S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com ORDNANCE Continuation Page 2 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 Colt Woodsman Comet Authenticast

Updated:  24 Mar 2015; 11:15  ET
[original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/ordnanc2.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/ordnanc2.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


ORDNANCE Continuation Page 2


This continues on ORDNANCE Continuation Page 3.

Please refer to the HELP section on Continuation Page 3.


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

On the Ordnance Atomic Cannon Page:

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

On the Ordnance Continuation Page 1:

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

On this Ordnance Continuation Page 2:

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

On the Ordnance Continuation Page 3:
  CALIBER (Calibre).
  Anzio Annie
  Russian Armor

On Ordnance Continuation Page 4:
  Drake Cannon
  Coastal Defense Guns at Fort Casey
  M274 Mechanical Mule   M2-M3-M4 MEDIUM TANK SUSPENSIONS (01 Mar 2015) new.gif (01 Mar 2015)
  M3 Medium Tank - Lee vs. Grant (01 Mar 2015) new.gif (01 Mar 2015)

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

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

Ordnance Models Page.

On the Ordnance Railroad Guns Continuation Page:

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

The Ordnance Supergun Page

Comet Metal Products Authenticast Models Page.

- WWII tank ID plates and nameplates available on this page!

note-rt.gif - I found a trove of WWII tank ID plates and nameplates that I'd completely forgotten I had, mostly from Wehrmacht panzers but also some U.S. and Japanese plates.  If you are seriously interested, and I won't give them away, let me know and I'll catalog them; most have detailed accession tags but some are not quite so well documented.   (29 Jul 05)

As noted on Page 1, 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 Page 1.

Here is Anzio Annie (the 280mm German "Leopold" K5 railroad gun - see also below) before she came to APG:

Anzio Annie (Leopold)
(Ordnance Museum Foundation Photo)

and as she sits on a scrap of track now:

Anzio Annie (Leopold) APG   Anzio Annie (Leopold) APG
(Ordnance Museum Foundation Photos)

[More on Anzio Annie on Page 3.]

The K5 railroad gun was the prototype from which the Atomic Cannon was developed and it was at a review at APG on 19 May 1956, shown on my Atomic Cannon page, at which the Atomic Cannon was fired, that I got this, which I had completely forgotten I (still) had, a gift from a Chrysler rep., a lapel pin:

[Photo by and © 2005 - S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved]

It shows an M48 Patton II tank (Chrysler-built) with the word "Chrysler" superposed where the return rollers should be.  I had already left Aberdeen when the M46 Patton was new and did not get to work on the M48 Patton II.  The pin measures ¾" long, overall.


[Additional unindexed Ordnance apocrypha was moved from here to:
Ordnance Continuation Page 0 on 18 Dec 2006.]   new.gif (19 Dec 06)

Here are two photos of what appears to be a 37mm AT round (it measures about 35mm at the base), unless it's the carbide core of a larger round, in 2" (50.4mm) armor plate:

37mmRd/2'Plate1 37mmRd/2'Plate3
[Cropped from photos courtesy of R. Stillwell - all rights reserved]

It looks just like one our test shots from Aberdeen Proving Ground; we kept a random sampling of such around to show visiting brass and the students at the Ordnance School just what various loads could do on armor plate.  Anyone know better?


There is excellent coverage of railroad guns (not just German) in the 1976 Squadron/ Signal Publications "Armor No. 15", "German Railroad Guns in Action", by Joachim Engelmann (distributed in Great Britain by Almark Publishing Co. Ltd.), or it's German predecessor, "Deutsche Eisenbahngeschütze" from Podzun-Verlag.

Speaking of railroads and ordnance (witness Anzio Annie at the top of this page), had you seen Dr. Nicholas D. P. Robinson's "http://www.cix.co.uk/~nrobinson/railgun/" railway gun and armo(u)red train site?  It was huge and slow loading, but ohboyohboy!  If you're not familiar with railway guns, just take a look at the German D1, below or at "http://www.cix.co.uk/~nrobinson/railgun/dora/index.htm" "Dora", a.k.a. "Schwere Gustav", 80cm (31½"), sitting on 40 axles, the world's largest mobile gun by far, and claimed by Dr. R. as the world's largest gun, period, which took an entire train of 28 support cars and spanned two curved tracks (for training) when self-erected; she was used effectively by the Wehrmacht to demolish the defenses of Sebastopol during WWII:

[More on Anzio Annie on Page 3.]

  [The good doctor advised (25 Feb 01) that his site has been moved to a new server (yet again);
the links have been changed again and you should change your bookmarks accordingly.]

