28 cm/45 (11") SK L/45
Updated 24 November 2012
These guns were used to arm Germany's first "Dreadnought" type battleships and battlecruisers.  The battlecruiser Von der Tann used these weapons to sink HMS Indefatigable at the Battle of Jutland (Skagerrak).

During World War II these guns were used only as coastal artillery.  They were then supplied with a lighter shell with a larger propellant charge for increased range.

Constructed of A tube, two layers of hoops and a jacket.  Used the Krupp horizontal sliding wedge breech block.

All German 28 cm guns had an actual bore diameter of 28.3 cm (11.1").


Battlecruiser Von der Tann
Note 8.8 cm bow chaser guns
Bain News Service Photograph
Library of Congress Photograph ID LC-DIG-ggbain-25466


Battleship Westfalen
Click on this picture for a larger image
Bain News Service Photograph
Library of Congress Photograph ID LC-DIG-ggbain-16927

Gun Characteristics
Designation 28 cm/45 (11") SK L/45
Ship Class Used On Nassau and Von der Tann Classes
Date Of Design 1907
Date In Service 1909
Gun Weight
(see Note)
87,743 lbs. (39,800 kg)
Gun Length oa 501.4 in (12.735 m)
Bore Length 472.7 in (12.006 m)
Rifling Length 381.9 in (9.699 m)
Grooves (80) 0.11 in D x 0.272 in W (2.8 mm D x 6.92 mm W)
Lands 0.165 in (4.2 mm)
Twist Increasing RH 1 in 45 to 1 in 30 at muzzle
Chamber Volume 9,154 in3 (150 dm3)
Rate Of Fire 3 rounds per minute
Note:  The often-seen figure of 117,947 lbs. (53,500 kg) for this weapon actually includes the weight of the Weige (gun cradle).
Type Cartridge - Bag
Projectile Types and Weights World War I
   APC L/3,2 - 666 lbs. (302 kg)

World War II
   APC L/3,2 - 666 lbs. (302 kg)
   HE L/3,6 base fuze - 666 lbs. (302 kg)
   HE L/4,4 base and nose fuze - 626 lbs. (284 kg)

Bursting Charge APC L/3,2 - 19.74 lbs. (8.95 kg)
Others - N/A
Projectile Length APC L/3,2 - about 35.3 in (90 cm)
HE L/3,6 base fuze - about 39.7 in (101 cm)
HE L/4,4 base and nose fuze - about 48.5 in (123 cm)
Propellant Charge World War I
   Main Charge:  174 lbs. (79 kg) RPC/12
   Fore Charge:  57 lbs. (26 kg) RPC/12

World War II
   Main Charge:  154.3 lbs. (70 kg) RPC/32
   Fore Charge:  79.4 lbs. (36 kg) RPC/32

Total main cartridge weight:  262.3 lbs. (119 kg)
Silk bag for fore charge:  3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg)

After 1942 (see Note 2)
   Total:  251.3 lbs. (114 kg) RPC/38 (16/6)

Muzzle Velocity World War I
   2,805 fps (855 mps)

World War II
   2,871 fps (875 mps)

Working Pressure 20.9 tons/in2 (3,300 kg/cm2)
Approximate Barrel Life 210 - 260 rounds
Ammunition stowage per gun Nassau:  75 rounds
Von der Tann:  82.5 rounds

1) These guns, like most large caliber German guns of this era, used a "fore charge" which was propellant in a double bag silk case and a "main charge" which was propellant in a brass case.  The brass case helped to seal the breech of the gun.

2) I lack the breakdown between the fore and main charges for the RPC/38 propellants used after 1942.

3) Actual Projectile designations were as follows.

   APC L/3,2 - Psgr. L/3,2 (mhb)
   HE L/3,6 base fuze - L/3,6 Bdz
   HE L/4,4 base and nose fuze - L/4,4 Bdz u. Kz (mhb)

Range World War I
Elevation With 666 lbs. (302 kg) AP Shell
Range @ 20 degrees
(maximum elevation of turrets)
20,670 yards (18,900 m)
After 1915:  22,310 yards (20,400 m)
Range World War II
Elevation With 626 lbs. (284 kg) HE L4,4 Shell
Range @ 49.2 degrees
maximum elevation as coastal artillery
40,350 yards (36,900 m)

Armor Penetration with 666 lbs. (302 kg) AP Shell
Side Armor
Deck Armor
13,120 yards (12,000 m)
7.9 in (200 mm)
Note:  The above information is from "Die Geschichte der deutschen Schiffsartillerie."

