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Weapons of World War Two

80 cm Kanone (E)

80 cm Kanone (E)

In 1935, one of the military objectives of prime importance for the German Army was the Maginot Line. To solve the problem of the neutralization of such an exceptional defensive position of the potential adversary it was decided to research a weapon in the genre of the supercannon Bertha, which in the Great War had bombarded Paris with optimal results. The specifications indicated were: range, 35-45 kilometers; maximum elevation, 65 degrees; penetration, one meter of steel armor or seven meters of reinforced concrete or 30 meters of compact terrain. The company that managed to present the project of a weapon that fulfilled such requirements was Krupp again, with a team of technicians led by the engineer Erich Muller.

The result of the studies was a gigantic cannon on railway carriage supported by four platform-wagons, which remained disassembled in a deposit and would be assembled each time on the site of utilization. The ensemble was moved by two Diesel locomotives of 1000 horsepower each. Elevation and reload were electrically operated, while for horizontal orientation it was necessary to build a large platform with a curved railway on which the cannon was displaced until achieving the desired position, as it can be seen in the drawing. To transport the materials were needed at least three trains with almost 1000 specialists. For building the artillery position was provided the employment of about 1500 workers who were recruited on the way.

The facilities, commanded by a Colonel enginner, comprised the General Headquarters, a section for fire control, another for security service and another one for emergency and gunners; in total about 500 men. As support and protection, apart from the technical personnel, was provided a Flak detachment, another of Nebelwerfer, 20 engineers from Krupp, two guard companies, one unit of military police with dogs and a section of the Luftwaffe for air cover and reconnaissance. In total, almost 3870 men. For firing the cannon were necessary 350 men. The maximum shot dispersion was one percent.

Due to the war events the "Dora" was never used in France, but it was used to neutralize the fortifications of Sevastopol effectuating 48 shots in five days. Later in 1944 it would be used during the uprising in Warsaw.

Year: 1941

Total weight: 1350 tonnes

Total length: 42.97 meters

Width: 7 meters

Height: 11.60 meters

Barrel length: 32.48 meters

Barrel weight: 400 tonnes

Assembly time: 3 days

Preparation of position: 3-6 weeks

Caliber: 80 centimeters

Rate of fire: 1 shot every 19-45 minutes

Weight of armor-piercing projectile: 7.1 tonnes

Weight of high-explosive projectile: 4.8 tonnes

Length of armor-piercing projectile: 8.26 meters (including propellent charge)

Length of high-explosive projectile: 6.79 meters (including propellent charge)

Weight of propellent charge: 1.85/2 tonnes

Maximum elevation: 48 degrees

Range of armor-piercing projectile: 38 kilometers

Range of high-explosive projectile: 47 kilometers

Barrel lifespan: About 300 shots

Also in Weapons of World War Two:

M18 Hellcat tank destroyerPanzerkampfwagen VI B KonigstigerJeep Willys