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").

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 87,743 lbs. (39,800 kg) 1
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
  • ^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 1a
  • 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 2a
  • 1942 and before
    • 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 3a
    • 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
  • ^
    Actual designations for Projectiles
    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)
  • ^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.
  • ^I lack the breakdown between the fore and main charges for the RPC/38 propellants used after 1942.


World War I

Range with 666 lbs. (302 kg) AP 1b
Elevation Distance
20 degrees
(maximum elevation of turrets)
20,670 yards (18,900 m)
After 1915: 22,310 yards (20,400 m)
  • ^These figures are from "German Warships 1815-1945" but there is no explanation given for the 1915 increase in range.

World War II

Range with 626 lbs. (284 kg) HE L4,4
Elevation Distance
49.2 degrees
(maximum elevation as coastal artillery)
40,350 yards (36,900 m)

Armor Penetration

Armor Penetration with 666 lbs. (302 kg) AP
Range Side Armor Deck Armor
13,120 yards (12,000 m) 7.9 in (200 mm) ---

The above information is from "Die Geschichte der deutschen Schiffsartillerie."

Mount / Turret Data

  • Two-gun Turrets 1c
    • Nassau (6), Westfalen(6), Posen (4) and Rheinland (4): Drh LC/1906 2c 3c
    • Posen (2), Rheinland (2), Von der Tann (4): Drh LC/1907 4c
  • 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
  • ^
    Armor thickness given in "Naval Weapons of World War One" by Norman Friedman
    Drh LC/1906 and Drh LC/1907
    (except on Von der Tann)
    Drh LC/1907
    (on Von der Tann)
    Face 11.0 in (28 cm) 9.1 in (23 cm)
    Sides 8.7 in (22 cm) 7.1 in (18 cm)
    Rear 10.2 in (26 cm) 9.1 in (23 cm)
    Roof 2.4 to 3.5 in (6 to 9 cm) 2.4 to 3.5 in (6 to 9 cm)
  • ^The Drh LC/1906 mountings used electrically powered training and elevation gear. Lower hoists did not rotate with the gunhouse.
  • ^Posen and Rheinland used LC/1906 for beam turrets and LC/1907 for end turrets.
  • ^The Drh LC/1907 mountings used electrically powered training gear but the elevation gear was hydraulic. Lower hoists rotated with the gunhouse.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Gun axes were 89.4 in (227 cm) apart.


"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
18 July 2018 - Converted to HTML 5 standard, reorganized notes, added note regarding 1915 range