World War II in the News is a review of WWII articles providing thought-provoking collection of hand-picked WW2 information.

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Artillery of World War II

Artillery and big guns in the Second World War.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Battle Tanks, Vintage military vehicles, AFV, Third Reich Nazi Daggers, WW2, Nazi Helmets, WWII weapons.

World War II Artillery: The Deadliest Big Guns from the Axis and Allies
Artillery, from mortars to howitzers, was also one area where Germany may have had a slight advantage, but both sides had a range of weapons that allowed them to pound their enemy.

Masters of disguise: the story of the Allies’ WW2 ‘Ghost Army’
As the Allies pushed through Europe at the end of World War II, they needed a secret weapon to stay ahead of the German war machine. Gavin Mortimer tells the story of the ‘Ghost Army’ – a talented band of artists and engineers who created the ultimate distraction

Big Guns Named Winnie and Pooh Dueled Nazi Cannons Across the English Channel
When German Panzers rolled into the French coastal region in late May 1940, their crews could stare across the English Channel at the White Cliffs of Dover, just 20 miles away. The UK had not faced a hostile enemy across the Channel since the Napoleonic Wars. In that interval, the maximum range of heavy artillery had increased dramatically. Hitler was alert to the opportunity this affordedn. At Cape Gris Nez, the Germans mounted four intimidating 380-millimeter SK34 naval guns of Battery Todt in concrete casemates. Nearby were the four 280-millimeter guns of the Grosser Kurfurst battery. On Cape Blanc Nez, the beach immediately west of Calais, three 406-millimeter `Adolf Cannons` were installed in casemates shielded by 13 feet of concrete. These could lob one-ton shells up to a distance of 34 miles.

Nazi Germany's V-3 Super Gun: The Ultimate Terror Weapon?
Nazi Germany famously used V-1 cruise missile and V-2 ballistic missile `Vengeance Weapons` to bomb London in retaliation for the Allies` strategic bombing campaign of Germany. However, a third Vengeance weapon—the V-3 super cannon—was also developed and even briefly used in action, though not against its intended target. The concept behind the V-3 had its origin in the German Kaiser Wilhelm guns that entered action in March 1918, during World War I. The massive Krupp guns could shell the French capital from seventy-five miles away, and were the first weapons capable of shooting a projectile into the stratosphere.

Video: Blast From the Past: The Legendary Soviet 'Katyusha' Rocket Launcher
The iconic rocket artillery system that helped win World War II celebrates 75th anniversary of its first combat deployment.

The Nazis nearly completed a super-cannon capable of hitting London from France
Today we`ll be looking at the V-3 cannon: a piece of artillery capable of hitting a target more than 100 miles (165 km) away, shooting its projectiles at around 3,400 mph (5500 km/h)! Technically defined as a `supergun`, a term given to guns of such comically large size they need to be categorised separately, the V-3 was 430 feet long (131 metres). This massive size meant that the gun had to be built already aiming at its target and could only reliably hit a target the size of a city, a fairly minor trade-off considering the weapon`s nigh-unparalleled range for a non-rocket based weapon.

Hitler's Artillery 1939-1945 -- Rare photographs from wartime archives
Quick review of Hitler's Artillery 1939-1945 -- Rare photographs from wartime archives, by Hans Seidler (Publisher: Pen and Sword Books).

Hitler`s Supergun: The Nazi Plot to Destroy London (and Why It Failed)
The V-3 `supergun` was meant to win the war for Germany. In 1943, for the first time since World War II began, Hitler was on the back foot. Allied bombs were devastating German cities and the Fuhrer was rattled. His proposed V-3 cannon would be the biggest gun the world had seen. The V-3 was built in an enormous bunker buried deep in a chalk hill in northern France. Millions of tonnes of rock were excavated by hand and among the workers were hundreds of slave labourers. In its original conception, 25 barrels were to point at London delivering up to one bomb per minute and to create an environment of fear that would turn the course of the war back in Hitler`s favour. And it was a doomed secret `drone` mission to destroy the V-3 that led to the death of Joe Kennedy Junior, a pilot and older brother of the future US president, John F. Kennedy.

The massive 60cm German Siege Mortar Karl
In World War 2 the Germans liked to build them big and the the 60cm Siege Mortar Karl was no exception, it could fire shells of 60cm in diameter that weight 2170kg. It could fire its lighter shells at targets 10km away! Seven guns were built, six of which saw combat between 1941 and 1945. It was used in attacking the Soviet fortresses of Brest-Litovsk and Sevastopol, bombarded Polish resistance fighters in Warsaw, participated in the Battle of the Bulge, and was used to try to destroy the Ludendorff Bridge during the Battle of Remagen. Only one exists today; the others were scrapped after the war.

