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wingsofwrath's avatar

Skoda Heavy Artillery -Plate 4

This is the fourth plate in the series, depicting the M16 30,5 cm Mortar, a simplification of the M11 mortar firing the same shell, of which the only surviving example is preserved in the courtyard of the Military Museum of Bucharest.

As you can see from the drawing, this piece bears almost no resemblance to the earlier model and instead it's designed for ease of production and maintenance as well as reliability in the field.
The hinged platform was replaced with a solid box, the fiddly loading tray with a simple cradle with rollers and the piece has now 360 degrees of transverse as opposed to only 120 of the M11.

Also shown is the ammunition used by both this and the M1911: the shells are usually left unpainted and the markings are left to a bare minimum, with the white band showing the centre of gravity of each shell (needed for loading/unloading via crane) while the black band (available on some of the shells only) denotes Amatol filling - a more powerful but less stable explosive than the standard powdered Trotil.
Another possible marking is "B.P.", showing a base mounted fuse and "mV"or "oV" for timed fuses or impact fuses, respectively.

The propelling powder was stored in bags with four different fillings which in turn were placed in a brass cartridge for firing, giving a total of 8 combinations (7 for the heavy shell) for range adjustments.

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
Sounds like the powder charges are determined based on the type of shell being fired and the range to target.  Had some experience with the 107 mm mortar and how the powder 'pages' are attached, and segmented to be torn off based on calculated distance. 
wingsofwrath's avatar
That's indeed the idea, same as used on the 107mm mortar.
They're usually called "propellant increments".

Also, the idea of adjusting range by varying the powder charge was common in the 16-19th centuries, when a number of bronze mortars were either cast with their beds or had fixed elevation (technically, all of those could be adjusted by tilting the bed itself with wooden wedges, but a lot of time it was easier to just vary the charge)
cullyferg2010's avatar
I know some mortars had trunions cast at the base, and the elevation was adjusted by either a screw or a wooden wedge.
wingsofwrath's avatar
Of course, there were many different designs and many ways to do the same thing, and even mortars which had trunnions (which could be set at the base or at the sides like on normal cannons) could use propellant increments for more flexibility in the field.
cullyferg2010's avatar
That is true.  And thinking on this, I'm reminded of 'The General', a Union railway mortar used by Federal forces during the American Civil War.  From old photos of this beast, they had to lay down rails to allow the car to be positioned on a curve to allow directional firing as well as a ratcheting means for elevating the massive squat barrel.
RainingBombs's avatar
Sorry for being a WWI moron, but, thats not the Mortar that appears on Battlefield 1?…
wingsofwrath's avatar
Don't worry, we can't all be experts in everything, so there's no reason why you should be ashamed of not being an expert in WW1 artillery, especially since it's such an obscure field to begin with.

Besides, you asked a question, so that means you want to learn more and the way you asked it means you have a hunch it might not be the same gun.

And you're right, it's not. It looks pretty similar but the gun in BF1 is the British Ordnance BL 9.2-inch siege howitzer, and the one in my drawing is the Austrian  Škoda 30.5 cm Mörser M.16.
The reason they look so similar though - besides the obvious fact they do the same thing, which is poke out massive holes in the scenery and blast people into tiny bits- is because the British actually bought an Austrian Škoda 24 cm Mörser M 98 (Skoda 9.45-inch howitzer, as it was known in British service) back in 1900, liked and then decided to make their own in the same style. In the meantime, the Austrians decided to make a bigger one, so in 1911 they came out with the Škoda 30.5 cm Mörser M.11 before making an even more advanced design in 1916, which is exactly the gun in the drawing.

So, TL;DR: Not the same gun - the one in BF1 is British, this is Austrian. They look similar because they were both based on the same Austrian gun which the Brits liked and copied.

Also, if you're wondering what the different terms in the names mean:
(a term meaning that the name only applies to the barrel and breech and that you might  find this gun on a different carriage) BL (the letters stand for Breech-Loading - meaning it's loaded from the back, not the front, which would be ML, or Muzzle-Loading) 9.2-inch (calibre, or inside diameter of the barrel - in this case equalling to 23.3 cm in metric measurements) siege (because it's meant to be fixed in position and fire at a fixed target - because it's too heavy to move in one piece you have to take it apart and then put it back together in the new position) howitzer (or gun-howitzer - means a gun that fires a heavy shell on a very curved trajectory so it can hit even an enemy it can't see - it can shoot over a hill, for instance).
Škoda (the gun was built by Škoda - they now make cars and they're in the Czech Republic, but back in WW1 they made guns and they were in the Austro-Hungarian Empire) 30.5 cm (calibre - 12 inch - somewhat bigger than the British gun) Mörser (the Austrians might have called it a "mortar", but this is actually still a siege howitzer. Mortars are usually much lighter, are more portable [they can be carried in one piece, generally], fire lighter shells much slower and at shorter ranges, but back in ww1 the line between mortars and howitzers was somewhat blurry) M.16 (just stands for Model 1916).

So there you have it. I hope you found this useful!
RainingBombs's avatar
So, in short version (TLDR, OkNo)
The Ordnance BL 9.2 Inch Siege Howitzer was based on a earlier version of the Skoda 30.5 cm Morser M.16 (Sorry, the points and the thing on the S cannot be done on my Keyboard), and, as the Skoda 30.5cm was based on that version too (Skoda 24 cm Morser M 98), thats why they are so similar

Or, putting it more short, the British made the BL 9.2 based on the Skoda 24 cm, a ealier version of the one you did draw

Also, thanks for the meaning of those terms, i was going to ask you that too, but you did answer it right now
Btw, sorry if i did a typo, im bad at english
wingsofwrath's avatar
That's exactly right.

 What can I say, I'm bad at short answers. XD

Glad you found my answer useful!
RainingBombs's avatar

I'm glad you took the time to answer my question.
wingsofwrath's avatar
Прекрасная серия рисунков по тяжёлой артиллерии Австро-Венгрии!
wingsofwrath's avatar
darklord86's avatar
SerGrimm's avatar
Heavy Artillery is the best artillery!

Awesome artwork.
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