S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com ORDNANCE Page keywords = ordnance Aberdeen Proving Ground Jarrett Churchill Yuma tank armor track history self-propelled artillery gun cannon rifle recoil HARP Maryland airplane bomb shell cartidge casing ammunition ammo FLZ Franz Langenhan Zella Mehlis Kropatschek Werndl Steyr Gras Lebel Comet Authenticast "

Updated:   05 Jan 2012, 12:25  ET
[Page created ;

[original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/ordnance.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/ordnance.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher



note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.


S. Berliner, III's

sbiii.com

ORDNANCE Page

OrdBomb


This continues on ORDNANCE Continuation Page 1.

Please refer to the HELP section on Continuation Page 3.

INDEX:

On the Main Ordnance Page:
  "Jeep" vs. "GP"   new.gif (11 Jan 10)
  Unindexed ORDNANCE APOCRYPHA, below

On the Ordnance Atomic Cannon Page:
  ATOMIC CANNON

On the Ordnance Continuation Page 0:
  ORDNANCE APOCRYPHA
    (combined here from the Main Page and Continuation Pages 1 and 2 on 18 Dec 2006).

On the Ordnance Continuation Page 1:
  MORE ORDNANCE APOCRYPHA

(Moved from Ordnance Page 2 on 12 Feb 2002).

On the Ordnance Continuation Page 2:
  RAILROAD GUNS.
  SMALL ARMS.

On Ordnance Continuation Page 3:
  CALIBER (Calibre).
  Anzio Annie
  SMALL ARMS
  BIBLIOGRAPHY
  Russian Armor
  HELP!

On Ordnance Continuation Page 4:
  MISFIRES, HANGFIRES, and JAMS
  Drake Cannon
  Coastal Defense Guns at Fort Casey
  M274 Mechanical Mule

On the Atomic Cannon Page:
  ATOMIC CANNON
  Atomic Cannon CQ (Seek You = HELP!)

On the Atomic Cannon Continuation Page 1:
  Atomic Cannon in Asia!

Ordnance Models Page.

The Ordnance Supergun Page

Comet Metal Products Authenticast Models Page.


- WWII tank ID plates and nameplates available on cont. page 2!


========================== ==========================   ORDNANCE Continuation Page 1
keywords = ordnance super gun cannon projectile Bull Hunter Aberdeen Proving Ground Barbados tank armor track history self-propelled artillery rifle recoil HARP SHARP shell cartidge casing
Updated:  26 Aug 2003, 23:55  ET
(Created 03 Mar 2003)
[Ref:  This is ordsuper.html  (URL http://home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/ordsuper.html)]

S. Berliner, III's

ORDNANCE
Supergun Page
  new.gif (03 Mar 03)

Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"
Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

OrdBomb

This site has now been visited times since the counter was reinstalled 11 Apr 00.

16 in. HARP Gun
(image courtesy of M. Wade, Encyclopdia Astronautix - all rights reserved)
The 16" HARP Gun being fired in the Barbados

INDEX:

On the main Ordnance page:
  Unindexed ORDNANCE APOCRYPHA.

On the Ordnance Atomic Cannon Page:
  ATOMIC CANNON - moved there 26 Aug 03.   new.gif (26 Aug 03)

On Ordnance Continuation Page 1:
  MORE ORDNANCE APOCRYPHA

(moved here from Continuation Page 2 on 12 Feb 2002).

On Ordnance Continuation Page 2:
  RAILROAD GUNS

(now continued on separate page)   new.gif (05 Jan 2012)
  SMALL ARMS.

On Ordnance Continuation Page 3:
  CALIBER (Calibre).
  Anzio Annie.
  SMALL ARMS (moved from Page 2 on 13 Apr 00).
  BIBLIOGRAPHY
  Russian Armor.
  HELP!

