8 Comments

  1. That mount looks pretty rickety. Hard to imagine that a wood set-up like that would stand up to the punding recoil of that weapon.

  2. The weapon in question is a 20mm Becker cannon on an improvised ground mount. It was designed by the Conders brothers, who were employees of the Becker Stahlwerk in Reinickendorf, Germany, in 1915-1916. The Becker operated via simple blowback, and used advanced primer ignition to achieve the necessary delay before the breech opened. Magazine capacity was 15 rounds and it had a selectable rate of fire of either single shot or 300 rounds / min. Before World War One ended, five types of ammunition had been developed — ball, tracer, HE, AP/T and incendiary.

    Originally intended as a flexible defensive gun mounted on a Scarff-type ring in Gotha bombers and Zeppelin airships, 131 weapons were pressed into service for use by the German Army’s AA battalions. Records no longer appear to exist showing exactly how many Beckers were manufactured during the war, but Allied Disarmamant Commission papers show that 392 were confiscated at war’s end, most of which were destroyed. It is interesting to note that the weapon was continually refined during the war years while being issued for front-line service during the development phase, an indication of the exigencies of the time.

    The Becker cannon would also have been an ideal candidate for arming the giant Zeppelin ( Staaken ) and Siemens-Schuckert “R” type long-range heavy bombers of the German Air Services, although I have not seen any records showing that they were ever installed on these aircraft. Does anyone have any information to share about this topic?

    By the way, I think the posted photograph is a reverse image of the original :).

  3. Marcus and Jasta are both right — the Becker 2cm cannon was the ancestor of the later 20mm Oerlikon guns, and by extension, the 20mm Hispano and Polsten cannons as well.

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