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Sevastopol...

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe October 1939 to February 1943' started by CrazyD, Sep 11, 2002.

  1. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    You know, Andreas, that's a really good question! I've never seen a photo of both the guns together... All the sources I've read to claim that two of the guns were produced, and I guess that would be my guess as well. I do think the guns were often mis-identified. Look at the website AndyW put up- the account he notes uses both Dora a Gustav... but a closer reading certanly seems to suggest that the article is actually talking about one weapon...
    "The initial target was  for Dora was Sevastopol on the Eastern front and in June 1942 the big gun opened fire. The gun was only fired over a five day period."...then, two lines later...
    "Gustav attacked coastal gun batteries at a range of sixteen miles.  It took eight shots to completely destroy these targets. Fort Stalin was destroyed later that day with six shots."
    So is this account about Dora or Gustav?
    "The gun was again used to more worth some days later when Fort Siberia was hit with five shots and destroyed as was Fort Maxim Gorki."... Clearly, the author is talking about one gun...
    But then...
    "The barrel of the gun was worn out and Gustav had to be dis-mantled and shipped back to Germany to be re-fitted with a new barrel, this took weeks and weeks to do costing effort time and money and Germanys resources at this time was extremely pushed as it was.

    Dora was only fired several times more and had to be taken apart, transported and re-assembled for every new target in different parts of enemy territory and the railway tracks had to be made for it each time."

    My guess is, they made two guns but only ever used one. Dora or Gustav? Probably no way to ever tell for sure- I'm not sure if the guns were actually marked with their "names"

    I think the gun's use at sevastopol exemplifies why only one was ever used... they were simply too hard to actually get into action. Considering the time, transport, and resources required to get the gun into action, I can't think of any other occasions when one could have been used, let alone two!

    Andy- you should take a look at the Weapons section. We had a couple really good thread there on big guns- one on the Dora/Gustav guns,and one on the Karl Mortar series. Neat stuff!

    [ 13 September 2002, 03:33 PM: Message edited by: CrazyD88 ]
     
  2. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    I think they were both guns firing at Sevastopol... However. I will have to make some research because I am on very lousy ground here... (is that the word?)...

    What I can tell you is that "Dora" or "Gustav", whichever were not a waste of resources. You have already said it: how many powerful fortifications were smashed by just a few shots? How many casualties and time would have costed to take them in a conventional way? 15.000? 20.000? Then, the 7.000 men required by those railguns were not wasted at all. Even if they were a headache in logistics, when they fired their huge shells everybody forgot about that and stared happily how it blew all up.
     
  3. AndyW

    AndyW Member

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    Eben Emael by a handfull paratroopers.
    The entire Maginot line by German infantrymen...advancing from backwards
    The Czech fortification line by a handshake with Chamberlain

    :D

    Seriously, i doubt the efficency of those super guns very muich. I mean look at it: the logistical nightmare (in transportation and supply), the tremendous efforts and industrial ressources you have to put in to build that thing, how many industrial machines had to be built to construct that monster, how many technicians, workers were used on this project instead on building the n´much needed other stuff, the specialized troops, the maintenance, the vulnerably on enemy air strikes or partisan activity, the impossibility to use them on certain ground or against certain targets, the need to buolt railway tracks just to get that thing to the place you need it...

    Compare that to a Squadron Lancasters with Tallboys and Blockbusters, and I think you'll have the answer.

    Cheers,

    [ 13 September 2002, 08:09 PM: Message edited by: AndyW ]
     
  4. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    True. But that's a different story. I would have liked to see the massacre of German gliders in Sevastopol...

    Also true. Not discussion on this one! :D

    Not really... It was a master work of this man:

    [​IMG]

    He had in a certain way designed the Maginot line, with all his deffensive tactics he researched in the 1920s and 1930s. Although when he attacked the war was already lost for France, the Maginot line was untouched, as strengthened as at the beggining of the war. Von Leeb took his 19 regular infantry divisions and exploited the weak spots of his own tactics! Using engineers, hand granades, flamme throwers and above all: a lot of heavy artillery (as in Sevastopol) and destroyed in a matter of days the most awesome deffensive line of the world.
     
  5. AndyW

    AndyW Member

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    What about that:

    "Dora" was "Gustav"!

    There was only one gun, a second was built later, but never saw action or had a crew with it.

    This is from "Artillery" by Ian Hogg / John Batchelor, 1972:

    "Many years it was thought that there were two of those monsters with the nickname 'Dora' and 'Gustav', of wich only one saw action. New research has shown that only one cannon existed. The workers at Krupp called it "Gustav" in honor to Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, but German military codenamed it 'Dora'."

