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TM-3-12 305mm Railroad Gun 1938 USSR
pictures by Nick Matveev

Moscow Museum of Great Patriotic war at Poklonnaya gora


Sanct-Peterburg Museum of Railroad Transport


Railroad gun TM-3-12

305 mm

range of fire 30 km (or even 44?)

weight 340 tonn

rate of fire 2 rounds per minute

Built in 1938, gun barrels were made in 1914.



Now they are in Moscow Museum of Great Patriotic war at Poklonnaya gora,

Sanct-Peterburg Museum of Railroad Transport and

Krasnaja Gorka fortress near Sanct-Peterburg


Barrels themselves have fantastic history:


First, all three guns had barrels from Russian Black Sea "Imperatritsa Maria" ("Empress Maria") battleship.

This battleship exploded mysteriously in October 1916 at Sevastopol.

Turrets and guns were lifted from underwater between 1931 and 1933. Eight guns of twelve were used for coastal artillery in Sevastopol. These batteries defended Sevastopol in 1941-1942 and were destroyed.

In 1941 Finnish troops captured all three TM-3-12 guns, but Soviets destroyed barrels and The Finns replaced them with barrels from sister ship "General Alexeev".

After WW2 the guns were returned to the Soviet Union and served until 1991.


About the Finnish barrels:

Black Sea battleship "Imperator Alexander III" ("Emperor Alexander III") after 1917 revolution was renamed to "Volja" ("Freedom"), then by White Guards to "General Alexeev".

In 1917-1920 it was in the hands of the Russian government, Bolsheviks, Germans and White Guards.

In end of 1918 - 1919 it was in Izmid, Turkey after that it returned to Sevastopol.

In November 1920 it went to Konstantinopol and then to Bizerta, Tunis with last White Guards.


In 1932-1937 France put barrels to stock and used old ships for metal.

In 1939-1940 France decided to transfer these 12 barrels to Finland and 3 ships went from Tunis to Norway and Finland. Guns from two ships achieved Finland and 8 barrels were used for coastal batteries and 3 railroad guns mentioned above.


But the third ship, "Nina", was captured by Germans in Norway.

They studied barrels, designed new shells and installed on Guernsey Island 4 turrets with these guns. Battery was first named "Nina", and then "Mirus" after Kapitan-zur-See Rolf Mirus died in November 1941 near Guernsey Island.

With german shells the guns had a range of 38-51 km.

From 1942 till 1945 they were in German service.

After WW2 these guns were destroyed and used for metal.



"Black Sea dreadnoughts" by Isenberg and Kostrichenko, Novorossijsk, 1998

"MIRUS". The making of a Battery" by Colin Partridge and John Wallbridge, The Ampersand Press, 1983




Nick Matveev


Nick Matveev

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