15 cm/45 (5.9") Tbts KL/45
15 cm/45 (5.9") Ubts + Tbts KL/45
15 cm/45 (5.9") Ubts + Tbts Flak L/45
Updated 16 December 2013

A lighter weight gun used near the end of World War I on large destroyers and "U-boat Kreuzers."  The difference between the models was in the mountings, the guns themselves were identical.  A Flak version of the latter gun was produced but details are lacking.

Following the end of World War I, ships armed with these guns were transferred to the Allies as war reparations, including the destroyer S113 which was recommissioned in the French Navy as Amiral Sénès.  The easy and reliable operation of the semi-automatic gun breeches aboard this ship impressed French ordnance officers who copied the design for their 138.6 mm/40 (5.46") Model 1927.  The French later reused the German guns to arm two merchant cruisers during World War II.

During World War II the Germans used these guns to arm merchant ship raiders, supply ships and as coastal artillery.

  All German 15 cm guns had an actual bore diameter of 14.91 cm (5.87 in).


15 cm Ubts + Tbts KL/45 on U117 about 1918


15 cm Ubts + Tbts KL/45 on U124 about 1918
In the background is USS L-2 (S-41)
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 92826


15 cm Ubts + Tbts KL/45 on U155 about 1918
Bain News Service Photograph
Library of Congress Photograph ID LC-DIG-ggbain-28410


Destroyer V116
Post-war, this became the Italian Premuda
IWM photograph Q 50985

Gun Characteristics
Designation 15 cm/45 (5.9") Tbts KL/45
15 cm/45 (5.9") Ubts + Tbts KL/45
15 cm/45 (5.9") Ubts + Tbts Flak L/45
Ship Class Used On German - 1918
   S113, V116, G119 and B122 Destroyer classes
   U117 (Project 45), U127 (Project 42), U139 (Project 46) and U213 (Project 42A) U-boat classes

French - 1939
   Barfleur and Charles Plumier (armed merchant cruisers)

Date Of Design about 1917
Date In Service 1918
Gun Weight 8,800 lbs. (3,990 kg) including breech
Gun Length oa 262.8 in (6.675 m)
Bore Length 247.7 in (6.291 m)
Rifling Length N/A
Grooves (48) 0.055 in D x 0.210 W (1.40 mm D x 5.3 mm W)
Lands 0.176 in (4.47 mm)
Twist Uniform RH 1 in 24.9
Chamber Volume 858 in3 (14.06 dm3)
Rate Of Fire 4 - 5 rounds per minute
Type Separate
Projectile Types and Weights HE L/4,1 C/09 base fuze - 99.8 lbs. (45.3 kg)
Common L/4,1 nose fuze - 99.8 lbs. (45.3 kg)
Bursting Charge N/A
Projectile Length N/A
Propellant Charge World War I:  N/A

World War II:  18.34 lbs. (8.32 kg) RPC/38 (6.5/2.8)

Muzzle Velocity 2,231 fps (680 mps)
Working Pressure N/A
Approximate Barrel Life N/A
Ammunition stowage per gun S113:  90 rounds
U-Boat cruisers:  500 rounds
Elevation With 99.8 lbs. (45.3 kg) HE Shell
World War I
Range @ 30 degrees
15,860 yards (14,500 m)
World War II
Range @ 30 degrees
17,390 yards (15,900 m)
Mount / Turret Data
Designation Single Pedestal Mounts
Destroyers (4):  N/A (possibly Tbts MP LC/16)
U-Boats (1):  N/A (possibly Ubts MP LC/16)
Weight  18,186 lbs. (8,525 kg)
Elevation about -5 / +30 degrees
Elevation Rate Manual operation, only
Train about +150 / -150 degrees
Train Rate Manual operation, only
Gun recoil N/A
Data from
"Naval Weapons of World War Two" by John Campbell
"Naval Weapons of World War One" by Norman Friedman
"Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships:  1906-1922" by Randal Gray and Robert Gardiner (Editor)
"German Warships 1815-1945" by Erich Gröner
"Die Geschichte der deutschen Schiffsartillerie" by Paul Schmalenbach
"German Warships of World War I" by John C. Taylor
"German Cruisers of World War Two", "Cruisers of World War Two" and "German Capital Ships of World War Two" all by M.J. Whitley
Tony DiGiulian's personal data files
Special Help from Peter Lienau
Page History

28 December 2008 - Benchmark
06 February 2011 - Added Flak version
25 November 2012 - Added details on guns, ammunition and mountings
16 December 2013 - Redid photograph of V116