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42cm 'Big Bertha' and German Siege Artillery of WWI by Marc Romanych, Martin Rupp, Henry Morshead

By Marc Romanych, Martin Rupp, Henry Morshead

Within the early days of global warfare I, Germany unveiled a brand new weapon – the cellular 42cm (16.5 inch) M-Gerät howitzer. on the time, it used to be the most important artillery piece of its type on the planet and a heavily guarded mystery. while conflict broke out, of the howitzers have been rushed without delay from the manufacturing unit to Liege the place they quick destroyed forts and forced the fort to give up. After repeat performances at Namur, Maubeuge and Antwerp, German squaddies christened the howitzers ‘Grosse’ or ‘Dicke Berta’ (Fat or massive 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. This ebook information the layout and improvement of German siege weapons ahead of and through international struggle I. Accompanying the textual content are many infrequent, never-before-published images of ‘Big Bertha’ and the opposite German siege weapons. color illustrations depict crucial features of the German siege artillery.

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Romanych) An M-Gerät howitzer during a lull in operations on the Western Front in 1917. In the last two years of the war, siege guns were employed much like traditional heavy artillery pieces to shell entrenchments or positions behind Allied lines. (M. Romanych) 38 The next siege artillery action was at the former Austrian fortress of PrzemyĞl, which had been captured two months earlier by the Russian Army on March 22 after a protracted five-month siege. The fortress had an outer ring of 35 modern forts and an inner ring of 27 older outdated fortified works.

It was up to the siege guns, which still had ammunition, to widen the gap in the fortress ring by reducing the adjacent forts. 5cm and 42cm batteries, including KMK Battery 2’s two Gamma howitzers which had recently emplaced along the rail line northwest of Maubeuge, fired their remaining rounds at Forts Leveau, Héronfontaine, and Cerfontaine, destroying them in a matter of hours. French resistance collapsed around midday when troops abandoned the rubble of Forts Sarts, Cerfontaine, and Leveau.

On October 2, the fifth day of bombardment, three more forts fell – Waelhem and Koningshooikt Dummy Gamma howitzer built to deceive Serbian artillery observers during the shelling of the Semendria fortress in October 1915. As the war progressed, survivability of the siege guns became a great concern to the siege artillery batteries. (M. com 35 One of the eight M-Gerät howitzers employed during the German offensive at Verdun in February 1916. To avoid detection, siege guns were typically emplaced in wooded areas or, in the case of this howitzer, in low ground between hills.

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