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Railway gun

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French 370 mm railway howitzer of World War I
French 370 mm railway howitzer of World War I

A railway gun, also called a railroad gun, is a large artillery piece, often surplus naval artillery, mounted on, transported by, and fired from a specially designed railway wagon. Many countries have built railway guns, but the best-known are the large Krupp-built pieces used by Germany in World War I and World War II. Smaller guns were often part of an armoured train. Only able to be moved where there were good tracks, which could be destroyed by artillery bombardment or airstrike, railway guns were phased out after World War II.

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Artillery

Artillery

Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons that launch munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications during sieges, and led to heavy, fairly immobile siege engines. As technology improved, lighter, more mobile field artillery cannons developed for battlefield use. This development continues today; modern self-propelled artillery vehicles are highly mobile weapons of great versatility generally providing the largest share of an army's total firepower.

Naval artillery

Naval artillery

Naval artillery is artillery mounted on a warship, originally used only for naval warfare and then subsequently used for more specialized roles in surface warfare such as naval gunfire support (NGFS) and anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) engagements. The term generally refers to tube-launched projectile-firing weapons and excludes self-propelled projectiles such as torpedoes, rockets, and missiles and those simply dropped overboard such as depth charges and naval mines.

Railroad car

Railroad car

A railroad car, railcar, railway wagon, railway carriage, railway truck, railwagon, railcarriage or railtruck, also called a train car, train wagon, train carriage or train truck, is a vehicle used for the carrying of cargo or passengers on a rail transport system. Such cars, when coupled together and hauled by one or more locomotives, form a train. Alternatively, some passenger cars are self-propelled in which case they may be either single railcars or make up multiple units.

Krupp

Krupp

The Krupp family was a prominent 400-year-old German dynasty from Essen, noted for its production of steel, artillery, ammunition and other armaments. The family business, known as Friedrich Krupp AG, was the largest company in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, and was the premier weapons manufacturer for Germany in both world wars. Starting from the Thirty Years' War until the end of the Second World War, it produced battleships, U-boats, tanks, howitzers, guns, utilities, and hundreds of other commodities.

German Reich

German Reich

German Reich was the constitutional name for the German nation-state that existed from 18 January 1871 to 5 June 1945. The Reich became understood as deriving its authority and sovereignty entirely from a continuing unitary German Volk, with that authority and sovereignty being exercised at any one time over a unitary German "state territory" with variable boundaries and extent. Although commonly translated as "German Empire", the word Reich here better translates as "realm" or territorial "reach", in that the term does not in itself have monarchical connotations.

World War I

World War I

World War I, often abbreviated as WWI, was one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. It was fought between two coalitions, the first being the Allies, whose key members included France, Britain, Russia, Italy, Japan and their respective colonial empires, with the United States joining as an associated power in 1917. They faced the Central Powers, primarily Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire, with fighting occurring throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Pacific, and parts of Asia. An estimated 9 million soldiers were killed in combat, plus another 23 million wounded, while 5 million civilians died as a result of military action, hunger, and disease. Millions more died as a result of genocide, while the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic was exacerbated by the movement of combatants during the war.

World War II

World War II

World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global conflict that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries, including all of the great powers, fought as part of two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. Many participants threw their economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind this total war, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. Aircraft played a major role, enabling the strategic bombing of population centres and the only two nuclear weapons ever used in war.

Armoured train

Armoured train

An armoured train is a railway train protected with armour. Armoured trains usually include railway wagons armed with artillery, machine guns and autocannons. Some also had slits used to fire small arms from the inside of the train, a facility especially prevalent in earlier armoured trains. For the most part they were used during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when they offered an innovative way to quickly move large amounts of firepower. Most countries discontinued their use – road vehicles became much more powerful and offered more flexibility, and train tracks proved too vulnerable to sabotage and attacks from the air. However, the Russian Federation used improvised armoured trains in the Second Chechen War of 1999–2009 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Design considerations

The design of a railway gun has three firing issues over and above those of an ordinary artillery piece to consider. Namely how the gun is going to be traversed – i.e. moved from side to side to aim; how the horizontal component of the recoil force will be absorbed by the gun's carriage and how the vertical recoil force will be absorbed by the ground.

Methods of traverse

Non-traversing (top); car traversing mount (middle); top carriage traversing mount (bottom)
Non-traversing (top); car traversing mount (middle); top carriage traversing mount (bottom)
British 12-inch howitzers on top-carriage traversing mounts, traversed 90°, Catterick, December 1940
British 12-inch howitzers on top-carriage traversing mounts, traversed 90°, Catterick, December 1940

