A peculiar device next to the barbette of turret Caesar aboard the German battleship Bismarck.

This device is a training aid to the crews of the 10.5cm heavy anti-aircraft guns. It is essentially a replica of the 10.5cm breech and other loading equipment. This device allowed the gun-crews to practice loading shells into the chamber and closing the breechblock.

The practice loader was designed to help gun crews learn the proper loading procedure and develop the ideal motions to most effectively operate the 10.5cm guns. This would allow them to maintain a higher rate of fire when in action.

Such devices were common in many navies around the World. Each practice loader was built to mimic the various naval guns used by a particular Navy.
Infantry and armoured units fighting together in the Oryol region. 1942. An armour-piercing round fired from a Soviet anti-tank gun hits the ground
Two Luftwaffe soldiers with an MG 34 machine gun on a tripod base pass through a hole in the wall. A visible inscription in Cyrillic on the wall of the building. Eastern Front, 1943.
Captured German Sailors, rescued from battleship Scharnhorst after the Battle of the North Cape, disembark SS St Ninian at Scapa Flow, Scotland. 2 January 1944
The German locomotive Class 19.10. After the war many Class 52s were used by many European countries. Western European countries replaced them with more modern locomotives as soon as possible, with the exception of Austria where they were used until 1976.

The simplicity and effectiveness, plus the large production total, meant that many eastern European countries were slow to withdraw their Kriegslokomotiven. Poland used them into the 1990s; some in Bosnia continued in use until at least the late 2010s.
Why did the Bismarck class have a split battery of secondary guns?

One of the biggest criticisms of the German Bismarck class battleships was their use of a split secondary battery. For anti-surface firepower, the Bismarck class used twelve (6x2) 15cm (5.9") SK C/28 guns. For heavy anti-aircraft firepower, sixteen (8x2) 10.5cm (4.1") SK C/33 guns were carried.

This battery was somewhat out of place at a time when most battleships were adopting dual-purpose guns. These unified batteries saved considerable tonnage and allowed for superior placement on deck.

The German choice to use a split battery was not due to an inability to produce dual-purpose guns. Rather it was chosen due to operational factors.

1) German military planners knew that their capital ships would operate with no escorts. For this reason, they wanted to maximize the ability of the battleship to protect itself. This included the ability to have the battleship simultaneously protect itself from aerial and surface threats.

2) It was thought that dual-purpose guns, while capable of engaging a variety of targets, were not optimal against them. A separate battery allowed for the use of a larger, more powerful gun for anti-surface firepower (especially against the larger French destroyers) and a smaller, more manageable gun for anti-air firepower.

Germany was well aware of dual-purpose guns, but they did not want them for use on their capital ships. Even the subsequent H-class designs continued to use split batteries. The biggest change was the introduction of a new fully enclosed mount for the 10.5cm guns for greater protection.

Overall, the secondary battery of the Bismarck class was a product of its environment more than anything else. A solution developed by German designers to address a problem unique to them.

**Note** The images of the 10.5cm guns come from photos taken aboard the Admiral Hipper class cruisers. Oddly enough good photos of the guns on the Bismarck class are few and far between.
A very RARE shot of a Heinkel during a test flight. The He 280 had the potential to have been a game changer in WW2. Designers credited the He 280 with a top speed of 508 miles per hour, making it in every respect a formidable competitor to the Messerschmitt Me 262.

A German soldier showing his BMW R12 motorcycle to local Finnish children somewhere on the Raate Road, Finland, 1 July 1941
Obersteurmann Helmut Klotzch yells for help after his submarine, U-175, is sunk in the Atlantic by USCGC Spencer. 17 April 1943.
Georgian company of Sonderverband ( Special Group ) Bergmann, German Abwehr at Germany 1942-43, Terek River 1942 and Crimea 1943.

Georgian troops Bergmann Bettalion 1942 - 2As.jpg

Lieutenant Tatishvili of Bergmann Battalion 1943 s.jpg

Soldiers of the Bergmann Battalion in a combat position on the Terg River 1942 - 1s.jpg
Georgian troops of Bergmann Battalion on combat positions in Crimea 1943 - 2s.jpg

Georgian troops of Bergmann Battalion on combat positions in Crimea 1943 s.jpg

Source: National Library of the Parliament of Georgia.
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3rd SS Panzer Division, "Totenkopf", Eastern Front, 1943

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