The good Dr. R. had evaporated and none of his links worked - I heard from him on 18 Oct 2006 and he advised that his website had been frozen and the the material was now at <www.railwaygun.co.uk>; well, it happened again and it is now (as of 02 Jul 2008) at http://www.aopt91.dsl.pipex.com/railgun/ [I am NOT updating the more-detailed links below].

Dora RR Gun Side View

Can you believe this?  But, oh, 'tis true, 'tis true.  Take a gander at her self-erecting herself (with a lot of human help, 2,000 of 'em); bear in mind that the gun, recoil mechanism, carriage, cranes, etc., were all parts of, or stowed on, a single-track train:
Dora RR Gun Erecting
You know; it's totally inappropriate to designate a gun this big and long as "she"!

Here's a "totally awesome" (quite literally) view from in front:
Dora RR Gun Photo

Bend and stretch, reach for the sky, indeed (and the top of the photo is MISSING!):
Dora RR Gun Photo

And just look at this cute little shell and casing:
Dora RR Gun 80cm Shell Photo
My, what a tiny Tommy!

Dr. R. now has a page of photos of the remains of Dora that you really have to see to believe and see also the commercial HO model on my model railroad page!

Photographs from Dr. Robinson's site; I can't spare more bytes; go there for more photos.

Per Dr. R., "The largest gun ever built had an operational career of 13 days, during which a total of 48 shells were fired in anger.  It took 25 trainloads of equipment, 2000 men and up to six weeks to assemble.  It seem unlikely that such a weapon will ever be seen again."
Let us earnestly hope he's right.

Dr. R. links a French site, Palpatine's (Jean's), with even more photos and these dimensions (edited, and English equivalents added, by SB,III)

Effective range 40 km {65 miles}
Max. elevation 53°
Total weight 1350 tonnen {1,485 tons}
Barrel weight 400 tonnen {440 tons} including
110 tonnen {121 tons} breech block & ring
Overall length 43 m {141'}
Width 7 m {23'}
Height 12 m {39' 4"}
Barrel length 32 m (105'} (40 times its caliber)
Shell type Armor capped 3.75 meter {12' 4"} shell
(without propellant casing)
Shell Weight 7100 kg {7½ tons - 15,653 lbs}

Dr. R. also links a German Dora site (nur auf Deutsch).

There is a lot of question over how many 80cm RR guns Krupp actually made after Hitler released an order for three.  Some undocumented accounts show that Schwerer Gustav was a proof piece and scrapped after test firings and that Dora E was the second unit.  Personally, I doubt this very much; it's amost as believable as building a test Empire State Building, Hindenburg, or Queen Mary and junking it after.  Just isn't likely, especially not in wartime Germany.  I would respectfully submit that the test unit was refitted (the normal procedure) and shipped to Sevastopol under the moniker Dora.

At last!  On the German site, I found this small picture of a BIG gun being fired:

Dora RR Gun Firing
(from German Dora site;
sorry, I can not provide a larger image.)

There WERE larger guns, by caliber (calibre) alone.  Of course, caliber (calibre) has two meanings; bore diameter and length in diameters.  Thus, the Paris Gun was by far the longest gun ever (unless one of the HARP models, or Saddam Hussein's equivalent, was longer) or just the beast described above at Aberdeen would qualify for diameter, as would the monster mortar in Red Square in Moscow.  However, Dora/Gustav is by FAR the largest railway (even mobile) gun ever!

Actually, looking at "Armor No. 15" again after many years, I see that there were several RR guns larger than the "standard" 280mm used in WWII; 30, 30.5, 32, 34, and even 37cm RR guns were used by the French, captured by the Germans, and turned on the Allies.  These were, however, "normal" length guns, neither howitzers nor extreme.

There were enormously long RR guns in use at 20.3 and 21cm dia.; the barrels were so long that, as with the WWI Paris gun, the 1,215cm (over 257'!) long barrels had to be trussed to keep from drooping.

Dr. R. found plans showing both a roadable version of Dora/Gustav and one to hide in a tunnel (to fire across the English Channel)!

Dr. R. also links an American site, Michael McSwiney's, with an enormous amount of information on German ordnance, especially on AFVs and Dora/Gustav and speculation about their roadable version.

Dr. R. has some background on the special paired boxcab oil-electric locomotives used to pull and power the Dora, the V 188.  Märklin makes (made?) a 3-rail model (37284) of them in HO scale in red and states that they survived and have been restored !  Trix makes the same model in green in HO 2-rail (22541).