The first method of traverse is to rely entirely on movement along a curved section of track or on a turntable with no provision to traverse the gun on its mount. The second is to traverse the rail car body on its trucks, known as a car-traversing mount. Generally this is limited to a few degrees of traverse to either side unless an elaborate foundation is built with a centre pivot and traversing rollers. The design of the foundation is the only limit to the amount of traverse allowed in this latter case. The third choice is to allow the separate gun mount to rotate with respect to the rail car body, known as a top-carriage traversing mount. This usually requires the gun to be mounted on a central pivot which, in turn, is mounted on the car body. With few exceptions these types of mounts require some number of outriggers, stabilisers, or earth anchors to keep them in place against the recoil forces and are generally more suitable for smaller guns. The American post–World War I assessment of railway artillery considered that the utility of even a small amount of traverse for fine adjustments was high enough that either of the two latter traversing methods is preferable to a fixed mount.[1]

Recoil systems

Cradle recoil (top); top carriage recoil (second); sliding recoil (third); rolling recoil (bottom)
Cradle recoil (top); top carriage recoil (second); sliding recoil (third); rolling recoil (bottom)

There are four primary methods to absorb the recoil force for railway guns: cradle recoil, top-carriage recoil, sliding recoil and rolling recoil.

Cradle recoil means that the gun recoils backward in its cradle, retarded and stopped by hydraulic buffers. It is returned to battery, or the firing position, by either helical springs or by air in a pneumatic recuperator cylinder that is compressed by the force of recoil. This is the most common method used for lighter railway guns and for virtually all field artillery designed after the French introduced their Canon de 75 modèle 1897.

Top-carriage recoil is the situation in which the gun is mounted in an upper carriage that moves on wheels on fixed rails mounted on the lower. The gun and upper carriage recoil together, restrained by the usual hydraulic buffers. Return to battery is effected either by gravity, through the use of inclined rails, which the gun and carriage have run up, by springs, or even by rubber bands, on some improvised mounts.[2] It is not well-suited to firing at steep upward angles because it cannot absorb much of the vertical component of the recoil force.[3]

This French 320 mm railway gun uses sliding recoil. The jacked-down sleepers are visible at full-size.
This French 320 mm railway gun uses sliding recoil. The jacked-down sleepers are visible at full-size.

Sliding recoil has the car body sitting on a set of wooden crossbeams or "sleepers" placed underneath it which have been jacked down on to a special set of girders incorporated into the track so that about half the weight of the mount has been transferred to them from the trucks. The gun, car body and trucks all recoil together with the friction generated by the crossbeams sliding on the girders absorbing the recoil force after moving only about 1 to 2 metres (3.3 to 6.6 ft) to the rear. The sleepers must be jacked up again to allow the gun to roll forward to its firing position. This was often done by handwheels driving gear trains attached to the wheels, or even by electric motors on more modern mounts. Almost all of these type of mounts were of the non-traversing type and had to be fired from a curved section of track or turntable. The American post–World War I assessment of railway artillery praised its ruggedness, ease of manufacture and convenience in service, but acknowledged its unsuitability for smaller guns, due to excessive time of operation and lack of traverse, and that it was not suitable for the largest howitzers firing at high angles because of the enormous trunnion forces.[3]

With rolling recoil the entire gun, mount, and carriage rolls backward, typically between 30 to 50 feet (9.1 to 15.2 m), restrained only by the brakes. The mount was winched back into firing position by cables fastened to the track. This system was usually combined with cradle recoil because the springs of the trucks cannot withstand the vertical component of the recoil force alone. This type of mount was usually fitted with car-traverse. It was unsuitable for smaller guns due to the lack of traverse.[3] The great advantage of this method is that it requires minimal preparation and can fire from any suitable section of curved track.[4]

This French 274 mm howitzer used a combination of top-cradle and sliding recoil.
This French 274 mm howitzer used a combination of top-cradle and sliding recoil.

The methods were often used in combination with each other. Examples include the French 520 mm (20 in) railway howitzer which used cradle-sliding recoil. The Americans' 14"/50 caliber railway gun Mark II used cradle-rolling recoil as did the 14 and 12 inch railway guns from Great Britain. Only the oldest weapons used a combination of top-cradle and sliding recoil. One example being the earliest mounts for the British designed BL 9.2 inch Railway Gun.

Anchorage

No anchorage needed (top); truck platform anchorage (middle); ground platform anchorage (bottom)
No anchorage needed (top); truck platform anchorage (middle); ground platform anchorage (bottom)
French St Chamond 240 mm Canon de Mle 1893/96, WWI, using ground platform anchorage
French St Chamond 240 mm Canon de Mle 1893/96, WWI, using ground platform anchorage

The combination of rolling and cradle-recoil methods absorbed both the horizontal and vertical components of the recoil force and needed no special preparations, but all other types required some method to transmit the vertical force to the ground. One way is to build a platform on either the ties or the ground with girders, beams, pads or floats. The horizontal component would be alleviated by either sliding recoil or rail clamps, guys or struts to secure the mount in place. The French Schneider 194 mm (7.6 in) and 240 mm (9.4 in) mounts and the British 9.2 inch guns and 12 inch howitzers used rail clamps or guys. The American 8 in (200 mm) gun and the French 240 mm Canon de Mle 1893/96 M used struts.[4]

The other method is build a firing position and recoil pit (épi de tir in French) underneath the tracks, using either heavy timbers like the French 340 mm (13 in) and 400 mm (16 in) howitzers or an elaborate concrete or steel base. These latter were mostly used by the Germans for the 21 cm (8.3 in) and larger railway guns and by the French for their Batignollesmounts. Generally, for these emplacements the rails merely served to guide the gun into position and the gun was often mounted on a central pivot to allow up to 360° of traverse. The primary drawback of these positions was the lengthy time to build them.

