The largest artillery piece ever built in human history is the Schwerer Gustav (English: “Heavy Gustaf”). It was a German railway gun built by Krupp in the 1930s and used during World War II. It was designed to destroy the heavily fortified Maginot Line, which was a series of fortifications along the French-German border.
The Schwerer Gustav was a massive weapon, measuring 47 meters (154 ft) long and weighing around 1,350 tons. It was mounted on a railway car and required a crew of around 800 men to operate. It fired a 7 ton shell up to 37 miles (60km) away and could fire up to 14 rounds per hour.
The Schwerer Gustav was used only once in combat, during the Siege of Sevastopol in 1942. It was used to destroy the Russian fortifications and it was successful in doing so, but the siege took much longer than anticipated, and the Gustav was not able to fire enough shots to make a significant impact on the outcome of the battle. The Gustav was later destroyed by the Germans to avoid capture by the advancing Soviet army.
The Schwerer Gustav is considered the largest artillery piece ever built, and also one of the most ambitious engineering projects of the time. Despite its size, it was used only once in combat and it did not have a significant impact on the outcome of the war. However, it demonstrated the technological capabilities of the Third Reich and its relentless pursuit for military power.