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The German 11-inch naval gun of the Scharnhorst-class battleship

The German 11-inch naval gun of the Scharnhorst-class battleship

Battleships

The German 28 cm SK C/34 naval gun was a 283 mm 54.5-caliber naval gun designed in 1934 to be used on the Scharnhorst-class battleships.

It was an improved version of the previous 11-inch gun that was used on the Deutschland class heavy cruisers such as the Admiral Graf Spee. The Scharnhorst class received an improved version of the SK C/28 which had a longer barrel and better range. The 283 mm SK C/34 gun was a fast-loading gun compared with other armament of this size. It was proven that it could deliver a shot every 17 seconds which was very impressive.

The ballistic properties of the guns were made to make them effective and penetrate the armor against the new French Dunkerque class, which had an armored belt of 225–283 mm, barbettes of 310–340 mm.

An improved version of the gun was planned to be mounted on the Netherlands’ Design 1047 battlecruisers, but the ships were never begun due to the start of the Second World War.

When Gneisenau’s turrets were removed for re-arming and upgunning to 15-inch in 1942–43, her guns were redeployed for coast defence at Fjell festning in Sotra in Norway (Bruno turret), at Batterie Oerlandat in Austrått, Norway (Cesar turret), and guns from Anton turret were installed at Battery Rozenburg in the Netherlands. For further reading: Austratt Fort

Moreover, the guns have the distinction of having the joint-longest hit on a moving target in history with only HMS Warspite winning by a fraction when Scharnhorst and Gneisenau sank the British aircraft carrier HMS Glorious.

Harry Gillespie is a writer who resides in the UK with his family. His work focuses on Naval & British history with a specific look at 20th century warfare and ships. From World War 1 to The Falkland Islands Campaign.

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The German 11-inch naval gun of the Scharnhorst-class battleship