Skip to comments.10 Largest Caliber Weapons Ever
Posted on 05/24/2012 7:30:35 PM PDT by DogByte6RER
10 Largest Caliber Weapons Ever
Most weapons, from .45 automatics to 155-mm howitzers, are described in terms of caliberthe diameter of their projectile. These are the biggest of the big. Some are impractical showpieces built to satisfy the outsize egos of dictators such as Adolph Hitler and Saddam Hussein. Others are pure demonstrations of extreme gunsmithing. All of them pack a punch.
Largest Muzzle-Loading Cannon
The Tsar Cannon was cast in bronze in 1586 and weighs 40 tons. Its 35-inch bore and could fire about 1800 pounds of stone grapeshot, earning it the nickname the Russian Shotgun. It was never fired in anger and seems to have been intended mainly for display. Regent Boris Godunov, who ruled Russia in the late 1580s and 90s, described it as a way of overawing the local population and terrifying visiting ambassadors.
Napoleon wanted to take the Tsar Cannon back to France when he captured Moscow in 1812, but left without it. The big gun is now a popular tourist attraction outside the Kremlin arsenal.
Largest Gun Used in Action
In 1936, Adolph Hitler asked artillery-maker Gustav Krupp whether he could build an artillery piece to defeat the new French Maginot Line. Krupp's suggestion: a giant cannon with an 80-cm (31-inch) caliber. Hitler ordered two.
Named Gustav and Dora, after Krupp and his wife, each 1350-ton cannon required its own train to move it and took three days to assemble. They could fire concrete-piercing shells weighing seven tonsas much as a busover 25 miles. The huge cannons arrived too late for the war against France, but Gustav devastated Sevastopol in the then-USSR during the siege, firing up to 14 rounds a day. Both guns were broken up at the end of WWII.
Largest Gun on a Battleship
Japanese monster battleships Yamato and Musashi were fitted with nine 18.1-inch guns apiece, making them the most powerful artillery afloat. But though these guns had an effective range of some 26 miles, they were of little use in real combat. By the time they launched at the start of World War II, aircraft carriers had begun to eclipse battleships.
The Yamato once did get close enough to engage U.S. warships at the battle of Leyte Gulf, but submarine and aircraft attacks forced its retreat. Bombs and torpedoes sunk both ships.
Oh yes ... I first saw this in a documentary in the 1990s called Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie
This was test fired at the Nevada Proving Ground in the 1950s with the M65 Atomic Cannon; Operation Upshot Knothole Grable
Thanks for adding this. It should be #1 on the PM list.
I dig the Punt Gun!
What? No mention of the Sultan’s cannon used to break down the walls of Constantinople?
I remember seeing drawings of large monster cannon used in Europe in the 1400s.
The pea or spit-ball shooter
Stuck at page 4...
The gun on the A10 is a winner.
The Yamoto class had big guns, but they were vastly inferior in fire control to American systems.
The Iowa class used the Mark 13 Fire Control suite. The system was insanely ahead of its time. It had a 3cm wavelength to Yamatos 10cm, and almost 25 times the power output.
Iowa had better speed(27 vs 33+ knots), adequate armor, highly-effective guns, and excellent fire control.
Yamoto had unreliable shells and brittle steel armor.
Ah, good choice. Don’t know why the site was stuck at page 4...
That recoil doesn't look "manageable" to me. It looks like it tried to split the shooter's head in two.
The Atomic Cannon is/was at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, MD. I last saw it about 8 years ago. Very impressive. I tried to bring it home but it wouldn’t fit in my van. Damned. There went my plans for urban renewal.
One of the German railroad siege guns was also there.
Spitballs. I once nailed a couple kids in high school during a food fight. Got the first between the eyes. The second opened his mouth and I got his upper left broad tooth.
The stealth spitballer strikes again!
Biggest baddest guns were the 16”ers on the Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin and New Jersey.
My uncle was a signalman on the Missouri when the Japs signed.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II was actually designed around its cannon. The GAU-8 Avenger. It fires over 3,000 30×173 mm rounds a minute.
Sure hate to have a fizzle launch that dropped short.
They were great ships. The last true class of battleship.
When I served in the army in Germany 59-62, the atomic cannon was a common site during field exercises. We weren’t allowed up close but I saw it at least 5 separate times being moved(no easy fete)about Graf or Hoenfels.
Oops, post #21 site should be sight. Need to proof read my comments.
Are you talking about the M65 Atomic Cannon? Only 20 units were produced. I’m suprised that it was a common sight. it was retired in 1963.
