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Skoda Heavy Artillery- Plate 2

This is the second plate from the book "Built at Skoda Werke" - Siege Artillery in the Collection of the Military Museum of Bucharest" and shows the same gun as the first plate… dismantled for transport.

For ease of manoeuvre, the piece is split into three parts - the barrel, secured to its trailer by a metal and one leather strap, the gun cradle/carriage, which has the wheels attached directly to the frame, and the platform, which is hinged and folds down to allow the negotiation of narrow roads, bridges and tunnels.

Each of the three pieces weighed more than twenty tons each but the whole assembly-disassembly sequence took only a few hours and needed only simple tools along with four jacks.

After unloading, some of the trailers were used in the normal gun operation. The most pertinent example is the platform carrying one which became a crane for unloading shells from the transport trailers to the waiting trolley.

A complete set of trailers of this type exists in the Belgrade Army Museum as well as an artillery storage facility in Targoviste belonging to the Military Museum of Bucharest, the latter unfortunately not available to the public.

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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cullyferg2010's avatar
How many men did it take to assemble this beast?
wingsofwrath's avatar
The instructions say that around 12 people can prepare the site and assemble the gun in around 6 hours. Practice during the war showed you needed twice as many soldiers and as much as 12 hours to do it in anything but the flattest of fields.
Still, this is blisteringly fast considering this was a hundred years ago and what this siege howitzer is actually capable of.
cullyferg2010's avatar
Especially when you weren't spotted by an observation balloon or aircraft who will forward their sighting to the nearest artillery outpost.
wingsofwrath's avatar
Well, usually these kind of guns were bought in to smash heavily fortified places such as Liège, Verdun and the Italian Alpine Wall, at which point it was assumed you controlled enough of the surrounding countryside and/or airspace to negate the threat. 
In fact, despite the fact that most photos show these positions weren't all that well camouflaged (except at the siege of Osowiec, on the eastern front, but that seems to have been an exception), I don't know of any example where one of these guns was lost to counter battery fire, and most were captured after being left behind by the retreating Central Powers.
cullyferg2010's avatar
That I can understand.  A pain to set up, and a waste of time to break down and move out when retreating.  I remember reading about the Paris Gun the Germans used in the Great War.  They could only fire is several times before the rifled lining was eroded by the massive powder charges.  But this was at a time when neither side had any effective air forces that could carry out any sort of bombing on tactical targets.
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