On 22 August, Mayor Cr John Philips unveiled a restored German Howitzer “short gun” sFH02 No.68 that has a particular link to Ballarat.
Gun No. 68 was one of many captured by Allied Forces during the Battle of Amiens on the morning of 8 August 1918. Australian Imperial Force’s 57th Battalion, under the command of Lieutenant General John Monash, and Canadian Forces delivered the first big, decisive Allied victory of World War I. 57th Battalion included soldiers from the local 8th and 7th Battalions.
The barrel of sFH02 No. 68 has an engraving of the Prussian coat of arms – the latin motto translates to “For Glory and Fatherland” – and is very likely to be the gun’s original barrel. Three other Howitzers, including sFH02 No.517 – also captured at Amiens, await restoration.
We were commissioned to design the two free-standing interpretive signs which provide information for the four guns.
Our design response was to create low plinths surmounted by angled information panels, enabling viewers to read the information whilst surveying the guns (when both are placed in their final location). The enamelled steel information panels are durable, contemporary to the period and suited to the monochromatic graphics. The plinths, constructed of Corten steel panels, are riveted at the front – referencing one of the major metal fashioning techniques available at the time. The side and back panels have lozenge camouflage elements laser cut from them – research showed that Howitzers were often painted with the lozenge pattern.