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.

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 1 C/92 Turrets: about 1.5 rounds per minute
C/98 Turrets: about 3 - 4 rounds per minute
  • ^See Mounting Notes


Type Separate
Projectile Types and Weights 1a 2a 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 3a 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
  • ^
    Actual designations for Projectiles
    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)
  • ^"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.
  • ^Propellant was in a brass cartridge case weighing 48.8 lbs. (25.15 kg) empty.


Range with 308.6 lbs. (140 kg) Shell (1890 design)
Elevation Distance
30 degrees
(max. elevation of turrets)
18,500 yards (16,900 m)
45.8 degrees
(as coastal artillery)
20,870 yards (19,080 m)
Range with 327.4 lbs. (148.5 kg) HE 4,2
Elevation Distance
45.8 degrees
(as coastal artillery)
29,090 yards (26,600 m)

Mount / Turret Data

  • 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

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

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.

Additional Pictures


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
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 a separate page for Austria-Hungary 24 cm guns
15 May 2013
Added two mounting photographs