Talk:Railway gun

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Use of the term "railgun"[edit]

"Railway guns" used to be shortened to "railguns" during WW II. I think that this should be mentioned that the word "railgun" used to be used for this type of weapon.

You're right. I've found a few references that explicitly use the term "railgun" to describe these types of artilary cannons [1][2]. I've also heard the term "railgun" used on the History Channel before. I'll put this historical info in the article. --EisenKnoechel 05:10, Apr 23, 2005 (UTC)
In-period, they were always "railguns". Modern custom is to call them railway guns, basically because people who are historically ignorant like to call various implementations of induction coil cannons, and Lorentz force cannons, "railguns". The Lorentz cannon that the U.S. Navy is calling rail-guns these days was historically called an "electric gun", and it was so named by the inventor in 1918.

Fired in Anger?[edit]

the massive Schwerer Gustav 800 mm gun, the largest artillery gun to be fired in anger

I understand that this is to distinguish it from other large artillery that may have only been used for testing or experimental purposes, but that just sounds weird. Perhaps a better wording would be fired in combat? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:01, 2 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Fired in anger" is slightly old-fashioned, yet it is still a common term for "used in combat" Catsmeat (talk) 12:51, 8 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree FangoFuficius (talk) 06:07, 27 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Boer War use[edit]

"the United Kingdom mounted a few 6 in (150 mm) guns on railway cars during the First Boer War" : shouldn't this read Second Boer War ? Rcbutcher (talk) 03:37, 10 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

By George, I bet you're right! Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 00:35, 12 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The 12" Dahlgren Railway Gun[edit]

Ref the link to the Dahlgren gun. The sign on the Dahlgren gun is somewhat faded but I think I was able to transcribe the exact wording below:

Army 12"/35 Gun
(Model of 1895)
Built at Watervliet Arsenal N.Y. about 1900.
A railway mount (Model of 1918) was built in the Marion Steam Shovel Co., Marion, Ohio 1920.
It's the oldest remaining 12" gun mount on railway and still in firing condition. 
It was used as a primary coast defense weapon through the 1920's. 
In 1942 the Navy acquired it from Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. 
It was then used for the ballistic test of bombs and various proof and test exercises.

FortWiki (talk) 15:57, 30 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

United Kingdom[edit]

I saw a large gun on a railway carriage at a MOD base on Salisbury Plain in 2010 - unable to photograph it or get close to it, and I can't tell you exactly where I saw it, and nobody at the base would talk about it - but it was in the open, not hidden - so perhaps there is another survivor Offbeam (talk) 22:31, 14 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Could be this one - - shows that the official secrets act is of little use. I think it can be seen using Google Earth on a car park. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Offbeam (talkcontribs) 22:39, 14 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I'm sure I've seen one of these guns at the War Museum in Canberra (the capital FYI). Can anyone else verify this, either with an official source or pics? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Deman Risu (talkcontribs) 10:24, 8 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The barrel of the Amiens Gun , a 28 cm Bruno to the Germans, and its gunhouse, but not the railway wagon, is on display at the AWM. Rod. Rcbutcher (talk) 13:47, 8 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Recoil systems[edit]

The part about recoil systems isn't really clear to me. What exactly is the difference between the cradle system and the top-carriage system? They both involve the gun mount recoiling on top of a fixed base. Is the difference that the cradle system's mount simply slides, while the top-carriage system mount rolls on small wheels? Doesn't really seem like a fundamental difference to me. And why should the top carriage system be less able to absorb vertical recoil than the cradle system? They both involve the gun mount recoiling along the top of the car chassis.

The accompanying diagram also isn't totally clear. The text says the top-carriage rolls on wheels, but I can't tell what I'm looking at: is it showing the entire unit, with the mount recoiling on wheels that are so small they can't be included in the image, or is it showing the top carriage alone, and the large wheels are the ones that the mount recoils on? I assume the former, but I couldn't swear on it.

I also wouldn't have understood the description of the sliding recoil system if there hadn't been a photograph alongside to look at. Wouldn't it be more accurate to say the gun was jacked up, rather than saying that the sliders were "jacked down"? Because you're basically jacking the gun up; it doesn't actually leave the ground, but you're taking the weight off of it. The words "Sliding recoil has the car body sitting on a set of wooden crossbeams or "sleepers" placed underneath it which have been jacked down on to a special set of girders incorporated into the track so that about half the weight of the mount has been transferred to them from the trucks" sounds to me like its saying that the crossbeams are something that is fixed to the ground, which the railcar rest upon, like a foundation. By careful reading, you catch that phrase "jacked down onto...girders", which suggests that it's actually saying something else. But I never would have gotten it without the photograph to help out. AnnaGoFast (talk) 06:10, 9 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Didn't see mention of the Paris Gun used by Germans in WW I[edit]

Didnt see perhaps missed it in article of the Paris Gun. Used by Germans in First World War to bombard Paris from 90 or so miles away!Stabbingdagger (talk) 17:48, 1 February 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Seriously missing subjects[edit]

Seriously missing in this article:
I. The large railroad guns used to bombard the American and British troops in the static beachhead during the long Battle of Anzio, south of Rome, Italy, during 1944. One kind of the Krupp K5 was specifically called Anzio Annie. Take a look. The Allied commanders of the amphibious landing allowed their troops to hemmed in by the Wehrmacht, and then the Wehrmacht brought down heavy railguns like the Krupp K5 from Nazi Germany to bombard them relentlessly. The Allied troops only survived because of the heavy used of sea power and airpower. Numerous Allied warships offshore fired back at the Germans, and USAAF and Royal Air Force warplanes bombarded the Germans inland.
At least one Krupp K5 was specifically captured in the Anzio area by the U.S. Army (read about it), and it was shipped back to Maryland as a war prize. It is still on display at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. (talk) 01:53, 3 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

II. Railguns like the Krupp K5 were used by the Wehrmacht all over Europe, according to the article on the Krupp K5. Railguns like this were used most often on the Eastern Front, especially in battles like the Siege of Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula, the Siege of Leningrad, the Battle of Stalingrad, and the Battle of Kursk -- wherever the movements of the armies slowed down enough for these gigantic railguns to be brought to the battlefront. Sevastopol was bombarded relentlessly by the Wehrmacht's artillery and by the Luftwaffe, and it was blockaded by the Kriegsmarine in the Black Sea. At one point, there as a Soviet munitions arsenal buried over 100 feet underground in Sevastopol, but a large time-delayed shell from a railgun penetrated into the arsenal and detonated everything there. When Sevastopol finally fell to the Nazis, the entire Soviet Army of 300,000+ soldiers in the Crimea had either been killed or captured.
To be short, the use of railguns to fire across the English Channel was pipsqueakish compared to their bombardments in Italy and in the U.S.S.R. (talk) 02:48, 3 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
III. Note the several kinds of Krupp-made railguns of WW I and WW II, used in heavy sieges, and given alliterative nicknames by their Allied opponents: Anzio Annie, Big Bertha, and the Paris gun, a.k.a. the "Kaiser Wilhelm Geschütz".
. (talk) 03:09, 3 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The article doesn't say much about Germany in WWI, does it. We assume, perhaps wrongly, that they were the main users. Absolute numbers clearly stated would be useful. For example the notes at the back of Le Temps Trouvé (Proust) state that the Germans had three "Berthas" (Paris Guns, 210mm, range 120km) and one Big Bertha (420mm, range 12km). Although these aren't railway guns, and although the numbers seem too low, at least they are numbers. FangoFuficius (talk) 06:15, 27 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]