The History of Russian Artillery since the mid≠19th century up to 1917
The defeat of Russia in the Crimean War revealed a necessity for urgent reforms in the Russian Empire. One of the most important reforms was the abolition of serfdom according to the decree of Emperor Alexander II dated February 19, 1861. Reforms in the courts, administration and military were realized starting at that time as well.
The reformation of the army and navy affected all spheres of military business, including the central and local administration, organization and arming of troops, training of officers, education of officials of low ranks, court clerical work, medical service, etc.
According to an imperial manifesto, compulsory military service was introduced instead of recruitments starting in January 1874. All of the male population that reached the age of 21‑years old was subject to conscription. Six years was the term of active service for land troops and seven years in the navy.
The display is opened with a portrait gallery of persons who were inseparably linked with the reforms which took place in Russia during that time. Visitors may see a portrait of Emperor Alexander II (1818–1881), as well as portraits of his two brothers, General Feldzeugmeister Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich Romanov and General Inspector of the Engineers Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich Romanov, Sr. (1831–1891), Minister of War General-Adjutant Dmitrii Miliutin (1816–1912), and others.
D. Miliutin occupied the post of the Minister of War from 1861 to 1881. He assigned a special concern to reforms in the artillery. They started with a reorganization of the system of administering the Artillery Department. A common coordination center was arranged. In 1862, the Main Artillery Administration was organized to unite the staff of the General Feldzeugmeister and the Artillery Department. It realized the service, technical, scientific and economy administration of the artillery. One of the chief tasks set for the Main Artillery Administration was to organize the production of all kinds of artillery armament, ammunition, artillery instruments and other things for artillery provision.
Prominent scientists, such as the creator of the Russian mathematics school Pafnutii Chebyshev (1821–1894), a famous specialist in metallurgy, Professor at the Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich Artillery Academy Dmitrii Chernov (1839–1921), and the great Russian chemist Dmitrii Mendelyeev (1834–1907), who worked out a kind of blank fire powder to add to the armory of the Naval Department, made great contributions to the rearming of the Russian artillery.
GeneralAdjutant Aleksandr Barantsov (1810–1882), assistant to the General Feldzeugmeister (from 1863–1877), first Chief of the Main Artillery Administration, was responsible for the technical improvement of the artillery materiel, arrangement of artillery education and all measures in the artillery organization.
The Crimean War proved that the future belonged to rifles. Smoothbore guns fired case-shot only to a distance of about 600–700 steps. The firing range of rifles, on the other hand, reached 800‑1000 steps. The accuracy of hits from smoothbore guns was unsatisfactory as well. So the 1860’s marked the replacement of smoothbore guns by rifle artillery.
Rifled guns were added to the armory of the Russian army in 1860. However, they were still muzzle-loading. These guns were an interim link between smoothbore muzzleloaders and rifled breech-loading ones.
Two samples of such guns open the collection of pieces of ordnance in the room. These are the 4‑pounder (87‑mm) field bronze rifled cannon on an iron carriage added to the armory in 1860 and the barrel of a 12‑pounder (122‑mm) fortress smoothbore cannon remade into a rifled one.
|4-pounder rifled muzzle-loading cannon. Model 1860
The few guns worked out by N. Maievskii, A. Adrianov, A. Plestsov and I. Miasoedov prove that Russian designers found new bold technical innovations. These guns were intended for firing disk shots (samples of ammunition are displayed, as well). It was expected that the usage of disk shots would considerably improve the firing range. It turned out really to be so, and the firing range became five times longer in comparison smoothbore guns. However, the new guns did not enter service because of their wide shot dispersion and impossibility of using impact fuses. In addition, minimal effectiveness was found for shots in which only a small amount of the explosive went in.
A new stage of development in Russian artillery started with the creation of a reliable mechanism lock. The guns Model 1867 were the first Russian rifled breech-loading artillery systems added to the armory of the Russian army. These guns entered service not only in the field, but also in mountain, siege, fortress and coastal artillery. The display includes the following guns Model 1867 — the 4‑pounder (87‑mm) field cannon, 3‑pounder (76‑mm) mountain cannon, 9‑pounder (107‑mm) field cannon, and 24‑pounder (152‑mm) bronze short cannon. The latter was adopted in the Peter-and-Paul fortress in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) until 1939, and it shot every day at noon for keeping time and in the case of floods. Firm bronze was still the material for producing barrels. The exception was coastal guns which were made of steel. They are displayed near the room’s exit.
The changes affected not only barrel designs, but also gun-carriages. Previously wooden carriages were used for Russian field artillery. Guns Model 1867 were placed on iron carriages with elevating and traversing mechanisms.
