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Ammunition for Karl

  1. 600mm Shells for Geraet 040

    schwere Betongranate

    • Explosive: 280 kg (*1)
    • Length: 2,511 mm
    • Weight: 2.17 ton
    • Muzzle Velocity: 220 m/sec (charge 4)
    • Maxmum Range: 4320 m

    *1: 280 kg: reference [37]. 348 kg: reference [27] Nr.22. 240 kg: reference [26] [32].

    The schwere Betongranate shell has a hollow room at the bottom (see the right figure and Fig.1 A) to hold charge (Fig.1 B). The room is closed by the lid (Fig.1 C). When the shell is loaded into the gun barrel, a cartrige (Fig.1 D) is placed and the breech is then shut.

    leichte Betongranate

    • Explosive: 220 kg (*2)
    • Length: 1,991 mm
    • Weight: 1.70 ton
    • Muzzle Velocity: 283 m/sec (charge 9)
    • Maxmum Range: 6640 m

    *2: 220 kg: reference [37]. 280 kg: reference [27] Nr.22.

    The leichte Betongranate shell does not have a hollow room. Like other heavy artilleries, the shell, charge (Fig.1 B), and a cartrige (Fig.1 D) are loaded as shown in Fig.1 below.

    Fig.1 Shells in the Barrel (No Scale)

  2. 540mm Shells for Geraet 041

    leichte Sprenggranate

    • Explosive: NA
    • Length: NA
    • Weight: NA
    • Muzzle Velocity: NA
    • Maxmum Range: NA

    leichte Betongranate

    • Explosive: 180kg (*3)
    • Length: NA
    • Weight: 1.25 ton (*4)
    • Muzzle Velocity: 378 m/sec (charge 6)
    • Maxmum Range: 10,060 m

    *3: 180 kg: reference [26] and [32]. No other reference provide figures.
    *4: 1.25 ton: reference [37] and many others. 1.58 ton: reference [26] and [32].

    The loaded state of the shell in the Geraet 041 gun barrel is not known. It can be assumed the shell is placed like the 600mm leichte Betongranate shell. Reference [37] has photos of the cartrige for 540mm shells. It looks much longer than the one for 600mm shells.

  3. Karl's Shells Today...

    600mm schwere Betongranate shells are on display in Auto- und Technikmuseum in Zinsheim, in Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung in Koblenz, and in the Polish Military Museum (Muzeum Wojska Polskiego) in Warsaw.

    - schwere Betongranate in Auto- und Technikmuseum,
    - schwere Betongranate in Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung
    (The ballistic cap of both shells looks slightly different from the one in war-time photographs, and the total length of the shell in Auto- und Technikmuseum appears to be a bit long. Therefore, both shells may not be entirely original, and their ballistic caps may have been reconstructed or recreated after the war.)

    - schwere Betongranate in the Polish Military Museum
    (An unexploded shell fired during the Warsaw uprising in 1944.)

    Reinmetal appears to own 600mm schwere Betongranate and 540mm leichte Betongranate. Their photo can be found in referece [32]. I do not know if they are open for public viewing.

    Hillersleben Proving Ground's site has some photos of 54cm shells found in the proving ground.

  4. Loading Procedure

    Loading procedure is shown in Fig.2.

    1. The crane of the Munitionspanzer IV puts a shell on the loading tray.
    2. The upper part of the loading tray is slid into the gun breech. This must be done by hand, because there is no actuator for this action. As the shell weights 2 tons, this must be a hard work. There is a latching mechanism at the head of the loading tray. This mechanism secure the tray with the breech (red arrows in Fig.2 (a)). It is activated by a handle and link (which are not shown in the figure).
    3. Loaders push the shell with a rammer by turning a pair of crank handles .
    4. The loading tray is removed from the breech. A cartrige is placed behind the "schwere Betongranate" shell. The "leichte Betongranate" shell takes charge and a cartrige.




    Fig.2 Loading Procedure (No Scale)

Model Shells

60cm schwere Betongranate
From top: Nuts'n'Bits, Trumpeter (plastic and metal), Armo, Dragon, Verlinden, CMK, Mini Art Studio
60cm leichte Betongranate, 54cm shell
From top: Trumpeter (plastic and metal), New Connection Models, Verlinden, Dragon (54cm shell), Nuts'n'Bits (60cm schwere Betongranate)

  • Hasegawa 1/72

    Shell in Mini-box No.33 Karl with Munitionspanzer IV
    A shell consists of two parts: shell body and bottom, as shown in the photo. It must be "schwere Betongranate". The characteristic pattern of the bottom of the shell is well molded. However, 8 holes around the bottom are missing (I drilled these holes to the shell in the photo).

    The overall shape looks good. While there are some missing details, this shell is adequately well designed, considering this is a 1/72 model.