A Nazi War Train Hauled Gustav - the Biggest Gun Ever Made
The German Heavy Gustav was the largest gun ever built. It was more than 150 feet long, 40 feet tall and weighed almost 1,500 tons. The steel giant Krupp A.G. made only two, and neither worked well. The weapon derived from experience. After witnessing the success of other railway guns, the German High Command asked Krupp`s engineers to design a weapon to destroy Maginot Line fortifications. The Gustav`s barrel alone was more than 100 feet long and fired 31-inch-wide, 12-foot-long shells at an effective ranges of 20 miles. The ammo came in two varieties — a five-ton explosive round and a seven-ton armor piercer. But the massive superweapons were dinosaurs. It was too bulky, took too long to fire and required hundreds of troops to operate. For centuries, better artillery meant bigger artillery, but that changed during World War II.

Soviet World War II Cannon Unearthed on Hiiumaa, Estonia
An intact, 15-ton cannon barrel left over from World War II was brought up from a dig site near Hiiumaa island's Lehtma port. A team working for the Hiiumaa Military Museum spent three hours removing the 180-millimeter cannon, part of one of several field guns the Soviet Union had installed on the island at the beginning of the war to guard its western front. Fragments of the other cannons have been found on the island.

16-inch and 66 feet long gun of the battleship USS Missouri travels to Lewes
A relic of World War II - a gun that's 66 feet long, weighs a quarter-million pounds and was powerful enough to hurl a more than 1-ton shell 23 miles - will soon make its way to Cape Henlopen State Park by train. This isn't just any old 16-inch gun - It was part of the heavy weaponry on the battleship USS Missouri when Japanese representatives signed the surrender documents that ended World War Two.

3.7inch WWII Anti Aircraft gun displayed at Fort Rinella in Kalkara, Malta
A WWII 3.7inch Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun has been acquired by Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna. The gun will be put on display at Fort Rinella in Kalkara along with other examples of historic artillery that once formed the defensive armament of the Island. The 3.7-Inch Anti-Aircraft gun was Britain`s primary heavy anti-aircraft gun during World War Two and was the mainstay of Malta`s aerial defence system during the War. This gun, designed by Vickers is a mobile version and came into service in 1937. Records show that 10,000 of this type of gun were built, proof to its superior performance during that period.

Schwerer Gustav - The largest gun ever built
Like an Aryan Death Star, the Nazis' Gustav was the largest gun ever built and didn't leave much planet where it hit. In 1939, Hitler needed to figure out how to get past the French Maginot line, a 1500km defensive wall of fortifications, tank barriers, artillery and machine gun nests running along the French-German border. Named after the head of the Krupp family, Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, the Gustav Gun weighed in at 1344 tons, so heavy that even though it was attached to a rail car, it still had to be disassembled before moving so as to not destroy the tracks as it passed over.

Massive Nazi artillery piece, 218-ton Krupp K-5 railway gun, known as "Anzie Annie," relocated (photos)
The United States Army Ordnance Museum is being relocated to Fort Lee, Virginia. That also means somehow moving 218-ton "Anzio Annie" - the monster-sized Nazi artillery piece. The "Anzio Annie" - one of the 25 Krupp K5 railway guns build by the Nazi Germany - is actually composed of parts from two guns that shelled Anzio beachhead and were later abandoned by the Nazis. Only two of these super heavy artillery pieces survive today, and the second Krupp K5 is at the Battery Todt museum, in France.

World War II vintage M7 howitzer moved to Fort Missoula
After 40 years serving as a sentinel at the Montana National Guard Armory in Missoula, the vintage M7 howitzer is at last able to stand down. But moving the 26-ton artillery piece was no easy task. Scott Wolff, owner of Iron Horse Towing and Repair, first attempted to move the tank with a 50-ton tow truck, but couldn't get the needed traction. Plan B included another 30-ton tow truck, using both wreckers to lift the M7 howitzer to drive a flatbed under it. Thanks to Wolff, who donated his gear, the tank now stands in front of the Rocky Mountain Museum of Military History at Fort Missoula.

