283 mm/54,5 SK C/34 (283 mm)

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283 mm/54,5 SK C/34 cannons on the Scharnhorst


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Vehicles equipped with this weapon

General info

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Available ammunition

Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
1,000 m 2,500 m 5,000 m 7,500 m 10,000 m 15,000 m
Spgr. L/4,4 Kpf.Z HE HE 64 64 64 64 64 64
Psgr. L/4.4 APCBC APCBC 578 538 477 425 380 312
Spgr. L/4,4 Bd.Z SAP SAPBC 287 266 235 209 186 152
Spgr. L/4,4 Zt.Z HE-DF HE-TF 64 64 64 64 64 64
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
mass (kg)
Fuse delay
Fuse sensitivity
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (kg)
0% 50% 100%
Spgr. L/4,4 Kpf.Z HE HE 900 315 0 0.1 21.49 79° 80° 81°
Psgr. L/4.4 APCBC APCBC 890 330 0.035 15 7.21 48° 63° 71°
Spgr. L/4,4 Bd.Z SAP SAPBC 900 315 0.035 15 16.72 48° 63° 71°
Spgr. L/4,4 Zt.Z HE-DF HE-TF 900 311 0 0.1 21.49 79° 80° 81°

Comparison with analogues

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Usage in battles

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Pros and cons

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The 283 mm/54.5 SK C/34 was the main naval cannon used on the Scharnhorst-class battleships. The design for this class began after the signing of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement in 1935 which gave Germany room to make capital ships in a 3 to 1 ratio favouring Great Britain. Not intending to challenge the Royal Navy, but instead to use the newly rechristened Kriegsmarine for a quick war against France, Adolf Hitler got the room he needed to build his desired capital ships out of the deal. Now under the restrictions of the 1930 London Naval Treaty instead of the more restrictive 1919 Treaty of Versailles, the maximum calibre of guns allowed for the Kriegsmarine was now 40.6 cm or 16 inches. Hitler wanted to arm the new Scharnhorst class with 15-inch or 38 cm guns, but this armament would delay the construction of the class by several years as Germany had no 15-inch guns available to arm them and would have to make the guns from scratch. To make production quicker, Hitler decided to arm the Scharnhorst and her sister ship the Gneisenau with 283 mm guns which Germany had built before for the Deutschland-class "pocket battleships". He still wanted to have 38 cm guns on the ships and demanded they would be re-armed with them as soon as they were available, which came thanks to the Bismarck-class battleships.

The 283 mm/54.5 C/34 was based on the earlier 283 mm/52 SK C/28 used on Germany's "pocket battleships" but there were differences. First the barrel was lengthened by 2.5 calibres, a two-part barrel jacket with a loose liner and a Krupp style horizontal sliding breech block. While the 283 mm was small compared to the armament of other battleships of the period, it offered a faster rate of fire along with being an expedient measure as discussed earlier. It was planned that after the Scharnhorst class was retrofitted with the 38 cm guns from the Bismarck class, that the 283 mm guns would be mounted on the next generation of "pocket battleships". However this plan did not happen. Another planned use for the gun was on the Landkreuzer P. 1000 "Ratte", super-heavy tank project that never left the drawing board. In service, the SK C/34 was an accurate gun and has the distinction of hitting the carrier HMS Glorious during a battle in the North Sea from Scharnhorst at approximately 26,000 yards - one of the longest-range naval gunnery hits in history. After her sister ship Gneisenau was damaged in an air raid, the turrets were removed and repurposed as coastal defense batteries. The Bruno turret guns were assigned to a battery at Fjell festning (fortress) on Sotra Island, Norway. The Caesar turret guns were given to Battery Oerlandat in Austrått, Norway, and the Battery Rozenburg in the Netherlands got the guns from Anton turret.


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See also

External links

Germany naval cannons
15 mm  MG 151
20 mm  2 cm/65 C/30 · 2 cm/65 C/38 · 2 cm/65 Flakzwilling 38 · 2 cm/65 Flakvierling 38 · MG 151/20
30 mm  MK103/38
37 mm  FlaK-Lafette C/36 · 3.7 cm FlaK-Lafette LM/42 · SK C/30 · FlaK.36 · FlaK43
40 mm  40 mm/70 MEL58 · Bofors Flak 28 · Bofors L/70 model 1948
52 mm  52 mm/55 SK L/55
88 mm  8.8 cm/76 SK C/32 · S.K.C/35 · FlaK.18 · Flak.36 · 88 mm/45 AA SK L/45 · 88 mm/45 casemate SK L/45
100 mm  100 mm/55 MLE model 53
105 mm  SK C/32 · SK C/33 AA
120 mm  L45
128 mm  12.8 cm/45 SK C/34
150 mm  150 mm/45 SK L/45 · 15 cm/48 KC/36 · 15 cm/55 SK C/28 · 15 cm/60 SK C/25
203 mm  20.3 cm/60 SK C/34
283 mm  283 mm/45 SK L/45 · 283 mm/52 SK C/28 · 283 mm/54,5 SK C/34
305 mm  305 mm/50 SK L/50
380 mm  38 cm SK L/45
23 mm  ZU-23 (USSR)
30 mm  AK-230 (USSR)
37 mm  V-11 (USSR)
76 mm  76 mm/62 OTO-Melara Compact (Italy)
100 mm  100 mm/56 B-34 (USSR)