The Paris Gun



The Paris Gun
An account of a series of bombardments of Paris by a specially built 21cm gun from a distance of some 75 miles. They began on March 23rd and ended on 9th August 1918. Over 300 shells were fired.
Although published by Naval and Military Press in 2005, this book was actually written and first published in 1930 by an officer in the US Ordnance Corps. It has gracefully withstood the test of time and is as fascinating a read now as I am sure it was then. To my knowledge, it is the only volume devoted exclusively to the Paris Gun and is by far the most comprehensive treatment of the subject.
The Paris Gun was essentially a railway gun on steroids, designed by the Germans to bombard Paris from the extent of the German lines...a distance of nearly 75 miles. It was hoped that the effect of the bombardment would terrorize Parisians and cause them to flee and-or demand that the French government sue for peace, thus aiding the great 1918 German offensive. Needless to say, it didn't achieve either objective.
Using pencils and slide rules, the Germans designed and built three guns, all of which succeeded (more or less) in hitting Paris from a range that was considered impossible to achieve by Allied experts at the time and would be very impressive even today. Specially built shells which had to be fired in sequential order due to wear on the nearly 100 foot long barrel actually reached the stratosphere before falling to earth...simply amazing!

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