Big Bertha

Big Bertha
Circa 1940, on the streets of Rochester New York, Bertha does her work.
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Four-Wheelin' InThe ice-Age

And of course you all remember that beasties evolving in cold climates tend to get bigger to retain heat, even to the point of the ice-age megafauna; and megafauna is what this thing resembles.



















This is the Austro-Daimler M17 artillery tractor.
Those steel wheels are just under five feet tall but she needed to be big. She was designed to tow the Skoda, 30.5 cm siege mortar when said artillery piece took to the road.
We mentioned the Skoda a few years back in connection with Dicke Berta. The Skodas doing a big chunk of the Belgian-fortress-destroyin' while they waited for the Big Girl to show up.
These guys got to that party in Belgium in 1914 by means of the conveyance pictured next.
This is an earlier photo and shows the gun being towed by an M12 tractor.
Note that the tube gets its own wagon.
And those guys hanging around? They're the gun crew, fifteen to seventeen of them. They ride in the tractor for added ballast - and 'cause it's easier and faster - and 'cause it wouldn't du for the crew to arrive after the gun.
Being that the M12 was rated for twelve tons but the Skoda weighs ten tons more than that, it must have made for slow going and the smaller front wheels couldn't have gone far off-road




















Enter the M17 in 1916.
She could pull twenty-four tons and had four-wheel-drive. No cab though. Those Zugwagen-eers must have been a hardy bunch.
A four-cylinder engine blasting out 80 horse-power (!) must have sent this thing sailing.
But with twenty-two tons of Skoda in tow, the crew in the back along with eleven shells (Around two hours quick firing for a Skoda) at either 630 or 850 pounds each, it was still faster than draft animals.
What's more, it took up far less road space than the livestock needed to tug the big girls would have needed.
And you must admit, the boys looks awfully smart up there.
Another plus: The cranking handle was about chest high so one could get one's jaw broken without having to bend over.

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