Military Review

The largest cannons in history. Big Bertha

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The largest cannons in history. Big Bertha
"Big Bertha" mobile version, type M, layout


At the time of the outbreak of the First World War, German heavy artillery was one of the best in the world. In terms of the number of heavy guns, the Germans outnumbered all their opponents by an order of magnitude. Germany's superiority was both quantitative and qualitative.

By the beginning of the war, the German army had about 3500 heavy artillery barrels. The Germans retained this superiority throughout the conflict, bringing the number of heavy guns to 1918 units by 7860, brought together in 1660 batteries.

In this series of heavy guns, a special place was occupied by super-powerful artillery weapons, which rightfully include the 420-mm German mortar "Big Bertha", also known under another nickname - "Fat Bertha" (German name - Dicke Bertha). During the war, the Germans successfully used this weapon in the siege of well-fortified Belgian and French forts and fortresses. And the British and French for the destructive power and efficiency called this weapon "the killer of the forts."

The super-powerful weapon was named after the granddaughter of Alfred Krupp.


The end of the XNUMXth and the beginning of the XNUMXth centuries in Europe and around the world is a time of rapid development of industry and technology. The world was changing, so were the weapons. We can say that all the years preceding the outbreak of the First World War, the arms race was only gaining momentum, and the outbreak of the conflict only dispersed this process.

The production of a powerful 420-mm mortar by the Germans was a logical response to the fortification work, which was carried out before the war in France and Belgium. For the destruction of modern forts and fortresses, adequate weapon... The development of a super-powerful weapon was carried out in the company of Alfred Krupp. The very process of creating a mortar began in 1904 and continued for quite a long time. Development and adjustment of prototypes went on until 1912.


Alfred Krupp's granddaughter Bertha Krupp

The development of the 420-mm mortar was carried out directly by the chief designer of the industrial concern "Krupp" Professor Fritz Rauschenberger, who worked on the project together with his predecessor Draeger. The design and production of mortars was carried out at the Krupp Armament plant in Essen. In official documents, the guns were called "short naval guns", although it was originally planned to use them only on land. Perhaps this was done for conspiracy purposes.

According to one version, it was the tandem of developers who gave the super-powerful mortar the nickname "Big Bertha" in honor of the granddaughter of the founder of the concern Alfred Krupp, who was considered a real "cannon king" who managed to lead the company to the leaders of the German arms market for many years. At the same time, the granddaughter of Alfred Krupp, Berta Krupp, at that time was already the official and sole owner of the entire concern. This version of the name of the weapon, of course, is beautiful, but it cannot be unambiguously confirmed.

Prerequisites for the creation of "Big Bertha"


The Germans began to develop super-powerful mortars as a response to the creation by the French of a powerful system of long-term defensive fortifications on the border with Germany. The order to the Krupp company, issued at the beginning of the 300th century, assumed the creation of a weapon that could penetrate armor plates up to 305 mm thick or concrete floors up to three meters thick. XNUMX-mm shells for such tasks were not powerful enough, so the German designers predictably went to increase the caliber.

The transition to a new caliber allowed the Germans to use concrete and armor-piercing ammunition, the weight of which could reach 1200 kg. During the First World War, the name "Big Bertha" was applied to two different 420-mm artillery systems - a semi-stationary (type Gamma) and a lighter mobile version on a wheeled carriage (type M).


Semi-stationary version of "Big Bertha", type Gamma

On the basis of the latter system, already during the war, which acquired a positional character, the Germans created another artillery 305-mm gun with a barrel length of 30 calibers. By that time, there were practically no targets for super-powerful artillery, and the relatively small firing range was becoming an increasing obstacle.

A new model of a gun with a carriage from a Type M towed mortar received the designation Schwere Kartaune or type β-M. By the end of the war, the Germans had at least two batteries of such 305-mm guns at the front. Such guns could send shells weighing 333 kg at a distance of 16,5 kilometers.

The cost of one "Big Bertha" was approximately one million marks (in today's prices it is more than 5,4 million euros). The resource of the guns was approximately 2000 rounds. Moreover, each shot of such a 420-mm mortar cost the Germans 1500 marks (1000 marks - the cost of a projectile plus 500 marks - depreciation of the artillery system). In today's prices, this is approximately 8100 euros.

Technical features of the guns


The first version of the "Big Bertha" was a semi-stationary version of the 420-mm mortar with a barrel length of 16 calibers. This modification was included in history as a type of Gamma. By 1912, the Kaiser's army had five such guns, five more were released during the First World War. Also, at least 18 barrels were made for them.


