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Talltim

Krupp K5(E) rail guns

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I saw some photo posted on Facebook of two German rail guns in Greenville NJ. Doing a bit of research online first led me to think these were Robert and Leopold, two Krupp K5(E) guns captured in 1944 in Civitavecchia in Italy. Some website say the two were combined to make one good one, which is definitely at the United States Army Ordnance Museum in Fort Lee

However other sites say that one went to the US and one to the Atlantic Wall Museum at Cap Griz Nez in France. Having seen the photos of the two in the US I was inclined to disbelieve, however there is one at that museum.

Can anyone clarify?

Edited by Talltim
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Is the photo definitely in NJ?

 

I see lots of references to them both being taken back to the US, and Leopold being fixed up with some parts from Robert. However every source I find then tells us that this gun is the one now at fort Lee, and then as an afterthought says theres also one at batterie todt.

 

The most detailed site is this one:

http://samilitaryhistory.org/vol133lw.html

 

Which suggests that only one gun was taken back to the US, and the one left behind in Europe being that now in france.

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It’s definitely in the US, the train of two guns and support vehicles is coupled to a Pennsylvania RR caboose and one of the guns has a buckeye coupling fitted.  The Greenville NJ location comes from the caption.

if you are interested and on FB then it’s in the Railroad Marine Operations group

 

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My gut feeling is that Robert and Leopold went to the US and the gun in France is one of the other 23 built

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The gun now at the Atlantic Wall Museum was in storage in Southern France until the 1980's when it became available for public display.

I will try to find the full story which I have somewhere, but as far as I can remember it was in store at a French military depot.

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The best article on the history of the gun in France is in the magazine After the Battle No 78. The gun was stored at the French Army's central artillery workshops, the Atelier de Construction at Tarbes in the French Pyrenees.

The article also has the information that one K5 was captured by the Russians and was on dislay at Lenigrad for some years but has since disappeared.

 

The article has full details of the acquisition of the gun, and the difficulties of the movement by road to Calais.

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Plot thickens - I found some interesting stuff last night -

 

file.php?id=388222&t=1

 

file.php?id=388221&t=1

 

From this thread: 

https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=70939&start=105

 

"sure looks like the rail car on the left is part of the Pennsylvania Railroad? That would place an K5 (E) Ausf. D in the USA, right? O'Rourke (Anzio Annie does say that in February 1946, 2 more K5 (E) guns arrived in the U.S., having been found in the Hillersheben and Leipzig rail yards - one smooth bore barrel and one standard, the standard having never been fired."

 

So there were possibly 4 guns that made it to the US. Reference is also made to the allies capturing several others intact in italy near trieste - one going to Yugoslavia in 1946. One may have been captured in the Netherlands too. Seems there were quite a lot of them floating about at the end of the war. Makes sense - they're great big things so wouldnt be that easy to destroy completely (one report says the crews of Leopold and robert only set charges on the breech blocks and elevator mechanisms, but an air raid shortly afterwards knocked one over).

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This photo at Aberdeen Proving Grounds:

 

file.php?id=319379

 

Shows 3 guns, which are identified as:

919219 Ausf C, 28cm "Leopold"
919214 Ausf C, 31cm Glatt
919396 Ausf D, 28cm

 

Not Robert - which doesnt seem to have got to Aberdeen.

 

https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=205906

 

Apparently the other 2 were scrapped at APG so only leopold survives.

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Civitaveccchia:

 

file.php?id=437226&t=1

 

Leopold and Robert (next to the building).

 

Apologies - I was staying up on a hamster recapturing stakeout last night (it managed to escape, chew through the edge of an old floorboard and drop into the space below the floor for 2 days, but I managed to get the beast back at 2am) so had plenty of time to do some googling!

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49 minutes ago, brack said:

Plot thickens - I found some interesting stuff last night -

 

file.php?id=388222&t=1

 

file.php?id=388221&t=1

 

From this thread: 

https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=70939&start=105

 

"sure looks like the rail car on the left is part of the Pennsylvania Railroad? That would place an K5 (E) Ausf. D in the USA, right? O'Rourke (Anzio Annie does say that in February 1946, 2 more K5 (E) guns arrived in the U.S., having been found in the Hillersheben and Leipzig rail yards - one smooth bore barrel and one standard, the standard having never been fired."

 

So there were possibly 4 guns that made it to the US. Reference is also made to the allies capturing several others intact in italy near trieste - one going to Yugoslavia in 1946. One may have been captured in the Netherlands too. Seems there were quite a lot of them floating about at the end of the war. Makes sense - they're great big things so wouldnt be that easy to destroy completely (one report says the crews of Leopold and robert only set charges on the breech blocks and elevator mechanisms, but an air raid shortly afterwards knocked one over).

Think those photos were taken at the same time as the ones I’ve seen, snow on the ground. Also the writing on the gun seems to match.

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Hi

 

For reference see also the recent GRS booklet on the K5 - plenty of photos of the one currentlyat Audingen, Pas de Calais.

 

Disclaimer: GRS member :-)

 

On a similar topic July's Eisenbahn Kurier has an article on some of the captured locos that were taken to the USA including a BR 52 with a condensing tender and 19 001, the 'Dampfmotorlokomotive', essentially a sort of streamlined direct-drive version of a Shay or Sentinel, but the size of the BR 06 and with a top speed of 175 km/h. The article concludes that after playing about with these locos the US military lost interest quickly as dieselisation was well under way in the US. Some good photos including a couple in colour from the early 1950s.

 

Ben

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On 10/07/2020 at 19:44, Talltim said:

I saw some photo posted on Facebook of two German rail guns in Greenville NJ. Doing a bit of research online first led me to think these were Robert and Leopold, two Krupp K5(E) guns captured in 1944 in Civitavecchia in Italy. Some website say the two were combined to make one good one, which is definitely at the United States Army Ordnance Museum in Fort Lee

However other sites say that one went to the US and one to the Atlantic Wall Museum at Cap Griz Nez in France. Having seen the photos of the two in the US I was inclined to disbelieve, however there is one at that museum.

Can anyone clarify?

Hi Tim,

 

Loads of infoere:-

 

https://groups.io/g/railwaygun/topics

 

Phil H

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