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Requesting info on WWI German "Big Bertha" 420mm brought to US after war.


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#1 gwb623

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 03:37 AM

I have been contacted by a gentleman from Belgium asking about info on a German 420mm "Big Bertha" mortar ( I believe he meant howitzer) siege weapon, that was brought to the US after the war. He thinks it might have eventually went for scrap metal but wonders if there was any record of it going to a museum or if there exists any information on its stay here. He lives near Liege where they were used to lay siege to that town during WWI. His organization performs ceremonies and lays flowers on the graves of soldiers in the nearby American cemetaries. The majority of Belgians still remember what the Allies did for them. He contacted me in reference to a soldier whose grave they were sponsering that served in the 71stAFA Bn. with my dad.
His group is trying to build a replica of a "Big Bertha" for the 100th anniversary of the battle at Liege and asked me if any artillery or other friends might know of the story of the "Big Bertha" that came to the states, for his backround research. Thanks for any help ...Gary

#2 Biak

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 04:02 AM

I've been doing some Google searching and I think your Belgium friend is correct.
This from: Big Bertha (howitzer) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Two Big Berthas were captured at the end of the war[2]. One was taken to the United States and evaluated at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. The gun was later placed on display at the United States Army Ordnance Museum.[6], and eventually scrapped during the 1950s. The fate of the other is unknown.

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#3 gwb623

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 05:16 AM

Thanks, another friend that lives near Aberdeen Proving Ground said the same thing. I emailed their museum and hope they respond. Gary
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#4 Skipper

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 08:45 AM

This is what I found about another one that was left at Meppen, Germany. It was transformed in the 1930s and used against the Maginot line in 1940, then transferred to the siege of Sebastopol in 1942 and last used against Warsaw in 1944.

Histoire du Monde -> Grosse Bertha

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#5 sniper1946

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 12:06 PM

source.. http://militaryhisto...f_world_war_one
The guns were taken back to Germany in August 1918 as Allied advances threatened its security. These super guns were never captured by the Allies and their continued existence was hidden. One spare mounting was captured by American troops near Chateau-Thierry, but no gun was ever found. They were claimed to be completely destroyed by the Germans after the war however this is thought by some sources as to have not occurred until as late as the end of the 1920's.

#6 brndirt1

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 12:40 PM

source.. The Paris Guns of World War One: These monsters bombarded the city from 70 miles away.
The guns were taken back to Germany in August 1918 as Allied advances threatened its security. These super guns were never captured by the Allies and their continued existence was hidden. One spare mounting was captured by American troops near Chateau-Thierry, but no gun was ever found. They were claimed to be completely destroyed by the Germans after the war however this is thought by some sources as to have not occurred until as late as the end of the 1920's.


The article shows that these "Paris Guns" are neither the "Big Bertha" nor the "Long Max" cannons. Don't anybody confuse them, they are completely different weapons. They were however all made by Krupp.
Happy Trails,
Clint.

#7 sniper1946

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 12:58 PM

agree, not liege big bertha clint, but the parisians nicknamed her that! The Paris Gun—so called because it was first used against that city. The great gun, with a 25-foot carriage, was first used in combat when it was fired from a wooded location near Laon on Mar 23, 1918. It took 176 seconds for a shell to reach the city from a distance of 75 miles. On that first day 15 shots killed 16 individuals. Ridiculing the designers and manufacturers of the weapon, Parisians nicknamed it “Big Bertha” after the wife of the head of the munitions corporation.

#8 gwb623

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 04:53 AM

42cm Mörser M-Gerät Dicke Bertha Big Bertha

This is the best site I've found myself. It explains about the two that went to the states and both are apparently gone now. ...Gary
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]71afa.com Dedicated to the members of the 71st Armored Field Artillery Battalion WWII




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