24 cm/40 (9.4") SK L/40
Updated 15 May 2013

Used on pre-dreadnoughts and "First Rate Cruisers" of the 1890s.  After the ships were decommissioned, eight guns in four turrets from the Kaiser Friedrich III class were emplaced on the mole at Libau.  Four more guns were used in Battery Hamburg on Nordeney and four guns were in Battery SI on Sylt.  A turret from Prinz Heinrich was used on the Western Front.

During World War II Battery Hamburg at Nordeney was still in action and later was moved to Cherbourg.

This was the first German heavy gun to use brass cartridge cases.  This gun or a very similar one was built by Krupp for Austria-Hungary coast defense ships.

The first German twelve guns were constructed of A tube, two reinforcing layers and a jacket.  Later guns had three reinforcing hoops added near the breech, apparently to compensate for the higher gas pressures generated by smokeless propellants.

Actual bore diameter of all guns was 23.8 cm (9.37").

Unless otherwise noted, the data that follows is for the German 24 cm/40 SK L/40 guns.


German Armored Cruiser Wittlesbach
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Bain News Service Photograph
Library of Congress Photograph ID LC-DIG-ggbain-19644

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Gun Characteristics
Designation 24 cm/40 (9.4") SK L/40
Ship Class Used On Kaiser Friedrich III, Wittelsbach, Fürst Bismarck and Prinz Heinrich Classes
Date Of Design 1894
Date In Service 1898
Gun Weight Original 12 guns:  53,000 lbs. (24,040 kg)
Later guns:  56,526 lbs. (25,640 mt)
Gun Length oa 376 in (9.550 m)
Bore Length 349 in (8.866 m)
Rifling Length N/A
Grooves N/A
Lands N/A
Twist N/A
Chamber Volume 4,406 in3 (72.2 dm3)
Rate Of Fire
(see Mounting Notes)
C/92 Turrets:  about 1.5 rounds per minute
C/98 Turrets:  about 3 - 4 rounds per minute
Type Separate
Projectile Types and Weights
(see Note 3)
AP L/2.6 C/01 - 308.6 lbs. (140 kg)
Common L/2.8 C/01 - 308.6 lbs. (140 kg)

HE L/4,1 nose fuze - 332.9 lbs. (151 kg)
HE L/4,2 base and nose fuze - 327.4 lbs. (148.5 kg)

Bursting Charge AP L/2.6 C/01:  7.67 lbs. (3.48 kg)
Common L/2.8 C/01:  6.35 lbs. (2.88 kg)
Others:  N/A
Projectile Length 1895 AP - N/A
1914 AP L/2,6 - about 24.4 in (62 cm)
HE L/4,1 base fuze - about 38.6 in (98 cm)
HE L/4,2 base and nose fuze - about 39.8 in (101 cm)
Propellant Charge 1895 - 91.2 lbs. (41.35 kg)
World War II - 103 lbs. (47 kg) RPC/38 (12/6.6)
Muzzle Velocity 1895 - 2,263 fps (690 mps)
World War II - 2,657 fps (810 mps)
Working Pressure N/A
Approximate Barrel Life N/A
Ammunition stowage per gun Kaiser Friedrich III and Prinz Heinrich:  75 rounds
Wittelsbach:  85 rounds
Fürst Bismarck:  78 rounds
Others:  N/A

1) Actual Projectile designations were as follows:
   1895 AP - N/A
   1914 AP L/2,6 - Psgr. L/2,6
   HE L/4,1 base fuze - L/4,1 Bdz
   HE L/4,2 base and nose fuze - L/4,2 Bdz u. Kz (mhb)

2) Propellant was in a brass cartridge case weighing 48.8 lbs. (25.15 kg) empty.

3) "Austria-Hungary's Monarch Class Coast Defense Ships" says the Austrian-Hungarian Monarch class carried armor piercing and explosive shells weighing 474 lbs. (215 kg) each.  This weight is much heavier than the German projectiles for these weapons, but it is similar to the weight of shells for French 24 cm guns and Krupp-built 24 cm guns for the Netherlands Navy.  Muzzle velocity for the Monarch class is not available.

Elevation With 308.6 lbs. (140 kg) Shell
(1890 design)
Range @ 30 degrees
(max. elevation of turrets)
18,500 yards (16,900 m)
Range @ 45.8 degrees
(as coastal artillery)
20,870 yards (19,080 m)
Elevation With 327.4 lbs. (148.5 kg) HE 4,2 Shell
Range @ 45.8 degrees
(as coastal artillery)
29,090 yards (26,600 m)
Mount / Turret Data
Designation Two-gun Turrets
   Kaiser Friedrich III (2), Wittelsbach (2), Fürst Bismarck (2) and Prinz Heinrich (1):  Drh.L. C/98
Weight  N/A
Elevation -5 / +30 degrees
Elevation Rate N/A
Train about +150 / -150 degrees
Train Rate N/A
Gun recoil N/A
Loading Angle +4 degrees

1) Rammers were pneumatically powered.  Each gun had its own ammunition hoist.  Each turret required a crew of 20 men.

2) A cutaway sketch of the turrets on the Austria-Hungary ship Monarch shows that the ammunition hoists for this mounting rotated with the gunhouse.  From that, I would conclude that the German C/98 turret would have been similar.  These assumptions are reflected in the Rate of Fire figures given above.

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
"Austria-Hungary's Monarch Class Coast Defense Ships" article by Erwin F. Sieche in Warship International No. 3, 1999
"Die Geschichte der deutschen Schiffsartillerie" by Paul Schmalenbach
"Battleships" by Paul Stillwell
Special help from Peter Lienau and Aleš Maryška
Page History

22 November 2008 - Benchmark
06 April 2009 - Removed mention of Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm class, added mention of Skoda guns, added pictures of Erzherzog Ferdinand Max and Wittelsbach
20 November 2012 - Added details on projectiles and made Austria-Hungary 24 cm guns a separate datapage
15 May 2013 - Additional Pictures page