On the Ordnance Railroad Guns Continuation Page:
  RAILROAD GUNS

(continued from Ordnance Continuation Page 2)   new.gif (05 Jan 2012)

On this Ordnance Supergun Page:   new.gif (03 Mar 03)
  Fantasy:

Newton's Orbital Cannon
Jules Verne Moon Gun
    and harsh reality:
Paris Gun
Valier-Oberth Moon Gun
V-3
5 inch HARP Gun
7 inch HARP Gun
16 inch HARP Gun
SHARP
Babylon Gun
Jules Verne Launcher (the Hunter Gun)
Chinese Supergun

Comet Metal Products Authenticast Models Page.



note-rt.gif - Monsieur C. Luzent's Les Canons de l'Apocalypse (The Cannons of the Apocalypse) is a site covering all the giant guns of WWI and WWII; it is absolutely incredible!  The only catch is that it is seulement en français (entirely in French).  The Google translation is awful; if you can struggle through in French, give a go; otherwise just use the cannon shells at the top and bottom (left is back, right is forward) to navigate and enjoy the fabulous pictures.  You'll find the Paris gun, Big Bertha, the K-5 and K-12, Dora, our 280, and the HARP and Saddam (Bull) guns, and far more!   new.gif (28 Feb 03)



As noted on the main Ordnance page, army ordnance buffs should visit the Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Ground off Routes 40 and I95 just south of Havre de Grâce and the Susquehanna River Toll Bridge - very much worth the time (and allow plenty of that, in proportion to your interest!).  There are acres of tanks and armored vehicles, domestic and foreign, of all eras, Anzio Annie, a 280mm Atomic Cannon, a 16" coastal defence gun, a V1 buzz bomb and a V2 rocket, and a great indoor museum with a fine small arms collection!  This fabulous museum is an absolute must for the ordnance devotée!  More about the Museum and its history is on the main Ordnance page.


I found three fantastic sites with coverage of the 280mm Atomic Cannon and of AFVs and also one with coverage of superguns.  The sites are:

C. Luzent's Les Canons de l'Apocalypse (The Cannons of the Apocalypse), in French, as noted above,

AFV Database, and

JED Military Enthusiasts Directory

and

Mark Wade's Encyclopedia Astronautica - Gun-Launched.

For more about WWI guns, see Mark Iavarone's Big Guns of the Great War page.   new.gif (05 Mar 03)


FOR RECORD ONLY:

This page "evaporated" as it was being published, before it was backed up,
for some mysterious reason (probably unintentional overwriting or deleting),
and is being recreated.


Ordnance Superguns

  new.gif (03 Mar 03) First of all, I must acknowledge that, in what follows, I am leaning heavily on the information and illustrations presented in Mark Wade's Encyclopedia Astronautica {heavy on pop-up ads}, especially in the section on Gun-Launched payload delivery systems and the section euphemistically called A Brief History of the HARP Project.  In addition, I use some of the text and images from Monsieur C. Luzent's Les Canons de l'Apocalypse (The Cannons of the Apocalypse), in French.  Supplementing the material from those two sites with that from my own collection and site and memory, I offer here for your edification a summary of the history and status of superguns.

I define "superguns" for this page as those capable of launching ballistic projectiles, whether with explosive or research payloads, at such high velocity that they can achieve near-earth or full orbit.

Tsar Cannon Big Bertha
Tsar Cannon (left) and Big Bertha (right)
(left - from Russian Tsar Cannon site)
{That cannonball is THREE feet (one meter) across!
It is a decorative fake, though, cast in 1836; the gun was intended to fire stone shot,
although it was never even fired once!}

(right - image courtesy of C. Luzent, les Canons de l'Apocalypse - all rights reserved)

The term "supergun" can be applied equally to many other guns, weapons all, that were uncommonly long or of extremely large bore; except for the German WWI Paris Gun and its direct predecessors, these are covered on the regular Ordnance pages.  Notable among these are 1586 890mm (35") Tsar Cannon at the Kremlin [actually more of a 5.34m (17½') long mortar], the WWI German "Big Bertha" (a 520mm howitzer, NOT a long gun and definitely NOT the "Paris Gun") and the French Schneider 520mm gun, the WWII German RR guns 280mm K-5 (Leopold/Anzio Annie), 211 mm (8.3") K-12, and 800mm (31½") Dora/Schwere Gustav (claimed as the world's largest gun), and even our own 175mm and 280mm Atomic Cannon and perhaps the biggest of all, Little David*, the 914mm (36¼") siege mortar.  However, engineering marvels though they be, they are "merely" very, very large regular guns.  The Paris Gun, however, was a direct ancestor of the both the German WWII V-3 and the HARP guns and so is covered here (as on the Astronautics and Apocalypse sites).

