20.3cm Kanone (Eisenbahn)

The 20.3cm Kanone (Eisenbahn) was a German railway gun produced used spare barrels originally built for heavy cruisers.

The barrels were originally built for the Blücher class heavy cruisers (Blücher, Admiral Hipper and Prinz Eugen).  They had a barrel length of 12.15m (L/60), and a range of 36.4km. Eight were provided for railway guns, and were placed on a system similar to the First World War 21cm ‘Peter Adelbert’ railway guns. This used a four axle bogie at each end. The main carriage was made of two side plates, tallest in the centre, and thinner at the front and rear. The front was low mounted, the rear was raised up. There were also hinged platforms to either side of the gun that could be lowered to provide more space for the gun crew. The heavy ammo required a crane to make it practical to handle.

The gun was mounted directly onto the carriage, so there was very little traverse possible. However it was normally used with a Vögele turntable, which gave it 360 degrees after the turntable had been emplaced. The gun itself was a non-standard size for the German Army, and it had been hoped to replace the original 20.3cm guns with more standard 21cm K38 barrrels.

Six of the eight guns were captured by the Allies during the campaign in France in 1944.


20.3cm Kanone (Eisenbahn)



Barrel Length

12.15m (L/60)

Weight for transport


Weight in action

86.1 tons


To 47 degrees


Fixed carriage
360 degrees on Vogele Turntable

Shell Weight


Muzzle Velocity

925m/ sec

Maximum Range


Rate of Fire

30 rounds/ hour

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 June 2018), 20.3cm Kanone (Eisenbahn) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_20_3cm_kanone_eisenbahn.html

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