By Marc Romanych, Martin Rupp, Henry Morshead
Within the early days of worldwide struggle 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 earth and a heavily guarded mystery. whilst struggle 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 infantrymen christened the howitzers ‘Grosse’ or ‘Dicke Berta’ (Fat or titanic Bertha) after Bertha von Krupp, proprietor of the Krupp armament works that equipped the howitzers. The nickname was once quickly picked up via German press which triumphed the 42cm howitzers as Wunderwaffe (wonder weapons), and the legend of huge Bertha used to be born. This e-book info the layout and improvement of German siege weapons earlier than and through global conflict I. Accompanying the textual content are many infrequent, never-before-published photos of ‘Big Bertha’ and the opposite German siege weapons. color illustrations depict an important points of the German siege artillery.
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Extra resources for 42cm 'Big Bertha' and German Siege Artillery of WWI
The crews are loading the guns. (M. Romanych) 31 One of KMK Battery 6’s M-Gerät howitzers being assembled at Przemyśl in May or June 1915. The howitzer is receiving its barrel from the road wagon. (M. 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.
After the fall of Namur, the French and British Armies retreated south towards Paris. 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.
One of the M-Gerät howitzers surrendered by the German Army at Verdun was put on display at the US Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground. The howitzer was scrapped in 1943. com This reorganization left only five batteries of siege guns in the field at the war’s end: KMK Battery 4 with one Gamma howitzer, Battery 5 with two M-Gerät howitzers, Battery 8 with two Beta-M-Gerät howitzers, SKM Battery 3 with two Beta-M-Gerät mortars, and Battery 5 with two Beta-Gerät 09 howitzers. Aftermath of World War I Only three siege guns are known to have survived the war.
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