Giant Artillery Dugout (16 photos, 2 videos)

Giant Artillery Dugout (16 photos, 2 videos)

We found this dugout during the last digging. It was an unusual size (very large compared to the rest that we found). As usual, the first thing you need to do is  to pump out water from the dugout. For this we had a pump. After we pumped out the water, we started digging. The entire dugout was built of pine logs, which eventually collapsed to the bottom of the dugout.

The first find was discovered by Den. It was a large wooden box, which was covered with a meter-long layer of clay and soil. Near the box I found a brickwork. Initially, I thought it was a stove. However, it later turned out that it was a brick table. Following the brick table, in the corner of the dugout, I found two oxygen tanks (I had never found one before). Most likely these oxygen tanks were used for a pneumatic system that reduced recoil when firing a howitzer. The date of filling was indicated on the tanks – 04/27/1942.

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The first wooden box found by Denis. As you can see, it was open. Photo by @swamp_war

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German oxygen tank. Date of filling 04/27/1942. Photo by @swamp_war

We dug up this dugout for two days. During the excavation, we managed to dig out a few more boxes. They were of different sizes, made of wood and metal. All boxes were marked, which meant that they belonged to the Wehrmacht army. Most of the boxes were empty. Inside the rest of the boxes were various tools and spare parts for repairing howitzers. As it turned out later, this dugout was a warehouse of inventory for the German mortar 21 cm Mörser 18 (Mörser 18 is a heavy German pre-war mortar).

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The wooden box in which there was  a repair kit for the German mortar 21 cm Mörser 18. Photo by @swamp_war

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Photo by @swamp_war

german box

Photo by @swamp_war

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Photo by @swamp_war

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Photo by @swamp_war

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The Germans loved to put stamps on all their items. This tool is not an exception. Photos by @swamp_war

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Another wooden box. This one turned out to be empty. Photo by @swamp_war

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This box is zinc. The lack of oxygen saved it from rust. Under the box is a huge wheel stopper. Photo by @swamp_war

21 cm Mrs 18 was a heavy German mortar. The Mörser 18 was a huge mortar split during transportation – the barrel was detached and transported on a separate trailer. When setting up for combat, the stand fell to the ground, and the rear wheel trolley was retracted. In addition, the rear wheel trolley could also be used when horizontal aiming with an angle of more than 16 ° is required (maximum angle of horizontal aiming of the gun carriage). The captured 21 cm mortars were actively used in the cannon artillery regiments of special power of the USSR RVGK during the liberation of Europe.

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A distinctive feature of this mortar was a long barrel of the length of 30.9 calibers. This significantly exceeded the barrel length of modern at that time not only mortars and howitzers, but also some cannon. Because of this, in some sources of that time, this mortar was called a cannon. Although this is not true.

In addition to all of the above, a winch, a device for feeding shells, and many small items were also found. More details you can see in the video on our YouTube channel. The video will be at the bottom of the article.

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A device for feeding shells to the gun. Photo by @swamp_war

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In this way, soldiers used this device.

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Winch we will give a second life. You will see how we use it in the next video. Photo by @swamp_war

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Photo by @swamp_war

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Read: Xmas digs on World War battlefield

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In one of the boxes lay a small box with detonators. Photos by @swamp_war

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General view of the excavated dugout. Finds were unusual. Photo by @swamp_war

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