Flying Heritage Collection adds two World War II Flak 37 guns
The Flying Heritage Collection, at Everett's Paine Field, has added two World War II Flak 37 artillery weapons in it's collection. The 88mm German anti-aircraft gun "was the most famous artillery weapon of World War II. The addition of the Flak 37s allows us to illustrate an important influence on the development of aircraft" said Adrian Hunt. German designers developed gun in the late 1920s, in Switzerland to avoid treaty restrictions. The Flying Heritage Collection's new Flak 37s were built in Czechoslovakia for the Third Reich, discovered in Spain and brought back to Germany by a collector after the war.

What country was the best in artillery doctrine and operations in WW2?
Axis History Forum thread: What country was the best in artillery doctrine and operations in World War 2? Not necessarily which country had the best equipment, but which used its artillery force to the best tactical and strategic effect? Is there an instance where a campaign or major encounter was won by the superior use of artillery? The top field artillery country during the WW2 was Finland. In spite of its partly out-of-date artillery pieces, firing methods and artillery training in Finland were among the best in the world, and after the WW2 many countries adopted the "Finnish model". The father of the Finnish field artillery was Artillery General Viljo Nenonen.

World War II flak cannon discovered in garage
German authorities have discovered a WWII anti-aircraft cannon in a German man's garage in part of a series of raids that brought out over 100,000 euros in illegal weapons. The flak cannon, used by the German Wehrmacht in World War II, was discovered after a search on a family home in the state of Saxony-Anhalt. The 49-year-old resident had 200 illegal firearms, 1kg of explosives, and 15,000 rounds of ammunition.

The Gunners: A History Of New Zealand Artillery
The official history of the New Zealand Divisional Artillery in the Second World War concluded with the observation that peacetime seems quieter to gunners than it does to other people. It is small wonder, because of the roar of their own guns in wartime and the scream of incoming shells in counter-battery duels. But peacetime is also quieter for gunners because they are examples of the observation by the 19th century German philosopher Georg Hegel that nations have never learned anything from history. The tale of New Zealand artillery is one of repeated peacetime neglect and wartime reliance.

World War II veteran supervised anti-aircraft battery   (Article no longer available from the original source)
The men of the 125th Anti-Aircraft Gun Battalion had a record to be proud: They destroyed 750 German V1 Rockets, buzz bombs. Francis Metcalf was a sergeant and ran Battery B. The 125th sported batteries of 90mm guns that could be fired at airplanes or lowered to blast away at battle tanks. His unit was so badly needed in England in 1944 that instead of being shipped by convoy, the unit and its guns were loaded on an ocean liner and sent straight across the Atlantic. "No convoy. No zig zags. They wanted us bad. When we landed, we moved fast down to a place near those White Cliffs of Dover." Once the guns were set up, the V1 rockets started coming down.

World War II veteran heard Japanese sub attack Washington   (Article no longer available from the original source)
June 21, 1942, a Japanese submarine surfaced off in the mouth of the Columbia River and fired 8 shells at a coastal battery. A member of a Coastal Artillery unit, Paul Johnston, counted the explosions as each shell landed. He and his fellow battery mates had that submarine in their sights. But they never fired. "We alerted headquarters at Fort Stevens across the river, but the order to fire never came. We had 108-pound, armor-piercing shells but we never got to use them. So the submarine got away." The reason, he soon discovered, was that the unit's commanding officer, a colonel, took too long to get dressed.

African-American artilleryman saw Europe the hard way - under fire   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Joseph Luke Jones recalls the day in 1944 near Monte Casino, when he heard the whoosh of an 88 shell - it hit the ground only yards away. The shell dug itself deep into the ground and exploded, spewing only dirt. He was then a sergeant in a 40mm battery for the all-black 450th Anti-Aircraft Battalion, the first African-American battalion to see combat in Europe. The unit endured 3 months of constant shelling near Monte Casino. The biggest worry was the 88, a Nazi gun used against tanks, troops and planes. But there also were Luftwaffe fighters, "They'd come 3 times a day: out of the sun in the morning, out of the sun at noon and out of the sun in the evening."

A huge Nazi gun filled 16 rail cars   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Ed Smith and his buddies weren’t the ones who stopped a huge Nazi railway gun that could have wiped out London, but they recognized history when they saw it. Soldiers in the Army’s "C" Battery, 182nd Field Artillery Battalion, came upon the behemoth — so large it filled 16 rail cars — in Northern France, after an Allied air attack had stopped it in its tracks. If it had been installed as planned on the French seacoast and aimed at England, its 50-mile range could have destroyed that city.