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Catterick Garrison

Catterick Garrison

Catterick Garrison is a major garrison and military town 3 miles (5 km) south of Richmond, North Yorkshire, England. It is the largest British Army garrison in the world, with a population of around 13,000 in 2017 and covering over 2,400 acres. Under plans announced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in November 2005, its population is expected to grow to over 25,000, making it the largest population centre in the local area.

Earth anchor

Earth anchor

An earth anchor is a device designed to support structures, most commonly used in geotechnical and construction applications. Also known as a ground anchor, percussion driven earth anchor or mechanical anchor, it may be impact driven into the ground or run in spirally, depending on its design and intended force-resistance characteristics.

World War I

World War I

World War I, often abbreviated as WWI, was one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. It was fought between two coalitions, the first being the Allies, whose key members included France, Britain, Russia, Italy, Japan and their respective colonial empires, with the United States joining as an associated power in 1917. They faced the Central Powers, primarily Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire, with fighting occurring throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Pacific, and parts of Asia. An estimated 9 million soldiers were killed in combat, plus another 23 million wounded, while 5 million civilians died as a result of military action, hunger, and disease. Millions more died as a result of genocide, while the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic was exacerbated by the movement of combatants during the war.

Canon de 75 modèle 1897

Canon de 75 modèle 1897

The French 75 mm field gun was a quick-firing field artillery piece adopted in March 1898. Its official French designation was: Matériel de 75mm Mle 1897. It was commonly known as the French 75, simply the 75 and Soixante-Quinze. The French 75 was designed as an anti-personnel weapon system for delivering large volumes of time-fused shrapnel shells on enemy troops advancing in the open. After 1915 and the onset of trench warfare, other types of battlefield use demanding impact-detonated high-explosive shells prevailed. By 1918 the 75s became the main agents of delivery for toxic gas shells. The 75s also became widely used as truck mounted anti-aircraft artillery. They were the main armament of the Saint-Chamond tank in 1918. When World War II broke out the French were still using the “75” against lightly armored tanks like the Panzer III and IV. The French 75 is widely regarded as the first modern artillery piece. It was the first field gun to include a hydro-pneumatic recoil mechanism, which kept the gun's trail and wheels perfectly still during the firing sequence. Since it did not need to be re-aimed after each shot, the crew could reload and fire as soon as the barrel returned to its resting position. In typical use the French 75 could deliver fifteen rounds per minute on its target, either shrapnel or melinite high-explosive, up to about 8,500 m (5.3 mi) away. Its firing rate could even reach close to 30 rounds per minute, albeit only for a very short time and with a highly experienced crew.

Bogie

Bogie

A bogie is a chassis or framework that carries a wheelset, attached to a vehicle—a modular subassembly of wheels and axles. Bogies take various forms in various modes of transport. A bogie may remain normally attached or be quickly detachable ; it may contain a suspension within it, or be solid and in turn be suspended ; it may be mounted on a swivel, as traditionally on a railway carriage or locomotive, additionally jointed and sprung, or held in place by other means.

Schneider-Creusot

Schneider-Creusot

Schneider et Cie, also known as Schneider-Creusot for its birthplace in the French town of Le Creusot, was a historic French iron and steel-mill company which became a major arms manufacturer. In the 1960s, it was taken over by the Belgian Empain group and merged with it in 1969 to form Empain-Schneider, which in 1980 was renamed Schneider SA and in 1999, after much restructuring, Schneider Electric.

Société de Construction des Batignolles

Société de Construction des Batignolles

The Société de Construction des Batignolles was a civil engineering company of France created in 1871 as a public limited company from the 1846 limited partnership of Ernest Gouin et Cie.. Initially founded to construct locomotives, the company produced the first iron bridge in France, and moved away from mechanical to civil engineering projects in France, North Africa, Europe, and in East Asia and South America.

History

19th century

The idea of railway guns was first suggested in Russia in 1847 by Gustav Kori (proposal),[5] followed by Ye. Repin (project, 1855), Pyotr Lebedev (who outlined the theoretical foundations of the railway artillery in Primeneniye Zheleznykh Dorog k Zashite Materika, 1857) and P. Fomin (developed a project of a large-caliber cannon, 1860).[6][7]

American Civil War

A 32-pounder Brooke naval rifle railway gun used in the American Civil War
A 32-pounder Brooke naval rifle railway gun used in the American Civil War
The "Dictator", Petersburg (Mathew Brady)
The "Dictator", Petersburg (Mathew Brady)

