Feb 17, 2010

Gustav Gun - The Largest Gun Ever Built


The largest gun ever built was the "Gustav Gun" built in Essen, Germany in 1941 by the firm of Friedrich Krupp A.G. Upholding a tradition of naming heavy cannon after family members, the Gustav Gun was named after the invalid head of the Krupp family - Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach. The strategic weapon of its day, the Gustav Gun was built at the direct order of Adolf Hitler for the express purpose of crushing Maginot Line forts protecting the French frontier. To accomplish this, Krupp designed a giant railway gun weighing 1344 tons with a bore diameter of 800 mm (31.5") and served by a 500 man crew commanded by a major-general.

Two types of projectiles were fired using a 3000lb. charge of smokeless powder: a 10,584 lb. high explosive (HE) shell and a 16,540 lb. concrete-piercing projectile. Craters from the HE shells measured 30-ft. wide and 30-ft. deep while the concrete piercing projectile proved capable of penetrating 264-ft. of reinforced concrete before exploding! Maximum range was 23 miles with HE shells and 29 miles with concrete piercing projectiles. Muzzle velocity was approximately 2700 f.p.s.

Three guns were ordered in 1939. Alfried Krupp personally hosted Hitler and Albert Speer (Minister of Armaments) at the Hugenwald Proving Ground during formal acceptance trials of the Gustav Gun in the spring of 1941. In keeping with company tradition, Krupp refrained from charging for the first gun - 7 million Deutsch Marks were charged for the second (named Dora after the chief engineer's wife).


France fell in 1940 without the assistance of the Gustav Gun, so new targets were sought. Plans to use Gustav against the British fortress of Gibraltar were scrapped after General Franco refused permission to fire the gun from Spanish soil. Thus, April 1942 found the Gustav Gun emplaced outside the heavily fortified port city of Sebastopol in the Soviet Union. Under fire from Gustav and other heavy artillery, Forts Stalin, Lenin and Maxim Gorki crumbled and fell. One round from Gustav destroyed a Russion ammunition dump 100 feet below Severnaya Bay; a near miss capsized a large ship in the harbor. Gustav fired 300 rounds during the siege wearing out the original barrel in the process. Dora was set up west of Stalingrad in mid-August but hurriedly withdrawn in September to avoid capture. Gustav next appeared outside Warsaw, Poland, where it fired 30 rounds into Warsaw Ghetto during the 1944 uprising.

Dora was blown up by German engineers in April 1945 near Oberlichtnau, Germany, to avoid capture by the Russian Army. The incomplete third gun was scrapped at the factory by the British Army when they captured Essen. Gustav was captured intact by the U.S. Army near Metzendorf, Germany, in June 1945. Shortly after, it was cut up for scrap thus ending the story of the Gustav Gun.

Credits: Printed in the American Rifleman, February 1998. Page 26. 


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20 comments:

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 took place over a year before the Warsaw Uprising of 1944

You are right JB. In 1943 was Warsaw Ghetto Uprising:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising
In 1944 was a Warsaw Uprising:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Uprising
In neither first nor secong Gustav was used. Nazi used Thor mortar which I think was mistaken with Gustav.
Thor:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thor_Warsaw_uprising_1944.jpg
Here is a photo - Thor hits Prudential building :
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Warsaw_Uprising_-_Prudential_Hit_-_frame_3.jpg

The picture where US(?) soldiers are standing on the barrel, is of a very much smaller K5 gun and doesn't really belong to this context.

German- vorsprung durch technik.
Its' evil use aside- it was a wonder of German engineering an metallurgical skills.

There is one of these in the North of Norway too.
It is in good shape and is an turist magnet.

this is stupidest guns ever made

Very intersting article, thx for sharing.

nice article but i cant get a thing... wasn't the real name of the gun Dora instead of Gustav? I remembered of a Gustav cannon, much smaller than the Dora one, who alongside his twin Leopold sniped the american front in southern Italy, they were called the "Anzio Express" cause of their regular shooting... after each bang they were hidden in mimetic galleries in the woods, so that the allies found em abandoned only after having advanced the front

"it fired 30 rounds into Warsaw Ghetto during the 1944 uprising"

You are confusing the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising with the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.

I have watched one documentary abbot this gun, and i can say it was really great. Imagine blast of this guns greenade!

We in the US owe an enourmous debt of gratitute to the Russian people for taking on nearly 85% of the Nazi war machine. Over 70 Panzer divisions were on the Eastern Front on the eve of D Day. Only 2 were diverted to the Western Front, and only to participate in the Ardennes offensive in December '44. Over 20 MILLION Soviet citizens were killed during the war, only 7 of which were in uniform. 13 million CIVILIAN deaths. The US lost 330,000 soldiers, sailors, and airmen fighting BOTH in Europe and the Pacific. We need to stop and thank the Russian people as a whole for their prodigious sacrifice. Without them, we could STILL be fighting the Nazis.


When the Germans surrendered on the western front they had 72 divisions facing 91 allied they still had over 300 on the eastern front, finally someone who knows the real cost payed by Russia at the hand of the Wehrmacht.

My grandfather was a US AAF officer during the war. He saw the truth firsthand, and was Astounded at the lack of credit given to our Soviet allies for their sacrifice...

To Anon 6/26.9:19p..
Grandpa was copilot of a B24. On a mission to bomb Paramushiro, due to flak damage, they could not make it back to Atty, so he had to divert to Petropavlosk....he was among the first group to be repatriated by way of Iran thru an arrainged "escape".
He, and thirty nine other interred aviators were trucked and trained from one side to the other, and till the day he died, he could not say enough about the hospitality shown him and his men, the extreme effort made by Soviet officers and enlisted men to get him home, at the risk of Russo-Japanese neutrality, touched him deeply.

not 500 , but 5000 people were needed to build this up and fire it ... only 30 rounds were fired with this gun at all and it was only used 1943... the second gun "langer gustav" or "dora" wasnt the same , the inner barrel was an extra part , because the 800mm shells wore the barrel out after ~20 shots... there was only one shell type , which penetratet 32m earth ,1m steel and several meters of steel concrete...
and even if the second one wasnt finished , the took the money for it , which was most likely used for the first gun ... none of these were captured by anyone , since the only existing model was scrapped due the need of steel in war , and not in kinda useless projects... nice article , but wrong at many points

To all those say we own the people of Russia for fighting Nazi Germany.
well read history first .

Stalin (Russia) supported Hitler for example the Molotov agreement of no aggression and they split Poland >
This way Hiter was able to "fight" and or expand to the west .

When hat was done (without England)
he moved East (Lebensraum Ost) .
Stalin was so surprised he was unable to do anything.
Also Stalin did clean (let murder many of his own officers!) before that.
So when Hitler moved in (Ukraine) they did see him as a liberator!!

Now in our so backward national thinking leader of Putler they see the Ukraine as a supporter of the Nazi//
is propaganda great you just flip the true and as it fits.

Pulter just sends the green man to get Criema

so wrong in our modern time.

Generation will suffer again.

Regards


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