42cm "Big Bertha" and German Siege Artillery of World War I by Marc Romanych, Martin Rupp

By Marc Romanych, Martin Rupp

Sizeable Bertha, Germany's international warfare I best mystery cellular artillery piece, simply destroyed French and Belgian forts, supporting set the degree for trench warfare.

In the 1st 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 most important artillery piece of its type on this planet and a heavily guarded mystery. while warfare broke out, of the howitzers have been rushed at once from the manufacturing facility to Liege the place they quick destroyed forts and forced the citadel to give up. After repeat performances at Namur, Maubeuge and Antwerp, German squaddies christened the howitzers 'Grosse' or 'Dicke Berta' (Fat or giant Bertha) after Bertha von Krupp, proprietor of the Krupp armament works that equipped the howitzers. The nickname used to be quickly picked up by way of German press which triumphed the 42cm howitzers as Wunderwaffe (wonder weapons), and the legend of huge Bertha used to be born. To the Allies, the life of the howitzers got here as an entire shock and the unexpected fall of the Belgian fortresses spawned rumors and incorrect information, including to the 42cm howitzer's mythology.

In fact, 'Big Bertha" was once however the final in a sequence of large-caliber siege weapons designed by way of the German military for the aim of destroying concrete fortifications. It was once additionally just one of 2 kinds of 42cm calibre howitzers outfitted for the military through Krupp and just a small a part of the siege artillery on hand to the German military on the outset of the battle. Such have been the successes of the German siege weapons that either the French and British Armies determined to box their very own heavy siege weapons and, after the German weapons handily destroyed Russian forts throughout the German offensives within the east in 1915, the French military deserted their forts. in spite of the fact that, by way of 1916, because the struggle settled right into a stalemate, the effectiveness of the siege weapons lowered until eventually, by means of war's finish, 'Big Bertha' and the opposite siege weapons have been themselves outmoded.

This publication info the layout and improvement of German siege weapons ahead of and through international warfare I, to incorporate 4 types of 30.5cm mortars, models of 28cm howitzers, and varieties of 42cm howitzers (including 'Big Bertha'); in overall, 8 kinds of siege weapons. Accompanying the textual content are many infrequent, by no means earlier than released, photos of 'Big Bertha' and the opposite German siege weapons. color illustrations depict crucial points of the German siege artillery.

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42cm "Big Bertha" and German Siege Artillery of World War I (New Vanguard, Volume 205)

Giant Bertha, Germany's global struggle I best mystery cellular artillery piece, simply destroyed French and Belgian forts, aiding set the level for trench warfare.

In the 1st days of global conflict I, Germany unveiled a brand new weapon - the cellular 42cm (16. five inch) M-Gerät howitzer. on the time, it used to be the most important artillery piece of its variety on the earth and a heavily guarded mystery. while conflict broke out, of the howitzers have been rushed at once from the manufacturing unit to Liege the place they speedy destroyed forts and forced the castle to give up. After repeat performances at Namur, Maubeuge and Antwerp, German infantrymen christened the howitzers 'Grosse' or 'Dicke Berta' (Fat or colossal Bertha) after Bertha von Krupp, proprietor of the Krupp armament works that equipped the howitzers. The nickname used to be quickly picked up through German press which triumphed the 42cm howitzers as Wunderwaffe (wonder weapons), and the legend of huge Bertha used to be born. To the Allies, the life of the howitzers got here as a whole shock and the unexpected fall of the Belgian fortresses spawned rumors and incorrect information, including to the 42cm howitzer's mythology.

In fact, 'Big Bertha" was once however the final in a sequence of large-caliber siege weapons designed via the German military for the aim of destroying concrete fortifications. It was once additionally just one of 2 different types of 42cm calibre howitzers equipped for the military by means of Krupp and just a small a part of the siege artillery to be had to the German military on the outset of the struggle. Such have been the successes of the German siege weapons that either the French and British Armies determined to box their very own heavy siege weapons and, after the German weapons handily destroyed Russian forts throughout the German offensives within the east in 1915, the French military deserted their forts. in spite of the fact that, via 1916, because the warfare settled right into a stalemate, the effectiveness of the siege weapons decreased until eventually, via war's finish, 'Big Bertha' and the opposite siege weapons have been themselves outmoded.

This publication info the layout and improvement of German siege weapons earlier than and through international warfare I, to incorporate 4 versions of 30. 5cm mortars, models of 28cm howitzers, and different types of 42cm howitzers (including 'Big Bertha'); in overall, 8 types of siege weapons. Accompanying the textual content are many infrequent, by no means prior to released, photos of 'Big Bertha' and the opposite German siege weapons. color illustrations depict crucial points of the German siege artillery.

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Additional resources for 42cm "Big Bertha" and German Siege Artillery of World War I (New Vanguard, Volume 205)

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Munitions were limited to approximately 200 rounds available per battery. The attack began on August 13 with a slow artillery bombardment of Forts XIV, XV, and XVI, and intensified over the next two days. Despite pounding by the siege guns, Russian troops stubbornly held and the forts had to be assaulted by infantry. On the morning of the 16th, German troops attacked Forts XV and XVI. During the fight for Fort XV, a 42cm shell hit a German infantry company, causing heavy casualties including the company commander.

5cm mortars, for a total of 13 pieces. It was the largest concentration of siege artillery in the war to date. R. of SKM Battery 6 shelling Fort Waelhem. 5cm mortars opening fire on Fort Koningshooikt, and increased again on the 30th, with two 42cm M-Gerät howitzers of KMK Battery 3 shelling Fort Lierre. As the fortifications crumbled under the pounding from the siege guns, Belgian fortress artillery returned fire aggressively, almost hitting KMK Battery 3, but was unable to counter the German bombardment.

R. howitzer out of action. More destructive to the siege artillery batteries were premature detonations of rounds in the barrels of the 42cm guns. The first incident occurred on the second day of the offensive when both M-Gerät howitzers of KMK Battery 7 were destroyed. Seeking a cause for the detonations, a team of munitions officers inspected all stocks of 42cm projectiles and shell casings, yet in subsequent weeks the barrel detonations continued – one M-Gerät in KMK Batteries 5 and 6, and one Gamma howitzer in KMK Batteries 2, 8, and 9 – for a total of seven 42cm guns damaged or destroyed.

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