The first railway gun used in combat was a banded 32-pounder Brooke naval rifle mounted on a flat car and shielded by a sloping casemate of railroad iron. On 29 June 1862, Robert E. Lee had the gun pushed by a locomotive over the Richmond and York River line (later part of the Southern Railway) and used at the Battle of Savage's Station to interfere with General George McClellan's plans for siege operations against Richmond during the Union advance up the peninsula.[8]

Photographic evidence exists of at least one Union 13-inch siege mortar mounted on a rail car during the Siege of Petersburg. It was nicknamed the Dictator or the Petersburg Express.[9] When it was first fired, the recoil destroyed the flatcar on which it was mounted.[10] A flatcar strengthened by additional beams covered by iron plate was able to resist recoil damage from a full charge. The Dictator was then fired from a section of the Petersburg and City Point Railroad where moving the strengthened flatcar along a curve in the track trained the gun on different targets along the Confederate lines. The Dictator silenced the Confederate guns on Chesterfield Heights to prevent them from enfilading the right end of the Union line.[11] Another photo exists of a gun mounted on an armoured rail car with the caption of "Railway battery used in siege of Petersburg" although no textual evidence survives in support of the caption, which makes the claim that it is a photo of the Confederate gun from 1862 dubious.

France

France also used improvised railway guns during the Siege of Paris (1870–1871).[12] In France, Lt. Col Peigné is often credited with designing the first railway gun in 1883. Commandant Mougin is credited with putting guns on rail cars in 1870. The French arms maker Schneider offered a number of models in the late 1880s and produced a 120 mm (4.7 in) gun intended for coastal defense, selling some to the Danish government in the 1890s. They also designed a 200 mm (7.9 in) model the Obusier de 200 "Pérou" sur affût-truck TAZ Schneider for Peru in 1910, but they were never delivered.[13]

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom mounted a few 4.7 in (120 mm) guns on railway cars which saw action during the Siege and Relief of Ladysmith during the Second Boer War.[14] A 9.2 inch gun was taken from the Cape Town coast defences and mounted on a rail car to support the British assault on Boer defenses at Belfast, north-east of Johannesburg, but the battle ended before it could get into action.[15]

World War I

The outbreak of the First World War caught the French with a shortage of heavy field artillery. In compensation, large numbers of large static coastal defense guns and naval guns were moved to the front, but these were typically unsuitable for field use and required some kind of mounting. The railway gun provided the obvious solution. By 1916, both sides were deploying numerous types of railway guns.[16]

France

During the First World War France produced more railway guns in more calibers and with different mountings than everyone else combined.[17] The largest French gun produce by Schneider of France the Obusier de 520 modèle 1916, a 20-inch (520 mm) railway "Fort Buster" to do what the German 16.53-inch Big Bertha had done at the outbreak of World War I and reduce the German forts in the final line of German defenses. One was destroyed in trials and the other did not complete firing trials prior to the signing of the Armistice. The gun remained in storage and was captured by the Germans during World War II. It later formed part of the German artillery complement during the Siege of Leningrad. The gun was disabled by a premature detonation and later abandoned.[18]

United States
WWI era U.S. Navy 14" railway gun at Sandy Hook, New Jersey
WWI era U.S. Navy 14" railway gun at Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Baldwin Locomotive Works delivered five 14"/50 caliber railway guns on trains for the United States Navy during April and May 1918. Each 14"/50 gun [19] mounted on a 72-foot (22 m), 535,000-pound (243 t) rail carriage with four 6-wheel bogies was under the command of a United States Navy lieutenant with a standard U.S. Army 2-8-0 locomotive, a 10-ton crane car, two armored ammunition cars carrying 25 shells each, two cars carrying the recoil pit foundation materials, two fuel and workshop cars, three berthing cars, a kitchen car, a commissary car, and a medical dispensary car. A sixth locomotive pulled a headquarters car for Rear Admiral Charles Peshall Plunkett, with a machine-shop car, a spare parts car, a berthing car, a kitchen car, a commissary car, and a medical dispensary car.[20] After delivery by ship, these trains were assembled in St. Nazaire in August[21] and fired a total of 782 shells during 25 days on the Western Front at ranges between 27 and 36 kilometres (30,000 and 39,000 yd).[22] Each 14-inch (36 cm) projectile weighed 1,400 pounds (640 kg) and was fired at 2,800 feet (850 m) per second. The railway carriages could elevate the guns to 43 degrees, but elevations over 15 degrees required excavation of a pit with room for the gun to recoil and structural steel shoring foundations to prevent caving of the pit sides from recoil forces absorbed by the surrounding soil.[23] The trains moved cautiously because axle loading under the gun barrels was 50,330 pounds (22.83 t) while French railways were designed for a maximum of 39,000 pounds (18 t). These axle journals overheated at speeds of more than 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) per hour. After reaching its intended firing site and constructing the recoil pit, each gun could fire about two shells per hour. One of these guns was retained after the War as an ammunition test gun at the Dahlgren Weapons Laboratory until all United States battleships with 14"/50 guns were scrapped shortly after World War II.[20] The gun was then placed on display outside the U.S. Navy Museum at the Washington Navy Yard.

