28 cm SK L/40 'Amiens' Gun Barrel : German Army

Accession Number REL/19643.001
Collection type Technology
Object type Artillery Accessory
Location Main Bld: Outdoor Exhibition Area
Place made Germany
Date made 1904
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

28 cmSK L/40 gun barrel. This particular example was one of four originally mounted in the SMS Hessen. The Hessen took part in the battle of Jutland, firing five rounds of 28 cm ammunition. After the battle, the Hessen’s guns were removed, mounted on massive railway carriages, and used on the Western Front for long range bombardment. The breech mechanism is of the horizontal sliding prismatic wedge type and is a "left" barrel one in accordance with naval design, depending on the barrel position in a multi-gunned turret. The firing method is percussion primer using a lanyard operated trigger. The ammunition charge is loaded separately in a cartridge case with propellent weighing up to 70 kilos. The HE shell weighs approximately 320 kilos.

History / Summary

This gun barrel belonged to the 'Amiens railway gun' which was captured by 31 Battalion AIF on 8 August 1918 along the Villers-Bretonneux front. The Germans employed the railway gun to shell the railway marshalling yards at Amiens with the intention to disrupt the flow of men and materials to the front lines. After the gun was captured by Australian forces it was briefly displayed in Paris before being shipped to Australia per SS Dongarra in Oct 1919. When the gun arrived in Australia after the first world war it was displayed at Central Railway Station in Sydney before being moved to a special railway siding in Canberra from 1923 to 1942 when the gun carriage was used by the Australian Army for munitions and barrel trials for 8 inch naval guns at the artillery proof range in Port Wakefield, South Australia. The gun mounting was operational for proofing 8 inch guns from 1943 to 1947. The gun mounting and railway bogies were scrapped in the early 1960s, the barrel being the only sizeable relic left intact.