Ammunition, Guns and Mountings Definitions

By Tony DiGiulian
Updated:  20 November 2012

This document defines the German abbreviations, designations and terms that are found on these German Naval Gun pages.  Thanks to M.J. Whitley, who provided many of these abbreviations, and to Peter Lienau and Lutz Bernhard, who provided several translations.


Füllpulver - "Filling Powder."  Designation for shell bursters.  Usually followed by the construction year such as Füllpulver C/02.  German bursters in the 1902 to 1945 period were primarily TNT mixtures.

Geschoss - Projectile

Granate - Shell

Sprenggranate - Explosive shell

Leucht geschoss or Lg. - Star shell or illumination projectile.

Leuchtspur - Tracer.

Patrone - Cartridge.

Pfeilgeschoss - Arrow Shell.  A fin-stabilized HE projectile.

Psgr. - Panzersprenggranate.  Armor Piercing projectile (AP or APC). Bdz. - Sprenggranate mit Bodenzünder.  HE projectile with Base Fuze. Kz - Sprenggranate mit Kopfzünder.  HE projectile with Nose Fuze. Bdz u. Kz - Sprenggranate mit Bodenzünder und Kopfzünder.  HE projectile with both Base and Nose Fuzes.

L (as in "L4,2") - Lange.  "Length."  The length of the projectile in calibers (multiples of the diameter of the projectile).

(mh) or (mhb) or (m.Hb) - mit haube.  "With Cap."  This term is used to designate a projectile that has a windscreen (ballistic cap). - Adolph granate.  Special projectile for the 40 cm SKC/34 coastal artillery guns known as "Adolph." - Siegfried granate.  Special projectile for the 38 cm SKC/34 coastal artillery guns known as "Siegfried."

Sprengladung - Explosive Charge.  "Burster."

Hauptkartusche - "Main Charge."  Most German guns of 8 inches (20.3 cm) and larger caliber had the propellant divided into two parts, the "fore charge" in a silk bag (see below) and the "main charge" in a brass cartridge.  These were usually rammed together.  Brass cartridge cases were replaced by steel during the war.

Vorkartusche - "Fore Charge."  This was in a double silk bag, which gave some protection from "flash."  During World War I, it was common to use double brass bands to stiffen the bags, but this was abandoned prior to World War II as it was believed that metallic deposits in the bores had caused split liners.

RP - Rohr-Pulver.  "Tube powder," the descriptive designation given to German gun propellants.  These propellants were manufactured in the form of hollow tubes.  The propellants were classified by model year and by the external and internal diameters of the tubes in millimeters.  For example, propellant designated as RP C/38 (14/4.9) would be a tube powder first introduced in 1938 that had an external diameter of 14 mm (0.551 in) and an internal diameter of 4.9 mm (0.193 in).  There were several compositions used from 1912 to 1945.  Earlier ones used nitroglycerin while later ones used diethylene glycol dinitrate which was cooler-burning and less bore erosive.  All were resistant to exploding even when exposed to a hot fire.  For instance, the small battleship Gneisenau was bombed at Kiel in 1942 and had over 23 tons (24 mt) of propellant ignited in a forward magazine.  There was no explosion even though turret "Anton" was lifted at least 20 inches (50 cm) from its mounting by the gas pressure.  The British did extensive studies of RP C/12 following World War I and developed "Solventless Cordite" (SC) based upon the results.

Wolfram - Tungsten.

World War I Muzzle Velocities - German range tables for this period were developed for muzzle velocities using propellant temperatures of 15 degrees Centigrade (59 degrees Fahrenheit) and those velocities are used throughout my webpages.  As the propellant temperature on most ships was actually about 10 degrees Centigrade higher, about 10 mps (33 fps) should be added to the muzzle velocities given on my data pages for German 28 cm through 38 cm guns.


