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Answered 2006-09-09 14:50:55

Normally you'd expect to find that the German army would have the finest artillery pieces just like they tended to have the finest in every other category of land warfare equipment. But for WWI, it was the French who had the finest artillery pieces. The French 75 was easily the best field piece of the war with a very high rate of fire. I've read that it a typical rate of fire was about 50% higher than comparable pieces in the German army, and I assume those of other nations too. It was a highly reliable piece as well. Obviously, it required talented crews and judging from results the French must have had these in abundance. When you go past the field pieces to seige guns, that is where the Germans excelled. The huge cannons they used to break up the Belgian defenses are an amazing story. At the start of the war, these guns did not exist. The Germans ran into the forts in eastern Belgium and were stymied. A rush order was put in to invent, manufacture, and deliver a huge new set of cannon capable of defeating these forts. The Germans (using the Krupp works) did this amazing task in just a few weeks. Belgium was overrun and the overall offensive against France was hardly slowed at all. Later as the western front became static, the Germans invented long range artillery with which to shell Paris, from a distance of about 60 miles. These were nicknamed Big Bertha's by the English Propaganda mills and so have come down to Americans so named.

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