Perched on the rail tracks, a German cannon crosses Brussels. By its strategic position between Germany and the Western front, the Belgian capital was an almost inevitable passage for the army of the Reich. The people stood watching the passage of “La Grosse Bertha” (Big Bertha), a piece of heavy artillery which became one of the emblems of modern war.
Created in the Krupp manufactories on the eve of the war, Big Bertha had been specially designed to attack forts. Its first operation took place at the Liège siege in August 2014. With her 800 kg explosives per shell, it managed to cause considerable damage. Later it also devastated the forts of Namur, Maubeuge and Antwerp. Heavily impressed, the allied populations would henceforth call all German cannons “Big Berthas”, such as the long-range artillery that bombed Paris in 1918.