C - Construktionsjahr.  "Year of Construction."  Year that design or manufacturing started.  Usually shown with a number, such as C/38 meaning that design was started in 1938.  This was also spelled as "Konstruktionsjahr" and some Krupp guns purchased by Austria-Hungary in the 19th century used a "K" instead of a "C" in the designation.

FLAK - FliegerAbwehrKanone.  Literally means "Flier Defense Cannon."  Designation used for AA weapons (FLAK guns).  During World War I, this term was used by Allied airmen to describe the shell bursts from such weapons, which has become the current accepted meaning of the term.

FLAK M - FLAK Marine.  Naval FLAK gun.

Gerät - "Equipment."  Used to identify experimental weapons during World War II.  Usually used together with an identifying number.

K - Kanone.  "Cannon."  Used by Krupp to designate their breech loading bag guns of the 1890s.

KM - Kanone Marine.  "Naval Cannon."  Usually followed by the year in which it was designed.  For example, a gun with the designation KM42 would mean a naval gun designed in 1942.  This designation system was used for some guns designed between 1940 and 1945.

L (as in L/45) - Lange.  "Length."  Length of the gun barrel in multiples of the bore diameter.

na - Neue Art.  "New Design."

nT - Neue Technologie.  "New Technology"

SK - Prior to 1920, this was for deck guns and meant Schnelladekanone or Schnellfeurkanone.  "Fast Firing Cannon," equivalent to QF or RF.  After that date, the meaning was changed to "Schiffskanone" or "Ship Cannon."  Usually followed by the year in which it was designed.  For example, a gun with the designation SK C/34 would mean that the weapon was a naval cannon designed in 1934.  This designation system was used for most guns designed between 1920 and 1940.

TBK - Torpedoboots Kanone.  "Torpedo Boat Cannon."  Also shown as "Tbts K."

UBK - Untersee-Boots Kanone.  "U-boat Cannon."  Also shown as "Ubts K."


BSG - Bettungschiess-Gerüst.  "Platform firing framework."  These were mountings for large caliber guns used as coastal artillery and resembled a railway mounting without the rail bogies.  They were supported on a concrete platform by a central pivot and ball race with a roller or bogie at the rear running on a circular arc.

Lafette - Mount.

Laffetierung - Mounting.

Geschützlafette - Gunmount.

Ein - Einheitslafette.  "Universal Mounting."  Meant that the weapon could be used against either aircraft or surface targets - Dual Purpose.

Drehscheibenlafette - Rotating Turretmount.

Dopp MPL - Doppelt Mittel-Pivot-Lafette.  "Twin central pivot mounting."

Dop L - Doppellafette.  "Twin mounting."

DrhL - Drehscheiben-Lafette.  "Turntable mounting."  Generally used for turret mountings.

Drh Tr - Drehturm.  Another abbreviation for "Turret."

Kst.Drh.L - Küsten-Drehscheiben-Lafette.  "Coastal turntable (turret) mounting."  A type of mounting for coastal artillery weapons.

ML - Marine-Lafette.  "Naval Mounting."

MPL - Mittel-Pivot-Lafette.  "Central pivot mounting."

Schiessgerät - "Firing Equipment."  Description used for some coastal artillery mountings.

Turm - "Turret."  Türme is the plural form.

Doppelturm - Twin turret. Doppeltürme is the plural form.

Dreifachturm - Triple turret. Dreifachtürme is the plural form.

FLAK L - FLAK-Lafette.  Anti-aircraft mount.

Tbts L - Torpedoboots-Lafette.  Torpedo-boat mount.

Ubts L - U-boots-Lafette.  U-boat mount.

For other definitions and information, see Gun Data

Page History

05 September 2007 - Benchmark
26 January 2009 - Added definitions for na and nT
12 January 2010 - Added definition for Ein
04 April 2011 - Added to SK definition
21 August 2011 - Added definition for Sprengladung
22 May 2012 - Updated to latest template
20 November 2012 - Added definition for K

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