At the start of World War I, German siege operation to capture the Belgian city of Ličge, a principal center of Belgium’s defense against German invasion. The city’s forts were reduced by the German “Big Bertha” 42-cm howitzers and Ličge fell 17 Aug 1914.
A notable center of gunmaking, the city was heavily protected by a ring of forts and had a garrison of about 30,000 troops under General Gérart Leman. The defenses were attacked by a force of about 100,000 German troops 5 Aug 1914. When a simple infantry assault failed, artillery bombardment began and a small German force managed to penetrate the ring and occupy part of the city. On 12 Aug the 42 cm “Big Bertha” howitzers were brought up and began reducing the forts one by one. The last forts fell 16 Aug 1914, General Leman was wounded and captured, and on the following day the city was occupied, remaining in German hands throughout the war.