Description

These guns were used as secondary armament on many pre-dreadnoughts and large cruisers of the late 1890s and early 1900s. A number of guns were exported to Austria-Hungary where they were used on a few ships. Guns were also used to arm the auxiliary cruiser Wolf, one of the more successful commerce raiders of World War I.

During the Second World War, this gun equipped a few transports and supply ships and was used in some coastal artillery batteries. Many of the latter were supplied with a new, more streamlined shell.

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

All German 15 cm guns had an actual bore diameter of 14.91 cm (5.87 in).

Gun Characteristics

Designation 15 cm/40 (5.9") SK L/40
Ship Class Used On Kaiser Friedrich III, Wittelsbach, Victoria Louise, Fürst Bismarck, Prinz Heinrich, Prinz Adalbert, Roon and Scharnhorst (1907) classes
Date Of Design 1897
Date In Service 1898
Gun Weight 9,833 lbs. (4,460 kg)
Gun Length oa 235 in (5.960 m)
Bore Length 218 in (5.540 m)
Rifling Length N/A
Grooves N(44) 0.055 in D x 0.280 in W (1.40 mm D x 7.11 mm W) 1
Lands 0.1415 in (3.68 mm)
Twist Uniform RH 1 in 44 to 1in 23.8 at muzzle
Chamber Volume 1,013 in3 (16.6 dm3)
Rate Of Fire 4 - 5 rounds per minute
  1. ^Rifling information from a British source using captured documents, may not be entirely accurate conversions.

Ammunition

Type Separate
Projectile Types and Weights
  • 1901
    • AP C/01: 88.2 lbs. (40 kg)
    • Common: 88.2 lbs. (40 kg)
  • 1907
    • HE base fuze C/07: 88.2 lbs. (40 kg)
    • HE nose fuze C/07: 88.2 lbs. (40 kg)
  • World War I
    • AP L/2,9: 112 lbs. (51 kg)
    • HE L/2,9 nose fuze: 99 lbs. (44.9 kg)
    • HE L/3,1 nose fuze: 99 lbs. (44.9 kg)
    • HE L/3,0 base fuze: 99 lbs. (44.9 kg)
    • Common L/2,9 nose fuze: 99 lbs. (44.9 kg)
    • Shrapnel L/2,6: 99 lbs. (44.9 kg)
  • World War II
    • HE: 88.2 lbs. (40 kg)
Bursting Charge
  • 1901: N/A
  • 1907: N/A
  • World War I
    • AP L/2,9: 2.9 lbs. (1.3 kg)
    • HE L/2,9 nose fuze: 4.41 lbs. (2.0 kg)
    • HE L/3,1 nose fuze: 6.61 lbs. (3.0 kg)
    • HE L/3,0 base fuze: 3.57 lbs. (1.6 kg)
    • Common L/2,9 nose fuze: 0.264 lbs. (0.12 kg)
    • Shrapnel L/2,6: 0.992 lbs. (0.45 kg) black powder, number and weight of balls N/A
  • World War II: N/A
Projectile Length
  • 1901: N/A
  • 1907: N/A
  • World War I (approximate dimensions)
    • AP L/2,9: 17.1 in (43.5 cm)
    • HE L/2,9: 17.1 in (43.5 cm)
    • HE L/3,1: 18.3 in (46.5 cm)
    • HE L/3,0: 17.7 in (45.0 cm)
    • Common L/2,9: 17.1 in (43.5 cm)
    • Shrapnel L/2,6: 15.4 in (39 cm)
  • World War II: N/A
Propellant Charge
  • World War I
    • Standard: 20.16 lbs. (9.1 kg) RP C/00 or C/06
    • Alternate: 21.82 lbs. (9.9 kg) RP C/00 or C/06
  • World War II: N/A
Muzzle Velocity
  • 1901 through World War I
    • For 88.2 lbs. (40 kg) Projectiles using Standard Charge: 2,625 fps (800 mps)
    • For 112 lbs. (51 kg) AP using Standard Charge: 2,379 fps (725 mps)
    • For 99 lbs. (45 kg) SAPC using Alternate Charge: 2,641 fps (805 mps)
  • World War II
    • For 88.2 lbs. (40 kg) Projectiles: 2,625 fps (800 mps)
Working Pressure N/A
Approximate Barrel Life N/A
Ammunition stowage per gun Kaiser Friedrich III: 120 rounds
Wittelsbach: 140 rounds
Victoria Louise, Fürst Bismarck and Prinz Heinrich: 120 rounds
Prinz Adalbert: 150 rounds
Roon: 160 rounds
Scharnhorst: 170 rounds

Range

Range with 99.8 lbs. (45.3 kg) HE
Elevation Distance
20 degrees
(1898)
14,990 yards (13,700 m)
20 degrees
(World War II shell)
15,640 yards (14,300 m)

Mount / Turret Data

Designation
  • Single pedestal mounts in casements:
    • Kaiser Friedrich III (18), Wittelsbach (18), Victoria Louise (8), Fürst Bismarck (12), Prinz Heinrich (10), Prinz Adalbert (10), Roon (10) and Scharnhorst (6): MPL type
Weight about 37,480 lbs. (17,000 kg)
Elevation MPL: about -7 / +20 degrees 1
Elevation Rate Manual operation, only
Train about +150 / -150 degrees
Train Rate Manual operation, only
Gun recoil N/A
  1. ^The elevations shown above are "as designed." Following the Battle of Jutland (Skagerrak), many mountings were modified to increase their maximum elevations to +27 degrees.

External Pictures

15 cm (5.9") guns used on the raider Wolf from the Australian War Memorial
P05338.002, P05338.007, P05338.008, P05338.009, P05338.011, P05338.018, P05338.025 and P05338.179

Sources

Data from:

  • "Naval Weapons of World War Two" by John Campbell
  • "Naval Weapons of World War One" by Norman Friedman
  • "German Warships 1815-1945" by Erich Gröner Page History

Page History

20 October 2008
Benchmark
20 May 2012
Updated to latest template
25 November 2012
Added gun and projectile details
04 February 2016
Removed photograph, updated links to Austrailian War Memorial supply