The 1976 Squadron/Signal Publications "Armor No. 15", "German Railroad Guns in Action", by Joachim Engelmann, noted above, carries outstanding coverage of Dora/Gustav on pp. 35-41.

There is a 14" railway gun on display at the U.S. Naval Historical Center at the Navy Yard in SE Washington, D.C.; it was one of eight* built for service in Europe in WWI.

* - according to Navy Yard placarding, but read on:

(Photo from Dr. Robinson's site)

Frederick Westing's "The Locomotives that Baldwin Built" (1966, Bonanza Books/Crown Publishers/Superior Publishing Company, LoC 66-25422) reproduces the "History of the Baldwin Works - 1831-1923", which relates the almost-contemporaneous story of these guns.  They were intended for use against long-range German guns firing into Dunkirk from Ostend and the mounts were designed by the Naval Gun Factory in Washington, D.C., utilizing available standard naval 14" guns.  Baldwin's president, Samuel M. Vauclain, was also the Chairman of the Munitions Committee of the War Industries Board and offered on 25 Jan 1918 to have Baldwin, working with American Bridge Company, build five units in from 100 to 120 days and the first gun, scheduled for 15 Jun, was delivered on 25 May!  The mounts were on four six-wheel trucks and proved out just fine but could not be deployed to the Belgian coast and were instead sent to the Western Front, where they served for six weeks until the Armistice, firing 782 rounds in 25 days.  Six more mounts were completed after the Armistice, plus an additional two of an improved design, for a total of thirteen (not eight) units.  Incidentally, these land-based batteries were served by U. S. Navy crews (much like the very first tanks).

The Wehrmacht also built a giant 60cm howitzer-cum-mortar and a giant medium- length 54cm gun on huge tracked carriages which were hoisted on split Schnabel cars; here's the Hasegawa 1/72-scale model of the mortar, Mörser Karl:

Hasegawa 1/72 Mörser Karl

Six (6) 60cm Mörser Karl, Gerät 040, at 5.068m (16' 7½") gun length, were built but Hitler ordered that a longer-range (10km) version be made and the 54cm gun [7.108m (23' 3¾") long] was substituted on three (3) chassis to make the Gerät 041.

Here, from the good Dr. R's site are a drawing and the 60cm 040, the 54cm 041, the loading scheme, and the whole shebang, plus another kit picture:

Mörser Karl Drawing

60cm Mörser Karl 040 54cm Mörser Karl 041

Mörser Karl Loading Scheme

60cm Mörser Karl 040

Hasegawa 1/72 Mörser Karl
(Photos from Dr. Robinson's site)
[Three images restored 03 Jul 08]

Having managed to lose three of those Karl images, I appled to Dr. R.; he did not have them any longer, but sent these, instead:

Mörser Karl 3-view Drawing

Mörser Karl on Rail in Station

Mörser Karl on Rail in Field
(Photos courtesy of Dr. N. D. P. Robinson)

Oh, wow!  That last is clearly of the 54cm 041, and, if you look closely, the tracked carriage is being dropped onto (or lifted from) the rails at the left!

A 27 Jan 00 search for something else brought up TWO Hasegawa kits for Mörser Karl, the rail version, kit #HA31032, and a tracked version, with a Pz IV ammo carrier, kit #HA31033, as well as their Leopold, kit #HA31028, all in 1/72 scale at around $30.00 each.

See Ordnance page 3 for Russian Armor, with a link to a Dutch site and a Kiev museum with a twin-122mm-turreted armored railcar.

An old RR book of mine turns out to have had great WWII RR gun (and armored train) photos all along:  "Steel Rails to Victory", Ron Ziel, 1970, Hawthorn Books, LoC 76-126785.

Coverage of Railroad Guns now continues on a separate page)   new.gif (05 Jan 2012)

Ross Winans, famed early RR locomotive designer and builder (especially on the B&O) also not only built a steam railcar in 1861, he also built a steam machine gun!  From my Steam Car page:

Looking up something unrelated in my 1945 "Tanks and Armored Vehicles, by Lt. Col. Robert J. Icks, Duell Sloane and Pearce, New York, I ran across a reference I'd completely forgotten.  In 1861, Charles S. Dickinson invented and Ross Winans (the famed locomotive builder) built a "Steam Battery" or "Winans Steam Gun", a semi-armored, four-wheeled, steam-propelled wagon mounting a steam cannon.  The latter came in many sizes and was practical but the wagon, built in Baltimore, and sent to Harper's Ferry for Confederate use, was captured by the Feds, tested, and deemed impractical (so what else is new?).