* - Little David was a 22' (67m) long muzzle-loader developed for the invasion of Japan; it fired a 3,650# (1,656Kg) shell 6 miles (9.6Km) and, while successfully tested, was never used in action.  Amazingly, it was readily portable, assembling and disassembling easily and quickly (unlike Dora).

The HARP Project (High Altitude Research Project) was the brainchild of Dr. Gerald V. Bull.  It's trail (to follow) is one that ran from Canada to the U.S. to Barbados and, eventually, Iraq.  The trail involved sheer brilliance, pettifoggery, obstructionism, idiocy, deceipt, and, eventually, even, assassination!

Bull and Gun
(image courtesy of M. Wade, Encyclopdia Astronautix - all rights reserved)
Dr. Gerald V. Bull (clearly with one of the 16" guns and,
equally clearly, NOT in the Barbados!)

This is as far as I got in restoring the page; stick with me, please.
Also, some of the images have to be reloaded.
There's lots more to follow! - 05 Mar 03, 16:45


Fantasy:

Newton's Orbital Cannon

Newton Gun
(image courtesy of M. Wade, Encyclopdia Astronautix - all rights reserved)

In his 1687 work, Principia Mathematica, Sir Isaac Newton postulated a giant cannon that could launch a projectile into orbit; his thesis was that if a cannon were placed horizontally on a mountain top and the charge increased with each succeding round, the range would increase until, eventually, the shot would not fall back to earth at all but remain in orbit, pulled back only by atmospheric drag.

Jules Verne Moon Gun

Verne Columbiad Shell
(image courtesy of M. Wade, Encyclopdia Astronautix - all rights reserved)
Shell (cabin) to be fired from Verne's Columbiad Cannon

Jules Verne, the "father" of Science Fiction, put more science than fiction into his 1865 story of a giant moon gun, From the Earth to the Moon; with a bore of 2.74m (9') and 277m (900') long, the gun was to be constructed in a deep well in Florida (the southernmost point on the East Coast and filled with over 100 tons of the newly-developed guncotton, a better gas producer than gunpowder.  With all sorts of clever devices to protect the passengers, there was more of an air of reality than fancy about the whole thing, and many of his calculations and contrivances were verified, and even realized, in the actual space program.

And Harsh Reality:

Paris Gun

Paris Gun in Shop Paris Gun Deployed
(image courtesy of M. Wade, Encyclopdia Astronautix - all rights reserved)
Paris Gun in Shop (left) and Deployed (right)

This is a long and complex story and I will only highlight it here.  Back in 1906, the British Admiralty introduced the Dreadnaught, with TEN 305mm guns, thereby obsoleting all other heavily-armed vessels and starting an "arms race"; by 1913, they had reached 381mm.  In 1913, the Germans had Krupp construct naval guns of 350mm or 380mm.  At its maximum elevation of 16° the 380 could hurl a projectile 20,250m (12½ miles).  Needless to say, these guns were soon developed into giant siege cannon, the SKL/45, for the probable siege of huge forces encamped before Paris in 1914.  They were named "Lange Max" (Long Max) or "Brummer" (Growler).

These images, from M. Luzent's les Canons de l'Apocalypse, show Max(es) emplaced, on a concrete mount, on a steel mount, at four firing positions (the last as captured by the Australians), an elevation drawing, and a drawing of the RR mount:

Long Max emplaced

Long Max concrete mount Long Max steel mount

Long Max at Goeulzin Long Max at Gruebert

Long Max at Sorel farm Long Max at Chuignes

Long Max Elev.

