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36" (914mm) "Little David" Heavy Siege Mortar (1944 video)

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Winston

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Very cool to see the loading process, firing, and huge crater at impact point, but it's one of those "What idiot thought of this and how in the hell did it get through the entire design and production process without anyone realizing how stupid this is?" weapons.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_David

Little David was the nickname of an American 36-inch (910 mm) caliber mortar used for test firing aerial bombs during World War II. It is one of the largest calibre guns ever built, having a larger calibre than both of Germany's Dora and Gustav which were 31.5-inch (800 mm) railway guns.

Max range was 9.7 km. The use to which it was put according to the Wikipedia article is not what it was originally intended for, but since it's intended use was stupidly impractical considering its insane time and complexity to emplace and paltry range, it's lucky it could be used for anything.

[video=youtube;9pQ2z8YBVio]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pQ2z8YBVio[/video]
 

rharshberger

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Its intended use was for launching aerial bombs for testing, for which it probably worked fine. It was most likely a soldier/officer that came up with the alternative idea as a siege mortar, for which it would work okay even with its short range, at 6 miles the mortar would still be pretty accurate for the 1940s artillery against fortifications. Counter-battery fire would have been done by smaller artillery pieces. It would definitely have been a piece for special/specific circumstances. iirc "Atomic Annie" (M65 Atomic Cannon) only had a range of 20 miles with a nuke shell imo that is no less risky than being within 6 miles of the target, and it weighed more than Little David.
 
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Winston

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Its intended use was for launching aerial bombs for testing, for which it probably worked fine. It was most likely a soldier/officer that came up with the alternative idea as a siege mortar, for which it would work okay even with its short range, at 6 miles the mortar would still be pretty accurate for the 1940s artillery against fortifications. Counter-battery fire would have been done by smaller artillery pieces. It would definitely have been a piece for special/specific circumstances. iirc "Atomic Annie" (M65 Atomic Cannon) only had a range of 20 miles with a nuke shell imo that is no less risky than being within 6 miles of the target, and it weighed more than Little David.
You are correct, I don't know how I reversed the intended use sequence. Not so stupid then.

I've posted stuff here on the atomic cannon and commented that that one WAS really stupid. Emplacement time, limited range, the absolute need for air supremacy during emplacement and if indeed one had that required air supremacy then WHY deliver the nuclear warhead with a cannon (answer: so the Army could play with nukes, too).
 
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