Yep, talking about the one and the same. It was already slated to be retired when I entered the army and I think there were only two units in Germany at the time but we saw them almost every time we went to the field. Quite a sight indeed and the truck they hauled them around was hard to handle.
The W54 warhead with a yeild of 18 tons of TNT was small for a nuclear weapons, but still 4 to 5 times more powerful than the Oklahoma City bomb in 1995.
The M65 fired some pretty powerful nuclear shells.
W33 mod.1 Y1 = .05 KT
W33 mod.1 Y2 = 40 KT
W33 Mod.1 Y3 = 10 KT
W33 Mod.1 Y4 = 5 KT
Little Boy(dropped on Hiroshima) = 16 KT
Fat man (dropped on Nagasaki) = 21 KT
Speaking of CW era, this is something I saw at a reenactment called a Williams Repeating Cannon used by the confederates. This is a replica. Apparently maybe a half dozen or so were made or so I read. I slapped this together. The owner really liked it.
Largest caliber gun ever?
That’s easy - Obama’s mouth.
Its a shame that for most people trying to access that PM link results in slow page loading while all the advertising popups and browser tracking cookies get lined up tracing your email and shopping info.
Its interesting to know this info but the link fails to deliver. I would rather see a condensed version of cut and paste post by any FReeper.
Nice try! My dad gave me model of the Atomic Cannon when I was about six. One of my favorite toys.
Nice film. Thanks!
I’ve heard comments that they broke up the display. I was there during that record breaking 22 inch snowfall. Just couldn’t get around although I enjoyed the indoor museum right down to seeing Dr. Atwater (sp?) who is on video saying M-16 bullets swelled in the chamber causing the right to jam. Otherwise I’m sure he is a weapons wiz.
May not be large cal. but NASA has a gun that fires .50 cal at 23,500 fps! Seen it with my own two eyes.
What’s up with that little double barreled .45 ACP?
They make even smaller derringers that fire .45 Long Colt or .410 shells.
Someone was not doing their homework!
OTOH, sometimes caliber isn’t as impressive as...
> The projectile was the first human-made object to reach the stratosphere. The historian Adam Hochschild put it this way: “It took about three minutes for each giant shell to cover the distance to the city, climbing to an altitude of 25 miles (40 km) at the top of its trajectory. This was by far the highest point ever reached by a man-made object, so high that gunners, in calculating where the shells would land, had to take into account the rotation of the Earth. For the first time in warfare, deadly projectiles rained down on civilians from the stratosphere”. This reduced drag from air resistance, allowing the shell to achieve a range of over 130 kilometres (81 mi). The Paris Gun was the largest gun built at the time, but it was surpassed by the Schwerer Gustav of World War 2. This fired shells up to 70 times heavier, but with only around half the muzzle velocity and less than one third the range. [from “Paris Cannon” wiki entry regarding the WWI German terror weapon designed by Fritz Rausenberger at Krupp]
I thought the idea of shooting something into space was from Jules Verne's story of a trip to the moon.
Verne's story put cigar-smoking humans on the Moon, shooting them out of a cannon in, hmm, I think, Florida (!). That really, really wouldn't have worked. The other needed line of research, that of making satellites sturdy enough to survive the boost to orbit, was more difficult than the ballistics technology. Bull worked on this project five years, was overtaken by the missile men, and never achieved orbit with one of his projectiles. Thirty or so years later, his altitude record was broken by a gas gun project of Lawrence Livermore.
From Earth To Moon Jules Verne:
> In his 1903 publication on space travel, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky refuted Verne’s idea of using a cannon for space travel. He concluded that a gun would have to be impossibly long. The gun in the story would subject the payload to about 22,000 g of acceleration (see formula). However, he was nevertheless inspired by the story and developed the theory of spaceflight. Gerald Bull and the Project HARP proved after 1961 that a cannon can shoot a 180 kg (400 lb) projectile to an altitude of 180 kilometres (110 mi) and reach 32 percent of the needed escape velocity. Additionally, during the Plumbbob nuclear test series, a 900 kg (2,000 lb) capping plate made of steel was blasted away and never found. It has been speculated that the plate entered outer space because its speed was estimated to be between two and six times the escape velocity, but engineers believe it melted in the atmosphere.
Florida and Texas:
Was the gas gun project the one where they used propane injection in the barrel and a teardrop shaped projectile to achieve velocities of a few thousand ft/sec, from, IIRC old M-60 (tank) barrels welded together?
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