Encyclopedia - Schlanke Emma

The Schlanke Emma giant howitzer Translated as 'Skinny Emma', the Schlanke Emma howitzer was produced by the Skoda factory in Austria and developed between 1911-13.  A giant 305mm howitzer, with shells weighing some 380kg, it was transported in three parts via road tractors and re-assembled at the designated firing area.

Two were lent to the Germans at the start of the First World War to assist the German Big Bertha howitzer (of 420mm) in demolishing the formidable forts at Liege during the August 1914 invasion of Belgium.

Shells launched from the Schlanke Emma were capable of travelling approximately 12km (7.5 miles), with each howitzer capable of firing up to 10 each hour.

Aside from their role in reducing the Liege forts the Schlanke Emma was also used at various points against both the Russians and Italians.  The success of such heavy howitzers notably boosted their formerly low stock among the Allied nations.

A Kite Balloon was an observation balloon controlled by a cable from the ground.

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