Mount / Turret Data
Designation Two-gun Turrets
   Nassau (6):  Drh LC/1906
   Von der Tann (4):  Drh LC/1907

Single Coastal Artillery Turrets
   28 cm L45 Kst.Drh.L.C/37

Weight  Drh LC/1906:  394 tons (400 mt)
Drh LC/1907:  418 - 428 tons (425 - 435 mt)
Elevation Drh LC/1906:  -6 / +20 degrees
Drh LC/1907:  -8 / +20 degrees

Coastal artillery:  -5 / +50 degrees

Elevation Rate Drh LC/1906:  3.5 degrees per second
Drh LC/1907:  4.0 degrees per second

Coastal Artillery:  10 degrees per second with shell loaded

Train End Turrets:  About +150 / -150 degrees
Beam Turrets:  About +80 / -80 degrees

Coastal Artillery:  -220 / +220 degrees

Train Rate Drh LC/1906:  3.5 degrees per second
Drh LC/1907:  3.6 degrees per second

Coastal Artillery:  4 degrees per second

Gun recoil Nominal:  33.9 in (86 cm)
Mechanical Limit:  35.4 in (90 cm)
Loading Angle Ships:  2 degrees
Coastal Artillery:  0 degrees

1) Drh LC/1906:  These mountings used electrically powered training and elevation gear.  Lower hoists did not rotate with the gunhouse.

2) Drh LC/1907:  These mountings used electrically powered training gear but the elevation gear was hydraulic.  Lower hoists rotated with the gunhouse.

3) Shell rooms were below the magazines in the battleships.  On Von der Tann, the bow and wing turrets had the magazines above the shell rooms but the stern turret had the magazine below the shell room.

4) Following the Dogger Bank action, German mountings were modified to improve flash precautions.  Double flap doors were installed at the beginning and end of the cartridge hoist and ready ammunition was removed from the gun houses.

5) Gun axes were 89.4 in (227 cm) apart.

6) Armor thickness given in "Naval Weapons of World War One" by Norman Friedman:

Drh LC/1906 and Drh LC/1907 except for those on Von der Tann
    Face:  11.0 in (28 cm)
    Sides:  8.7 in (22 cm)
    Rear:  10.2 in (26 cm)
    Roof:  2.4 to 3.5 in (6 to 9 cm)

Drh LC/1907 on Von der Tann

    Face:  9.1 in (23 cm)
    Sides:  7.1 in (18 cm)
    Rear:  9.1 in (23 cm)
    Roof:  2.4 to 3.5 in (6 to 9 cm)

Data from
"Battleships of the World:  1905-1970" by Siegfried Breyer
"Jutland:  An Analysis of the Fighting" and "Naval Weapons of World War Two" both by John Campbell
"Battleship Design and Development 1905-1945" and "Naval Weapons of World War One" both by Norman Friedman
"German Warships 1815-1945" by Erich Gröner
"The Big Gun:  Battleship Main Armament 1860-1945" by Peter Hodges
"Die Geschichte der deutschen Schiffsartillerie" by Paul Schmalenbach
"German Battlecruisers 1914-18" by Gary Staff
"German Capital Ships of World War Two" by M.J. Whitley
M.DV.Nr. 234.6, "Vorläufige Beschreibung der 28 cm S.K.L/45, 28 cm S.K.L/50 und 30,5 cm S.K.L/50 in Kst.Drh.L.C.37" Berlin 1941, Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine
Special help from Peter Lienau
Page History

24 April 2008 - Benchmark
16 April 2009 - Replaced pictures of Von der Tann and Westfalen
20 May 2012 - Updated to latest template
24 November 2012 - Added details about guns, ammunition and mountings