420-mm projectile "Big Bertha"

The 420-mm mortar had a 16-caliber barrel - 6,723 meters. The weight of this artillery system reached 150 tons, and the weight of the barrel alone was 22 tons. The mortar was transported only disassembled. For this, it was necessary to use 10 railway cars at once.

Upon arrival at the site, work was underway to prepare the instrument for installation. For this, a pit for the concrete base of the tool was torn off. It could take a day to dig a pit. Another week was spent on the hardening of the concrete solution, which would cope with the recoil from firing of a 420-mm mortar. When working and equipping the firing position, it was necessary to use a crane with a lifting capacity of 25 tons. At the same time, the concrete base itself weighed up to 45 tons, and another 105 tons weighed the mortar itself in a combat position.

The rate of fire of all 420 mm mortars was only 8 rounds per hour. At the same time, fire from the "Gamma" artillery system was conducted at elevation angles of the barrel from 43 to 63 degrees. In the horizontal plane, the guidance angles were ± 22,5 degrees. The main for this version of the gun could be called an 1160-kg armor-piercing projectile containing 25 kg of explosives. At a speed of 400 m / s, the maximum firing range of such an ammunition reached 12,5 kilometers.

The design of this projectile did not change during the First World War. But the high-explosive projectile, on the contrary, has been reduced. Its weight was reduced from 920 to 800 kg, and its muzzle velocity increased to 450 m / s. The maximum firing range of a high-explosive projectile increased to 14,1 kilometers (however, the mass of the explosive also decreased from 144 to 100 kg).
The semi-stationary version could be used to combat stationary objects such as fortresses and forts, for which mortars were created. But such a design also had quite obvious drawbacks - a long preparation time for firing positions and the binding of such positions to railway lines.


Mobile version of "Big Bertha", type M in position

Back in 1912, the military ordered the development of a smaller mobile version of the Gamma. The new version received a wheeled carriage. Already in 1913, the German military, without waiting for the completion of the development of the first gun, ordered a second sample. And in total, during the war years, 10 more such mortars were assembled, which received the designation "type M".

The weight of such a mortar was reduced to 47 tons. A distinctive feature was the reduced barrel length of only 11,9 caliber (rifled length of 9 calibers). The barrel weight decreased to 13,4 tons. In the vertical plane, the gun was guided in the range from 0 to 80 degrees, loading was carried out only with the horizontal position of the barrel. In the horizontal plane, the gun pointing angles were ± 10 degrees.

The towed gun fired high-explosive shells weighing 810 and 800 kg, which had an explosive mass of 114 and 100 kg, respectively. The speed of the projectiles was 333 m / s, the maximum firing range was up to 9300 meters. In 1917, a lightweight 400-kg armor-piercing projectile with 50 kg of explosives was developed. The muzzle velocity of such a projectile increased to 500 m / s, and the maximum firing range reached 12 meters.

The main difference between the gun was the presence of a wheeled carriage and a shield that could protect the crew from shell fragments. In order to prevent the wheels of the heavy-duty weapon from getting stuck in the ground and broken military roads, special plates were located on them, designed to reduce the pressure on the ground. The technology using special all-terrain plates Rad-guertel in 1903 was invented by the Englishman Braham Joseph Diplock. True, he believed that his invention would be in demand in agricultural technology.


Transporting "Big Bertha" type M by Daimler tractors

For the transportation of 420-mm mortars, special tractor-tractors were created, on the creation of which the Krupp concern worked together with the Daimler company. To transport mortars and equipment necessary for the assembly, four special transport vehicles were used. Assembling the lightweight version of the mortar on the ground took up to 12 hours.

Combat use of guns


420-mm German mortars fully justified themselves in the fight against the fortresses and forts of the Belgians and the French at the first stage of the First World War. The high-explosive shell of this weapon left a crater up to 13 meters in diameter and 6 meters deep. At the same time, during the rupture, up to 15 thousand fragments were formed, which retained their lethal force at a distance of up to two kilometers. In buildings and walls, the shells of this mortar left 8-10 meter breaks.

As the experience of combat has shown, 420-mm shells pierced reinforced concrete floors up to 1,6 meters thick, and just concrete slabs up to 5,5 meters thick. A single hit to the stone structure was enough to completely destroy it. Earthen structures also quickly collapsed as a result of the impact of powerful high-explosive action. The insides of the forts - moats, glacis, parapets turned into a lunar landscape familiar to many from photographs of the First World War.

The combat debut of the Big Berts was the shelling of the Belgian fortress of Liege. To suppress the fortress, 124 guns were used at once, including two "Big Bertha" attached to the German troops in Belgium. To disable one Belgian fort, a typical garrison of which could consist of a thousand people, the guns took a day and an average of 360 shells fired. Twelve forts of the fortress of Liege were taken by the Germans in 10 days, largely due to the power of their heavy artillery.


