Arms for Iraq – Revealing the Truth behind the Iraqi Supergun project - Wednesday, 18 September 2013
Join Royal Armouries’ Senior Curator of Firearms Mark Murray-Flutter as he lifts the lid on one of the most remarkable arms stories of the 20th century – the story of Dr Gerald Bull and the Iraqi Supergun.
Mark will discuss the professional life and obsession of Canadian engineer, Dr Bull, and reveal new facts about the mystery that surrounded his design for a ‘supergun’ during the latest in a series of themed talks on Wednesday (September 25) at the Royal Armouries, Leeds.
The highly visual presentation includes Mark’s detailed new research and delivers fresh insight into the mystery surrounding the Supergun – commissioned by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and named, Project Babylon.
Mark said, “When Iraqi commissioned ballistics expert Dr Gerald Bull to build a Supergun he had hoped this would give Iraq a technological lead in the Middle East. Bull’s Supergun made the headlines – but for all the wrong reasons.
“Everything about the design of Bull’s new gun was ‘super’. The barrel would be nearly three times the height of Nelson’s Column. The projectile that it would fire would be almost as big as a telephone box. Bull commissioned British companies to manufacture the barrel in 26 sections – to be bolted together in Iraq.”
The Supergun hit the headlines in April, 1990, when British customs officers swooped to seize eight sections of its barrel. They were the last of 52 tubes, which would have made up two complete gun barrels. “
Arms for Iraq’ became a world-wide news story. At the United Nations, Iraqi ambassador Mohammed Mashrat denied the existence of the project, claiming ‘The only super thing about this story is that it is a super lie.”
Two sections of the massive gun’s barrel – weighing 2.1 tonnes- are now displayed at the Royal Armouries Museum at Fort Nelson in Hampshire – home to the national collection of artillery.
Mark added, “Covertly produced in Europe, the Supergun would have been the latest, if not ultimate, in a line of gigantic guns. Building on the German super-heavy gun that bombarded Paris during the First World War, this line traces its origins to the great medieval bombards.
“Brilliant engineer Gerald Bull had studied the Paris gun and developed the theory of ‘super long range’ artillery. These tubes would have formed part of a 156m (512 ft) long barrel composed of 26 such pieces.”
The talk starts at 6.30pm and tickets are priced £5, either online or by calling 0113 220 1888
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Notes to editors
- Royal Armouries is the national museum of arms and armour and has sites in Leeds, HM Tower of London, Fort Nelson and Louisville, Kentucky. It is the first British national museum to open a permanent presence in another country
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- Website: www.royalarmouries.org
- The Royal Armouries Museum should not be confused with Royal Armouries International plc, the private sector corporate hospitality business.