  • CMK1/35

    Shell in RA002 Panzerkampfwagen IV Munitionstraeger fuer Karlgeraet
    The Karl resin kits from CMK do NOT have any shell at all. Instead, their Munitionspanzer kit has 4 "schwere Betongranate" shells. As shown in the photo, a shell is composed of two parts. Bottom patterns and details are reproduced.

    The body of the shell is quite smooth, and you may want to add some details, such as pressure bands. The length of the shell appears to be short by 3mm; this can be corrected very easily by extending the body between the two parts.

  • Mini Art Studio 1/35

    Shell in MASP 3501 WWII German 60 cm Morser "Karl" L/8.44 Gerat 40
    This shell also appears to be "schwere Betongranate". It consists of two parts, and as with many other kits, bottom patterns and details are molded to the bottom part. However, there are only 6 holes, whereas the original shell has 8 of them. Moreover, the length of the shell is short by nearly 1cm In fact, it may be closer to "leichte Betongranate", than to "schwere Betongranate". Maybe Mini Art Studio somehow cofused "schwere" and "leight" shells.

  • New Connection Models 1/35

    3575 60cm grenade for Karl mortar
    A tuned aluminum shell. According to the note of the product, it is a "leichte Betongranate". A brass cartridge is also included. It seems that New Connection Models sold "schwere Betongranate" with the same product number in the past (its photo can be seen here). They somehow changed their mind?

    It appears that the length of the shell is 2mm shorter than the real thing. In contrast, the cartridge looks too long. There is no detail on the bottom surface of the shell. But, this shouldn't be regarded as a big problem, as the detail of the bottom of "leichte Betongranate" is not well known, except that there is narrow rim around the bottom as shown in the figure near the top of this page.

  • Dragon 1/35

    schwere Betongranate
    6179 60cm Moerser "Karl" Geraet 040
    A turned alminum "schwere Betongranate" shell was included in the first batch of Dragon's 60cm Karl kit (6179). It was considered to be a "bonus", but the second issue, or "limited edition", of 60cm Karl kit (6179X) still has this alminum shell. I wonder if Dragon will make this a parmanent feature of this kit.

    The included shell lacks characteristic bottom pattern and details, such as 8 holes, around the bottom. The top of the shell looks too pointed when compared with wartime photos. We may sand down the shell to form a more rounded tip. But, if we do it too much, we would end up with a somewhat shortened shell...

    The "limited edition" kit (6179X) has one injection plastic shell in addition to this alminum shell. It is not surprising that the shapes of both shell parts closely match each other. I don't understand why Dragon dicided to put two shells of the same type in the kit. They could have supplied two different types of shells, say schwere Betongranate and leichte Betongranate...

    This shell is the one included in Dragon's 54cm Karl kit (6181). It is composed of two parts. I don't know how accurate this is, as there doesn't seem to exist a reference which clearly shows the shape and details of 54cm shells. I wonder if Dragon investigated existing 54cm shells.

    Its bottom has no details. As the original the 54cm "leichte Sprenggranate" shell appears to have flat bottom, and the 54cm "leichte Betongranate" shell has resess, Dragon's shell may be considered as the leichte Betongranate shell (See this photo in Hillersleben Proving Ground's site). The length of the kit shell looks too long, as far as I compare this shell with photos showing Geraet 041 and 54cm shells.

    540mm Shell
    6181 54cm Moerser "Loki" Geraet 041

  • Nuts'n'Bits 1/35
    Mr. Daniel Munoz presented his beautifully crafted, metal "schwere Betongranate" in hist post to Axis WWII AFV Discussion Group in Missing-lynx. It is probably the best 1/35 Karl shell to date, with very accurate shape and fine details.

    The page "Karl-Gereat 60cm Heavy Mortar shell" in his Nuts'n'Bits site shows detailed description of the production process.

    Karl-Gerat schwere Betongranate 040 (60cm)
    The shell in the left photo is the resin-cast reproduction of the metal original. Mr. Daniel Munoz will kindly sell resin shells. Refer to the page "Karl shell for sale", in his site for details.

    The shell consists of three parts which are beautifully casted without blemishes. There are more details around the bottom of the shell than the shells from other manufacturers. Not only round holes around the bottom, but also rectangular recesses are molded. It appears that the parts are slightly shrunken (less than 0.5mm in length and diameter) because of resin material, than the metal original parts published in the above web page. It is negligible difference and shouldn't be noticeable.

    Until recently, this excellent resin shell was only available from the Nuts'n'Bits site, or from several retail shops in the North America. Fortunately Tank Workshop decided to distribute the shell, thus, is now more accessible than before.

    Side Note: He also made a shell for the 28cm K5(E) railway gun. It is also beautifully crafted and has lots of details. Refer to his "K5/Leopold 28cm Gr 35 Shell" page for more information.

