Military Review

Early Krupp cannons: ideas for the future

33

Reconstructed cannon 6-Pfünder-Feldkanone C / 61


In the middle of the XIX century. new artillery systems, created on the basis of the most modern technical solutions, began to enter service with the European powers. Thus, the Prussian army received several field guns, collectively known as the "Krupp guns". They showed very high technical and combat characteristics, and also determined the directions for the development of German artillery for the next few decades.

Progress and success


The Prussian program for the development of promising field guns with increased characteristics started in the first half of the forties. The first few years were spent on preliminary study and search for promising technical solutions. In 1851, experiments began with different prototypes, and by the middle of the decade they formed the main provisions of future projects.

In 1860, a ready-made six-pound 6-Pfünder-Feldkanone C / 61 cannon was adopted by Prussia. A few years later, the production of an improved gun of the same caliber, as well as a new four-pounder, was launched - these were the 6- and 4-Pfünder-Feldkanone C / 64. The last in that series was the 4-Pfünder-Feldkanone C / 67 mod. 1867 Later, in 1871, new designations for the 9cm Stahlkanone mit Kolbenverschluß or 8 cm Stahlkanone C / 64 were introduced.


Warendorf bolt on gun mod. 1861 open

These were rifled breech-loading systems with a high-strength barrel and progressive gate designs. Provided for the use of shots with a metal sleeve and shells for various purposes.

In the shortest possible time, through the joint efforts of Krupp and Arsenal Spandau, mass production of new guns was established. For several years, the manufacturers were able to assemble and supply several hundred guns to the army, providing a radical rearmament and a significant increase in firepower. In parallel, work was underway on new samples.

The Krupp Cannons were first brought to the field of real battles during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. The backbone of French artillery was then muzzle-loading smooth-bore systems, which were inferior to Prussian guns in range, accuracy and fire power. In this regard, it is the progressive guns that are considered one of the factors that ensured the victory of Prussia. The subsequent unification of Germany was also not without modern artillery.


A similar cannon with a closed bolt

On the way to the six pounder


In the fifties, various experiments were carried out, the purpose of which was to find optimal designs, materials, etc. The result of this process was the 6-Pfünder-Feldkanone C / 61 cannon. Later, research continued, as a result of which significant changes were made to the finished design - and a new series of guns appeared.

From the very beginning, it was required to create a rifled gun capable of showing increased range and accuracy. Experiments have shown that a barrel of this kind with an acceptable resource cannot be made of cast iron or bronze. At the same time, there was already experience in the manufacture of steel barrels, and the Krupp company possessed the necessary technologies. She was ordered to manufacture experimental and then serial guns.

The final version of the barrel was made of steel and was approx. 2 m and caliber 91,5 mm. The channel provided for 18 grooves 10,5 mm wide and 1,3 mm deep. Outside, on the barrel, rudimentary sights were provided for direct fire.


Details of the Warendorf bolt cannon

For the first gun, the so-called. Warendorf shutter. It consisted of a piston that locked the bore and a transverse wedge that entered the bore and piston holes. This design provided a simple and quick reloading, however, it could pass powder gases. Because of this, the ammunition had to add its own obturator disk.

The gun could use shots of separate loading with a total propelling charge of 600 g. There were fragmentation and incendiary grenades, shrapnel and grape-shot charges. When using a grenade, the maximum firing range reached 3700 m. For buckshot - no more than 300 m. Standard rate of fire - 6 rounds per minute; a trained calculation could do up to 10.

New technologies


Guns mod. 1864 retained some of the features of its predecessor, but had serious differences. The main thing is the design of the shutter. The Warendorf system was considered impractical and was replaced by the so-called. shutter Krupp. This was an early version of a manual horizontal wedge gate.

Early Krupp cannons: ideas for the future

Weapon mod. 1864 wedge breech

In the rectangular breech of the barrel, windows were provided for installing the shutter, which consisted of two moving parts. To lock the parts, they were introduced inside the breech, after which they were displaced relative to each other and rested against the windows. The control was carried out by a side flywheel. Such a shutter was easier to manufacture and operate, and also provided better locking and obturation.

