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List of largest cannon by caliber

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Title: List of largest cannon by caliber  
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List of largest cannon by caliber

The list of cannons by caliber contains all types of cannons through the ages listed in decreasing caliber size. For the purpose of this list, the development of superguns can be divided into three periods, based on the kind of projectiles used:

  • Stone balls: Cannon of extraordinary bore, which fired stone balls, were first introduced at the turn of the 14th to 15th century in Western Europe. Following a logic of increasing performance through size, they had evolved from small handguns to giant wrought-iron or cast-bronze bombards within a span of just several decades.[1]
  • Iron balls and shot: By the 16th century, however, a general switch from stone balls to smaller, but much more effective iron projectiles was in full swing. This and the parallel tendency towards standardized, rapid-firing cannon made the enormously costly and logistically demanding superguns soon obsolete in the European theatre (with the exception of the odd showpiece).[2]
  • Explosive shells: In the industrial age, artillery was again revolutionized by the introduction of explosive shells, beginning with the Paixhans guns. Breakthroughs in metallurgy and modes of production were followed up by new experimentation with super-sized caliber weapons, culminating in the steel colossi of the two World Wars. In the post-war era, the development of extremely overpowered artillery was gradually abandoned in favour of missile technology, while heavy guns are still demanded by various arms of the service.

As artillery pieces of the different periods, due to the dissimilar characteristics of their projectiles, are practically incommensurable in terms of their bore size, the following list is split into three sections.

Cannon by caliber

Stone balls

Heyday: 14th to 15th centuries

Caliber (mm) Name Type Produced Place of origin Made by
890[CB 1] Tsar Cannon Bombard 1586 Tsardom of Russia Andrey Chokhov
820[CB 2][3] Pumhart von Steyr Bombard Early 15th century House of Habsburg,  Holy Roman Empire
735[CB 3][4] Faule Mette Bombard 1411 City of Brunswick,  Holy Roman Empire Henning Bussenschutte
660[5] Dulle Griet Bombard First half of 15th century City of Ghent,  Holy Roman Empire
635[6] Dardanelles Gun or Great Turkish Bombard Bombard 1464 Ottoman Empire Munir Ali
520[7] Faule Grete Bombard 1409 Monastic state of the Teutonic Knights Heynrich Dumechen
520[8] Mons Meg Bombard 1449 Duchy of Burgundy,  Holy Roman Empire Jehan Cambier
510[CB 4][9] Bombard 1480 Knights Hospitaller

Iron balls and shot

Heyday: 16th to 19th centuries

Caliber (mm) Name Type Produced Place of origin Made by
280[10] Kanone Greif Scharfmetze ("medium size") 1524 Electorate of Trier Master Simon
280 Jaivana 1720 State of Jaipur
286 Dalmadal/Dala Mardana 18th century[11] Bishnupur Kingdom

Twenty-inch (508 mm) Rodman and Dahlgren smoothbore cannons were cast in 1864 during the American Civil War. The Rodmans were used as seacoast defense. Although not used as intended, 2-20" Dahlgrens were intended to be mounted in the turrets of USS Dictator and USS Puritan.

Explosive shells

Heyday: 19th to 20th centuries

Caliber (mm) Name Type Produced Place of origin Made by
914 Mallet's mortar Mortar 1857 United Kingdom United Kingdom Robert Mallet
914 Little David Mortar 1945  United States
800 Schwerer Gustav Railway gun 1941  Nazi Germany Krupp
800 Dora Railway gun 1942  Nazi Germany Krupp
600[12][13] Mortier monstre Mortar 1832 France France Henri-Joseph Paixhans
600 Karl-Gerät Mortar 1940  Nazi Germany Rheinmetall
520 Obusier de 520 modèle 1916 Railway howitzer 1918 France France Schneider et Cie
508 Perm Tsar Cannon [2]
508 mm/9.6 smooth-bore naval gun
Naval gun 1868 Russian Empire Motovilikha Plants
460 40 cm/45 Type 94 Naval gun 1940  Empire of Japan
457.2 BL 18 inch railway howitzer Railway howitzer 1920 United Kingdom United Kingdom Elswick Ordnance Company
457.2 BL 18 inch Mk I naval gun Naval gun 1916  United Kingdom Elswick Ordnance Company
450 RML 17.72 inch gun Naval gun 1877 United Kingdom United Kingdom Elswick Ordnance Company
420 Big Bertha Howitzer  German Empire Krupp
420 42 cm Gamma Mörser Mortar  German Empire /  Nazi Germany Krupp
420 2B1 Oka Howitzer 1957  Soviet Union
412.8 BL 16.25 inch Mk I naval gun Naval gun 1888  United Kingdom Elswick Ordnance Company
410 41 cm/45 3rd Year Type Naval gun  Empire of Japan
406 16"/50 caliber M1919 gun Gun 1920  United States
406 BL 16 inch Mk I naval gun Naval gun 1927  United Kingdom
406 40.6 cm SK C/34 gun Naval gun  Nazi Germany Krupp
406 2A3 Kondensator 2P Howitzer 1956  Soviet Union
406 406 mm/50 B-37 naval gun for Naval gun 1937  Soviet Union Barrikady Plant, Stalingrad
406 16"/50 caliber Mark 7 gun for the Naval gun 1943  United States Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

See also




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