Baldwin constructed six similar gun carriages and two of an improved Mk II type[19] designed to permit firing the gun at all elevation angles without transferring weight to a separate foundation. These eight guns were completed too late to see combat, and were designated the 14-inch M1920 railway guns. Some were later stationed through World War II in special coast defense installations at San Pedro, California, (near Los Angeles) and in the Panama Canal Zone where they could be shifted from one ocean to the other in less than a day. Improved carriages were designed to allow their transportation to several fixed firing emplacements including concrete foundations where the railway trucks were withdrawn so the gun could be rapidly traversed (swiveled horizontally) to engage moving ship targets.[24]

After the American entry into World War I on 6 April 1917, the U.S. Army recognized the need to adopt railway artillery for use on the Western Front. No US railway guns existed at that time. Due to low production and shipping priorities, the Army's railway gun contribution on the Western Front consisted of four U.S. Coast Artillery regiments armed with French-made weapons. Three additional railway gun regiments were in France, but did not complete training prior to the Armistice, and they did not see action. Other Coast Artillery units also operated various types of French-, British-, and American-made heavy artillery.[25] The Army also converted some of the numerous coast artillery weapons to railway mounts. A total of 96 8-inch guns (including some from Navy spares), 129 10-inch guns, 45 12-inch guns, and 150 12-inch mortars could be spared from fixed coast defense batteries or spare stocks. Twelve 7-inch ex-Navy guns and six 12-inch guns being built for Chile were also available. To shorten a long story, none of these weapons were shipped to France except three 8-inch guns, as few of any type were completed before the Armistice. Forty-seven 8-inch railway guns were ordered, with 18 completed by the Armistice and a total of 37 (or 47, references vary) completed before the contract was canceled. Eight 10-inch railway mounts of 54 ordered were completed by the Armistice, and twelve 12-inch railway mounts were completed by 1 April 1919; the 12-inch contract was cancelled at that point. At least some of the 10-inch gun barrels were shipped to France and mounted on French-made carriages, but sources do not indicate any use of them in combat. Three railway mountings for the Chilean 12-inch guns were ready for shipment by the Armistice, and the remaining three barrels were kept as spares. A total of twenty-two 10-inch guns were eventually mounted. Ninety-one 12-inch railway mortars were ordered, with 45 complete by 7 April 1919 and the remainder eventually completed.[22][26]

The 7-inch and 8-inch guns and 12-inch mortars used a common carriage, with a depressed center and two 4-wheel or 6-wheel bogies. The bogies were interchangeable for standard-gauge or (with 12-wheel bogies) 60-cm (23.6-inch) gauge track.[27] Outriggers and a rotating mount allowed all-around fire. This allowed the weapons to be used in coast defense against moving targets. The 8-inch guns and 12-inch mortars were kept on railway mountings after the war, while almost all of the 7-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch guns were returned to the coastal forts. With 47 available, plus an additional 24 ex-Navy Mark VI guns on railway mounts by 1942, the 8-inch guns were the most-commonly-deployed American railway gun through World War II. About 12 of these were used for the defense of Oahu, Hawaii. Others were stationed for the coastal defense of Manila (eventually dismounted from the railway carriage at Corregidor),[28] Bermuda, Newfoundland, Puget Sound, Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and Fort Hancock, New Jersey (near New York City).[29][30]

Although numerous 12-inch railway mortars were available, few were deployed. In 1930 the US Army tested them at Fort Hancock, New Jersey, and Fort Miles, Delaware.[31] During World War II, four railway mortars were among the temporary harbor defenses of Grays Harbor, Washington state, and emplacements for an additional four at Cape George, Washington, were constructed, but never armed.[32] Of the more than 250 railway guns built in the United States from 1916 to 1942, the five navy 14"/50 guns that were sent to France during World War I and possibly two 8-inch guns in the Philippines were the only ones ever to be used in combat.[20] Reportedly, the eight 8-inch railway guns in the Philippines in 1941–42 were either destroyed by air attack or lacked trained crews.[33][28]

World War II

World War II saw the final use of the railway gun, with the massive 80 cm (31 in) Schwerer Gustav gun,[34] the largest artillery piece to be used in combat, deployed by Nazi Germany. After the Fall of France Germany added 58 captured French guns to its inventory while Italy was given 19 French guns with many of these being captured by the Germans after the Italian capitulation.[18]

Boche Buster, seen from Bourne Park Tunnel on the Elham Valley line, at Bishopsbourne in Kent, England, on 21 March 1941
Boche Buster, seen from Bourne Park Tunnel on the Elham Valley line, at Bishopsbourne in Kent, England, on 21 March 1941

Both Nazi Germany and Great Britain deployed railway guns that were capable of firing across the English Channel in the areas around Dover and Calais.[35] The Wehrmacht deployed three 40.6-cm (16-inch) guns.[36] The British Army deployed three 13.5-inch (34.3-cm) railway guns on the East Kent Light Railway, locating them around Lydden and Shepherdswell.[35][37][38] These were codenamed the "Gladiator", the "Sceneshifter", and the "Peacemaker".[35] 9.2-inch Mark 13 guns were located near Canterbury and Hythe, Kent; and 12-inch howitzers, Mk 3 and 5, located around Guston,[35] north of Dover on the Southern Railway line to Deal and Ramsgate.

