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 - 662.9 lbs. (300.7 kg) 2a 3a
    HE L/3,6 base fuze - 665.8 lbs. (302.0 kg)

World War II
    APC L/3,2 - 662.9 lbs. (300.7 kg) 2a 3a
    HE L/3,6 base fuze - 665.8 lbs. (302.0 kg)
    HE L/4,4 base and nose fuze 4a 5a - 626 lbs. (284 kg)

Bursting Charge APC L/3,2 - 19.74 lbs. (8.95 kg) 2a
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 6a 7a Before World War I
    Fore Charge: 52.9 lbs. (24.0 kg) RPC/06
    Rear Charge: 165.3 lbs. (75.0 kg) RPC/06

World War I
    Fore Charge - 57 lbs. (26 kg) RPC/12 (820 & 410 x 18/8)
    Rear Charge - 174 lbs. (79 kg) RPC/12 (1230 & 615 x 18/8)

World War II - before 1942
    Fore Charge - 69.7 lbs. (31.6 kg) RPC/32 (820 x 16/6,7) 8a
    Rear Charge - 165.1 lbs. (74.9 kg) RPC/32 (1195 x 59/50)

World War II - after 1942
    Total - 251.3 - 262.6 lbs. (114 - 119.1 kg) RPC/38 (16/6) 9a

Cartridge Case Size and Weight 10a 283 x 1271 mm
Empty - N/A
Loaded w/RPC/32 - 262.3 lbs. (119 kg)
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 28 cm Psgr. L/3,2
    HE L/3,6 base fuze 28 cm Spgr. L/3,6 Bdz
    HE L/4,4 base and nose fuze 28 cm Spgr. L/4,4 Bdz u. Kz (m.Hb)
  • ^ weight of the APC L/3,2 appears in most references as 665.8 lbs. (302.0 kg). However, although M.Dv. Nr. 190,1A2 lists the schußfertig - "ready for shooting" - weight as 665.8 lbs. (302.0 kg), a sketch in this document shows the weight as 662.9 lbs. (300.7 kg). It is possible that the burster composition or the AP Cap was changed at some point, reducing the overall weight. I have chosen to use the sketch weight in the above table.
  • ^3.13.2A Note on Sources: Many English language references show the designation for the Psgr. (APC) projectile with a "(m.Hb)" suffix (projectile with ballistic cap). However, this suffix is not used in any German documentation for this projectile that I have found.
  • ^There were at least three different versions of the HE L/4,4 base and nose fuze projectile. The one listed here was the heaviest with the others being one or two kilograms lighter.
  • ^German HE Base and Nose Fuzed projectiles with ballistic caps had a rod between the nose of the shell and the fuze to improve performance when striking obliquely. See details on 12.7 cm SK C/34 datapage.
  • ^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 "rear charge" which was propellant in a brass case. The brass case helped to seal the breech of the gun.
  • ^Propellant weights differ in many references and even in official documents such as the M.Dv. Nr. 170 and M.Dv. Nr. 190 series. This seems to be the result of most charges being listed as "zu etwa" which means "to about." This was probably because the different propellant formulations used - such as C/32 or C/38 - varied in weight. In addition, different loading weights were used depending upon the powder grain size utilized to make up the charge. The weights in the table above are for the powder grain specified.
  • ^Silk bag for the fore charge weighed 3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg).
  • ^I lack the breakdown between the fore and rear charges for the RPC/38 propellants used after 1942.
  • ^During World War I the same cartridge case was used for the 28 cm SK L/40, 28 cm SK L/45 and 28 cm SK L/50 guns. During World War II it appears that the same cartridge case was still used for these three guns and for the newer 28 cm SKC/28 and 28 cm SKC/34 guns.
  • For sketches of the projectiles and propellant fore and rear charges used with these guns, please see the 28 cm SK L/50 datapage.


World War I

662.9 lbs. (300.7 kg) APC L/3,2
Elevation Distance
20 degrees
(maximum elevation of turrets)
20,670 yards (18,900 m)
After 1915 - 22,310 yards (20,400 m) 1b
  • ^A Note on Sources: The ranges for 20 degrees elevation are from "German Warships 1815-1945" but there is no explanation given for the 1915 increase in range other than stating that it was "after modifications to the gun mountings." Probably the maximum elevation was increased, but no other source says that this was done. "Naval Weapons of World War One" gives a range of 19,670 yards (18,000 m) at an elevation of 13.5 degrees, but this seems to be an error and was more likely the average gun range at 20 degrees.

World War II

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

Armor Penetration

662.9 lbs. (300.7 kg) APC L/3,2
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."

662.9 lbs. (300.7 kg) APC L/3,2
Range Side Armor Deck Armor
10,930 yards (10,000 m) 11.02 in (280 mm) ---
13,120 yards (12,000 m) 7.9 in (200 mm) ---

The above information is from "German Battlecruisers of World War One" against nickel-steel plate.

Mount / Turret Data

Designation Two-gun Turrets
    Nassau (6), Westfalen(6), Posen (4) and Rheinland (4): Drh LC/1906 1c 2c
    Posen (2), Rheinland (2), Von der Tann (4): Drh LC/1907 3c

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
  • ^The Drh LC/1906 mountings used electrically powered training and elevation gear. The lower shell and propellant hoists were all fixed and there was no enclosing trunk. The working chamber and upper hoists revolved with the gunhouse and hoists. Hoists were cars which carried both projectiles and charges. Shells were in the middle of the car with the rear charge on top and the fore charge on the bottom. Electric chain rammers transferred all three to the loading locker from which they were passed to the manually operated loading trays and then hand rammed.
  • ^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. These mountings introduced lower hoists which rotated with the gunhouse.
  • Battleships had the shell rooms located below the magazines. 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.
  • Gunhouse crew for each gun was 12 men.
  • 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)


"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" and "German Battlecruisers of World War One: Their Design, Construction and Operations" both by Gary Staff
"German Capital Ships of World War Two" by M.J. Whitley
"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" M.DV.Nr. 234.6 Berlin 1941, Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine
"Munitionsvorschriften für die Kriegsmarine - Panzersprenggranaten (Psgr)" M.Dv. Nr. 190,1A2 by Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine
"Munitionsvorschriften für die Kriegsmarine - Sprenggranaten (Spgr)" M.Dv. Nr. 190,1A3 by Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine
"Munitionsvorschriften für die Kriegsmarine - Hülsenkartusche" M.Dv. Nr. 190,4A1 by Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine
"Munitionsvorschriften für die Kriegsmarine - Vorkartusche" M.Dv. Nr. 190,4A6 by Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine
U.S. Naval Technical Mission in Europe - Technical Report No. 393-45, September 1945, "Service Major Caliber Projectiles of the German Navy"
Special help from Peter Lienau and Thorsten Wahl

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
05 March 2019 - Reorganized notes and added data and sketches from M.Dv. Nr. 190,1A3, M.Dv. Nr. 190,4A1 and M.Dv. Nr. 190,4A6
07 March 2020 - Added ammunition information
26 April 2020 - Minor changes for clarity
14 January 2022 - Added details to "zu etwa" note
31 December 2022 - Added Note on Sources for the (m.Hb) designation
19 November 2023 - Added propellant charge weights for pre-World War I and Source Note about gun elevation