Desktop ornament futuring the heavy Big Bertha howitzer.
Development started in 1906, when a contract was placed in Pilsen by the Austro-Hungarian high command at Skoda-Werke to make a weapon capable of penetrating the concrete fortresses built in Belgium and Italy. Development continued until 1909. The first prototype was finished in 1910 and fired secretly.
Eight Mörsers were loaned to the German army and were first deployed on the Western Front in the early part of World War I. They were used together with the Krupp 42 cm howitzer (“Big Bertha”) to destroy the Belgian fortresses around Liège (Battle of Liège), Namur (Fortified Position of Namur) and Antwerp (Forts Koningshooikt, Kessel and Broechem). While the weapon was used on the Eastern, Italian and Serbian fronts until the end of the war, it was only used on the Western front at the beginning of the war.
In 1915, ten howitzers were used to support the Austro-Hungarian-German invasion of Serbia led by German General August von Mackensen.