    I tend to believe that, as the German order of Battle only mentions the Heavy Artillery Dept. #672 (80cm-railgun "Dora")

    Cheers,
     
  6. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Nice info, Andy!!! I think our doubts have been cleared.

    And did you know that Wilhelm von Leeb actually had ordered "Gustav" and "Karl" to be ready to smash the "Maginot line"? But they were finished until two years later...
     
  7. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    So was there one or two? If a second was built, my math would say that makes two guns...

    These guns were a logistical nightmare to get into action, so I'd guess that one simply sat on the testing grounds not doing anything.

    Also, why would the german military code-name a gun after Krupp's daughter? "Dora" sounds very unlike any of the codenames used by the germans...

    This is probably one of those that will never actually be confirmed- the one thing we do know is how little of these guns remains today. A couple inert projectiles seems about it...
    Who knows- maybe more photographic evidence will come up...

    But back to the original point, only one of the guns was in operation at sevastopol...

    I'm still unpacking the new apartment and have not yet gotten a chance to look into the specific actions by the Karl Battery at Sevastpol. I do know that at least one of the Karls fired on the Maxim Gorky I fort, doing some considerable damage. The mortars did not take out Maxim Gorky I though- infantry had to take the damaged fort.

    I wonder how much presence the Luftwaffe had at sevastopol? This could have influenced how much artillery was necessary...
     
  8. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    I think the Luftwaffe (I don't think there was an enormous ammount of planes, but substantial at least) and the 2.000 artillery pieces of all calibers, along with the bravery of the men of the XI Armee and the skills of its commanders won at Sevastopol in a relatively short and "easy" battle. There were 20.000 German casualties during the whole battle. That is an average week of casualties at Stalingrad... :eek: What would those 2.000 guns have made at Stalingrad?
     
  9. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    From what I remember of my sources, and there are many but it has been too long. Sebas.....got minced up by Ju 88's and He 111's. Also the Stukageschwader were given orders to turn every piece of ground it could find into mush. Bombing and strafing with all it could muster......now that I have made these brilliant comments.....good grief !, I've got to find the reference materials.

    E
     
  10. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Very appreciated, Erich. Some numbers would also be good! ;)
     
  11. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    Hmmmm... not sure about the "easy" part, Friedrich. (I know you don't mean easy, I'm guessing you are just comparing it with other battles!) In comaprison to Stalingrad, Sevastopol would definetely be "easy". but the thing that gets me is the whole two-phase thing. I wonder how or why the germans were turned back when they first tried to take sevastopol. We should look into why this happened- did the germans simply underestimate the russian defenses? Or was it more of a logistical matter- I get the idea that in the first "phase" of the battle, the germans moved before they had enough units and support in place. I wonder about the artillery- it would probably take a while to get all those guns into position. Maybe the first time the germans attacked, they did not wait for all their artillery. This could have made a big difference.

    Hmmm... my sources just don't have too much on sevastopol, so I wonder about some of these specifics of the battle.

    [ 17 September 2002, 10:15 AM: Message edited by: CrazyD88 ]
     
  12. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Hiya Crazy. Yes I have read it twice. A very good book. It does not go into the global politics of the war but focuses on his experience at the front. He is a proud German and you can tell in his writing but nothing that is overtly political or apologetic. I highly recommend it. Almost a day to day (summarized version) happenings.
     
  13. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    In the book, Leutnant Biedermann also references the huge guns used at Sevastopol.
     
  14. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Of course I meant "easy" as a comparisson to other battles. 20.000 casualties and 2.000 guns to take a city is not easy at all. Easy is taking a city with 12 men as Sturmbahnführer Fritz Klingenberg did at Belgrad...

    And you are right about the two-phase battle. Then it must be called 1st and 2nd battle of Sevastopol as there were 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th battles of Khárkov. And four battles at Rostov...

    I think, Crazy that the 1st battle at Sevastopol did not succeed because of the same things that 1st Khárkov and 1st Rostov did not succeed in 1941; Von Runstedt very well knew that his Army Group was not capable of doing all those tasks in a single campaign with the forces he had. There were not enough air, tank and artillery support in 1941 as it was needed to achieve Army Group South's orders.

    And I might think that Sevastopol was easy if we take on account the propaganda of the strongest fortress in the world... Stalingrad and Leningrad were not fortified and prepared as Sevastopol was and they didn't fall... Can you see my point?
     
