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21cm / 24cm Paris-Geschutz (Paris Gun)

Long-Range, Super-Heavy Railway Gun

Imperial Germany | 1918

"The Paris Gun of the German Empire in World War 1 was not so much to destroy the city as it was a psychological weapon against the people in it."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/17/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The "Paris Gun" was one of Germany's several "big guns" featured during World War 1. It was originally a 380mm gun barrel (38cm SK L/45 "Max") used on the "Long Max" series of railroad guns developed by the storied concern of Krupp though the assembly now lengthened and its barrel lined to produce a longer-range weapon of smaller 210 caliber. The 69-foot long barrel, and complex mounting hardware, sat atop a specially-configured railway car and its crew numbered 80 specialists and assistants - these personnel pulled from the ranks of the German Navy as the gun held a naval origin. With the arrival of the Paris Gun, however, the Germans produced a weapon that could launch a man-made projectile into the stratosphere - up to 26 miles up - the first such act of its kind recorded in astronautics.

As its name suggested, the weapon was developed with the sole intent to engage Paris at long range, proving to its citizens that they were not immune to the fighting along the Western Front. In this way, the gun proved a success as a psychological terror weapon but was largely inaccurate, prone to technical issues, and required many resources which then produced limited results. In this way, the Paris Gun was something of a failure as a true battlefield artillery piece.

The Paris Gun made use of a hefty 234lb projectile and held a range out to 81 miles. Within German-held territory in France, the weapon was able to target Paris which lay some 75 miles away. It opened up in anger against the city on March 21st, 1918 and continued its terror campaign into August of that year, withdrawn amidst the advancing Allied forces. During its operational tenure, it managed to fire at least 320 shells, kill 250 Perisians, and injure a further 620 citizens while accounting for considerable damage from the 210 shells. The weapon typically operated alongside a battery of standard German guns to help shield its position from wandering Allied reconnaissance aircraft and ground scouts. As such, its true location alluded the Allies for some time. Initially, its projectiles were thought to have been derived from a passing German bomber or Zeppelin until fragments were studied more closely and shown the true artillery origins.

Krupp manufactured seven 210mm barrels for the Paris Gun program as fracturing and wear were constant issues when dealing with such forces at play. The retreating Germans then elected to have the weapon completely destroyed lest it fall into enemy hands - not even its design plans survived the fighting.

Such ended the reign of terror on Paris brought through the German "Paris Gun".

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the 21cm / 24cm Paris-Geschutz (Paris Gun) Long-Range, Super-Heavy Railway Gun.
None. This is a towed artillery piece.
Installed Power
81 miles
130 km
The physical qualities of the 21cm / 24cm Paris-Geschutz (Paris Gun) Long-Range, Super-Heavy Railway Gun.
111.5 ft
34 meters
O/A Length
511,999 lb
232,239 kg | 256.0 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the 21cm / 24cm Paris-Geschutz (Paris Gun) Long-Range, Super-Heavy Railway Gun.
1 x 211mm gun barrel

1 x 238mm gun barrel
Dependent upon ammunition carrier.
Nightvision - NONE.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - NONE.
Notable series variants as part of the 21cm / 24cm Paris-Geschutz (Paris Gun) family line.
Paris Gun - General Weapon Name
Paris-Geschutz - German Translation
Kaiser Wilhelm Geschutz - Alternative German Name
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the 21cm / 24cm Paris-Geschutz (Paris Gun). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 2 Units

Contractor(s): Krupp - Imperial Germany
National flag of modern Germany

[ Imperial Germany ]
1 / 1
Image of the 21cm / 24cm Paris-Geschutz (Paris Gun)
Image from the Public Domain.

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to battlefield requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The 21cm / 24cm Paris-Geschutz (Paris Gun) Long-Range, Super-Heavy Railway Gun appears in the following collections:
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