By Marc Romanych, Martin Rupp

Tremendous Bertha, Germany's international struggle I most sensible mystery cellular artillery piece, simply destroyed French and Belgian forts, assisting set the level for trench warfare.

In the 1st 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 variety on the planet and a heavily guarded mystery. while warfare 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 citadel 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 was once quickly picked up through German press which triumphed the 42cm howitzers as Wunderwaffe (wonder weapons), and the legend of massive Bertha used to be born. To the Allies, the lifestyles of the howitzers got here as a whole shock and the surprising fall of the Belgian fortresses spawned rumors and incorrect information, including to the 42cm howitzer's mythology.

In fact, 'Big Bertha" used to be however the final in a chain of large-caliber siege weapons designed through 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 warfare. 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 struggle settled right into a stalemate, the effectiveness of the siege weapons lowered until eventually, via war's finish, 'Big Bertha' and the opposite siege weapons have been themselves outmoded.

This e-book information the layout and improvement of German siege weapons prior to and through global struggle I, to incorporate 4 types of 30.5cm mortars, types of 28cm howitzers, and forms 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, photos of 'Big Bertha' and the opposite German siege weapons. color illustrations depict an important elements of the German siege artillery.

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

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R. howitzer), and KMK Battery 1 (two 42cm Gammas) joined in. Even with six siege guns shelling the fortifications, the bombardment was unsuccessful due to the siege batteries lacking observation and having to fire blindly at their targets, and also because of the effective Russian counter-battery fire which hit both Skoda batteries. After five days of shelling, the fortress had suffered little damage, the siege guns withdrew, and the attack ended in failure. The fortress was later captured in August without the aid of siege artillery.

To block the German Army’s advance, ten French infantry regiments with 52 batteries of artillery were left to hold the fortress at Maubeuge. The fortifications were a ring of six partially modernized forts and seven smaller fortified interval works. Most were made of masonry and not strong enough to stand up to 21cm or larger artillery. R. howitzer was one of several siege artillery batteries sent to Flanders in late 1914 to shell the cities and trenches in Flanders. (M. Romanych) KMK Battery 1 in position near Osowiec in February 1915.

M. Romanych) the outer ring of forts, allowing German infantry and artillery to advance inside the fortress ring. The next day, German infantry widened the gap in the outer ring of forts and captured three forts along the inner line and then the citadel, resulting in Russian capitulation by nightfall. Russia’s largest fortress fell in only six days. In reaction to Novogeorgievsk’s sudden fall, the Russian Army lost confidence in its permanent fortifications. In its retreat from Poland, the army abandoned fortresses at Brest-Litovsk and Grodno so that large numbers of troops would not be trapped in a futile siege.

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