List of the largest cannon by caliber

Early 15th-century Flemish supergun Dulle Griet at Ghent (caliber of 660 mm)

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:

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: 15th to 16th 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
745[CB 3] Basilic Bombard 1453 Ottoman EmpireOttoman Empire/Wallachia Wallachia Orban
735[CB 4][6] Faule Mette Bombard 1411 City of Brunswick,  Holy Roman Empire Henning Bussenschutte
700 Malik-i-Maidan Bombard 1549 City of Bijapur Muhammad Bin Husain Rumi
660[7] Dulle Griet Bombard First half of 15th century City of Ghent, County of  Flanders, Duchy of  Burgundy
635[8] Dardanelles Gun or Great Turkish Bombard Bombard 1464 Ottoman EmpireOttoman Empire Munir Ali
520[9] Faule Grete Bombard 1409 Monastic state of the Teutonic Knights Heynrich Dumechen
520[10] Mons Meg Bombard 1449 Duchy of Burgundy Jehan Cambier
510[CB 5][11] Bombard 1480 Knights Hospitaller

Iron balls and shot

Heyday: 16th to 19th centuries

Caliber (mm) Name Type Produced Place of origin Made by
280[12] Kanone Greif Scharfmetze ("medium size") 1524 Electorate of Trier Master Simon
280 Jaivana 1720 State of Jaipur
286 Dal Madal Kaman/Dala Mardana 1565[13][14] Mallabhum
(Bishnupur Kingdom)
Jagannath Karmakar
Jahan Kosha Cannon 1637[15][16] Janardan Karmakar
240 Zamzama 1757 Durrani Empire Shah Nazir

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
610[17][18] Mortier monstre Mortar 1832 France France Henri-Joseph Paixhans
(later, 540)
Karl-Gerät Mortar 1940  Nazi Germany Rheinmetall
520 Obusier de 520 modèle 1916 Railway howitzer 1918 France France Schneider et Cie
460 40 cm/45 Type 94 Naval gun 1940  Empire of Japan Kure Naval Arsenal
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 Watervliet Arsenal
406 16"/50 caliber Mark 2 gun Gun 1920  United States Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., Bethlehem Steel
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 Sovetsky Soyuz-class battleships Naval gun 1937  Soviet Union Barrikady Plant, Stalingrad
406 16"/50 caliber Mark 7 gun for the Iowa-class battleships Naval gun 1943  United States Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.

See also


  1. The bombard has a conical bore of 82.5–90 cm.
  2. The bombard has a conical bore of 76–88 cm.
  3. Bown[4] indicates a larger bore of 36 in (914 mm), but Hollenback[5] says that Kritoboulos, a contemporary source, indicates a circumference of 12 spans and concludes that in this case the smallest of three possible sizes of span is the correct unit, giving 0.745 m for the bore. Hollenback also notes that granite cannonballs dating from the siege of Constantinople had a diameter of 0.711  and could have been shot from this weapon using a wooden sabot.
  4. The bombard has a conical bore of 67–80 cm.
  5. The bombard has a conical bore of 45–58 cm.


  1. Schmidtchen 1977b, pp. 228–230
  2. Schmidtchen 1977a, pp. 153–161
  3. Schmidtchen 1977a, p. 162; ball diameter is 20 mm less (p. 171, Fn. 41).
  4. Stephen R. Bown (2005). A Most Damnable Invention: Dynamite, Nitrates, and the Making of the Modern World. Penguin Group. ISBN 0-670-04524-1.
  5. George M. Hollenback (2002), "Notes on the Design and Construction of Urban's Giant Bombard", Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 26 (1): 284291
  6. Schmidtchen 1977b, p. 222; ball diameter is 20 mm less (p. 171, Fn. 41).
  7. Schmidtchen 1977a, p. 164; ball diameter is 20 mm less (p. 171, Fn. 41).
  8. Royal Armouries
  9. Schmidtchen 1977b, p. 218; ball diameter is 20 mm less (p. 171, Fn. 41).
  10. Schmidtchen 1977a, p. 166; ball diameter is 20 mm less (p. 171, Fn. 41).
  11. Schmidtchen 1977b, p. 236, Fn. 103
  12. Archiv für die Officiere der Königlich Preußischen Artillerie- und Ingenieur-Korps, Vol. 19, Berlin, Posen, Bromberg 1846, p. 101
  13. Dasgupta 2009, p. 55.
  14. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh: Humanities, Volumes 36-38 Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, 1991
  15. The Land of the rupee Bennett, Coleman, 1912, the University of Michigan
  16. Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon, Vol. 14, Leipzig 1908, p. 160: "Mörser": caliber of 61 cm
  17. Journal des Sciences Militaires, 2nd series, Vol. 22, Paris 1838: caliber of 22 pouces = 59,6 cm (p. 49); outer diameter of the barrel: 1 m (p. 54)


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