortcomings of the German WWII effort; impressive engineering accomplishments that probably had overall negative military value.

Image

I note there was a proposal to build a battleship equipped with eight of these, plus a self-propelled version:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landkreuz ... 00_Monster


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 Post subject: Re: K5(E) railgun
PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:12 am 
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So, Gustav's even grumpier older brother?

ETA: Saw a TV show about a huge flamethrower employed by the British during WWI. The thing was massive. The show, and the Royal... Engineers, I think it was, recreated the gun for a single firing and it was really impressive.

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 Post subject: Re: K5(E) railgun
PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:14 pm 
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The was a proposal for a self-propelled version of the K5(E); two Tiger chassis were to replace the rail bogies. I'm not sure how they thought it would cross bridges.

OTOH the US managed to build a road-mobile (sort of) 280mm gun; I was interested to see (according to Wikipedia, at least) it was based on the K5(E) design.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M65_atomic_cannon


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