With A Fire Range Of 47Km, Schwerer Gustav Is The Largest, Most Powerful Weapon Ever

Dhir Acharya - Feb 25, 2020


With A Fire Range Of 47Km, Schwerer Gustav Is The Largest, Most Powerful Weapon Ever

The weapon is 45.7 meters long, 1,300 tons heavy, took five weeks and 4,000 men to position it. Schwerer Gustav is the largest weapon to this day.

In 1934, the only thing that stopped Hitler from invading France was the French Maginot Line, literally. It was a fortification standing between Hitler and Western Europe that was made of rail lines, bunkers, and concrete blockhouses, which ran from the Rhine River to La Ferté. Extensive and elaborate, rumors of its strength were widespread, Hitler believed that it would take a miracle for his troops to be able to break through it.

French Maginot Line

As a result, engineers from Essen-based steel company Krupp were commissioned by the German High Command (OKH) to design a weapon with enough power to break through the French Maginot Line. The requirements included shells strong enough to penetrate 6.7-meter thick reinforced concrete as well as at least 0.9 meters of steel plating, which means the weapon had to be massive.

To meet those requirements, Erich Müller, an engineer at Krupp, calculated that the weapon would have to be much larger, far more powerful than all the weapons ever created. Müller finally put together the measurements for his gun and presented the design to the Command.

And while there wasn’t a formal commitment from Hitler, OKH knew that Schwerer Gustav, the official name of the design, was the answer.

Schwerer Gustav

The one and only Schwerer Gustav

The Schwerer Gustav was imposing, featuring a 0.78-meter caliber, and could fire a 10-ton projectile over a range of 47 kilometers. The barrel measured more than 30 meters in length, which is longer than all existing gun barrels at the time, the gun’s body was also larger than any tank used in the battlefield to this day.

The Schwerer Gustav was more of a building than just a gun. To compare, the gun was nearly four stories tall, more than 45.7 meters long (the barrel included). The total weight of the gun was more than 1,300 tons, which is over half the weight of the Space Shuttle, just to compare.

Schwerer Gustav

The shells alone had a height and width twice those of a man, and each of them weighed over 900 kilograms. Just loading one shell into the barrel would take several men. For moving the gun around, the engineers built the body on two sets of rail wheels, which allowed it to travel on special tracks.

Finally, OKH ordered two of these guns, the Schwerer Gustav itself and Dora, a smaller model. But the models were not ready for use so Hitler had to invade France without using them. And he shouldn’t have worried about the invasion because the troops outnumbered the static defenses of France.

Schwerer Gustav

Nevertheless, despite the French surrendering quickly, Hitler wanted to use the weapon so much he took it to the siege of Sevastopol. It took five weeks and 4,000 men to position the device but it was finally ready.

From June 15 to June 17, the Schwerer Gustav fired 48 rounds, which equaled 30,000 tons of ammunition. After that, the gun’s barrel was completely worn out, the men were as well. The gun needed 500 men just for firing, and they were all exhausted after loading the shells.

Schwerer Gustav

The Schwerer Gustav was taken apart after the battle, the barrel was sent to Krupp for re-lining while the machine got a spare one as a preparation for an attack on Leningrad. But when the attack was canceled, they moved the gun to a set of tracks near Leningrad.

Schwerer Gustav was a too powerful weapon

Schwerer Gustav

After using it once, the Germans realized how impractical the Schwerer Gustav was. First, the number of men needed for firing one round was huge. In the battle, there wouldn’t enough spare men for that task.

Besides, the took multiple days and the whole troops just to move the gun, which is impossible if they needed secrecy. The Schwerer Gustav was too big to be hidden from planes and it could be seen from nearly every higher elevation.

And then its terrain was limited because it could only travel on specially designed tracks. The worst thing is that they had to lay it in advance, meaning it was too easy to predict.

And finally, the gun was too expensive for maintenance and shells and hard to justify while there were already more covert tanks with smaller sizes.

The Germans retired the Schwerer Gustav. To make sure that enemies could not touch it or use it, they took it apart. Its whereabouts were either destroyed or missing.

>>> Do Bollywood Movies Accurately Portray The Indian Army?

Comments

Sort by Newest | Popular

Next Story

Read more

70-Year-Old Man Faked His Death To Return Home Amid India Lockdown

Features- Apr 04, 2020

70-Year-Old Man Faked His Death To Return Home Amid India Lockdown

Amid thousands of Indians trapped in big cities due to the India lockdown, a 70-year-old man decided to fake his death to return home.

Amazon Pantry Continues With Its Operations In India

ICT News- Apr 04, 2020

Amazon Pantry Continues With Its Operations In India

Through an official update, Amazon announced that it would fulfill existing prepaid orders in some select PIN codes in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Pune.

25-Year-Old Patient Is The Country’s Youngest COVID-19 Death

Features- Apr 03, 2020

25-Year-Old Patient Is The Country’s Youngest COVID-19 Death

A 25-year-old man who died on March 30 evening is Uttar Pradesh’s first COVID-19 deaths and probably the country’s youngest case to lose his life.

IIT Roorkee To 3D-Print Face Shields For AIIMS Medical Staff

Features- Apr 05, 2020

IIT Roorkee To 3D-Print Face Shields For AIIMS Medical Staff

After making low-cost ventilators, IIT Roorkee has gone on to develop 3D-printed face shields for AIIMS Rishikesh’s medical staff.

Woman Dumped Husband To Pursue Online Romance In Video Game

Features- Apr 03, 2020

Woman Dumped Husband To Pursue Online Romance In Video Game

The online romance happens on Second Life, a video game allowing people to customize their avatar and live their wildest fantasies

Download Disney Plus Hotstar App: Launch Date, Pricing, And Subscription

How To- Apr 04, 2020

Download Disney Plus Hotstar App: Launch Date, Pricing, And Subscription

Download Disney Plus Hotstar app: the service was officially launched in India yesterday. Here's how to down the app, subscribe, and pricing of the service.