28cm SK L/45 -50 Cartridge Casing
1915 dated 28cm cartridge casing for the Krupp 28 cm SK L/45 -50 cannons. The 28cm SK L/45 -50 were Krupp naval cannons that armed Kaiserliche-Marine (Imperial German Navy) heavy cruisers and battleships during the 1st World War.

SK = Schnelladekanone (quick loading cannon) L = Länge (calibre X length of barrel i.e. L/45 = 28cm X 45 = 1273.5cm).

The heavy battlecruiser SMS von der Tann firing this model of cartridge casing from L/45 cannons destroyed the British heavy battlecruiser HMS Indefatigable at the Battle of Jutland (Skagerrak) on 31 May 1916.

During the same engagement, salvos from the heavy battlecruiser SMS Seydlitz firing this model of cartridge casing from L/50 cannons destroyed the British heavy battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary.

28cm SK L/45 -50 Cartridge Casing Data:
  • Height - 1220mm (48.03 inches)
  • Actual Calibre - 292mm (11.1 inches)
  • Base Diameter - 324mm (12.79 inches)
  • Weight - 41.2 kg (90.8 lbs.)
  • Manufacturer - Polte Magdeburg
  • Date - Feb 1915
A close-up of the head stamping on this example. It was manufactured by POLTE MAGDEBURG with the date "II 15" (Feb 1915). "-268-" is the lot number. The large clear stamping around the base is: "28 cm S.K. L/45 / 50.". Note that the primer has been struck, so this casing was fired.
A close up of the Crowned M = Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy) arsenal's acceptance stamp.
A close up of the manufacturer's stamp and date with the primer removed.

Note that the copper washer remains in place.

The February 1915 date suggests that this cartridge casing could very well have been at the Battle of Jutland 31 May 1916.
A close up of the primer which has been fired.
The 325mm (12.79") base of this 28cm SK L/45 -50 cartridge casing shown with an original period Kaiserliche-Marine officer's Schirmmütze to illustrate the size. Although the 28cm cartridge casing for the SK L/40 used in the Deutschland-Klasse pre-dreadnoughts and later on the 28cm Eisenbahngeschütz (railway gun) appear identical, the difference is in the base. Although the bases on both casings are 11mm thick, the SK L/40 base is 320mm in diameter. Due to the longer barrels, the SK L/45 -50 cartridge casings have a base of 325mm and are heavier, possibly due to thicker brass on the entire casing.
The Two Main British Grand Fleet Losses from the 28cm SK L/45 -50
SMS von der Tann sinks the heavy British battlecruiser HMS Indefatigable

The 28 cm SK L/45 cannon was carried only on the heavy battlecruiser SMS von der Tann and the Nassau-Klasse battleships (SMS Nassau, SMS Westfalen, SMS Rheinland, and SMS Posen).

28cm SK L/45 Cannon Data:
  • Weight (cannon only) - 39.8 metric tons (43.87 tons)
  • Range - 20.40 km (12.67 miles)
  • Manufacturer - Krupp
  • Barrel Length - 12.73 meters (41 ft 9.4 in)
  • Projectile - 302 kg (666 lbs) Armour Piercing High Explosive projectile
SMS von der Tann was the first heavy battlecruiser built for the German Kaiserliche Marine High Seas Fleet as well as Germany's first major turbine-powered warship. At the time of her construction, von der Tann was the fastest heavy cruiser in the world, capable of reaching speeds of more than 27 knots. Built by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg and commissioned on 01 September 1910, von der Tann was the workhorse of the High Seas Fleet Scouting Squadron. Von der Tann was armed with 8 × 28 cm SK L/45 cannons and 10 X 15cm SK L/45.

On 31 May 1916 von der Tann participated in the Battle of Jutland as part of Admiral Franz Ritter von Hipper's First Scouting Group. Shortly before 16:00 hrs Hipper's force encountered Vice Admiral Beatty's battlecruiser squadron. The German ships were the first to open fire, at a range of approximately 14,000 meters (15,000 yards). At 16:49, von der Tann fired her first volly at the heavy British battlecruiser HMS Indefatigable. After fourteen minutes of firing von der Tann had scored five hits on Indefatigable; the final hit caused Indefatigable to violently explode and sink. Of Indefatigable's crew of 1017, there were only three survivors.

SMS Seydlitz sinks the heavy British battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary

The 28 cm SK L/50 cannon was carried only on the heavy battlecruisers SMS Seydlitz and Moltke-Klasse (SMS Moltke and SMS Goeben).

28cm SK L/50 Cannon Data:
  • Weight (cannon only) - 41.5 metric tons (45.74 tons)
  • Range - 20.40 km (12.67 miles)
  • Manufacturer - Krupp
  • Barrel Length - 14.15 meters (46 ft 5 in)
  • Projectile - 302 kg (666 lbs) Armour Piercing High Explosive projectile
SMS Seydlitz was the fourth battlecruiser built for the German Kaiserliche Marine High Seas Fleet. Built by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg and commissioned on 22 May 1913, Seydlitz was arguably the most famous ship of the High Seas Fleet. Seydlitz was armed with 10 × 28 cm SK L/50 cannons and 12 X 15cm SK L/45.

On 31 May 1916 Seydlitz participated in the Battle of Jutland as part of Admiral Franz Ritter von Hipper's First Scouting Group. By 17:25, the British battlecruisers were taking a severe battering from their German opponents so Beatty ordered his ships to turn away in order to regroup. As the British battlecruisers began to turn away, Seydlitz and Derfflinger were able to concentrate their fire on the heavy British battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary. Witnesses stated that at least 5 shells from two salvos hit the ship, which caused a massive explosion that ripped the Queen Mary in half. Of Queen Mary's crew of 1275, there were only nine survivors.

During the battle SMS Seydlitz took an unbelievable amount of punishment and would not sink. SMS Seydlitz was hit by 21 heavy-caliber shells, twice by secondary battery shells, and by one torpedo.