The Paris Gun was the name given to a type of German long-range siege gun, several of which were used to bombard Paris during World War I. They were in service from March to August 1918. When the guns were first employed, Parisians believed they had been bombed by a high-altitude Zeppelin, as the sound of neither an aeroplane nor a gun could be heard. They were the largest pieces of artillery used during the war by barrel length, and qualify under the [later] formal definition of large-calibre artillery. Also called the "Kaiser Wilhelm Geschutz" ("Emperor William Gun"), they were often confused with Big Bertha, the German howitzer used against Belgian forts in the Battle of Liege in 1914; indeed, the French called them by this name as well. They were also confused with the smaller "Langer Max" (Long Max) cannon, from which they were derived; although the famous Krupp-family artillery makers produced all these guns, the resemblance ended there.
As military weapons, the Paris Guns were not a great success: the payload was small, the barrel required frequent replacement, and the guns' accuracy was good enough for only city-sized targets. The German objective was to build a psychological weapon to attack the morale of the Parisians, not to destroy the city itself.
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