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 biggest artillery piece of its sort on this planet and a heavily guarded mystery. whilst struggle 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 castle to give up. After repeat performances at Namur, Maubeuge and Antwerp, German infantrymen christened the howitzers ‘Grosse’ or ‘Dicke Berta’ (Fat or tremendous 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 used to be born. This ebook info the layout and improvement of German siege weapons prior to and through global battle 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 features of the German siege artillery.

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Extra info for 42cm 'Big Bertha' and German Siege Artillery of WWI

Example text

Noting the lessons of the Belgian forts in 1914, the Russians constructed extensive field fortifications in front of the forts to keep German infantry and artillery observers at distance. ) and KMK Batteries 3 and 5 (four 42cm M-Gerät howitzers) reduced three detached fortifications east of Novogeorgievsk. The fortress was now isolated, and, on August 10, an ad hoc army group commanded by General von Beseler – the conqueror of Fortress Antwerp – surrounded Novogeorgievsk. The main attack was concentrated against a narrow sector on the north side of the fortress ring, in the same way Antwerp was attacked in 1914.

5cm Beta mortars of SKM Battery 2, and two Gamma howitzers of KMK Battery 1 pounded the fort. The bombardment lasted only 52 hours, yet the siege artillery’s performance was not a resounding success because the batteries were slow getting into action and one of KMK Battery 1’s Gamma howitzers had to stop firing because of mechanical trouble. 5cm, and 158 42cm rounds were fired on the fort. Yet the fort, which lost only three soldiers, surrendered because its interior was uninhabitable from noxious gases and the men of the garrison were psychologically worn out.

Com fell in five days. Bombardment started on May 30 against four forts – X, Xa, XIa, and XI – which held a 4-kilometer sector of the fortress ring. After two days of shelling, the smaller Forts Xa and XIa were in ruins. German Infantry assaulted and seized these two forts plus Fort XI, breaking the outer ring. The Russians immediately launched a counterattack but failed to retake the forts, prompting the Russian commander to abandon the fortress to avoid defeat. German troops entered the city on June 3 and captured the last of PrzemyĞl’s forts two days later.

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