Long Max Train
(images courtesy of C. Luzent, les Canons de l'Apocalypse - all rights reserved)

[For far more detail on these guns and their deployment, see C. Luzent's SKL/45 MAX page.]

Many were recaptured intact and, after WWI, the International Control Commisoon ordered the destruction of all but a few gus, which were turned over to the Belgians for use in their defenses; when WWII began, they were quickly overrun by the Wehrmacht.

Even today, some vestiges of the SKL/45 emplacements are still visible and the mouth (or is it mount?) of one gun survives in an Australian military museum.

The main significance of the SKL/45 Max here is that it served as the basis for the Paris Gun.  The Paris Gun was officially called the Kaiser Wilhelm Geschuetz (Kiaser Wilhelm's Gun) and was NOT Lange Max (the SKL/45, above) nor Big Bertha.  It was a huge railway gun, 210mm until rebored to 240mm, with a stayed barrel reaching out 34m (111½') and with a range of 131Km (80 miles), during which flight the trajectory reached an apex of 40Km (25 miles) up, the outer limits of substantial atmosphere, a record whch stood until the first V-2 flight on 03 Oct 1942.  There were three guns emplaced around paris (see map) and they fired 351 rounds, of which only a few did any major damage, but even though they were almost impossible to aim precisely and only fired a 7Kg (15½#) warhead, they did manage to kill 256 souls and wound 620.  Thus, their value as a psychological weapon was superb, even if they couldn't hit the broadside of a barn deliberately.

Barrels wore out after only 65 rounds and were rebored to 240mm.&b=nbsp; one spare mount was captured but no complete gun was ever found.

The Paris Gun was also the direct ancestor of the V-3 (see below).

Paris Gun 3 Paris Gun 4

Paris Gun 5 Paris Gun 6

Paris Gun 7 Paris Gun 8
(images courtesy of C. Luzent, les Canons de l'Apocalypse - all rights reserved)

In addition to the Paris Gun, the French, themselves, developed a supergun ca. 1920, a series designated the ALVF (l'artillerie lourde sur voie ferrée/Heavy Railway Artillery).  The culmination of this series was the ALVF 340 224 of 340mm (13.4") bore and 51m (167') length of 1929, with a demountable forward barrel section and a range exceeding 125Km (80 miles).  They were probably demolished before the German forces overran France.

ALVF 340 elevated ALVF 340 full elev.

ALVF 340 apart
(images courtesy of C. Luzent, les Canons de l'Apocalypse - all rights reserved)

Valier-Oberth Moon Gun

Valier-Oberth Moon Gun
(image courtesy of M. Wade, Encyclopdia Astronautix - all rights reserved)

A workable 1926 concept by rocket pioneers Max Valier and Hermann Oberth for a version of the Verne gun, with multiple combustion chambers, to be emplaced in a tall mountain and which, as modified by Willy Ley and Baron von Pirquet in 1929, would form the basis for the WWII V-3.
{to be expanded}

V-3

V-3 Prototype V-3 Installation
(image courtesy of M. Wade, Encyclopdia Astronautix - all rights reserved)

Code-named the "Hochdruckpumpe" (HDP - High-Pressure Pump) and also known as "Fleissiges Lieschen" (Diligent Little Lisa) and "Tausend Fussler" (1,000 GIs), this fixed 150mm multi-chambered weapon would have fired directly across the Channel on London if it hadn't been destroyed first.
{to be expanded}

V-3 Gun
(image courtesy of M. Wade, Encyclopdia Astronautix - all rights reserved)

5 inch HARP Gun

HARP 5 in. Gun
(image courtesy of M. Wade, Encyclopdia Astronautix - all rights reserved)

Gerald Bull's initial Canadian Armament and Research Development Establishment (CARDE) big gun (there were earlier smaller ones), later to the joint Canadian-American HARP Project, with McGill University.
{to be expanded}

HARP Projectiles
(image courtesy of M. Wade, Encyclopdia Astronautix - all rights reserved)
HARP 7" & 5" probes - From left to right: HARP 7-1, 7-2, 5-1, and 5-3.