The 18-inch howitzer "Boche Buster" was sited on the Elham Valley Railway, between Bridge, Kent, and Lyminge, and was intended for coastal defense against invasion. It was not capable of cross-channel firing, having a maximum range of only about 20 km (12 miles).

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Mathew Brady

Mathew Brady

Mathew B. Brady was one of the earliest photographers in American history. Best known for his scenes of the Civil War, he studied under inventor Samuel Morse, who pioneered the daguerreotype technique in America. Brady opened his own studio in New York City in 1844, and photographed John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln, among other public figures.

Brooke rifle

Brooke rifle

The Brooke rifle was a type of rifled, muzzle-loading naval and coast defense gun designed by John Mercer Brooke, an officer in the Confederate States Navy. They were produced by plants in Richmond, Virginia, and Selma, Alabama, between 1861 and 1865 during the American Civil War. They served afloat on Confederate ships and ashore in coast defense batteries operated by the Confederate States Army.

Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee

Robert Edward Lee was a Confederate general during the American Civil War, towards the end of which he was appointed the overall commander of the Confederate States Army. He led the Army of Northern Virginia—the Confederacy's most powerful army—from 1862 until its surrender in 1865, earning a reputation as a skilled tactician.

Battle of Savage's Station

Battle of Savage's Station

The Battle of Savage's Station took place on June 29, 1862, in Henrico County, Virginia, as the fourth of the Seven Days Battles of the American Civil War. The main body of the Union Army of the Potomac began a general withdrawal toward the James River. Confederate Brig. Gen. John B. Magruder pursued along the railroad and the Williamsburg Road and struck Maj. Gen. Edwin Vose Sumner's II Corps with three brigades near Savage's Station, while Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's divisions were stalled north of the Chickahominy River. Union forces continued to withdraw across White Oak Swamp, abandoning supplies and more than 2,500 wounded soldiers in a field hospital.

Flatcar

Flatcar

A flatcar (US) is a piece of rolling stock that consists of an open, flat deck mounted on a pair of trucks (US) or bogies (UK), one at each end containing four or six wheels. Occasionally, flat cars designed to carry extra heavy or extra large loads are mounted on a pair of bogies under each end. The deck of the car can be wood or steel, and the sides of the deck can include pockets for stakes or tie-down points to secure loads. Flatcars designed for carrying machinery have sliding chain assemblies recessed in the deck.

Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric SE is a European multinational company that specializes in digital automation and energy management. It addresses homes, buildings, data centers, infrastructure and industries, by combining energy technologies, real-time automation, software, and services.

Obusier de 200 "Pérou" sur affût-truck TAZ Schneider

Obusier de 200 "Pérou" sur affût-truck TAZ Schneider

The Obusier de 200 "Pérou" sur affût-truck TAZ Schneider was a French railway gun built before and served throughout the First World War. It was one of the first French railway guns mounted on a standard gauge rail car during the First World War.

Peru

Peru

Peru, officially the Republic of Peru, is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the south and west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is a megadiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon River. Peru has a population of 34 million, and its capital and largest city is Lima. At 1.28 million km2, Peru is the 19th largest country in the world, and the third largest in South America.

Relief of Ladysmith

Relief of Ladysmith

When the Second Boer War broke out on 11 October 1899, the Boers had a numeric superiority within Southern Africa. They quickly invaded the British territory and laid siege to Ladysmith, Kimberley and Mafeking. Britain meanwhile transported thousands of troops both from the United Kingdom itself and from elsewhere in the Empire and by the time the siege of Ladysmith had been lifted, had a huge numeric superiority.

Second Boer War

Second Boer War

The Second Boer War, also known as the Boer War, the Anglo–Boer War, or the South African War, was a conflict fought between the British Empire and the two Boer Republics over the Empire's influence in Southern Africa from 1899 to 1902.

Cape Town

Cape Town

Cape Town is one of South Africa's three capital cities, serving as the seat of the Parliament of South Africa. It is the legislative capital of the country, the oldest city in the country, and the second largest. Colloquially named the Mother City, it is the largest city of the Western Cape province, and is managed by the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality. The other two capitals are Pretoria, the executive capital, located in Gauteng, where the Presidency is based, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital in the Free State, where the Supreme Court of Appeal is located.

Battle of Bergendal

Battle of Bergendal

The Battle of Berg-en-dal took place in South Africa during the Second Anglo-Boer War.