  15. AndyW

    AndyW Member

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  16. Jumbo_Wilson

    Jumbo_Wilson Member

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    If the British could get away with Winnie and Pooh I'm not one to throw stones at Big Dora the Kommandants Daughter!

    Jumbo
     
  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Quite interesting this Dora versus Gustav. I had a moment so I checked for details by different search engines:

    Big Gustav" (as named by Krupp, but renamed "Big Dora" by the artillerymen)
    weighed over 1000t (1400t including carriage). While a magnificent piece
    of engineering, it was operationally a dismal failure. It took 60 trains
    to move the gun and associated support equipment/personnel, then a week to
    assemble. It built at a cost of 10 million Reichsmarks, originally to
    bombard the most heavily defended sections of the Maginot Line, but wasn't
    ready in time. It could fire both HE and AP shells, and an AP weighed
    about 7000kg. It had an effective range of 47,000m.

    Only 53 rounds were fired during the siege at Sevestapol, mostly HE with a
    few AP being aimed at concrete bunkers. Only 1 shell in 5 actually reached
    the Russians, although one AP shell plunged into the bay through 10m of
    water, then through 10m of concrete and into a Russian ammunition bunker.

    AND ANOTHER:

    Krupp christened the gun "Schwerer Gustav" (Heavy Gustav), its namesake being the senior director of the firm...On the 5th of June 1942, the time had come: the first shot was fired from the 80cm gun (nicknamed "Dora" by the troops in the meantime) against Sevastopol.

    The second "Dora" gun was almost completed, but a crew for the weapon was never raised. In April 1945, both weapons were blown up by their crew or destroyed, the remnants being discovered in Saxony and on special railway wagons in Bavaria

    http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab/1167/edora.html

    Does this make more sense?

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Checking on the Luftwaffe bit as well:

    This is from Il -2 ( the game ) for creating a battle fight, but the info seems quite prepared so I would like to give it for assessment at least:

    Let us choose the operation of Sevastopol’ defense that started on October 30, 1941 with the German attacks on the city and ended on July 4, 1942 when the vast majority of 106,000 Red Army soldiers withdrew from the city leaving behind 5500 men to fight the delaying action battle to the last round. Luftwaffe played the pivotal role in the eventual success of the German troops by committing large amounts of resources and abruptly intensifying the air-ground attacks since the end of May, 1942. Even though Luftwaffe enjoyed numerical superiority in this battle, VVS were able to mount successful air-ground attacks of their own as late as June, 1942 to great astonishment of German pilots. “Black Cross/Red Star” vol. 2 by Christer Bergstrom (pp. 192-206) reveals that Soviet 3 OAG (combined aviation group), comprised of the 98 (only 53 serviceable) bombers, shturmoviks and fighters, fought three Jagdgruppen (II./JG3, III./JG3, III./JG77); six Kampfgruppen from KG51, KG76, KG100, III./LG1; three Stukagruppen from StG77 and two Heeresaufklarungsstaffeln: 3.(H)/11 and 3.(H)/13 – all told 600 aircraft. The seaborne Soviet route to Sevastopol’ was closed by II./KG26 from the units of Fliegerfuhrer Sud. On June 30th, 1942 the last VVS units flew whatever was left out of Sevastopol’ area to Anapa: 11 Yak-1s, 7 Il-2s, 4 I-16s, 4 U-2s, 3 I-153s, 1 LaGG-3, and 1 I-15bis. Luftwaffe was not unscathed either – the surviving German documents show 23 aircraft destroyed and 7 damaged over and near Sevastopol’ in that operation. The only shturmovik unit that was part of 3 OAG seems to be 18 ShAP/VVS ChF. One of the more prominent IAPs (fighter regiment) that participated in this operation was 6 GvIAP/VVS ChF (VVS of Black Sea Fleet; Navy aviators) equipped with Yak-1s.

    A site on day-to-day situation:

    http://www.ripnet.org/strategies/journeys/wwiitimeline.htm

    http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/campaign_awards/shields/krim_campaign.htm

    http://216.198.255.120/germanpart/agsouth_part4.html

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Very interesting info, Kai! ;)

    And I think that the name matter also applies with the big Howitzer "Bertha" in WWI, doesn't it? [​IMG]
     
  20. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    Andy, I'm pretty sure about Krupp's daughter. I'll check on that tonight though- I think Bertha was the same deal! The Krupp family was huge, and they seem to have often had a pretty good amount of input on their big guns (WWI and WWII). I'll check that tonight.

    I've also got some really good stuff from the Karl mortars at Sevastopol, but of course, (again) I left my book at home. I'll try and get that tonight...
     

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