The Paris Gun of 1918, and The Century Leading To It

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Categories: History/Technology/Science
Publisher: Clocktower Books and Far Sector SFFH (magazine) | Date published: 09/01/2009


Alone in the annals of history stands a super-weapon that terrorized Paris during Germany's last desperate campaign to win World War I. The Paris Gun was a marvel of technology. It required the work of astronomers, geographers, physicists, chemists, and other scientific experts to create a weapon that could fire on Paris from behind German lines--a range of 81 miles (130 kilometers). The shell traveled through the edge of space, and calculations had to be made to account for the earth's rotation, the Coriolis Effect, and other phenomena no other artillery piece in history has had to deal with. But the road to the Paris Gun is a long one, starting with the industrialization of the military and Napoleon's standardization of the cannon ball. We trace the marvelous technology of the American Civil War that influenced Jules Verne to entrance the world with his stories. The lessons of the Civil war would influence Bismarck's generals in defeating France in 1870, and set the groundwork for World War I. Along the way, we meet many fascinating men and women, emperors and duchesses, many with tragic love affairs and other human entanglements that shade the path of history.