A German soldier rubs down massive shells for the 38 cm “Langer Max” rapid firing railroad gun, ca. 1918.
The 38 cm SK L/45 “Max”, also called Langer Max (literal translation “Long Max”) was a German railroad gun used during World War I.Originally a naval gun, it was adapted for land service when it became clear that the ships for which it was intended would be delayed and that it would be very useful as long-range, heavy siege and coast-defense gun on the Western Front. The first guns saw service in fixed positions, but the lengthy preparation time required for the concrete emplacements was a severe drawback and a railroad mount was designed to increase the gun’s mobility. It participated in the 1918 Spring Offensives and the Second Battle of the Marne. One gun was captured in Koekelare (16 October 1918) by the Belgians at the end of the war and the seven surviving cannons were destroyed in 1921 and 1922.
Related: French 320mm Railway Gun