The main part of the improvements affected the barrel group, but there were other changes. The old wooden carriage has undergone a deep modernization with the widespread introduction of metal parts. We also improved guidance mechanisms and other elements.

By improving the barrel and bolt, it was possible to increase the combat characteristics. So, the 6-pounder gun mod. 1864, using standard grenades, could fire more than 4 km. Four-pounders 1864 and 1867 with a caliber of 78,5 mm, the firing range was similar to the gun of 1861, but had a number of serious advantages.


Wedge valve design of the first version

From the past to the future


Four "Krupp's guns" of the sixties of the XIX century. were the first artillery systems in the Prussian army with a rifled barrel and loading from the treasury. Practice has shown that such a design has serious advantages and is capable of providing superiority over the enemy. The development of ideas continued, and they began to be combined with new solutions.

Soon, new field weapons for various purposes appeared, based on existing developments. Later, new ideas were used in naval and coastal artillery. The subsequent development of guns and the creation of new designs also did not go without the legacy of the "Krupp guns".

Rifled steel barrels have become the standard for decades. German gunsmiths abandoned this idea only when developing modern smooth-bore tank guns - however, the field guns remained rifled. A shot with a propelling charge in the sleeve also became a common feature of all the main classes of artillery. German guns of the XNUMXth, XNUMXth and XNUMXst centuries are also united by the use of a predominantly horizontal wedge breechblock.


Improved Krupp bolt 1867

However, we are talking only about general technical solutions. For a century and a half, the designs of the units have been improved, and new devices have been created. New materials were introduced to optimize the ratio of weight and size and combat characteristics. The most important innovation of the last century was the installation of guns on self-propelled platforms. Finally, the guns for the German army in all its forms were made not only by Krupp.

Prussia and Germany actively traded their weapons with high performance. In some cases, foreign buyers not only used these guns, but also developed their own weapons based on them. Thus, the "distant descendants" 9cm Stahlkanone mit Kolbenverschluß, etc. many modern designs can be considered.

However, one should not forget that other countries worked on the creation of promising artillery systems simultaneously with Prussia and Germany. These or those developments also went into series, received development and gave workable ideas for new projects. As a result, a very interesting picture emerges: even the most modern tools of progressive designs in one way or another go back to projects of the mid-XNUMXth century. However, the similarities have long been limited to only the most general ideas, and the merits of the gunsmiths of our time are no less than their colleagues in the past.
Author:
Photos used:
Wikimedia Commons, Media.1864.dk
33 comments
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  1. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 14 August 2020 18: 04 New
    +4
    Thank you author! Apparently, such weapons were described in the novel "Bayazet" by Valentin Pikul.
    1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
      Kote Pan Kokhanka 14 August 2020 18: 33 New
      +6
      Good evening everyone!
      Somewhere I met the expression “Krupp created Russian rifled artillery - the gold of Russia - the Krupp Empire.
      In domestic studies, they do not forget to mention that Krupp, at the beginning of his career, was interested in Russian breech-loading squeaks. I even tried to buy them.
      1. Catfish
        Catfish 14 August 2020 18: 52 New
        10
        Vlad, hello and best wishes. smile drinks

        Alfred Krupp (German: Alfred Krupp; April 26, 1812, Essen - July 14, 1887, Essen) - German industrialist and inventor; the largest arms supplier of his era, which earned him the nickname "The Cannon King".


        Krupp logo
        The final breakthrough was made by Alfred Krupp with his invention of a seamless wheel for trains in 1852-1853. For decades, these wheels were Krupp's main product, and most American railways used Krupp wheels. Therefore, the Krupp logo is not a cannon, but three wheels lying on top of each other.
        1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
          Kote Pan Kokhanka 14 August 2020 19: 09 New
          +5
          Hi Constantine! I honestly didn't know! repeat
          1. Catfish
            Catfish 14 August 2020 19: 25 New
            +5
            Me too, until I got curious. smile
    2. svp67
      svp67 14 August 2020 19: 14 New
      +4
      Quote: Leader of the Redskins
      Apparently, such weapons were described in the novel "Bayazet" by Valentin Pikul.

