35 cm/45 (13.78") SK L/45
Updated 08 January 2015
Planned for the never-completed Mackensen Class battlecruisers.  Jackets from unfinished guns were used in building the long-range Paris Gun.

In 1922 there existed thirteen 35 cm SK L/45 guns, 15 naval gun carriages and 13 recoil mechanisms.  Not all the series numbers of these guns were kept in the archives, but serial numbers 1 to 9 (the eight guns plus one spare intended for Mackensen) were destroyed at the Wilhelmshaven Arsenals as required by the terms of the Versailles Treaty.

The naval mountings for these guns were to use electric pumps to drive hydraulic elevation gear while the training was all electric.  These guns also would have had hydraulically worked shell hoists, rammers and breeches.

Source note:  Some sources claim that one of these guns was used at Flanders, but this seems to be a case of mistaken identity.  Krupp built a special long-range 35.5 cm SK L/52.5 gun called "König August" which was completed in 1913.  This gun was to be used at Calais if the Germans penetrated that far, but was instead used in semi-permanent fortress XII at Quéant in October 1916.  It was later at Sancourt and fired at Doulles in 1918.


Model of Mackensen at the Museum for Marine Science (Berlin)
This model was destroyed during World War II
Photograph copyrighted by Siegfried Breyer

Gun Characteristics
Designation 35 cm/45 (13.78") SK L/45
Ship Class Used On Mackensen Class
Date Of Design 1914
Date In Service 1917 (as Field Artillery)
Gun Weight
(see Note)
about 162,000 lbs. (73,500 kg)
Gun Length oa 620.1 in (15.750 m)
Bore Length 584.25 in (14.840 m)
Rifling Length 487.0 in (12.369 m)
(see Note 2)
(88) 0.138 in D x 0.327 in W at start narrowing to 0.268 in W at muzzle (3.5 mm D x 8.3 mm W to 6.8 mm W)
Lands 0.165 in at start widening to 0.244 in at muzzle (4.2 mm to 5.7 mm)
Twist Uniform RH 1 in 30
Chamber Volume 15,872 in3 (260 dm3)
Rate Of Fire 2.5 rounds per minute

1) The often-seen figure of 216,273 lbs. (98,100 kg) for this weapon actually includes the weight of the Weige (gun cradle).

2) Land guns may have had 72 grooves.

Type Cartridge - Bag
Projectile Types and Weights APC L/3,6 - 1,323 lbs. (600 kg)
HE L/4,2 base fuze - 1,323 lbs. (600 kg)
Bursting Charge APC - about 44 lbs. (20 kg)
HE - about 88 lbs. (40 kg)
Projectile Length APC - about 43 in (108 cm)
HE - about 56 in (144 cm)
Propellant Charge Main Charge:  N/A
Fore Charge:  N/A
Brass case for main charge:  N/A
Muzzle Velocity 2,674 fps (815 mps)
Working Pressure 20.0 tons/in2 (3,150 kg/cm2)
Approximate Barrel Life
(see Note 2)
250 rounds
Ammunition stowage per gun 90 rounds

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

2) Actual Naval Projectile designations were as follows:
   APC L/3,6 - Psgr. L/3,6 (mhb)
   HE L/4,2 base fuze - L/4,2 Bdz (mhb)

Elevation For 1,323 lbs. (600 kg) AP shell
Range @ 16 degrees about 21,870 yards (20,000 m)
Range @ 20 degrees about 25,480 yards (23,300 m)
Mount / Turret Data
Designation Two-gun Turrets
   Mackensen (4):  Drh LC/1914
Weight  N/A
(see Note)
-8 / +16.0 degrees
Elevation Rate N/A
Train About +150 / -150 degrees
Train Rate N/A
Gun recoil N/A

1) Design discussions after Jutland (Skagerrak) included altering the elevation to -5 / +20 degrees, similar to changes made to other German capital ships.

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

      Face:  12.6 in (32 cm)
      Sides:  7.9 in (20 cm)
      Rear:  8.3 in (21 cm)
      Roof - Flat:  4.3 in (11 cm)
      Roof - Front:  7.1 in (18 cm)
      Roof - Sides:  4.7 in (12 cm)

    Graf Spee
      Face:  12.5 in (30 cm)
      Sides:  7.9 in (20 cm)
      Rear:  8.1 in (20.5 cm)
      Roof - Flat:  3.9 in (10 cm)
      Roof - Front:  5.9 in (15 cm)
      Roof - Sides:  4.7 in (12 cm)

Data from
"Battleships of the World:  1905-1970" by Siegfried Breyer
"Naval Weapons of World War One" by Norman Friedman
"Große Kreuzer der Kaiserlichen Marine 1906 - 1918" by Axel Grießmer
"German Warships 1815-1945" by Erich Gröner
"Die Geschichte der deutschen Schiffsartillerie" by Paul Schmalenbach
"German Capital Ships of World War Two" by M.J. Whitley
Special help from Peter Lienau, Guy François and Sven Brummack
Page History

09 May 2006 - Benchmark
23 December 2009 - Added comments on turret powering, barrel life value and increased elevation note
26 August 2011 - Added information on HE projectile
19 May 2012 - Updated to latest template
20 November 2012 - Added gun details
01 November 2014 - Added projectile and armor information
08 January 2015 - Added information on "König August" gun