Rudolph Geyer: Our Army needs Metal. ca. 1917. Full title in old German script explains that the metals needed for munitions manufacture are nickel, copper and brass. This dramatic poster shows a four man Austro-Hungarian artillery crew firing what we believe is a Skoda 30.5 cm (Model 1911) siege howitzer. Geyer captures the very moment of detonation by giving color to the powerful shock waves created by the tremendous concussion that such a heavy weapon would necessarily produce. This is certainly is the most dramatic and possibly the most beautiful poster produced by the Central Powers during World War I. That’s saying a lot when you consider that Ludwig Hohlwein was a major German artist contributing outstanding military posters to Germany’s cause in both world wars. Its most distinctive feature is the multicolor shockwaves that surround the howitzer silhouetting its crew while it loads and fires their massive fieldpiece. This poster has a fair degree of detail for a military poster because posters are most often highly stylized. These soldiers, for instance, can be identified by the outline of their forage caps which were those worn by the Austro-Hungarian Army during the war. The artist’s attention to detail can also be seen in the weapon that shows one man elevating its barrel while another works its firing mechanism. Two others stand by with a massive shell which they maneuver to the gun’s breech with the aid of a two wheeled cart. Two men working without a cart probably couldn’t lift it. After Germany absorbed Czechoslovakia in 1938 it took over the Skoda works in Bohemia and continued to manufacture this heavy artillery piece. It’s likely that they used it in 1942 during their campaign in the Crimea at Sebastopol, a Soviet fortress and naval base near the southern tip of the Crimea which the Germans ultimately pulverized into submission. This was part of their drive to take the Russian oil fields which ultimately failed when they were defeated at Stalingrad in February 1943.