      Pikul has another story where he describes Krupp's visit to the artillery museum in St. Petersburg, where he was hit by one of the Russian ancient guns ... where a breech bolt was already used.
      German guns of the XNUMXth, XNUMXth and XNUMXst centuries are also united by the use of a predominantly horizontal wedge breechblock.
      On tank guns, the wedge-shaped breechblock is VERTICAL
      1. alpamys
        alpamys 14 August 2020 19: 28 New
        -3
        Krupp's visit to the artillery museum in St. Petersburg, where he was hit by one of the old Russian guns ... where a breech bolt was already used

        To listen to you, the Russians have invented everything, only you don’t give some mind to your inventions, but you buy them abroad, something in this chain is broken and not logical. wink
        1. svp67
          svp67 14 August 2020 19: 45 New
          +5
          Quote: alpamys
          To listen to you, the Russians have invented everything, only you don’t give some mind to your inventions, but you buy them abroad, something in this chain is broken and not logical.

          What are you talking about? Have you read the Stories of Valentin Pikul at all? What are your complaints about me now? Just to show your offended national feeling? You are just FUNNY
        2. Kote Pan Kokhanka
          Kote Pan Kokhanka 14 August 2020 19: 57 New
          +8
          Quote: alpamys
          Krupp's visit to the artillery museum in St. Petersburg, where he was hit by one of the old Russian guns ... where a breech bolt was already used

          To listen to you, the Russians have invented everything, only you don’t give some mind to your inventions, but you buy them abroad, something in this chain is broken and not logical. wink

          Antiresno, what kind of foreign cannon have we accepted for planting over the past quarter of a century?
          The last, if my memory serves me right, was the 37mm anti-tank Rheinmetall almost nine decades ago! In the 16th century, Russia exported its guns to Holland. If you are talking about buckets of bolts, so name me at least one post-Soviet state that has something close to the Russian UAZ Patriot or Vesta!
          So without "snotty" in the bath is slippery! Especially since when the person did not clarify from the sneakers he!
          And then "You have Russians"? Do you have gas in your apartment?
      2. beeper
        beeper 14 August 2020 20: 07 New
        +5
        svp67
        On tank guns, the wedge-shaped breechblock is VERTICAL

        hi Although I already have senile marasmus, and have not been in our tanks for a very long time, I remember well that the 100-mm D10T-2S tank gun of the Soviet T-55 had a horizontal wedge breechblock, and the 115-mm that was created on its basis " smoothbore "U5-TS on T-62 too!" yes
        I still remember very well (and this later, for the rest of my life, saved my hands many times when working on metal-cutting machines), how, first of all, I was taught to send a 100-mm "unitar" with the fist of my left hand, and not with a spread palm-so that it fell from ejectors with a spring-loaded "wedge" did not soak their fingers (if you do not have time to pull your hand back in time, then a clenched fist will just painfully hit the bolt and throw off the right reflexes even in the "cross-handed" ones are quickly developed).
        There was one more subtlety during the delivery of the "unitar", so that it would not "spring back (there was no rebound from the impact of the rim of the sleeve on the ejectors)" and the shutter worked - press "to the very end" strongly and smoothly!
        1. svp67
          svp67 14 August 2020 20: 10 New
          +2
          Quote: pishchak
          , and was not in our tanks for a very long time

          Here the key word is "OUR", the conversation is about German ... hi
          1. beeper
            beeper 14 August 2020 20: 15 New
            +2
            hi Yes, but the elephant ( they) I did not notice! I remembered about insanity! yes
            I ask you to understand and forgive, after all, the sword does not cut a guilty head! recourse request
            1. svp67
              svp67 14 August 2020 20: 15 New
              +2
              Quote: pishchak
              I ask you to understand and forgive, after all, the sword does not cut a guilty head!

