Krupp Gustav Railway Gun – World’s Largest Ever Built

The largest gun ever built was the „Gustav Gun” built in Essen, Germany in 1941 by the firm of Friedrich Krupp A.G. Upholding a tradition of naming heavy cannon after family members, the Gustav Gun was named after the invalid head of the Krupp family – Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach.

Gustav had cost 10 million Marks, and the price of the ammunition is unknown, but its only achievement seems to have been the demolition of a few Soviet and Polish defences and one ammunition dump, which was hardly a great achievement for a weapon that had cost so much in effort and money. For propaganda, or for boosting morale, or for frightening an unsophisticated enemy, Gustav, and the other super-guns, may have had their uses, but as a cost effective weapon of war it was nevertheless a non-starter.

The strategic weapon of its day, the Gustav Gun was built at the direct order of Adolf Hitler for the express purpose of crushing Maginot Line forts protecting the French frontier. The second gun had a caliber of 52 cm and a range of fire of 135 km. There are no records of an operational deployment. A third copy was designed with a barrel of 48 m, but destroyed during a bomb raid on the Krupp factory in Essen. These two guns had a price of 7 million Reichsmark each. Two locations at Pas de Calais were planed for Gustav guns. Herlen and Fond de la Forge however never saw these monsters.

On 14 April 1945, one day before the arrival of US troops, Schwerer Gustav was destroyed to prevent its capture. On 22 April 1945, its ruins were discovered in a forest 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) north of Auerbach and about 50 kilometres (31 mi) southwest of Chemnitz. In summer 1945 Schwerer Gustav was studied by Soviet specialists and in autumn of the same year was transferred to Merseburg, where the Soviets were gathering German military material. Thereafter, the trail of the gun was lost.

Specifications Schwerer Gustav

Country of Origin Germany
Type Railway Gun
Caliber 800.000 mm
Length 47,300.000 mm
Barrel Length 32,480.000 mm
Weight 1350000.000 kg
Ammunition Weight 4800.00 kg
Range 47,000 m
Muzzle Velocity 820 m/s

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