The 15cm Kanone (Eisenbahn) was the smallest calibre railway gun produced by the German Army during the period of rearmament in the 1930s, but only a handful were produced because it wasn’t a powerful enough weapon to be worth the effort.

The 15cm K (E) was produced as part of the 1936 emergency armament programme (Sofort-Program), and the first of only four that were produced was delivered in 1937. It was produced by mounting an ex-naval 15cm L/40 barrel on a rectangular platform that was mounted on a flatbed railway carriage. The recoil equipment was mounted above and below the barrel, and the gun was mounted at the front of the platform, leaving the rear free for the crew. The platform could rotate through 360 degrees. Outriggers could be deployed on either side of the railway carriage to keep it stable when the gun was fired.

The 15cm K (E) was an effective weapon, but it wasn’t a good use of limited resouces. The standard German corps artillery gun was 15cm calibre, and each gun took much less effort to produce than the railway gun. As a result only four were built before work switched to the slightly more effective 17cm Kanone (Eisenbahn). However even this wasn’t really worth the effort and only six were produced.

The 15cm guns were used to equip Eisenbahn-batterie 655. They later went to the Navy where they were used to equip Batterie Gneisenau. They then returned to the Army, but kept the Navy’s name. At first they were largely used for propaganda purposes, but in 1940 they were used to defend the French coast. Some were later moved east to the defend the Dutch, Belgian and north-eastern French coasts. Although some survived into 1945, their relatively small calibre meant that they didn’t really stand out in action. 


15cm K (E)


15cm (5.9in)

Barrel Length

5.571m (18ft 3.33in)

Weight for transport


Weight in action

74 tons


10 to 45 degrees


360 degrees (turntable)

Shell Weight

43kg (95lb) or 52.kg (116lb)

Muzzle Velocity

805m/ sec

Maximum Range

22,500m (24,605 yards)

Rate of Fire

80 rounds/ hour

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How to cite this article:Rickard, J (23 May 2018), 15cm Kanone (Eisenbahn) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_15cm_kanone_eisenbahn.html

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