  • ARMO 1/35
    35774 Betongranate Karl
    35775 Betongranate Karl
    These are 60cm "schwere Betongranate" shells. It is rather confusing that these two packages bear exactly the same product name. The shell 35774 is shaped as a single piece. The shell 35775 consists of two parts; a hollow ballistic cap is turned as a separate part. While it is an admirable idea to provide a separate cap, the result is not very convincing. The cap looks too thick, and the tip of the main body of the shell is shaped too small because of that.

    Both "schwere Betongranate" shells have good outer shape, though the pointed end looks slightly too pointed. They have more details around the bottom than the one in Dragon's kits. However, the characteristic mold on the bottom surface of the real "schwere Betongranate" shell is omitted. Considering the price of these packages, would it be too much to ask to provide a small PE ferret to reproduce such mold?

    35774 Betongranate Karl

    35775 Betongranate Karl

    35773 Sprengranate Loki
    35773 Sprengranate Loki
    This is a 54cm shell. The title of this package 35773 says that it is for "Loki". This is, of course, not totally accurate description for this shell. ARMO probably decided to use the name "Loki" in order to make it more apparent that this product is for Dragon's 54 cm gun kit "Loki" (6181). The shape of the shell closely matches that of the shell in Dragon's 54 cm gun kit, and that leaves the question whether its length and profile is totally accurate.

  • Trumpeter 1/35
    Trumpeter sells three Karl kits (2 kits with railway transport and 1 kit without railway transport) and a Munitionpanzer IV kit. All of them come with 60cm schwere Betongranate and 60cm leichte Betongranate. No 54cm shells are provided. The Karl kit without railway transport and the Munitionpanzer IV kit also has metal shells as a bonus.

    Product 60cm schwere Betongranate 60cm leichte Betongranate Metal 60cm schwere Betongranate Metal 60cm leichte Betongranate
    00209 Moeser Karl-Geraet 040/041 on railway transport carrier
    00208 Moeser Karl-Geraet 040/041 (Initial Version) on railway transport carrier
    1 shell 1 shell NA NA
    00215 Moeser Karl-Geraet 040/041 1 shell 1 shell 1 shell 1 shell
    00362 German Panzerkampfwagen IV D/E Fahrgestell 4 shells 4 shells 1 shell 1 shell

    The schwere Betongranate shell is shown in the above photos. The light-cream colored shell is from the Karl kits, and the grey one in the right-most photo is from the Munitionpanzer IV kit. It consists of 3 parts, and is looking good. The bottom pattern is correctly molded and the room for charge is reproduced.

    However, molding is rarther weak and narrow. The parts also need some filling and sanding after assembly. 8 holes around the bottom of the shell need reshaping; I filled them and drilled again.

    Interestingly, the shell in the Munitionpanzer IV kit is molded slightly differently from those in the Karl kits; its tip is more rounded, and looks more similar to the real shell.

    This is the leichte Betongranate shell. Again the light-cream colored shell is from the Karl kits, and the grey one is from the Munitionpanzer IV kit. There is no details on the bottom surface except rim around the edge. No cartrige is provided in the kit.

    This shell in the Munitionpanzer IV kit is improved over the one in the Karl kit too.

    The photos show bonus metal shells in the Karl kit without railway transport and the Munitionpanzer IV kit. Their shapes match those of injection plastic shells in the Munitionpanzer IV kit.

    This metal schwere Betongranate doesn't have characteristic pattern on the bottom and holes on its side. PE parts are provided in the kit to reproduce these features. Howerver, the PE bottom plate doesn't look quite good; its pattern doesn't match the mold of the injection plastic part! You had better scratch-build the bottom plate out of a thin sheet of plastic card, or use a part from third-party PE sets. Following PE sets have this bottom plate.

    As the bottom plate in the Lion Roar set is not very accurate, either the Eduard set or the Part set is a choice. Note that this Eduard set (35568) is intended for the Dragon Karl kit, and that Eduard's PE set for Trumpeter kit does NOT have a shell bottom plate.

    You don't need a PE bottom plate for leichte Betongranate.

    Metal shells in 00362 German Panzerkampfwagen IV D/E Fahrgestell

  • Verlinden Production 1/35
    2137 Ammo for 60cm Morser Karl(Dragon/Trumpeter)
    This resin product consists of two 60 cm "schwere Betongranate" shells, two 60 cm "leichte Betongranate" shells, two cartridges, one crates for the "leichte Betongranate" shells, and two crates for the cartridges. They are very well cast. Only little flush is present and no significant lines and bubbles are visible.

    Because the shells have casting blocks at the bottom, they naturally do not have any details on the bottom surface. This is a big minus for this set of shells, as the real "schwere Betongranate" has characteristic mold there. Small round holes and other details around the bottom of the "schwere Betongranate" are also omitted. Both types of shells seems to be shorter than the real shells by 1 to 2 mm.

    The cartridges in this set seem to be too long, as is the case with the "leichte Betongranate" set from New Connection Models. It looks like the one for 54 cm shells.

    2137 Ammo for 60cm Morser Karl

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