Surviving railway guns

A second 283 mm Krupp K5 can be seen at the Todt Battery museum, near Audinghen in northern France.[42]
  • Soviet-era 305 mm MK-3-12 guns are preserved at the Krasnaya Gorka fort near Lomonosov, Russia, and the Museum of Railway Technology, Saint Petersburg.
  • Soviet 180 mm ТМ-1-180 guns may be seen at Krasnaya Gorka fort, at the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Moscow, and at the Railway Station in Sevastopol, Ukraine.
  • The last surviving American-made 7-inch (178 mm) railway gun is now on display at Museu Militar Conde de Linhares in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • While not a gun the Chehalis-Centralia RR of Chehalis, WA has something of great interest. It is a Model 1918 railroad car mount for a 12-inch seacoast mortar. These cars were built in the early 1920s to make obsolete seacoast artillery more mobile. While all the guns were scrapped in the early days of WW II this car survived at the Bremerton Navy Base.
  • There is an 8-inch gun on an M1918 Railway Mount, less car, at the University of Tampa, Tampa, FL.[43]

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Australian War Memorial

Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial is Australia's national memorial to the members of its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in wars involving the Commonwealth of Australia and some conflicts involving personnel from the Australian colonies prior to Federation. Opened in 1941, the memorial includes an extensive national military museum.

Royal Artillery

Royal Artillery

The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery (RA) and colloquially known as "The Gunners", is one of two regiments that make up the artillery arm of the British Army. The Royal Regiment of Artillery comprises thirteen Regular Army regiments, the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and five Army Reserve regiments.

Larkhill

Larkhill

Larkhill is a garrison town in the civil parish of Durrington, Wiltshire, England. It lies about 1+3⁄4 miles (2.8 km) west of the centre of Durrington village and 1+1⁄2 mi (2.4 km) north of the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge. It is about 10 mi (16 km) north of Salisbury.

Railway Museum (Netherlands)

Railway Museum (Netherlands)

The Railway Museum in Utrecht is the Dutch national railway museum. It was established in 1927 and since 1954 has been housed in the former Maliebaan station.

Royal Armouries

Royal Armouries

The Royal Armouries is the United Kingdom's national collection of arms and armour. Originally an important part of England's military organization, it became the United Kingdom's oldest museum, originally housed in the Tower of London from the 15th century, and one of the oldest museums in the world. It is also one of the oldest and largest collections of arms and armour in the world, comprising the UK's National Collection of Arms and Armour, National Artillery Collection, and National Firearms Collection. Its historic base is in the Tower of London, but today the collection is split across three sites: the Tower, the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, and Fort Nelson near Portsmouth

Fort Nelson, Hampshire

Fort Nelson, Hampshire

Fort Nelson, in the civil parish of Boarhunt in the English county of Hampshire, is one of five defensive forts built on the summit of Portsdown Hill in the 1860s, overlooking the important naval base of Portsmouth. It is now part of the Royal Armouries, housing their collection of artillery, and a Grade I Listed Building.

Fort Lee (Virginia)

Fort Lee (Virginia)

Fort Lee, in Prince George County, Virginia, United States, is a United States Army post and headquarters of the United States Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM)/ Sustainment Center of Excellence (SCoE), the U.S. Army Quartermaster School, the U.S. Army Ordnance School, the U.S. Army Transportation School, the Army Logistics University (ALU), Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), and the U.S. Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA).

Wayback Machine

Wayback Machine

The Wayback Machine is a digital archive of the World Wide Web founded by the Internet Archive, a nonprofit based in San Francisco, California. Created in 1996 and launched to the public in 2001, it allows the user to go "back in time" and see how websites looked in the past. Its founders, Brewster Kahle and Bruce Gilliat, developed the Wayback Machine to provide "universal access to all knowledge" by preserving archived copies of defunct web pages.

Washington Navy Yard

Washington Navy Yard

The Washington Navy Yard (WNY) is the former shipyard and ordnance plant of the United States Navy in Southeast Washington, D.C. It is the oldest shore establishment of the U.S. Navy.

Krupp K5

Krupp K5

The Krupp K5 was a heavy railway gun used by Germany throughout World War II.

Todt Battery

Todt Battery

The Todt Battery, also known as Batterie Todt, was a battery of coastal artillery built by Nazi Germany during World War II, located in the hamlet of Haringzelles, Audinghen, near Cape Gris-Nez, Pas de Calais, France.

Audinghen

Audinghen

Audinghen is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Hauts-de-France region of France.

Images

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Todt Battery

Todt Battery

The Todt Battery, also known as Batterie Todt, was a battery of coastal artillery built by Nazi Germany during World War II, located in the hamlet of Haringzelles, Audinghen, near Cape Gris-Nez, Pas de Calais, France.

Krasnaya Gorka fort

Krasnaya Gorka fort

Krasnaya Gorka is a coastal artillery fortress in Lomonosovsky District, Leningrad Oblast, Russia. It is located on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, opposite Kotlin Island and the Baltic Fleet's base at Kronstadt. The nearest settlement is Lebyazhye (Лебяжье).

28 cm SK L/40 "Bruno"

28 cm SK L/40 "Bruno"

The 28 cm SK L/40 "Bruno" (SK — Schnelladekanone L — Länge was a German railroad gun. Originally a naval gun, it was adapted for land service after its ships were disarmed beginning in 1916. It served on the Western Front and on coast defense duties in Occupied Flanders during World War I. Belgium received four guns as reparations after the war. The Germans used two of those guns in World War II after Belgium's surrender during the Battle of France and on coast-defense duties on the Gironde Estuary for the rest of the war.

