Supergun

From Academic Kids

For the arcade game hardware, see: SuperGun

A supergun is a large cannon with an extremely high muzzle velocity; they were originally designed to bombard an enemy from extremely far away.

The World War I and II German military were especially interested in the development of these superweapons until rocketry supplanted the usefulness of the large railroad guns. The largest of the railroad guns deployed in World War I was the Paris Gun, which was used to bombard Paris from a distance of over 70 miles. World War II saw the V-3 "London Gun" weapon, intended to bombard London from a site in the Pas de Calais, about 95 miles away, although it was destroyed by aerial attack before it could go into service.

Gerald Bull later conceived of another use for superguns, when he became interested in the possibility of using them in place of rockets to insert payloads into orbit. He started Project HARP to investigate this concept.

Some years after HARP was terminated, Bull interested Saddam Hussein in funding Project Babylon. The objective of this project is not certain, but it is thought to have been intended to develop a gun capable of firing an object into orbit, from where it could then drop onto any place on the Earth. Bull, the project leader, was allegedly assassinated to prevent the development, and the parts were confiscated before they were all exported from England.

Further reading

  • Gerald V. Bull, Charles H. Murphy, Paris Kanonen: The Paris Guns (Wilhelmgeschutze) and Project HARP, E. S. Mittler, Herford, 1988
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