By Marc Romanych, Martin Rupp, Henry Morshead
Within the early days of global battle 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 sort on the planet and a heavily guarded mystery. while warfare broke out, of the howitzers have been rushed at once from the manufacturing unit to Liege the place they quick 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 giant Bertha) after Bertha von Krupp, proprietor of the Krupp armament works that outfitted the howitzers. The nickname used to be quickly picked up via German press which triumphed the 42cm howitzers as Wunderwaffe (wonder weapons), and the legend of huge Bertha was once born. This publication information the layout and improvement of German siege weapons ahead of and through global warfare I. Accompanying the textual content are many infrequent, never-before-published pictures of ‘Big Bertha’ and the opposite German siege weapons. color illustrations depict an important points of the German siege artillery.
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Additional resources for 42cm 'Big Bertha' and German Siege Artillery of WWI
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. Introduced to the field in early 1918, the schwere Kartaune was a failure because repeated barrel detonations forced the siege batteries to reduce the amount of propellant used during firing. Thus, the howitzer’s range was shortened from 20,500 to 16,500 meters, which was not enough to outdistance Allied counter-battery fire.
KMK Battery 1’s Gamma howitzers briefly shelled the 15th century medieval-style fortress of Semendria (Smederevo) fortress. Despite its age, the stout construction of the fortress held up well under the shelling and was not heavily damaged when it fell on the 11th. With the advent of trench warfare on the Western Front, there were few notable actions involving siege artillery. In mid-February, at Verdun, KMK Battery 4’s single Gamma howitzer fired 62 rounds at Forts Douaumont and Vaux, but caused no significant damage.
Rapid fall of the fortress was the result of the siege artillery. Three forts were reduced by 21cm howitzers which fired a total of 6,763 rounds and five fell to the siege guns which fired 699 rounds. One fort surrendered without being bombarded. 5cm and 42cm rounds). The 42cm howitzers were far more effective than the Skoda mortars; however, to protect the secrecy of KMK Battery 3’s M-Geräts, the Skoda mortars were given credit for destroying the fortress. Meanwhile, at the other end of the Front, the German Sixth Army in Lorraine attempted to breach the French fortress zone between Toul and Epinal.