Transportation of a semi-stationary version of the "Big Bertha", type Gamma in Brussels, photo history.2014-18brussels.be

After the very first battles on the Western Front, the British and French began to call 420-mm mortars "forts killers." The Germans actively used the Big Bertha on both the Western and Eastern fronts. They were used to shell Liege, Antwerp, Maubeuge, Verdun, Osovets and Kovno.

After the end of the war, all 420-mm mortars remaining in the ranks were destroyed as part of the signed Treaty of Versailles. Miraculously, the Germans managed to save only one mortar of the "Gamma" type, which was lost at the test range of the Krupp factories. This weapon returned to service in the second half of the 1930s and was used by Nazi Germany in World War II.

The Germans used this weapon in June 1942 during the assault on Sevastopol, and then in 1944 during the suppression of the Warsaw Uprising.
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  1. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 31 March 2021 18: 14
    +22
    Thanks. Of course I heard and read about this weapon, but not in such detail. And the article is correct - neither more nor less. Illustrations. Everything is in place)
    1. Alien From
      Alien From 31 March 2021 18: 49
      +9
      I join! Photos and articles are wonderful! Worthy of the folder favorites hi
      1. Richard
        Richard 31 March 2021 23: 55
        +4
        Totally agree with you. Both the article and the photos are wonderful. It's a pity only the author hesitated to give a list of the material used. smile
        But last year's article by the Behemoth from the homsk website is quite worthy of being placed in the favorites folder
        link:https://homsk.com/begemot/ubijca-fortov-tolstushka-berta
        1. Alien From
          Alien From April 1 2021 00: 00
          +6
          I always carefully study the comments on articles that are interesting to me, I have noticed more than once that you are also actively involved in the historical topic. hi
          1. Richard
            Richard April 1 2021 00: 09
            +6
            In the weapons section, my knowledge, of course, is far from the Senior Sailor and the Sea Cat, I just read this beautiful article of the Behemoth a couple of weeks ago and was very surprised by today's article signed by Yuferev
  2. Victor Tsenin
    Victor Tsenin 31 March 2021 18: 15
    +12
    > At the outbreak of World War I, German heavy artillery was one of the best in the world.

    The best. And the best for those years, the metallurgical and chemical industries contributed to this.
    By the way, Gamma, if I don’t confuse it, did some work near Leningrad.
    Very interesting article, thanks to the author.
    1. Gato
      Gato 31 March 2021 18: 55
      -2
      The best. And the best metallurgical and chemical industry for those years

      Only all this happiness went to not the best rulers. Enchanting superguns in cost, but capable of solving one narrow task - the destruction of the ground part of the defensive structure. And this is provided that the enemy does not have any means capable of reaching the positions of these monsters.
      1. Victor Tsenin
        Victor Tsenin 31 March 2021 19: 00
        +8
        Okay, do you know the alternative that existed for those years? I believe that these weapons in this period completely paid for themselves and saved many of the Kaiser's fighters. The political system is the second thing)
        1. Gato
          Gato 31 March 2021 19: 19
          +2
          paid off quite well

          The issue is controversial. The same money could be used to build several batteries. serial heavy guns with a smaller caliber. Please note that 124 heavy guns and only two Berts participated in the shelling of Liege mentioned in the article. How proportional was their contribution to the overall success - now it is difficult to say.
          1. Victor Tsenin
            Victor Tsenin 31 March 2021 19: 27
            +6
            Nothing from the serial is capable of competing with Gamma in power, in other words, the mortar paid for itself in general, i.e. in technical terms, in terms of moral impact on the enemy with destructive power and superiority, right?
          2. Alexey RA
            Alexey RA April 1 2021 11: 28
            +3
            Quote: Gato
            The issue is controversial. With the same money, it was possible to build several batteries of serial heavy guns with a smaller caliber.

            Slightly less - this is not less than 12 ". For standard pre-war forts (except for the last five pre-war years) were designed to resist at least 11" shells. I.e, smaller caliber it was possible to pick them for much longer - and the Germans needed to quickly and reliably break through the Belgian defenses.
      2. Narak-zempo
        Narak-zempo 31 March 2021 19: 57
        +3
        Quote: Gato
        And this is provided that the enemy does not have any means capable of reaching the positions of these monsters.

