This document defines the German abbreviations, designations and terms that are found on these Naval Gun pages. Thanks to M.J. Whitley, who provided many of these abbreviations, and to Peter Lienau and Lutz Bernhard, who provided several translations.


Bdz. - Bodenzünder. Base Fuze.

Füllpulver or Fp - "Filling Powder." Designation for shell bursters. German shell bursters in the 1902 to 1945 period were primarily TNT mixtures. 100% TNT was usually known by the code name Füllpulver C/02 or as Fp 02 where 02 = 1902. The TNT burster mixtures used code names which denoted the percentage of beeswax used as a desensitizer. The percentage of beeswax used decreased from the nose to the base of the burster cavity.

   Fp 1 = TNT 100%
   Fp 5 = TNT 95% + wax 5%
   Fp 10 = TNT 90% + wax 10%
   Fp 15 = TNT 85% + wax 15%
   Fp 20 = TNT 80% + wax 20%

In some ammunition documents, you will see burster notes such as "FP 1 u. 15" which means that the burster consisted of two sections, the first one made from FP 1 and the second from FP 15.

Füllpulver C/88 - "Filling Powder C/88." Naval picric acid where C/88 = 1888. This was used as a burster prior to the adoption of TNT.

Führungsbänder - Driving Band.

Geschoss - Projectile.

Granate or Gr. - Shell.

Sprenggranate or Spgr. - Explosive shell.

Kappe - Armor Piercing Cap.

Kz - Kopfzünder. Nose Fuze.

Leucht geschoss or Lg. - Star shell or illumination projectile.

Leuchtspur - Tracer.

Patrone or Patr. - Cartridge. When used in ammunition designations, means that it is a fixed round type.

Pfeilgeschoss - Arrow Shell. A fin-stabilized HE projectile.

Psgr. - Panzersprenggranate. Armor Piercing projectile (AP or APC).

Spgr. Bdz. or Bdz. - Sprenggranate mit Bodenzünder. HE projectile with Base Fuze.

Spgr. Kz. or Kz - Sprenggranate mit Kopfzünder. HE projectile with Nose Fuze.

Spgr. Bdz u. Kz or Bdz u. Kz - Sprenggranate mit Bodenzünder und Kopfzünder. HE projectile with both Base and Nose Fuzes.

Stahlschrapnel - "Steel Shrapnel." Shrapnel shell using spherical steel bullets as the payload.

L (as in "L/4,2") - Lange. "Length." The length of the projectile in calibers (multiples of the diameter of the projectile).

mh or mhb or m.Hb - mit Haube. "With Cap." This is used as a suffix to designate a projectile that has a windshield (ballistic cap). German APC of the World War I era had a very small windshield and the Germans did not designate these projectiles with the m.Hb suffix. - Nebelgranate. Smoke Shell. - Adolph granate. Special projectile for the 40 cm SKC/34 coastal artillery guns known as "Adolph." - Siegfried granate. Special projectile for the 38 cm SKC/34 coastal artillery guns known as "Siegfried."

Sprengladung - Explosive Charge. "Burster."

Hülsenkartusche - "Rear Charge." Most German guns of 8 inches (20.3 cm) and larger caliber had the propellant divided into two parts, the "fore charge" in a silk bag (see below) and the "rear charge" in a brass cartridge. These were usually rammed together. Brass cartridge cases were replaced by steel during the war.

Vorkartusche - "Fore Charge." This was in a double silk bag, which gave some protection from "flash." During World War I, it was common to use double brass bands to stiffen the bags, but this was abandoned prior to World War II as it was believed that metallic deposits in the bores had caused split liners.

Holzspitze - Wood block used in the nose of the burster cavity as a shock absorber.

RP - Rohr-Pulver. "Tube powder," the descriptive designation given to German gun propellants. These propellants were manufactured in the form of hollow tubes. The propellants were classified by model year and by the external and internal diameters of the tubes in millimeters. For example, propellant designated as RP C/38 (14/4.9) would be a tube powder first introduced in 1938 that had an external diameter of 14 mm (0.551 in) and an internal diameter of 4.9 mm (0.193 in). There were several compositions used from 1912 to 1945. Earlier ones used nitroglycerin while later ones used diethylene glycol dinitrate which was cooler-burning and less bore erosive. All were resistant to exploding even when exposed to a hot fire. For instance, the small battleship Gneisenau was bombed at Kiel in 1942 and had over 23 tons (24 mt) of propellant ignited in a forward magazine. There was no explosion even though turret "Anton" was lifted at least 20 inches (50 cm) from its mounting by the gas pressure. The British did extensive studies of RP C/12 following World War I and developed "Solventless Cordite" (SC) based upon the results.

Wolfram - Tungsten.

