Naval base & Cannon in Raleigh, NC.

 

World’s Smallest Naval Base?

Rumors have swirled for years about Raleigh being home to the world’s smallest naval base. John Morris, of Goodnight Raleigh, set out on a mission to determine the authenticity of the rumor in 2010.

What type of gun was that?

by Bro. Dan Hopping

The 8.8 cm (3.5 inches) SK L/30 (SK = Schnelladekanone (quick loading cannon) L = Länge /30 (with a 30 caliber barrel) stands in front of the Raleigh Masonic Lodge.  In artillery the length of the barrel is given as “caliber” which, in this case, means the bore diameter times the “caliber” or 3.5 X 30 which equals 8.75 feet.  This German Navel deck gun was manufactured in 1891 by Friedrich Krupp, AG in Essen Germany.  Its serial number is 66.  The barrel has a 8.8 cm (88 mm or 3.5 inch) rifled bore and a fast loading horizontal sliding-wedge breech.  In 1891, the Krupp Company was the largest company in Europe.  The Krupp family started their business dynasty in 1587 and started making weapons in 1618.  By 1890, they were the most advanced manufacturer of quality steel in the world.

SK L/30 cannon

88 SK L/30 (image courtesy of Goodnight Raleigh)

The 88 SK L/30 was designed in 1890 and had several mounts over the years.  It was most often mounted as a deck gun on German Naval ships from 1890 through WWI.  Over fifty of the first cannons installed were on the Brandenburg-class battleships.

The four Brandenburg-class, pre-dreadnought battleships were Germany’s first ocean-going battleships. They were also the first German warship, of any type, to be fitted with wireless communications. This class was comprised of four battleships, they were the:

  • Brandenburg,
  • Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm,
  • Weissenburg, and
  • Wörth.

All four ships were laid down in 1890 and were completed by 1893, except for Weissenburg, which was completed in 1894.

Brandenburg class ship

Brandenburg-class battleship

These battleships had eight to fourteen of the 88 mm SK L/30 rifled cannons.  The basic design of the gun was used in similar guns up to a 10.5 inch bore until WWII.

The shell fired from these cannons weighed 22 pounds and traveled at about 1,950 feet per second.  The bullet from an AK47 goes that fast but weighs only a third of an ounce.  The cannon can fire 15 shots per minute with a trained crew – hence the term Schnelladekanone or quick loading cannon.  The cartridge was 26 inches long and had a maximum range of 12,900 yards when raised to an elevation of 45 degrees.

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