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Skoda Heavy Artillery- Plate 1

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As promised, this is the first of the eight plates published in the book "Built at Skoda Werke -Siege artillery in the collection of the Bucharest Military Museum" and it shows the 30.5cm mortar, model 1911.

It was the mainstay of the Austro-Hungarian siege batteries, and as such it saw action on pretty much every front during the first world war, from blasting the Fortresses of Liege to pummelling the Italian positions in the Dolomites.

It had a rather peculiar system for loading - the shell was far too heavy to be lifted by a single man, so instead it was wheeled around on a special trolley which climbed a set of curved rails to the back of the piece, where it was pushed onto a special tray. Four people then raised this tray up to the breech while a fifth pushed the projectile into the chamber. Needles to say, loading could only be undertaken with the barrel parallel to the ground, so the piece had to be re-aimed after each shot.

This rather graceful and really intricate piece of machinery was truly a marvel of technology, state-of-the art for its time, and it's a pity its main purpose was the wholesale slaughter of fellow humans some eleven kilometres away...

Preserved examples include one on display in Rovereto, Italy, another in the Belgrade Army museum (both shown in semi-disassembled configuration along with some of the transport trailers) and the third in the courtyard of the Military Museum of Bucharest.

Other plates in the series:

The cover

Plate I

Plate II


Plate IV

Plate V

Plate VI


Plate VII


Plate VIII
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Comments14
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stevep12's avatar
N3k0-the-Furry's avatar
looks cool, but i think it is not the firing position, it is the reload position.
i know that some old artillery have to be horizontal to be reloaded.
or maybe i understand firing position a little bit wrong. english is not my native language^^''
wingsofwrath's avatar
Oh, in this case "firing position" simply means the gun is assembled and ready for firing, as opposed to disassembled for transport (Skoda Heavy Artillery- Plate 2)
You are right that I've drawn it with the barrel horizontal and the shell about to be loaded, because I wanted to show the loading sequence - in fact, if you look  at the other drawings in the series I've drawn all of them being loaded, although, in some cases, I've also drawn them with the barrel raised for firing.
menapia's avatar
This is still way better than anything the Irish army has today:( (Sad) 
wingsofwrath's avatar
Actually, that's debatable - after all, it's not like there is any siege artillery still in use by anyone since ww2, and certainly I don't know of any fortresses that need reducing anywhere near Ireland!

Also, the main artillery of the Irish Army is the L118 light gun, which is a 105 mm gun-howitzer, with an effective range of 17,200 m. By comparison, the Škoda 30.5 cm Mörser M. 11 had an effective range of only 9,600 m. Sure, it fires a muuuch heavier shell, but I'm pretty sure you can't get it within range of the Irish Army without it being blown to smithereens by counter-battery fire even before managing to set up...

And yes, I get it you meant it as hyperbole, but really, considering the threats you currently face (none), the Irish Army is not that badly equipped. Certainly a lot better than the Romanian Army is, considering what we face (Russia just a stone throw away).
menapia's avatar
Unless we're invaded by the Isle of Man or Wales - we did get a fright last year when some Russian bombers came near Irish Airspace with their signals turned off - also I'm working on an Irish alt-history story set around our Easter Rising what weapons would you have recommended the Rebels smuggle in from Europe - they ended up using 1871 Mauser Gewehr single shot rifles.
MercenaryGraphics's avatar
Nice rendering.

Not an easy piece to illustrate.
frankpatriot's avatar
Great works on all you weapons painting and designed! I thought I should learn some skills from you for I want improve my own machines and weapons painting skills!
wbyrd's avatar
lets take a 12 inch naval gun, cut it down and ship it off to the front......

What do ya know...it worked....

what has always made me scratch my head is that most mobile and fixed heavy artillery (on land) were considered light guns by the navy. this monster is the same bore as a cruiser, or battle cruisers main guns...and most of them carried six to ten guns of this bore..only much longer in tube length.
HeinzHoerler's avatar
I jest love old guns like these
polo270's avatar
Its huge and very interesting...
jailgurdnegative's avatar
Such a beastly wonder. :D
Arianod's avatar
These are lovely too. Congratulations on getting published!
wingsofwrath's avatar
Thank you! I'm pretty proud of these plates, especially since my rendition of the big 420mm mortar M16 in deployed configuration is the first I've ever seen anywhere. There are entire tomes dedicated to the M17 version which the Germans also used during ww2 so it's widely documented, but of the M16 only the barrel and carriage remain, in transport configuration and without the base box, in the Bucharest military Museum.
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