Thursday, November 22, 2012

Big Gun Anyone?

I wasn't in a good shape today.

Work has been hell. There were so many things to do and there were only 24 hours  today for me to finish them all in one go. Some error in judgment lead to a delay in two major works, in which the main factor was human, and certainly that human wasn't me. Back at home after work I had my meals and then I sped off to the computer and turned on the Command and Conquer: Generals - Zero Hour and put on my headphone. 

It's an old game, I know. My friends and I used to play the earlier version of the Command and Conquer: Red Alert and Command and Conquer: Retaliation, where we would send off Einstein going around the battlefield and let some army dogs bite the hell out of soldiers. Come to think of it, I miss the dogs. Why didn't they put the dog in Generals? And those hardworking ore collectors. I still wonder what kind of ores they were.

But that wasn't the important part of the story. The important part of the story is that I was smashed to pulp in that game by the GLA, the Chinese and the American, both set at the hard army level. I was the Chinese tank general while the opponents were the GLA toxin general, Chinese nuclear general and the American air force general. I was nuked a couple of times before they all realize the existence of each other (it was an 8-player map so it took a while or they were just aiming for me first) and started whacking each other. I had some difficulties to penetrate into the Nuke General territory and while watching my Emperor Overlords getting detonated into scrap metals, it occurred to me that if only I have a mobile gun big enough, the game won't be take too long to end. 

And instantly another thing occurred to me - so, what is the biggest mobile gun in the world?

Now before any of you boys say, "well I have a big gun in my pants", which of course is hardly big (we're Asians, deal with it) take a look at this. Girls please stop giggling, come on. After a simple search in Google, I found that the biggest mobile gun the world has ever seen was the Schwerer Gustav (literally means 'Great Gustav') that was built by the Krauts (read: German Nazi) in the World War II. It had a twin named Dora, and both were the 800 mm ultra heavy railway guns. 800 mm here is the diameter of its barrel, equivalent to 0.8 meter, or the side-to-side length of very obese people. Its weight was 1,350 tons, and it could fire a 7-ton shell up to a distance 47 kilometer away. That's more or less like shooting a medium-sized trailer in the air all the way from KLCC to Seremban. 

Size comparison of the Great Gustav to man and common mobile artillery unit

A model of the Dora

Big guy on the move

The gun was so heavy that it had to be moved via railway. And not just one track but two parallel tracks next to next. There were 250 crews to assemble the gun that normally took three days to complete. Looking at the size and length of its barrel, it makes those oversized junks of men in naughty movies look like a strand of hair. Microscopic. The gun was ordered to be built by none other than Hitler himself, but following a demonstration of the gun after its completion, Hitler was so shocked of the ability of the gun and commanded that the 11-ton shell to be fired only with his order. This means that the Gustav needed Hitler's clearance to fire the 11-ton mother-or-all-artillery-shell, and so was said that whatever happened during the demonstration must be so mind-bogglingly awesome that Hitler decided to keep the gun for his own amusement and nobody else's. One selfish dictator indeed, but totally understandable.

 Everyone must have been turned on by now from just looking at that

The Gustav shell

In the sense of firing effectiveness, the Gustav could fire concrete-piercing shell and high-explosive shell to anywhere within 47 kilometers from where it rested. The rate of firing of the gun was one round for every 30-45 minutes. For the high explosive shell, it weighed 4.8 tons with 700 kg of explosive wrapped inside. Upon impact, the shell made a crater of 9.1 m wide and 9.1 m deep. That's more or less the height of a double-story house, and maybe a little bit more. The armor/concrete piercing shell weighed 7.1 tons and contained 250 kg of explosive. It could penetrate up to 7 meter of solid concrete. Talking about making holes in the wall. Looking at the bright side, the enemy will have a grave pit ready to dispose the dead quickly. There was even a plan to extend the effective firing range to 150 kilometers, in which the barrel was required to be extended to 84 meters from the originally 30 meters. 

When the Great Gustav was first transported for its mission to blow the shit out of the Soviet at Crimea, it was pulled by a train followed with 25 cars, totaling to 1.5 kilometers of train set length. The gun then participated in the Siege of Sevastopol where it fired 48 rounds of fort-blasting shells amounting to 30,000 tons of ammunition. As a result of that one month bombing spree starting from 5 to 11 June 1942, the Great Gustav had sent the city of Sevastopol back to the stone age and  only suffered a worn-out barrel that was later replaced with a spare. See what I'm talking about here? A spare. A spare 30-meter barrel. That's German engineering, everybody. We don't even have a spare pants sometimes and these Krauts have a spare 30-meter, hundreds-of-tons metal barrel. 

The second gun, Dora, was deployed for the Stalingrad theater but never fired a round in combat. Had the gun fired a few promotional rounds, it could be a different ending at Stalingrad then. Plus, it would be quite a vacation for the trigger-happy Hitler who always wanted to see the fall of the Soviet that was hardly happening even after German invasion. Well, the Soviet Union was a very big place to conquer, and for sure the German needed more than these guns to send the Ruskies back home with their tail in between their legs. The Russians were pretty pissed off with the invasion, especially when you poke something like Gustav's long, hard barrel at Mother Russia. No one pokes hard barrel at Mother Russia. But the German did nevertheless, so now we have a littler Russia. 

In the end, the Gustav was destroyed in 1945 to avoid capture while Dora was broken up during the war and was later discovered by the Americans. So the guns are no longer with us , and no one is messed up enough to build that kind of gun anymore these days. But to know that these kinds of madness were once exist, you can imagine just how things were going on back then.

Had I the gun, it would be a pretty sight to place it next to the house. Nothing feels better in the morning than to send a few morning-call shells to some of my adorable enemies many kilometers away. Like a friendly hello. I'd certainly won't hit them right on, but just nearby just so that the ground shakes roughly enough to rattle their house like when you penalty-kick the hamster cage when the furballs are soundly sleeping, sending everything upside down at every hot shell delivery. Hitting them right on will only vaporize them in the air, so where's the fun? At least let them live with fear for quite a bit of happy time for myself. Even better, wrap them up, put them in the barrel and fire them up to random locations and wish them a happy landing. 

Oh God I start to sound like Herr Fuhrer.  

On another related note, I found this similarly interesting thing on the Internet:

p/s: my birthday is in January.

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