              What are you talking about ... all the rules. Everyone can be wrong
      3. Undecim
        Undecim 14 August 2020 20: 51 New
        +6
        Pikul has another story where he describes Krupp's visit to the artillery museum in St. Petersburg, where he was hit by one of the Russian ancient guns ... where a breech bolt was already used.

        27-mm (½-dime) iron-forged ceremonial squeak of the XNUMXth century. Possibly the world's first horizontal wedge-lock gun, lockable rotary handle. The barrel was squeaky in 1661-1673, silver plated and gilded in the Moscow Armory by the master Grigory Vyatkin. The ceremonial squeaks were intended for meeting foreign ambassadors and other solemn ceremonies at the court of the Moscow tsars.
        According to N.E. Brandenburg, the famous German breeder Krupp, who visited the museum in the early 80s of the XNUMXth century, remained for more than an hour at this cannon, marveling at the anticipation, back in the XNUMXth century, of the idea of ​​a wedge-shaped cannon bolt system adopted in the guns of his plant.
        1. beeper
          beeper 14 August 2020 21: 04 New
          +3
          hi In the old heading "Our Artillery Museum" of the "Tekhnika-Molodyozhi" magazine of the 1980s, there was also a mention of this squeak and the episode with Krupp.
          It already used a rack and pinion wedge breechblock drive, which the "wedges" of Krupp's guns did not have at that time.
          The new is the well-forgotten old!
          winked
        2. Kote Pan Kokhanka
          Kote Pan Kokhanka 14 August 2020 22: 20 New
          +1
          27-mm (½-dime) iron-forged ceremonial squeak of the 1661th century. Possibly the world's first horizontal wedge-lock with a rotary handle. The barrel was squeaky in 1673-XNUMX, it was silvered and gilded in the Moscow Armory by master Grigory Vyatkin. The ceremonial squeaks were intended for meeting foreign ambassadors and other solemn ceremonies at the court of the Moscow tsars.

          Krasava !!!
        3. Arthur 85
          Arthur 85 14 August 2020 22: 41 New
          -2
          I wonder if she shot? Or so, a ceremonial thing?
      4. Bronekot
        Bronekot 28 September 2020 02: 27 New
        0
        And the sound is nasty inside like ours
      5. Bronekot
        Bronekot 28 September 2020 02: 29 New
        0
        I understand that their shutter is not automatic. The loader squeezes it
    3. mr.ZinGer
      mr.ZinGer 14 August 2020 19: 40 New
      +2
      I was reminded of Jules Verne "500 million Begums"
  2. alpamys
    alpamys 14 August 2020 19: 35 New
    -12
    on the German Corvettes right now there are 107mm self-loading cannons shooting at a distance of up to 100 km or more.
    1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
      Kote Pan Kokhanka 14 August 2020 20: 00 New
      +8
      Quote: alpamys
      on the German Corvettes right now there are 107mm self-loading cannons shooting at a distance of up to 100 km or more.

      I advise, as proof of the veneration of the German miracle of weapons, wait for -15 degrees Celsius and lick the stern of the German corvette !!! wassat
      1. hohol95
        hohol95 14 August 2020 20: 37 New
        +1
        Better to let it dive under the stern and "touch" the propeller shaft or propeller ... drinks
    2. hohol95
      hohol95 14 August 2020 20: 35 New
      +2
      And do not specify the type "Corvette"
      The caliber of 107 mm is too big for such a "vessel" ...
      And why did the Germans suddenly decide to change the OTO 76/62 Super Rapid (76 mm) gun made by the Italian Leonardo on their corvettes for an incomprehensible 107 millimeter paper?
      Corvettes K130 "Braunschweig" - the largest caliber on a corvette 76 mm!
      1. alpamys
        alpamys 15 August 2020 01: 41 New
        0
        And do not specify the type "Corvette"

        by all means .. F125 .. there was a typo on the gun .. caliber not 107, but 127mm.

