Railroad guns and armored trains.

A special piece of railway history are the Railwayguns and armored trains. There is often not much left of it, but sometimes you can still find pieces of it all across Europe.

Let's start with this armored locomotive. This diesel locomotive was built in 1942 for the Wehrmacht by the Berliner Maschinenbau (Schwartzkopff). Only three were made and this locomotive was the heaviest used by the Wehrmacht in World War II. In 1944 the locomotive was captured by Russian troops in the south-east of Poland and then handed over to the Polish armed forces where it was still in active service until the end of 1960. In 1974 it ended up in a museum in Warsaw.

It has 12 axles, two 76mm guns, has a length of 22.5 meters, a width of 3.20 meters, and has 550 HP. The engine is a MAN Diesel engine with a Voith hydraulic transmission. The beast weighs 200 tons, which is not really that strange because of all the Panzer plates what are of 80 mm thick.

In the same museum in Warsaw you can find this railway gun which is a piece of towed equipment.

This was originally Russian but was rebuilt by the Germans in World War II. In the summer of 1944, the car was captured back by the Russians and then (as far as is known) deployed by them in a provisionally deployed armored train in the Bieszczady Mountains region between 1945 and 1947. (This is a mountain range that runs from the extreme southeast. from Poland and northeastern Slovakia to western Ukraine.)
In 1974 the car came into the possession of the railway museum in Warsaw. It is the only Polish armored car still in existence. It stands on 4 axles, weighs 60 tons (the armor is between 50 and 80mm thick) and is equipped with 2 howitzers of 100mm that are placed in two independent turrets, two anti-aircraft machine guns of 7.92mm and four machine guns type MG34 with a caliber of 7.92mm.

Inside the museum there is a model of both that also explains how it worked and where they were used.

Speaking of models ... often nothing is left of the stuff and all that remains is (at most) a photo or a model that was built by someone. I came across this in Budapest but further information was unfortunately missing. :-(

Unfortunately in Bratislava it didn't seem to be much better because the only thing we could find at first was only this one model in the general transport museum… However… ..

I came across this in the railway museum in Bratislava! Bam! This German armored wagon (built circa 1942, manufacturer by Linke - Hofmann from Breslau) and it's a command car type BP 42. As a command car it was included in the armored trains, together with an armored locomotive (See for example the example in Warsaw Poland), an artillery car (ditto ) and the necessary infantry and anti-aircraft cars. It has a 15-30 mm thick armor and the transitions between the other wagons were also protected by armor as you can see in the photo. It was part of a standardized set of type BP 42 or BP 44. It probably came from a train that ran in Slovakia during the Second World War

In the same museuam there was also a German Transport wagon that was used for, among other things, transporting tanks and was subsequently used by the army to (for example) repair damaged tracks.

This monstrosity is of a much younger date. This is an armored locomotive built in 1971 at the “Duro Dakocíc” factory from Slavonski Brod which is a town in what is now called Croatia, using a license from the Jenbacher Werke of Austria.

Twenty years later it has been converted by the same factory for war purposes and reinforced with 20mm armored steel. There were eight peepholes in it to be able to see something. This armored locomotive was used during the Yugoslavia war and is nicknamed the “Dakovic Locomotive”. The maximum speed was 45 km per hour, it produced 397 kW, weighs 4400 kg and has a length of 7.5 meters.

This monster is of a VERY different caliber, which i found in France. This is a Krupp K5 railway gun which was used during the 2nd world war by the Germans. This colossus is a 280mm gun on rails and fired a 255 kg grenade over a distance of almost 70 km. With a weight of 120 tons (including train chassis) and a length of 32 meters, it is absolutely impressive. They have been deployed throughout Europe and a number of them even reached the Netherlands at the end of the 2nd World War.

The origin of this particular K5, which is located in France, is unknown and it's probably composed of various remains of other K5's. In any case, the name Leopold does not belong on this cannon because the real Leopold is in a Museum in America.

And that not everything has to be bulky and big was proven in Pivka (Slovenia). German and used in World War II. It was left behind in this region and through many wanderings it ended up in a military train that is now in the museum.

And at the head of the train is the well-known BR52 War Locomotive. This German military steam locomotive from the World War II era weighs 95 tons and is 23 meters long. These locomotives were especially constructed and produced to serve the German war effort. Later on, they have been used throughout Europe for a more peaceful purpose. The specific locomotive arrived after World War II (as part of reparation payment) in the former country of Yugoslavia and was renumbered 33-110. This was also the last steam locomotive in Slovenia to be used for regular rail traffic until its retirement in 1978. And so something good came from all that war violence ...

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