By Marc Romanych, Martin Rupp, Henry Morshead
Within the early days of global conflict I, Germany unveiled a brand new weapon – the cellular 42cm (16.5 inch) M-Gerät howitzer. on the time, it was once the biggest artillery piece of its style on this planet and a heavily guarded mystery. while warfare broke out, of the howitzers have been rushed without delay from the manufacturing unit to Liege the place they speedy destroyed forts and forced the citadel to give up. After repeat performances at Namur, Maubeuge and Antwerp, German infantrymen christened the howitzers ‘Grosse’ or ‘Dicke Berta’ (Fat or tremendous Bertha) after Bertha von Krupp, proprietor of the Krupp armament works that equipped the howitzers. The nickname was once quickly picked up via German press which triumphed the 42cm howitzers as Wunderwaffe (wonder weapons), and the legend of massive Bertha was once born. This publication info the layout and improvement of German siege weapons earlier than and through international battle I. Accompanying the textual content are many infrequent, never-before-published photos of ‘Big Bertha’ and the opposite German siege weapons. color illustrations depict an important elements of the German siege artillery.
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Additional resources for 42cm 'Big Bertha' and German Siege Artillery of WWI
As was the case with many Russian fortresses, Kovno was used as an artillery park or depot. Present were some 1,300 artillery pieces, although only 24 batteries (240 guns) of fortress artillery actively participated in the defense. R. howitzer. The siege batteries fired on three forts and several interval concrete battery positions along the west side of the fortress. Fire control was provided by artillery observers in airplanes and a fixed balloon. Although the bombardment was slow, it was effective, and on the 16th and 17th four heavily damaged forts were easily taken by infantry assault.
For a mobile siege gun, the barrel was massive, weighing 16 metric tons and measuring more than 9 meters long; almost twice the length of the original M-Gerät’s L/12 barrel. The length and weight of the L/30 barrel required several changes to the M-Gerät carriage and recoil system, and the addition of two large equilibrators (spring cylinders) mounted to the front of the carriage as a counterbalance for barrel. Transport and assembly of the schwere Kartaune were similar to that of the M-Gerät. The most significant change was to the barrel transport wagon, which was lengthened and reinforced to carry the extra weight of the L/30 barrel, which increased the weight of the loaded wagon to 22 tons.
The remaining six forts quickly fell on the 24th and 25th. One of the forts – Andoy – surrendered after Skoda mortars pounded it with 450 rounds and smashed all but one artillery turret. 5cm Beta-Gerät mortar being loaded by its crew. 5cm projectiles were not particularly effective against the concrete of the forts at Antwerp, although direct hits from Beta mortar projectiles did destroy two armored cupolas. (M. com most of their ammunition and had to cease fire. For its part, KMK Battery 3 heavily damaged Fort Suarlée and forced its garrison to surrender after hitting it with 26 rounds.
42cm 'Big Bertha' and German Siege Artillery of WWI by Marc Romanych, Martin Rupp, Henry Morshead