The Motherland Calls (Russian: Родина-мать зовёт! Rodina-Mat’ zovyot!), also called Mother Motherland, Mother Motherland Is Calling, simply The Motherland, or The Mamayev Monument, is a statue in Mamayev Kurgan in Volgograd, Russia, commemorating the Battle of Stalingrad. It was designed by sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich and structural engineer Nikolai Nikitin, and declared the largest statue in the world in 1967.
Compared with the later higher statues, The Motherland Calls is significantly more complex from an engineering point of view, due to its characteristic posture with a sword raised high in the right hand and the left hand extended in a calling gesture. The technology behind the statue is based on a combination of prestressed concrete with wire ropes structure, a solution which can be found also in another work of Nikitin’s, the super-tall Ostankino Tower in Moscow.
Invented in 1873 in America, barbed wire was originally used to pen cattle and other livestock in the cattle countries of the Old West. By World War I, however, the invention would be used to deadly effect against human beings. Placed in front of trenches and fortification, it could block access to an enemy assault or force the enemy into a deadly chokepoint where they could be cut down by machine guns and artillery. Thousands of miles worth of barbed wire was laid along the Western Front, providing a formidable obstacle for both Allied and Central Power’s forces.
At first it thought that artillery barrages would be successful in destroying barb wire obstacles, but this was later proved ineffective. Then both sides deployed special wire cutting teams who would infiltrate no man’s land and remove barbed wire fencing. One solution to the barbed wire problem was created C.H.Pugh Ltd. of Birmingham, England. Their solution was to produce a special wire cutting device which could be mounted to the end of the standard British Lee Enfield service rifle. The wire cutting device could also be mounted on the British P14, the American M1917 Enfield, and the Canadian Ross Rifle.
While the Lee Enfield wire cutters were a good idea in theory, in the trenches of World War I they found to be impractical. The cutters were difficult to use, and made the soldiers using them sitting ducks to enemy fire. Most that were issued were never used.