        What means does the enemy have?
        The counter-battery fight would again be won by the Germans, who had superiority in other types of heavy weapons. Aviation is in its infancy. DRG - so how to throw it in the rear, if there are no planes again?
        1. Gato
          Gato 31 March 2021 20: 10
          +2
          What means does the enemy have?
          The counter-battery fight would again be won by the Germans

          What am I talking about? The counter-battery battle was won, presumably, not by the Berts, but then you can drag them along. If the enemy has something to answer - see the post of a colleague below. Aleksandr97 about the siege of Osovets.
        2. Petrik66
          Petrik66 April 1 2021 12: 41
          +1
          By the strength of the spirit, here's how to deal with them. An example - when the Russian - Buryat division tried to crush the heroes at the Donetsk airport, then this division used Tulips there, and almost, according to the statements of the Ukrainian commanders, did not fire fiery ammunition! BUT ...... by force of will, the "cyborgs" carried out another "change" and did not give up. True, there was only 240 mm in total, but now there is probably no larger caliber.
    2. vladcub
      vladcub 31 March 2021 19: 52
      +4
      Yes indeed - the mortar was also used near Leningrad.
      After the capture of Sevostopol, Hitler was fascinated by Manstein and appointed him commander for Leningrad.
      Manstein also brought this mortar. I think it was called "Dora" (they all had their own names). As soon as this mortar began to fire at Leningrad, the question arose: how can she "shut her mouth"? Someone, I do not remember the name of the front artillery commander, ordered: "fire on a password" Reconnaissance found out the location of the German headquarters and it was kept for a "rainy day".
      Manstein assessed everything correctly and stopped the shelling.
      1. Victor Tsenin
        Victor Tsenin 31 March 2021 19: 59
        +2
        Dora painfully fits with the 800mm giant. As if the weapon survived, if it took part in the suppression of the Warsaw uprising. Shirokorad offered to lead excursions to the Piskarevsky cemetery for the French and Germans when they are in debt.
        1. vladcub
          vladcub 31 March 2021 20: 57
          0
          Naturally lost. Balflot's artillery could not reach them.
          1. Victor Tsenin
            Victor Tsenin 31 March 2021 21: 02
            +4
            How could not, please explain? I did not check the performance characteristics, but many Soviet guns have a range that is no worse.
            1. vladcub
              vladcub April 1 2021 08: 28
              0
              Victor, I read about this 30 years ago and I don’t remember everything, but the essence is this
              A call to the head of the front artillery.
              - Do your best, but shut your mouth.
              The chief of artillery checked everything and made sure it was impossible to suppress. Then the location of the well-known headquarters was fired upon.
              These objects were supposed to be fired upon when the breakthrough began. They were encrypted with a password: "Victory"
              1. your1970
                your1970 April 13 2021 18: 58
                0
                Quote: vladcub
                The chief of artillery checked everything and made sure it was impossible to suppress.

                What do you mean "impossible"? naval guns approximately double the range
                - Berta has a range of only 12 km.
                Even B-4 is almost 18 km, ML 20 - 17 km ...
                So they could well have covered them - if they did not want to reveal the positions of the ships ..
      2. shtatsov
        shtatsov 31 March 2021 22: 01
        +3

        Dora's sleeve 800 mm in St. Petersburg.
        1. Alien From
          Alien From 31 March 2021 22: 58
          +3
          Truly gigantic caliber belay, I read about this weapon, of course, and saw the photo, but after the article you begin to understand what kind of power and laboriousness there is in transportation and installation.
      3. moreman78
        moreman78 April 1 2021 12: 14
        +1
        Quote: vladcub
        Yes indeed - the mortar was also used near Leningrad.
        After the capture of Sevostopol, Hitler was fascinated by Manstein and appointed him commander for Leningrad.
        Manstein also brought this mortar. I think it was called "Dora" (they all had their own names). As soon as this mortar began to fire at Leningrad, the question arose: how can she "shut her mouth"? Someone, I do not remember the name of the front artillery commander, ordered: "fire on a password" Reconnaissance found out the location of the German headquarters and it was kept for a "rainy day".
        Manstein assessed everything correctly and stopped the shelling.