Muzzle Velocities - German range tables were developed for muzzle velocities using propellant temperatures of 15 degrees Centigrade (59 degrees Fahrenheit) and those velocities are used throughout my webpages. As the propellant temperature on most ships was actually about 10 degrees Centigrade higher, about 10 mps (33 fps) should be added to the muzzle velocities given on my data pages for German 28 cm through 38 cm guns.

Shell Colors - AP shells had blue bodies, HE (both nose and base fuze types) had yellow bodies, practice shells had red bodies and Illumination shells had green bodies.

Austro-Hungarian Definitions

Panzergranate - AP projectile

bekappte Panzergranate - AP projectile with an AP Cap

Zündergranate - SAP projectile

bekappte Zündergranate - SAP projectile with an AP Cap


C - Construktionsjahr. "Year of Construction." Year that design or manufacturing started. Usually shown with a number, such as C/38 meaning that design was started in 1938. This was also spelled as Konstruktionsjahr and some Krupp guns purchased by Austria-Hungary in the 19th century used a "K" instead of a "C" in the designation.

FLAK - FliegerAbwehrKanone. Literally means "Flier Defense Cannon." Designation used for AA weapons (FLAK guns). During World War I, this term was used by Allied airmen to describe the shell bursts from such weapons ("taking Flak"), which has become the current accepted meaning of the term.

FLAK M - FLAK Marine. Naval FLAK gun.

Gerät - "Equipment." Used to identify experimental weapons during World War II. Usually used together with an identifying number.

K - Kanone. "Cannon." Used by Krupp to designate their breech loading bag guns of the 1890s.

KM - Kanone Marine. "Naval Cannon." Usually followed by the year in which it was designed. For example, a gun with the designation KM42 would mean a naval gun designed in 1942. This designation system was used for some guns designed between 1940 and 1945.

L (as in "L/45") - KanoneLange. "Cannon Length." Length of the gun barrel in multiples of the bore diameter.

na - neue Art. "New Design."

nT - neue Technologie. "New Technology."

SK - Prior to 1920, this was for deck guns and meant Schnelladekanone or Schnellfeurkanone. "Fast Firing Cannon," equivalent to QF or RF. After that date, the meaning was changed to Schiffskanone or "Ship Cannon." Usually followed by the year in which it was designed. For example, a gun with the designation SK C/34 would mean that the weapon was a naval cannon designed in 1934. This designation system was used for most guns designed between 1920 and 1940.

TBK or Tbts K. - Torpedoboots Kanone. "Torpedo Boat Cannon."

UBK or Ubts K. - Untersee-Boots Kanone. "U-boat Cannon."


BSG - Bettungschiess-Gerüst. "Platform firing framework." These were mountings for large caliber guns used as coastal artillery and resembled a railway mounting without the rail bogies. They were supported on a concrete platform by a central pivot and ball race with a roller or bogie at the rear running on a circular arc.

Lafette - Mount.

Laffetierung - Mounting.

Geschützlafette - Gunmount.

Ein - Einheitslafette. "Universal Mounting." Meant that the weapon could be used against either aircraft or surface targets - Dual Purpose.

Drehscheibenlafette - Rotating Turretmount.

Dopp MPL - Doppelt Mittel-Pivot-Lafette. "Twin central pivot mounting."

Dop L - Doppellafette. "Twin mounting."

DrhL - Drehscheiben-Lafette. "Turntable mounting." Generally used for turret mountings.

Drh Tr - Drehturm. Another abbreviation for "Turret."

Kst.Drh.L - Küsten-Drehscheiben-Lafette. "Coastal turntable (turret) mounting." A type of mounting for coastal artillery weapons.

ML - Marine-Lafette. "Naval Mounting."

MPL - Mittel-Pivot-Lafette. "Central pivot mounting."

Schiessgerät - "Firing Equipment." Description used for some coastal artillery mountings.

Turm - "Turret." Türme is the plural form.

Doppelturm - Twin turret. Doppeltürme is the plural form.

Dreifachturm - Triple turret. Dreifachtürme is the plural form.

FLAK L - FLAK-Lafette. Anti-aircraft mount.

Tbts L - Torpedoboots-Lafette. Torpedo-boat mount.

Ubts L - U-boots-Lafette. U-boat mount.

Page History

05 September 2007 - Benchmark
26 January 2009 - Added definitions for na and nT
12 January 2010 - Added definition for Ein
04 April 2011 - Added to SK definition
21 August 2011 - Added definition for Sprengladung
22 May 2012 - Updated to latest template
20 November 2012 - Added definition for K
03 February 2019 - Minor changes
23 March 2019 - Updated to latest template
30 April 2020 - Updated to HTML 5 format
06 June 2020 - Added definitions for Bdz, Kz and Führungsbänder
31 December 2022 - Added definition for Stahlschrapnel
13 May 2023 - Noted that the m.Hb suffix was not used for APC of the World War I era
15 February 2024 - Added Austro-Hungarian Definitions
03 April 2024 - Added TNT burster code names and picric acid definition