Both 5" and 7" guns used flechette/arrow/dart projectiles pushed through the barrel by a sabot.  These projectoles were named "Martlets" for the bird on the coat of arms of McGill University.

7 inch HARP Gun

7 in. HARP Gun
(image courtesy of M. Wade, Encyclopdia Astronautix - all rights reserved)

Next step up, for three times the payload; at about the same delivery cost, and pushing out to some 500Km (310miles) altitude.
{to be expanded}

16 inch HARP Gun

16 in. HARP Gun
(image courtesy of M. Wade, Encyclopdia Astronautix - all rights reserved)
The 16" HARP Gun being fired in the Barbados

Onward and upward!&nsp; Per ardua ad astra!  92Km (57½ miles) with a (relatively) huge payload.  Then, disaster (political).
{to be expanded}

SHARP

SHARP Gun
(image courtesy of M. Wade, Encyclopdia Astronautix - all rights reserved)

100mm SHARP (Super High Altitude Research Project) light gas (hydrogen) gun, developed by John Hunter at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California.
{to be expanded}

Babylon Gun

Iraqi Babylon Gun
(image courtesy of M. Wade, Encyclopdia Astronautix - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail image; click on pictre for larger image.]

The 350mm (13¾") Iraqi (Gulf War) gun and intended 1m (39") progeny.
{to be expanded}

Jules Verne Launcher (the Hunter Gun)

Jules Verne Launcher
(image courtesy of M. Wade, Encyclopdia Astronautix - all rights reserved)

John Hunter's private venture, Jules Verne Launcher Company, to put 3,300Kg (3 ton) payloads in a low-earth (185Km/115 mile) orbit; failed of funding.
{to be expanded}

Chinese Supergun

Chinese Supergun
(image courtesy of M. Wade, Encyclopdia Astronautix - all rights reserved)

21m Supergun
{to be expanded}

Sad Epilogue

Not only is Gerald Bull gone but NOT ONE of his projects survives, unless one is to count the SHARP program at LLL, and that is more a product of John Hunter than of Gerry Bull.  All that brainpower, manpower, ingenuity, determination, skill, and hardware is ALLES KAPUT!

Here, through the kind (written) permission of that skilled documentarian of the Barbados, photographer Stephen E. Mendes, from his fine Barbados Photo Gallery, are his photographs of all that remains of this grand vision and execution therof

{Thumbnail images by SB, III - please click on the picture for a larger image.]:

Look on my works, oh ye mighty and despair!

9903284 9903287
(Photos from, © by, and used with kind permission of, Stephen E. Mendes' Barbados Photo Gallery

These are remnants of earlier essays (I thought they were coastal defen(s)(c)es, but Stephen Mendes assures me they never had any such; why should anyone lug all that armor ashore just to use the gun inside?

9903288 9903289
(Photos from, © by, and used with kind permission of, Stephen E. Mendes' Barbados Photo Gallery

Now, that's more like it!  A naval mount, sans armor, and a special-work mount for a long gun.  But here's the really sad part:

99032813 99061014
(Photos from, © by, and used with kind permission of, Stephen E. Mendes' Barbados Photo Gallery

A whole lot of once-valuable ancillary equipment was abandoned along with the guns:

9903281 99061018
(Photos from, © by, and used with kind permission of, Stephen E. Mendes' Barbados Photo Gallery

In addition, some mysterious aircraft wreckage was left behind for which no truly satisfactory explanation seems available:

99032811 99032812 9903283
(Photos from, © by, and used with kind permission of, Stephen E. Mendes' Barbados Photo Gallery

Did they use them to fly Iragi materials out or as high-velocity impact targets or what?

In light of the Columbia disaster, the terrible waste of resources in present delivery systems, and just generally, one can but hope that this clever, efficient, and inexpensive means of launching space vehicles will be revived and revitalized - soon.


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LEGACY

  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.

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