        What does "Dora" have to do with it? Just write! Elderberry in the garden ...
        1. vladcub
          vladcub April 1 2021 14: 06
          +1
          I don't remember the name specifically, maybe "Dora" or "Gustav", but the fact is that this gun was firing at Leningrad. It is also a fact that the Germans took him away soon, perhaps. were afraid of an air raid
  3. aleks neym_2
    aleks neym_2 31 March 2021 18: 22
    +2
    In the absence of aviation, this is a formidable weapon. But, at a distance of 12-14 km, counter-battery fight, in my opinion, is quite effective.
    1. Gato
      Gato 31 March 2021 20: 17
      +6
      quite effective

      More than. Especially if you shoot from under a concrete cap and shells are served to you from an underground storage, and the enemy is located in a position unprotected from overhead fire and the shells are brought to him on carts, tractors or steam locomotives (not the essence) in the open area.
      In my opinion, movable weapons of such a mass are a perversion. Another thing is when they are located in powerful stationary fortifications, such as coastal batteries.
      1. Alexey RA
        Alexey RA April 1 2021 11: 34
        +3
        Quote: Gato
        More than. Especially if you shoot from under a concrete cap and shells are served to you from an underground storage, and the enemy is located in a position unprotected from overhead fire and the shells are brought to him on carts, tractors or steam locomotives (not the essence) in the open area.

        Especially when you shoot from a position known to the enemy in advance, the defense of which was designed based on the enemy's 11-12 "mortars. And a 42-cm mortar shoots at you from an unknown field position. smile
        The design of the Belgian forts of Brialmont was criticized back in the 80s:
        At the same time, this type of fort was severely criticized by French and Russian specialists, indicating that the ideas of armored fortification (la fortification cuirassee) were unacceptable for fortresses, and at the same time the type of an armored fortress. The Russian professor KI Velichko especially protested against such forts; and, as the experience of the world war has shown, he was absolutely right, since the Brialmont forts of Liège and Namur did not pass the combat exam. But according to the same experience of the World War, shortcomings of a narrow technical nature were added to the shortcomings of these forts in relation to the basic idea of ​​their device: the casemated premises were deprived of proper ventilation devices, and the concrete from which they were filled turned out to be of poor quality. The towers turned out to be outdated and unable to withstand large-caliber artillery shells hitting them. Meanwhile, the cost of Liège and Namur by the time these fortresses were ready was prohibitively high: some armored towers cost the Belgian government 30 million francs (the franc exchange rate was then on Russian money - 37 kopecks); concrete cost 35 million francs, and the total cost of both fortresses reached 100 million francs.
        1. your1970
          your1970 April 13 2021 19: 02
          0
          Quote: Alexey RA
          Especially when you shoot from a position known to the enemy in advance, the defense of which was designed based on the enemy's 11-12 "mortars. And a 42-cm mortar shoots at you from an unknown field position.

          And in my opinion, other factors played a significantly greater role.
          Quote: Alexey RA
          the casemated rooms were deprived of proper ventilation devices, and the concrete from which they were filled turned out to be of poor quality.

          If builders saved cement ... ............
  4. Astra wild2
    Astra wild2 31 March 2021 18: 24
    +2
    Fig knows him, maybe it's true that they named after Bertha?
    That is to say, sycophant is okay, or maybe Bertha was the name of the designer's beloved woman or "youthful love"?
    1. Gato
      Gato 31 March 2021 19: 28
      +2
      in honor of Bertha

      Or maybe Bertha was the name of the designer's favorite cat. Or a fish. To call a monstrous cannon by the name of your beloved woman is either you need to have a special sense of humor, or to be henpecked Level 80 laughing
      1. bk0010
        bk0010 31 March 2021 20: 01
        0
        Quote: Gato
        To call a monstrous cannon by the name of your beloved woman is either you need to have a special sense of humor, or to be henpecked Level 80
        Henpecked? The likelihood that in response a woman will think that she knows what and will be offended is very high.
        1. Gato
          Gato 31 March 2021 20: 25
          +1
          in response, the woman will think for God knows what and will be offended

          A woman can think of something that a woman may be offended, if she is named, if not named, and in general for any reason belay
      2. Senior seaman
        Senior seaman 31 March 2021 20: 37
        +4
        Quote: Gato
        Name the monstrous cannon after the woman you love

        And the plane with the atomic bomb in the name of the mother?
        I'm talking about Enola Gay if that ...
        1. Catfish
          Catfish 31 March 2021 21: 34
          +5
          Good evening, Ivan. hi So Tibbets called him after his mother when he still had no idea about the atomic bomb. And not only him. I read the memoirs of Claude Iserly, when they returned to the airfield and found out how much they killed (presumably) with one bomb, they just went into a binge with the whole crew.
          1. Senior seaman
            Senior seaman 31 March 2021 21: 36
            +1
            And you hi it can and so, only after all, super-fortresses and ordinary bombs could have done wrong - Mom, do not worry! So the difference is only in scale.
          2. Richard
            Richard 31 March 2021 23: 22
            +4
            To call a monstrous cannon by the name of your beloved woman is either you need to have a special sense of humor, or to be henpecked Level 80

