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Big Bertha

Though the name "Dicke Berta" or "Big Bertha" usually applied to numerous German artillery guns of large-calibre, yet it was actually the name for the single siege gun, which was the most powerful and the largest gun of the world at that time.

Origin of Big Bertha

Big Bertha was manufactured by a German company of Krupp. It was a model L/14-42cm howitzer. This was designed in the repercussion of Russo-Japanese War that happened in 1904, for the German Army. This gun was used for blowing up the fortress towns of Namur and Liege and later Antwerp, in August 1914. This was the first month of the war. And when the need arose this gun was utilized to get rid of enemy strong-points.

The name of the gun, which is not very faltering came from Gustav Krupp's wife. Krupp was the owner of the company and the gun was named after his wife Bertha Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach.

Features of Big Bertha and its end

Just four of such guns were produced. Within a few days after the hostilities started on August 9th 1914, the first two guns were produced. Each shell of the huge guns almost weight 820kg after it was constructed. Then the shells were transported in their component parts to their destination, with the help of a tractor. At the destination they are reconstructed by an enormous crew comprising of almost 1000 men.

The 420mm shells proved to be devastating with a fifteen kilometers range. All the four huge guns were used all through the German attack upon Verdun, which started from February 1916.

The Verdun assault ended up in a failure, it led to the substitution of Erich von Falkenhayn, the German Head of Staff. It was he who instigated the battle. From the time when Allied artillery developed guns with an elongated range, the earlier guns were decommissioned.

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