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

By Marc Romanych, Martin Rupp

Huge Bertha, Germany's international warfare I most sensible mystery cellular artillery piece, simply destroyed French and Belgian forts, supporting set the level 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 variety on the planet and a heavily guarded mystery. whilst conflict broke out, of the howitzers have been rushed at once from the manufacturing unit to Liege the place they fast 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 massive Bertha) after Bertha von Krupp, proprietor of the Krupp armament works that outfitted 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 was once born. To the Allies, the life of the howitzers got here as an entire shock and the surprising fall of the Belgian fortresses spawned rumors and incorrect information, including to the 42cm howitzer's mythology.

In truth, 'Big Bertha" used to be 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 used to be additionally just one of 2 different types of 42cm calibre howitzers outfitted 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 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. despite the fact that, through 1916, because the warfare settled right into a stalemate, the effectiveness of the siege weapons decreased till, through war's finish, 'Big Bertha' and the opposite siege weapons have been themselves outmoded.

This booklet info the layout and improvement of German siege weapons prior to and through global warfare I, to incorporate 4 versions of 30.5cm mortars, types of 28cm howitzers, and kinds of 42cm howitzers (including 'Big Bertha'); in overall, 8 sorts of siege weapons. Accompanying the textual content are many infrequent, by no means sooner than released, images of 'Big Bertha' and the opposite German siege weapons. color illustrations depict crucial elements 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)

Example text

5cm, and 42cm guns saw action. In Flanders, KMK Battery 8 was assigned to the Sixth Army, and on the Somme KMK Batteries 4 and 5 and SKM Batteries 1 and 8 were assigned to the Seventeenth Army; KMK Battery 6, SKM Batteries 5 and 7 to the Second Army; and KMK Battery 3 and SKM Battery 9 to the Eighteenth Army. 5cm and 42cm siege guns were brought in for reinforcement. The siege guns’ involvement was of little consequence, even when used in novel ways. For example, in early June SKM Battery 9 shelled a railway tunnel in the Champagne region where the French Army was sheltering reserve troops.

However, the next day, Fort Boussois and interval work Rocq fell to German infantry, creating a gap in the fortress ring. But the advance was suspended because the 21cm howitzers, having expended huge amounts of munitions at Liège and Namur, had now depleted their ammunition. 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.

Romanych) Lead elements of the German VII Reserve Corps arrived at Maubeuge on August 25 and slowly enveloped the fortress as more infantry and artillery arrived. Bombardment opened five days later by several batteries of heavy artillery intermittently firing on the northernmost fortifications. The shelling increased over the next few days as more artillery and the siege guns joined in, although shortages of ammunition kept the heavy and siege artillery from achieving rates of fire similar to that at Liège and Namur.

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