            Its official name - "420-mm mortar project Krupp model L / 12".
            The author of the project of the weapon and the author of the nickname fat Bertha was a design tandem consisting of the chief designer of the concern Fritz Rauschenberger and his predecessor in this position, the designer Draeger.
            In conversations with each other, the engineers called the project "Big Bertha" or "Fat Bertha" (German "Dicke Bertha") in honor of the sole owner of the concern at that time, the granddaughter and only heiress of Alfred Krupp - Bertha Krupp. Which subsequently took root
            The very same Bertha Krupp insisted to call this weapon "the killer of the forts"
            a photo gun makers. The owner of the concern Berta is sitting in the center with a child.
            1. Catfish
              Catfish 31 March 2021 23: 31
              +4
              Hello Dima. hi
              I believe that for any woman "Fat Bertha" would be a very dubious compliment. I could have taken offense. laughing
          3. Richard
            Richard 31 March 2021 23: 31
            +5
            Greetings, Konstantin hi
            Your comments have already become so popular on VO that it's time to try on a friendly cartoon for you. smile drinks
            1. Catfish
              Catfish 31 March 2021 23: 32
              +2
              Thanks, Dima. drinks
              Only your information is much more than mine. good
        2. Kote Pan Kokhanka
          Kote Pan Kokhanka April 1 2021 04: 15
          +1
          Quote: Senior Sailor
          And the plane with the atomic bomb in the name of the mother?
          I'm talking about Enola Gay if that ...

          Kuzka will be offended and did not play Chapaya with the Senior Sailor! laughing
          Respectfully, with scolding.
      3. Maki Avellevich
        Maki Avellevich April 1 2021 06: 41
        -1
        Quote: Gato
        To call a monstrous cannon by the name of your beloved woman is either you need to have a special sense of humor, or to be henpecked Level 80

        or be fearless
      4. your1970
        your1970 April 13 2021 19: 05
        0
        Quote: Gato
        Name the monstrous cannon after the woman you love

        It is written in Russian - the owner of the concern ... Pure water toadying to the boss - who has obtained a BIG military order ...
    2. aleks neym_2
      aleks neym_2 31 March 2021 20: 25
      +1
      But what about the famous Mercedes?
  5. Gato
    Gato 31 March 2021 18: 24
    +1
    Hmm ... But old man Freud was right about something.
  6. Grossvater
    Grossvater 31 March 2021 19: 29
    0
    Immediately, without having read the bike yet.
    Cannon or mortar? Trish Voroshilov argued that artillery is an exact science!
    1. Ryaruav
      Ryaruav 31 March 2021 21: 33
      +1
      which gun, the gun has a barrel length of more than 30 calibers
  7. Aleksandr97
    Aleksandr97 31 March 2021 19: 35
    +6
    On the subject:
    However, when, in February 1916, the Berts faced the more modern fortifications of Verdun, where monolithic reinforced concrete was used in the construction of the casemates, it turned out that their fire was not so effective against reinforced concrete.
    The experience of using the "Big Berts" against the Russian fortress Osovets in Eastern Poland can also be regarded as unsuccessful. Here the Germans brought four "Big Berts" and 64 large-caliber siege weapons of other systems. On February 25, 1915, shelling of the fortress began, which reached its peak on February 27 and lasted until March 3. For several days of continuous shelling, up to 250 thousand only heavy shells were fired at the fortress, and in total during the siege - up to 400 thousand.
    According to eyewitnesses, brick buildings of the fortress were destroyed, wooden structures were on fire, concrete structures gave internal spalls in the vaults and walls. Wired communications were interrupted everywhere, and the roads, trenches, machine-gun nests and dugouts were plowed up by shells. Puffs of smoke and dust constantly hung over the fortress. Together with artillery, the fortress was bombed by German airplanes.
    German artillerymen placed siege weapons out of reach of the fortress artillery of Osovets, which consisted of morally obsolete 152-mm guns of 1885. In this regard, they considered it unnecessary to mask their batteries, as a result of which they paid for their frivolity and imaginary impunity. The Germans did not know that the fortress was also armed with two long-range 152-mm naval guns of the Kane system, the firing range of which was quite enough to cover the German batteries with fire. As a result of the artillery duel, the Russian gunners damaged and destroyed 8 German guns, including two "Big Berts", while losing only one of their guns. As a result, Osovets was abandoned by the Russian army only on August 24 in connection with the general retreat of Russian troops in Poland. The garrison left the fortress, having previously destroyed everything that could not be taken out or carried away. The fortifications of the fortress were also blown up by Russian sappers during the retreat.
    It is worth noting that Bert barrels wore out quickly, which reduced their aiming range from the initial 12,5 km to 9 km. In addition, there were cases of detonation of low-quality shells in the barrels of guns.
    and in some 420-mm guns, the barrels were eventually replaced by 305-mm (their length was increased to 30 calibers) in order to increase the firing range by reducing the mass of the projectile. Such weapons were called "Heavy Cartauna" or "Model-Beta-M".
    During the First World War, as well as after the fulfillment of the terms of the Versailles Treaty by the German government, all "Big Berts", with the exception of two copies, were destroyed. Two guns went to the Americans as trophies and were exported to the United States. One mortar was exhibited at the United States Army Museum of Artillery in Aberdeen until it was melted down in the 50s.
    1. Richard
      Richard 31 March 2021 23: 44
      +5
      The gun had a sliding wedge breechblock. Aimed shooting could be conducted at distances up to 12,5 km, although the projectile's range exceeded 14 km. The mortar's rate of fire was 1 shot per 8 minutes, which was a high indicator for such large-caliber guns. "Big Bertha" could fire three types of ammunition:
      - concrete-piercing shells that had the ability to destroy 8-meter concrete walls not reinforced with rolled metal;
      - high-explosive shells, which destroyed all living things within a radius of 500 meters and left craters in the ground four meters deep and with a radius of up to 12 meters;
      - fragmentation projectiles, stuffed with 15 metal pointed stars, which scattered at a distance of up to 000 meters.
      The weight of the concrete-piercing projectile of the mortar reached 886 kg, the high-explosive projectile - 760 kg