Well, on 05 Nov 03 Larry McClelland reminded me of the machine gun; what follows is substantially his telling:

Winans built the gun wagon in Elkridge, near Baltimore, Maryland, on the Patapsco River, on the main rail line from Baltimore to Washington.  As were most Marylanders, Winans was a Confederate sympathizer. Lincoln's first act following Fort Sumpter was to start arresting prominent Marylanders, of whom the builder was one.  The rail lines were at the time in the hands of Confederate sympathizers and Lincoln used Union troops to capture and hold them.  Lacking any central leadership, the Maryland Confederates were caught unprepared and the battery was captured before it could be gotten across the Potomac to Virginia or placed on ship at Elkridge Landing and sent down the Cheaspeake Bay.  The battery DID WORK (emphases Larry's); the builder had built it with the idea of selling it to the Federal Government but the Civil War startedbefore the government had approved its purchase.  The battery was known to the Union troops and their specific goal was to capture it before the builder could get it to the Confederacy.  Well before the first battles of the war, and when there were very few Union troops and control of the rail lines was very much in doubt, the decision was made to destroy the gun rather than let it fall into Confederate hands.  When later in the war the Union became interested in rebuilding the battery, the builder chose prison over cooperation.  An exact model sits on the east side of Route #1 (until l965, the main and only direct Baltimore-to-Washington road) where it is passed by thousands of motorists (including at one point me, SB,III) every day, traveling through Elkridge.

Thanks, Larry!  Now, if only I could find my old photos of the replica [or get back down there and take more (and I was just down near there)]!

Atomic Cannon - now on its own page.

Whil(e)(st) looking for another old model, I ran across the AUTHENTICAST Honest John Rocket Launcher in its original box (like the Atomic Cannon, it would not fit in my fitted case).  The box is labelled "GUIDED MISSILE HONEST JOHN 5194" and probably dates from 1950 or so.  I have moved pictures of the box to a separate Authenticast page, where fan(atic)s will find the box, as found and the label; here are the rocket, stowed on its "Jimmy" 10x10 (4¾" long, overall), and the rocket, in firing position:

Honest John, stowed Honest John, firing

These and more photos of this model and its box have been moved to the Comet/AUTHENTICAST continuation page 2.


(moved to Page 3 on 13 Apr 00)

Chrysler did an enormous amount of war work in the 1940s, but their 1940s Heritage pages have errors:

For the 1940s, they state that war production included "Pershing tanks and 40mm trailer-mounted antiaircraft guns".  They produced thousands of M3 Grant/Lee and M4 Sherman tanks, which won the war; the Pershing only came along at the very end.  The 40mm towed mount was not trailer-mounted but had integral retractable road gear.

I could swear I had this up on these or the Chrysler pages but can't find it,
so here we go again (in both places):

When engines were hard to come by during WWII, Chrysler also fitted one of the M3/M4 medium tank series with a really-strange motor made from five (5) readily-available Royal 6 L-head engine blocks and heads, arranged in "W" fashion [ _\|/_], with a common crankcase and crankshaft, sort of like a weird cross between a radial and an in-line aircraft engine.

HELP! a.k.a. Hilfe!  Au Secours!  Ayuda!  Aiuto!  Ajuda!  Hulp!  Hjälpa!  Hjælpe!  Segít!  Auttaa!  Ops!  Tetsudau!  Pomoci!  Pahzhaloostah!  Helpi!

Where I post inquiries (or offers) solely at my own discretion (moved to Ordnance page 3 once-and-for-all 26 Feb 01)

[Material about the Drake gun/cannon moved to Drake Gun/Cannon on continuation page 4.]

Not related to RR guns but BIG, I spotted this from the ocean-going 16-hour ferry from Nova Scotia to Argentia, Newfoundland, in early Sep 1988; Argentia was the old WWII U.S. Navy base and this gem is far newer than WWII but it hit me between the eyes at pierside as we warped in:

Pier at Argentia Sep 88

This is but a small segment of a much larger picture and so won't blow up well but let's home in on that odd, huge military vehicle to the left of the Army 18-wheeler:

BARC at Argentia Sep 60
(Sep 1988 photo by and © 1988/2003 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

See those gigantic tires and the low mid-section and SEEP-shaped hull?  It's an old BARC, the successor to the DUKW!

The ORDNANCE Main Page has had to be split; this is a continuation of ORDNANCE Continuation Page 1, and, in turn, continues on ORDNANCE Continuation Page 3.

[Continued on Ordnance Railroad Guns Continuation Page).]


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


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