Big Bertha

A Modern Take on an Ancient Classic

What is Artillery?

Artillery is a large caliber gun that shoots long distances and usually explodes on impact. It can be devastating on the battlefield if you go up against it and could win the battle if you have it on your side.

Ancient Chinese Artillery

Artillery has been around for a long time, longer than many of us realize. The Chinese invented gunpowder near the end of the Tang Dynasty. Chinese alchemists accidentally created it when they were trying to make an elixir of immortality. They packed the explosive powder into long tubes and the first military artillery was born. The Chinese used gunpowder weapons, such as rockets and the fire lance, in the war against the Mongols. The first documented use of artillery was on January 28th, 1132. The Mongols were mystified and convinced that the Chinese had magicians in their army. Once the Mongols eventually defeated China, they adopted the early artillery. The use of the Chinese artillery was one of the main reasons that the Mongol Empire expanded to control nearly all of Asia. Without the artillery, they would have been defeated.

Artillery in and After the Middle Ages

Military artillery use became increasingly popular by the Middle Ages. The first cannon, which was much more advanced than previous artillery, was used in 1282. Artillery weapons were most effectively used as siege weapons during the middle ages. Artillery was used to break through fortifications, like walls. It made capturing enemy forts much easier. Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of France, made mass production of cannons much easier because of consistent and interchangeable parts. If a part broke, it could be easily fixed, sometimes even on the battlefield. Artillery used in the Civil War changed the tide of the war for the North.

How does it effect us in The Great War?

Artillery is the leading cause of battle deaths. Today on October 2, 1916, one in four Artillery shells are filled with deadly chemicals. Artillery causes more devastation to land and people than any other weapon in history. Indirect fire increased range on artillery weapons and made no-mans land uninhabitable. Big Bertha and other artillery weapons cause mass hysteria on the field of battle.