      Alexander97 (Solonin Alexander): It should be noted that Bert barrels wore out quickly, which reduced their effective range of fire from the initial 12,5 km to 9 km. In addition, there were cases of detonation of low-quality shells in the barrels of guns.

      1. Tochilka
        Tochilka April 1 2021 13: 32
        +1
        Now it is clear what a "German suitcase in which an entire battalion could fit" the schoolboy Lev Kassil saw in his "Conduit and Schwambrania" (the chapter about the trip to the barge of St. George's Cavaliers). And I can't imagine what the fighters who got under the shot experienced.
  8. Aviator_
    Aviator_ 31 March 2021 19: 49
    +6
    As far as I remember, near Sevastopol there was a Dora cannon (fired from Bakhchisarai) and Karl self-propelled mortars. There was nothing else with a caliber over 210 mm.
    1. Overlock
      Overlock 31 March 2021 20: 05
      +23
      Quote: Aviator_
      As far as I remember, there was a Dora cannon near Sevastopol

      I thought so too, I'll have to google
    2. Catfish
      Catfish 31 March 2021 21: 57
      +4
      "The data on the use of the supercannon near Sevastopol are contradictory. In his memoirs, Manstein claimed that Dora fired 80 rounds at the Soviet fortress. The German cannon was soon spotted by Soviet pilots, who dealt a serious blow to its position and damaged the energy train.
      In general, the use of "Dora" did not give the results that the Wehrmacht command hoped for: only one successful hit was recorded, which caused the explosion of a Soviet ammunition depot located at a depth of 27 m. "(C)
      This weapon was also used near Leningrad. Caliber 813 mm, firing range - 25 km.
      1. Aviator_
        Aviator_ 31 March 2021 22: 34
        +4
        There are no contradictions. There is a photo of her in a position east of Bakhchisarai (I will find and post), a separate railway line was made for her. The air defense was well covered. The legend about its successful bombing is a propaganda fake. The only thing that is true is that there was no benefit from it, and given the complexity of maintenance and the mass of troops around it, it was generally near-zero benefit. The only time she managed to detonate a pile of shells laid out from the storage (a number of publications claimed that it was a storage at a depth of 12 m). The strongest guns were self-propelled 600 mm mortars Karl, with their help they broke 30 battery in Lyubimovka, and the rest of the fortifications of Sevastopol also got
        1. Catfish
          Catfish 31 March 2021 22: 54
          +4
          At one time I was on the 30th battery and on the 35th at Cape Chersonesos. The Black Sea Fleet sailors called the combination of these batteries "The World's Longest Battleship". In the Black Sea Fleet Maritime Museum was exhibited what was left of the "Kara" shells (and from which one, the devil only knows).

