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 was once the most important artillery piece of its sort on the earth and a heavily guarded mystery. while struggle 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 fort to give up. After repeat performances at Namur, Maubeuge and Antwerp, German squaddies christened the howitzers ‘Grosse’ or ‘Dicke Berta’ (Fat or substantial Bertha) after Bertha von Krupp, proprietor of the Krupp armament works that outfitted the howitzers. The nickname was once quickly picked up by means of German press which triumphed the 42cm howitzers as Wunderwaffe (wonder weapons), and the legend of massive Bertha was once born. This booklet info 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 photos of ‘Big Bertha’ and the opposite German siege weapons. color illustrations depict crucial facets of the German siege artillery.
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Additional resources for 42cm 'Big Bertha' and German Siege Artillery of WWI
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.
1917–18 – Decline During the last two years of the war, siege guns continued to serve on both the Western and Eastern fronts even though their utility had passed. With no permanent fortifications to bombard, siege artillery batteries were assigned other targets for which they were ill suited, such as towns or field fortifications. The siege guns’ utility was also greatly diminished because their range, even when firing the lighter short projectiles, was far less than that of Allied counter-battery artillery.
A notable exception is Herbert Jäger’s book about German artillery in World War I. A. , Zwei Kriegsjahre einer “42cm” Batterie (Chr. com 47 INDEX References to illustrations are shown in bold. R. R. R. R. com First published in Great Britain in 2013 by Osprey Publishing, ACKNOWLEDGMENTS PO Box 883, Oxford, OX1 9PL, UK The authors wish to thank the following people who were instrumental to the research and writing of this book. To Robert Lembke whose wide-ranging knowledge of the siege batteries, in part stemming from his grandfather’s service with the German siege artillery batteries in 1914 and 1915, was an invaluable source of inspiration and advice.
42cm 'Big Bertha' and German Siege Artillery of WWI by Marc Romanych, Martin Rupp, Henry Morshead