19 November 2014

Adolf Hitler Inspecting Gustav

Image size: 1600 x 1233 pixel. 601 KB
Date: Sunday, 4 April 1943
Place: Reichswerke Hermann Göring, Linz, Germany
Photographer: Walter Frentz

This picture was taken by Walter Frentz in 4 April 1943 at Reichswerke Hermann Göring, Linz (Germany), when Hitler visited the Eisenbahngeschütz 80 cm Kanone Schwerer Gustav. FLTR: Generalleutnant Walter Buhle (Chef vom Heeresstab im Oberkommando der Wehrmacht), Ingenieur Erich Müller (Wehrwirtschaftsführer), Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel (Chef des Oberkommando der Wehrmacht), Reichsleiter Martin Bormann (Stabsleiter im Amt des Stellvertreters des Führers), Adolf Hitler (Führer und Reichskanzler), Prof.Dr.-Ing.Albert Speer (Reichsminister für Rüstung und Kriegsproduktion), and SS-Gruppenführer Julius Schaub (not visible in this picture, Chefadjutant des Führers Adolf Hitler). Schwerer Gustav (Heavy Gustaf or Great Gustaf) was the name of a German 80 cm K (E) railway gun. It was developed in the late 1930s by Krupp as siege artillery for the explicit purpose of destroying the main forts of the French Maginot Line, the strongest fortifications then in existence. The fully assembled gun weighed nearly 1,350 tonnes, and could fire shells weighing seven tonnes to a range of 47 kilometres (29 mi). The gun was designed in preparation for the Battle of France, but was not ready for action when the battle began, and in any case the Wehrmacht's Blitzkrieg offensive through Belgium rapidly outflanked and isolated the Maginot Line's World War I-era static defenses, forcing them to surrender uneventfully and making their destruction unnecessary. 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. 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. 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. It is only surpassed in calibre by the British Mallet's Mortar and the American Little David mortar (both 36 inch; 914 mm).


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