        The main caliber is represented by a bow 127-mm gun mount Otobreda 127/64 LW with a rate of fire of 35 rounds per minute. In its arsenal there are Vulcano active-reactive ammunition with a firing range of up to 120 kilometers.

        https://rg.ru/2017/01/30/video-novejshij-nemeckij-korabl-ispytal-oruzhie.html
        1. Old Skeptic
          Old Skeptic 15 August 2020 15: 41 New
          +1
          That is, in fact, it is a rocket in the form factor of an artillery shell. And what is the mass of explosives in this cast iron? And where is the merit of the gun?
          Lick, all the same, this boat.
          1. hohol95
            hohol95 15 August 2020 19: 27 New
            0
            This is not a corvette, but a frigate in the size of a destroyer!
            1. Old Skeptic
              Old Skeptic 16 August 2020 22: 38 New
              0
              Explain your point.
              Sucks or creepy?
              1. hohol95
                hohol95 16 August 2020 23: 51 New
                +1
                In fact, tovarisch staged a delight from scratch!
                He assigned a 127 mm gun to a corvette class ship, where the Germans have a maximum caliber of 76 mm!
                And these guns are put on destroyers. Only the Germans became like the sly Japanese and called the destroyer a frigate!
                And there is such information on the projectile -
                The system can use Vulcano projectiles, developed by OTO Melara. They have a tail fin and an increased flight range.
                Vulcano-type shells are made in three modifications:
                - unguided multi-purpose projectile with a ballistic trajectory (firing range up to 70 km);
                - the projectile, aimed at the target due to the integrated homing system, is mainly used to destroy surface targets (firing range up to 70 km);
                - a projectile aimed at the target by an inertial guidance system using the GPS system for firing at ground targets (firing range up to 120 km).

                There is information on the network that these shells have been developed since 2012. And for the artillery of the FRG, a similar projectile in caliber 155 mm was developed by joint Italian-German efforts.
                Feathered projectile. There are also photos with tabular data online.
        2. hohol95
          hohol95 15 August 2020 19: 26 New
          +1
          Respected! Do you distinguish between the letters K and F?
          F125 - FREGATE series!
          It was the Germans themselves who called them frigates, and in size they are equal to many destroyers!
          And this is not CORVETTE!
          F125 "Baden-Württemberg" full displacement of 7200 tons.
          K130 "Braunschweig" full displacement of 1840 tons.
          You see the difference!
          Arly Burke-class destroyers
          Series I destroyers
          6630 metric tons (standard)
          8448 tons (full)
          Series II destroyers
          6907 metric tons (standard)
          9073 tons (full)
          IIA series destroyers
          7061 metric tons (standard)
          9648 tons (full)
          Artillery 1 × 1 127 mm AU Mark 45. Mod. 2/54 clb (on destroyers of the IIA series - 1 × 1 127-mm AU Mark 45. Mod. 4/62 clb)
          So with which ship is Baden-Württemberg closer in performance?
          With a compatriot corvette or an overseas destroyer?
          No need to "whistle about the German miracle boats."
          I'll say with an old Soviet football chant -
          Sell ​​a whistle - buy glasses ...
    3. Bronekot
      Bronekot 28 September 2020 02: 31 New
      0
      And what's the point of hitting with such a caliber at such a distance? Target designation from where, do you specify?
  3. Narak-zempo
    Narak-zempo 14 August 2020 22: 41 New
    0
    Whatever you say, cannons are a much more noble item than oil.
  4. Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I 15 August 2020 00: 40 New
    +1
    1 .... From the words of the Author, one might think that Prussian steel rifled breech-loading cannons began to fight in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian war! And I think that I first learned about this Prussian cannon when I mentioned a certain war (Prussian-Danish?) ... somewhere in 1866 ... request 2. Yes, indeed, there is such a story (version) that Krupp asked to sell him a 25-mm steel breech-loading (with a wedge breechblock ...) "squeak"! Among the explanations there is also such that Krupp earned "agramad" millions, having patented as an inventor (!) And selling as an industrialist steel (!), Breech-loading (with a wedge (!) Bolt ...) guns! He didn't need "compromising evidence"!