This weapon was used as secondaries on German pre-deadnoughts. During World War I, a number of guns were removed from ships relegated to training duties and were then used as field artillery, rail guns and in coastal batteries.

In World War II these guns were still in use as coastal artillery. They were then supplied with a lighter shell with better ballistic shape and a larger propellant charge to give the weapon an increased range.

In the summer of 1941, Spain acquired eight of these guns which were used in two coastal batteries located on the Islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria. These batteries were deactivated in 1959.

Constructed of A tube, two reinforcing layers and a jacket. Used a horizontally sliding breech mechanism.

Actual bore diameter was 17.26 cm (6.795 in).

Gun Characteristics

Designation 17 cm/40 (6.75") SK L/40
Ship Class Used On Braunschweig and Deutschland (1904) Classes
Date Of Design about 1904
Date In Service 1906
Gun Weight 23,700 lbs. (10,750 kg) inc. breech
Gun Length 272.8 in (6.930 m)
Bore length 242.4 in (6.411 m)
Rifling Length N/A
Grooves N/A
Lands N/A
Twist N/A
Chamber Volume N/A
Rate Of Fire 6 - 6.7 rounds per minute


Type Separate
Projectile Types and Weights 1 World War I
    AP L/3: 141 lbs. (64 kg)
    Common L/3,3: 141 lbs. (64 kg)
    Shrapnel L/2,7: 141 lbs. (64 kg)

World War II
    AP L/3: 138.5 lbs. (62.8 kg)
    HE L/4,7 nose fuze 2: 138.5 lbs. (62.8 kg)
    Starshell L/3,4: 129.0 lbs. (58.5 kg)

Bursting Charge World War I
    AP L/3: 7.71 lbs. (3.5 kg)
    Common L/3,3: 3.74 lbs. (1.7 kg)
    Shrapnel L/2,7: 1.54 lbs. (0.7 kg) black powder, number and weight of balls N/A

World War II
    AP L/3: 7.71 lbs. (3.5 kg)
    HE L/4,7 nose fuze: 14.1 lbs. (6.4 kg)

Projectile Length AP L/3: 20.5 in (52.0 cm)
Common L/3,3: 22.2 in (56.35 cm)
Shrapnel L/2,7: about 18.1 in (45.9 cm)
HE L/4,7 nose fuze: 31.7 in (80.6 cm)
Starshell L/3,4: 25.0 in (63.6 cm)
Propellant Charge 3 World War I
    51.8 lbs. (23.5 kg) RP C/00 or C/06
    50.7 lbs. (23.0 kg) PR C/12

World War II
    52.0 lbs. (23.6 kg) RPC/32 (1040 x 10/4,8)

Muzzle Velocity World War I: 2,789 fps (850 mps)
World War II: 2,871 fps (875 mps)
Working Pressure N/A
Approximate Barrel Life N/A
Ammunition stowage per gun 130 rounds
  • ^
    Actual German designations
    AP L/3 17 cm Pzgr. L/3
    Common L/3,3 17 cm Spgr. L/3,3 (Kz)
    HE L/4,7 nose fuze 17 cm Spgr. L/4,7 Kz (m.Hb)
    Illumination L/3,4 17 cm Lg L/3,4
  • ^German HE 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.
  • ^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.


Range with AP Shell during World War I
Elevation Distance
22 degrees 15,860 yards (14,500 m)
30 degrees 18,500 yards (17,000 m)
Range with 138.5 lbs. (62.8 kg) HE L/4,7 nose fuze as Coastal Artillery during World War II
Elevation Distance
22 degrees 22,000 yards (20,100 m)

Mount / Turret Data

Designation Single turrets
    Braunschweig (2): DrL C/01

    Braunschweig (12): MPL C/02
    Deutschland (14): MPL C/02-04

Weight DrL C/01: 71.8 - 73.8 tons(73 - 75 mt)
MPL C/02 and C/02-04: 23.8 to 24.5 tons (24.2 to 24.9 mt)
Elevation Turrets: -5 / +30 degrees
Casemates: -5 / +22 degrees
Elevation Rate Drl C/01: 2.2 degrees per second 1a
Train about +80 / -80 degrees
Train Rate N/A 1a
Gun recoil N/A
  • ^1.11.2Turrets were electrically trained and elevated.

Additional Pictures


"Naval Weapons of World War Two" by John Campbell
"Naval Weapons of World War One" by Norman Friedman
"Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1906-1922" by Randal Gray and Robert Gardiner (Editor)
"German Warships 1815-1945" by Erich Gröner
"German Artillery of World War Two" by Ian Hogg
"German Warships of World War I" by John C. Taylor
"Beiheft zu ben Schußtafeln für die 17 cm S.K. L/40 der Schiffs und Küftenartillerie" M.Dv. Nr. 230,137 by Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine
"Munitionsvorschriften für die Kriegsmarine - Panzersprenggranaten (Psgr)" M.Dv. Nr. 190,1A2 by Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine
"Munitionsvorschriften für die Kriegsmarine - Hülsenkartusche" M.Dv. Nr. 190,4A1 by Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine
Special help from Peter Lienau, Dave Alton, Javier Villarroya del Real and Thorsten Wahl

Page History

21 May 2006 - Benchmark
28 March 2010 - Added picture of Schlesien
06 February 2011 - Updated template, added some gun and projectile details
22 November 2012 - Added gun, projectile and mounting information
06 December 2014 - Redid photograph of Deutschland
05 February 2016 - Added photograph of gun being used as field artillery
24 February 2019 - Converted to HTML 5 format, reorganized notes and added data and sketches from M.Dv. Nr. 190,1A2 and M.Dv. Nr. 190,4A1
16 July 2019 - Minor changes for clarity
19 August 2020 - Added details on projectiles and armor penetration chart
04 February 2021 - Added information and photograph for guns acquired by Spain
14 January 2022 - Added details to "zu etwa" note