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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Karl-Gerät siege mortar

Design

These were the largest self propelled vehicles to be used in World War II.1 Development of the 60cm model started in 1937 and was finished in 1939.1 These were intended to be used against the Maginot Line fortifications.1

Rail Transport

To transport the Mörser's long distance special railcars were made that suspended the Mörser between them while being transported.1

Road Transport

The Mörsers could be partially disassembled and transported by specially created trailers.1

Increase Mobility

Starting in 1942 a few of the Mörser's had their 60cm mortar replaced by a 54cm howitzer to increase mobility.1 The barrels were left interchangeable.1

Support Vehicles

A Munitionspanzer IV was used to transport the very large ammunition and had a crane to lift the rounds into the loading tray of the gun.1

Production

  • 60cm Mörser (Gerät 040): 61

Variants

  • 60cm Mörser (Gerät 040):
    • ?: A version had eleven twin road wheels with six return rollers.1
    • ?: A version had eight twin road wheels with eight return rollers.1
  • 54cm Mörser (Gerät 041): In 1942 the 60cm mortar was replaced by a 54cm howitzer to help increase mobility.1

Usage

Sevastopol

The 60cm Karl was used against the fortifications at Sevastopol.1

Brest-Litovsk

The Karls were used in attacking the fortifications at Brest-Litovsk.1

Warsaw

During the Warsaw uprisings the Karls were used.1

Specifications

  54cm Mörser (Gerät 041)
Crew  
Radio  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 132 tons1
Length  
Height  
Width  
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Armament  
Main 54cm howitzer1
Secondary  
MG  
MG - hull  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Superstructure Front  
Superstructure Sides  
Superstructure Rear  
Superstructure Top  
Engine (Make / Model)  
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Net HP  
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road  
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side 81, 111
Return rollers each side 61, 81
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  
  60cm Mörser (Gerät 040)
Crew  
Radio  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 125 tons1
Length  
Height  
Width  
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Armament  
Main 60cm mortar1
Secondary  
MG  
MG - hull  
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Superstructure Front  
Superstructure Sides  
Superstructure Rear  
Superstructure Top  
Engine (Make / Model)  
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Net HP  
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity  
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road  
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road  
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth  
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side 81, 111
Return rollers each side 61, 81
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  

Sources:

  1. Profile, AFV Weapons #55, German Self-Propelled Weapons, Peter Chamberlain, H.L. Doyle, 1973
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site