          1. Catfish
            Catfish 31 March 2021 22: 56
            +3
            One of the "Karls" in "work".
        2. Alien From
          Alien From 31 March 2021 23: 09
          +4
          In Kubinka there was "Karl", from one sight it was uncomfortable.
          1. Catfish
            Catfish 31 March 2021 23: 46
            +3
            Precisely, there is a monster named "Adam" standing there.
            The photo, however, is not very, I am not a photographer.
            1. Alien From
              Alien From 31 March 2021 23: 54
              +4
              Regarding the photo: You took the focus very low, so the gudgeon can be removed instead of the whale. fellow and this mortar is a monstrous, gloomy German genius in the flesh.
      2. Aviator_
        Aviator_ 31 March 2021 23: 08
        +3
        Here, I found a photo of Dora near Bakhchisarai





        In the first picture in the distance - the valley of the Kacha River
      3. Aviator_
        Aviator_ 31 March 2021 23: 16
        +4
        This weapon was also used near Leningrad.

        Not used near Leningrad. There were only plans to relocate there immediately after Sevastopol, but they were careful, Leningrad is still not Sevastopol, our nearest airfield from Sevastopol in the summer of 42 was 500 km away.
        1. Catfish
          Catfish 31 March 2021 23: 36
          +2
          Sergei, you are right, they did not have time to apply it under St. Petersburg. hi
  9. Senior seaman
    Senior seaman 31 March 2021 20: 52
    +4
    The development of a super-powerful weapon was carried out in the company Alfred Krupp.

    Alfred Krupp died in 1887. If we are talking about the whole company, then it was called "Fríedrich Krupp AG" in honor of the founder and father of Alfred - Friedrich Krupp. By the way, this Friedrich was the most unlucky of all the Krupps.
    By the way, Alfred's wife was also named Bertha.
    1. Richard
      Richard April 1 2021 00: 17
      +3
      Information on the total number of Big Berts built in various sources varies from 9 to 12 units, and the total number of barrels produced for them ranged from 18 to 20 pieces.
      During the First World War, as well as after the fulfillment of the terms of the Versailles Treaty by the German government, all "Big Berts", with the exception of two copies, were destroyed. These guns went to the Americans as trophies and were exported to the United States. One mortar was exhibited at the United States Army Museum of Artillery in Aberdeen until it was melted down in the 50s. The fate of the second "Bertha" is unknown.
      a photo Wooden model of the 420-mm mortar "Big Bertha", created in 1932 by E. Cherubin, a former artilleryman of the crew of one of the "Bert"

      link: https://homsk.com/begemot/ubijca-fortov-tolstushka-berta
  10. The comment was deleted.
  11. Pushkowed
    Pushkowed April 1 2021 06: 22
    +1
    The only mortar that survived until the Second World War was in a "semi-stationary" version.
    Notable fighting episodes:
    1. May 18, 1940 [according to some sources] in Belgium "worked" during the storming of the Liege UR.
    2. On June 21-22, 1940 in France, fired 50-52 shots at Fort Schonenburg (Maginot Line).
    3. 02-13 June 1942 near Sevastopol fired 276 shots, incl. 30 batteries each.
    4. In August and / or September 1944 [according to some sources] shelled Warsaw during the uprising.
    The further fate of the gun is unknown (perhaps the Germans are still hiding it at some training ground laughing ).
    In all these cases, the combat effectiveness is assessed as low.
  12. Alexey RA
    Alexey RA April 1 2021 11: 23
    +1
    Twelve forts of the fortress of Liege were taken by the Germans in 10 days, largely due to the power of their heavy artillery.

    For Yakovlev, the speed of the capture of the Belgian forts is explained primarily by the mistake of the Belgians themselves in terms of building a defense. At a time when other countries "smeared" forts and groups of forts over the terrain and carried out artillery positions outside the anti-personnel, the Belgians were building all-in-one armored concrete forts, with a limited area. On the blueprints, this land battleship looked menacing. And in practice, the attacking side did not need to look for the positions of the defenders' artillery, conduct counter-battery combat and then destroy the anti-personnel positions - it was just necessary to fire at the fort, simultaneously disabling both artillery and anti-personnel positions.
  13. Constanty
    Constanty April 2 2021 03: 50
    0
    There was some kind of misunderstanding. Although the people of Warsaw actually spoke of "Big Bertha" or "Fat Bertha", it was just a colloquial term for the heaviest weapon.
    During the uprising, Warsaw was actually fired upon with a 600 mm mortar of the Karl type (Gerät 040), more precisely Herat VI with its own name "Ziu"
    .


    And the effect of hitting a 600 mm projectile in the Prudential skyscraper
  14. Alexey Zotov
    Alexey Zotov April 20 2021 13: 28
    0
    Great article, interesting weapon. But only I did not understand why X Berthe gun shield? Someone was going to put it on direct fire?
  15. Tycoon
    Tycoon 10 May 2021 21: 03
    0
    Everything is not bad, but I doubt that 1 million marks now equals 5.5 million euros ....