No, this isn’t a modern weapon as may have guessed from the image, but rather one from 1941, the year after France fell. It was at this time German steelmaker and arms manufacturer Friedrich Krupp A.G. company began construction on Hitler’s Gustav Gun, which was four-stories tall, 155-feet-long, and weighed in at a massive 1,350 tons, while being able to shoot 10,000-pound shells from its mammoth 98-foot bore. Gustav was later employed in the Soviet Union at the siege of Sevastopol during Operation Barbarossa, where among other things, it destroyed a munitions depot buried in the bedrock under a bay. Continue reading for more fascinating facts.
5. Largest Caliber Rifled Weapon Used in Combat
It was the largest-calibre rifled weapon ever used in combat, the heaviest mobile artillery piece ever built in terms of overall weight, and fired the heaviest shells of any artillery piece.
4. Two Guns Were Orderd
The first round was test-fired from the commissioned gun barrel on 10 September 1941 from a makeshift gun carriage on the Hillersleben firing range. In November 1941 the barrel was taken to Rugenwalde, where 8 further firing tests were carried out using the 7,100 kilogram armor-piercing (AP) shell out to a range of 37,210 meters.
3. Mounted on Custom Chassis
In combat, the gun was mounted on a specially designed chassis, supported by eight bogies on two parallel sets of railway tracks. Each of the bogies had 5 axles, giving a total of 40 axles (80 wheels). Krupp christened the gun Schwerer Gustav (Heavy Gustav) after the senior director of the firm, Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach.
2. Could Fire Concrete-Piercing Shell
The gun could fire a heavy concrete-piercing shell and a lighter high-explosive shell. A super-long-range rocket projectile was also planned with a range of 150 km, that would require the barrel being extended to 84 meters.
1. Was Destroyed Near End of War in 1945
The gun was moved to Leningrad, and may have been intended to be used in the Warsaw Uprising like other German heavy siege pieces, but the rebellion was crushed before it could be prepared to fire. Gustav was destroyed near the end of the war in 1945 to avoid capture by the Red Army.