19251 SKODA WORKS, PILSEN, BOHEMIA, WHERE THE FAMOUS SKODA MORTARS WERE MADE We are looking at just a corner of one of the many huge buildings constituting the artillery foundries operated by Baron Skoda at Pilsen, Bohemia But it is sufficient to indicate the great proportions of the plant and the formidable nature of its products. In the manufacture of heavy artillery the Austrians at the Skoda works had gone ahead of even the Krupps at Essen, Germany, and the huge Skoda mortars were probably the most destructive in existence at the beginning of the war. They were supplied to the Germans in large numbers, and the world was astounded at the ease with which their hight explosive shells demolished the reinforced concrete walls and steel gun cupolas of the forts at Liege, Namur, Maubeuge and Antwerp; forts which were the latest word in defensive strength and which were supposed to be impregnable. The gigantic howitzer before us is not completed but the length and massive thickness of the tube, reinforced by steel bands shrunk on, and the size of the projectile poised at the open breech, give an impressive idea of its power. Such guns, even though firing at a high angle, had an effective range of 7-1/2 miles or more and their shells, plunging down with terrific energy, buried themselves deeply in whatever material they struck, whether earth, concrete or steel, before the delayed action fuses set off the bursting charge. Then the resulting explosion rent the target into fragments. Copyright by The Keystone Company