Australian War Memorial

Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial is Australia's national memorial to the members of its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in wars involving the Commonwealth of Australia and some conflicts involving personnel from the Australian colonies prior to Federation. Opened in 1941, the memorial includes an extensive national military museum.

Source: "Railway gun", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railway_gun.

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Citations
  1. ^ Miller vol. I, p. 39
  2. ^ Miller vol. I, p. 52
  3. ^ a b c Miller vol. I, p. 65
  4. ^ a b Miller vol. I, p. 69
  5. ^ (in Russian) http://www.travelzone.lv/lib/zd_puski/index.php
  6. ^ Lebedev, P. N. (2011) [1857]. Применение железных дорог к защите материка. Сочинение инженер-подполковника П. Лебедева [Use of Railways for the Defense of Land. Essay of engineer-Lieutenant Colonel P. Lebedev] (in Russian). Moscow: Kniga po Trebovaniyu. ISBN 978-5-458-11821-7.
  7. ^ Denisov, A. P.; Perechnev, Yu. G. (1956). "Глава 4. Береговая артиллерия в Крымской войне 1853–1856 годов" [Chapter 4. Coastal Artillery in the Crimean War of 1853–1856]. Русская береговая артиллерия [Russian Coastal Artillery]. Moscow: Voenizdat. pp. 89–91.
  8. ^ Phillips, p. 225
  9. ^ Miller vol. I, pp. 9-16
  10. ^ Jack H. McCall, Jr., When Railroad Guns Ruled, Historynet; accessed 2017.10.29.
  11. ^ Miller, Francis Trevelyan (1957). The Photographic History of The Civil War. Vol. Five: Forts and Artillery. New York: Castle Books. pp. 51 & 54.
  12. ^ Tucker, S. C. (2005). The encyclopedia of world war I: A political, social, and military history. Abc-clio. ISBN 1-85109-420-2
  13. ^ Miller vol. I, pp. 17, 23
  14. ^ Miller vol. I, p. 23
  15. ^ Hall
  16. ^ Miller vol. II, pp. 1–186
  17. ^ Romanych, Marc (2017). Railway Guns of World War I. Heuer, Greg,, Noon, Steve. London: Osprey. p. 2. ISBN 978-1-4728-1641-2. OCLC 999616340.
  18. ^ a b Zaloga, Steve (2017). Railway guns of World War II. Dennis, Peter. Oxford: Osprey. pp. 2–3. ISBN 978-1-4728-1068-7. OCLC 907965829.
  19. ^ a b "The United States naval railway batteries in France". Internet Archive. 1922.
  20. ^ a b c Schreier, Konrad F. Jr. (1988). "Admiral Plunkett's Railway Battle Fleet". Railroad History. The Railway & Locomotive Historical Society. 158 (Spring 1988): 95–102.
  21. ^ Many, April 1965, p.53
  22. ^ a b Hogg, Ian V. (1998). Allied Artillery of World War I. Ramsbury, Wiltshire, UK: The Crowood Press, Ltd. pp. 138–148. ISBN 1-86126-104-7.
  23. ^ Westing (1966) pp.79-80
  24. ^ Lewis (1979) pp. 103, 106
  25. ^ "Defeating the Hun, The History of the U. S. Army, Coast Artillery Corps During WWI". ancestry.com.
  26. ^ "US Army Railway Artillery, WWI". ancestry.com.
  27. ^ Miller, H. W., LTC, USA Railway Artillery, Vols. I and II, 1921, Vol. I, pp. 131-155
  28. ^ a b Account of the 8" railway guns in the Philippines, 1940–42
  29. ^ Lewis (1979) pp. 102-110, 140-141
  30. ^ Berhow, pp. 199-228
  31. ^ "Mortar Railway Gun to Aid in Defending Coast" Popular Mechanics, December 1930
  32. ^ Berhow, pp. 216-217
  33. ^ The Doomed Philippine Inland Seas Defense Project
  34. ^ Zaloga (2016), pp. 14-15, 18-19
  35. ^ a b c d Arnold (1982), pp. 100, 108, 147, 148.
  36. ^ German 40 cm guns at Navweaps.com
  37. ^ Dale Clarke. "British Artillery 1914–19. Heavy Artillery". Osprey Publishing, London, 2005. Pages 41-42
  38. ^ "The Big Guns At Dover WW2 (World War Two)". Archived from the original on 2007-12-21.
  39. ^ "The UK's largest artillery piece, 1 of 12 surviving wartime railway howitzers in the world, is being moved for exhibition in the Netherlands". United Kingdom Government. 27 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
  40. ^ Maev Kennedy (2 September 2013). "Giant first world war gun on the move across southern England this week". the Guardian.
  41. ^ Doyle, pp. 3
  42. ^ "Musée du Mur de l'Atlantique".
  43. ^ 8-inch Gun Railway Mount M1918
Bibliography
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