The Big Bertha was a German initiative set into action before World War 1 (1914-1918). The Germans, like their counterparts in Austria-Hungary, observed the outcome of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 with great interest where German Krupp guns were utilized to good effect by the Japanese in sinking all Russian Navy capital ships from land-based positions during the Siege of Port Arthur. The famous "Big Bertha" would become a child of this observation and research with design, development and manufacture across twelve examples handled by Krupp Armaments Factory of the German Empire. It is believed that the 42cm L/12 nickname of "Big Bertha" was bestowed upon the weapon in honor of Bertha Krupp, owner of the Krupp production empire.
Big Bertha was a 96,000lb (43 ton) system that could lob 1,800lb shells nearly 8 miles (7.8) firing a 419mm projectile. The mounting hardware allowed for an elevation range of +40 to +75 degrees and a traversal of 4 degrees to either side. Muzzle velocity was 1,300 feet per second. Such was the size and weights in play with the Big Bertha that the weapon required a crew of dozens some six hours to assemble and disassemble the weapon. When not transported by Daimler-Benz tractors, the system was broken down and hauled via railway in no fewer than ten transport cars.
The Big Bertha's first notable combat action was against the "impenetrable" series of Belgian forts at Liege on August 12th, 1914. The huge German guns laid waste to the Belgian defenses in four days, demoralizing Allied forces and convincing the Germans to continue exploration into more mobile and powerful howitzers which inevitably included the famous "Paris Gun". Though highly inaccurate due to the distances involved and technology at play, the Paris Gun would terrorize Parisians from a range of 70 miles away showing that even the French capital was not safe from war.
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.
The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.