42 cm heavy howitzers

Among the Kappenabzeichen of the Great War, there are several that refer to some kind of cannon with the inscription 42 cm. A small investigation soon reveals that both the Monarchy and Germany had developed such large-caliber cannon types. Most of the badges presumably refer back to German heavy guns. The two bullet-shaped badges presented here clearly point to this.

German cannons were used with great success to defeat Belgian forts in 1914. These forts stood near Lüttich and Antwerp, for example. The name of the other badge, ‘dicke Tante’, was also explicitly nicknamed the German ‘M-Gerät’ (M-device), according to sources. The letter M in the name refers to the German word Marine. The device was designed primarily for use against heavily armored ships developed in the pre-war dreadnought category. The large projectile fired by the cannon on a steep trajectory had to hit and penetrate the weaker armored deck of the battleships. However, the cannons produced were eventually deployed more on land, against forts.

The device weighed 42.6 tons. It could be transported disassembled into four parts by motor tractors. She was able to fire 810 kg of projectile at a maximum distance of 9,300 meters. Until 1914, two were made of it, during the war another 10 pieces.

In addition to German guns, 42 cm guns (42 cm M14/16 Haubitze) were also produced at the Skoda gun factory in the Monarchy. Two were intended to protect the port of Pola. By the time the war broke out, one of these had already been installed on site. This device was mounted in a gun turret that could be rotated 360 degrees.

The cannon factory made seven more pieces. These were set up on gun support and transported by motor tractors disassembled in six pieces (later version in four pieces).

The staff of the battery, which was organized around a cannon, exceeded 200 people and 32 trucks and trailers were used to move it. Its rate of fire was surprisingly high, 6-8 shots per hour could be fired with the monster. One of the cap badges plastically depicts a giant cannon set up in a mountain landscape.

A letter sealer shown in the opening picture reflects the popularity of the huge gun which had been used also for war support propaganda.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x