When the Germans invaded Belgium in the summer of 1914, they brought with them all sorts of modern weapons. One of them was a new type of ultra-heavy houwitser, nicknamed ‘Big Bertha’.
The big gun immediately made its presence on the frontline felt. On August 12th, a direct hit to the ammunition stores of the Belgian Fort of Loncin, near Liège, killed 350 Belgian soldiers. Later on, the gun was used against the cities of Namur, Antwerp, Oudenaarde and Ypres.
The use of such artillery against population centres incited much commentary. In February of 1915, De Vlaamsche stem featured a poem lamenting the many civilian deaths the weapon caused and accusing the Germans of war crimes.
De grote oorlog