Rifled breech-loading guns had the following advantages in comparison with smoothbore ones: larger firing rate, accuracy, firing range, and the bursting charge volume increased three times.
The creation of new Russian artillery was closely associated with the name of an outstanding Russian scientist-artillerist, founder of the scientific school of ballistics, General of Artillery Nikolai Maievskii (1823–1892). He was the first who created a theory of moving oblong rotating shells in the air, worked out the methods for compiling tables for firing rifled guns, and closely participated in the projection, production and tests of many rifled and field guns. One of his works, The Course of Exterior Ballistics, is on display.
The task was set before scientist-artillerists to reinforce barrels during the transition to rifled breech-loading guns. The methods of reinforcement were worked out by General of Artillery Aksel Gadolin (1828–1892) and Aleksandr Kolokoltsov (1833–1904). Visitors can see portraits of these scientists and designers in the room.
According to the method of A. Gadolin, a thin-walled barrel was reinforced with the help of steel jackets or rings applied to it in a hot state, thus allowing it to become more stable. Barrels made in such a way sustained great pressure from powder gases and got the name of bound ones. A. Kolokoltsov was the first in the world to work out and practically realize the method of producing artillery barrels with loose liners. These solutions are used to the present time.
Along with reforming and rearming Russian troops, the Artillery Department realized its goal of equipping the army with up-to-date breech-loading small-arms in the 1860’s. The remaking of old systems of muzzle-loading arms into breech-loading ones marked the beginning of this process. Rifles Model 1867, Karl type, Model 1869, Krnka type, and Baranov type are displayed in large vertical glass-cases.
The development of small-arms included not only the creation of new rifles, but also the elaboration of new cartridges for them. Metal cases replaced paper ones. They firmly united all parts of the charge into a single unitary cartridge. However, the mass of rifle cartridge increased after adding metal cases to the armory, so designers had to look for a way to reduce the weight. A way out was found by reducing the gun’s caliber. In 1868, a new rifle was added to the Russian armory. General A. Gorlov and Captain K. Gunius created a rifle with an up-swinging breechblock and the caliber reduced from 6 lines (15.24 mm) to 4.2 lines (10.67 mm) on the basis of the rifle designed by H. Berdan. It was called Berdana1 in Russia and Russian rifle in the USA. In 1870, the 4.2‑lined (10.7‑mm) Berdana rifle Model 1870 (Berdana2) was added to the Russian armory. The American designer improved the breechblock of this rifle. Two neighboring horizontal glass-cases show samples of these rifles.
In the 1870’s, scientist-artillerists and designers of artillery arms from all countries were faced with the problem of increasing the firing rate of artillery systems. Prominent designer Vladimir Baranovskii (1846–1879) was the first in Russia who achieved great success in this sphere. In 1872–1877, he created a whole ‘family’ of quick-firing guns.
He worked out unitary artillery cartridges for the field and mountain cannons designed by him, which enabled an increase in the firing rate of guns up to 10 rounds/minute. A screw breechblock was added with a self-cocking firing pin, an accidental discharge safety device and a shell extractor. Due to the inventions of V. Baranovskii, Russia outstripped the level of development of artillery techniques in other armies of the world for two decades. A collection of guns made by V. Baranovski is opened with the Gorlov-Gatling case-shot gun which he improved. This was a prototype for machineguns which were created sometime later. V. Baranovskii made it considerably light and easy to operate. Case-shot guns were used in the field artillery up to 1876. A portrait of their designer is also displayed in the room. Unfortunately, the life of this talented Russian designer ended tragically during the testing of unitary shells in 1879. Nevertheless, the breechblocks of V. Baranovskii appeared to be so perfect that the principles of their design are used in modern guns as well.
|V.S. Baranovskii 2.5-inch quick-firing cannon Model 1877 on the resilient carriage
New Russian artillery got its baptism of fire in the Russian-Turkish War of 1877–1878.
The Turkish army was trained by the best specialists from England, Germany and other European countries that were afraid of the strengthening Russian influence on the Balkans and thus considered it be a rather formidable enemy. The Turkish force was well armed with English rifles, Snider type and new Peabody-Martini rifles. American rifles, Winchester type were also adopted into the Turkish cavalry. Visitors may see these arms in glass-cases with trophies taken by the Russian army.
Guns of both opposing sides are on display in the room. Here is found the 24‑pounder siege long gun Model 1867 on the carriage designed by A. Diadin. This gun fired shots at Turkish fortifications near Plevna. Visitors may see a dent in it made in the battle by the enemy’s shell-splinter. N. Brandenburg, director of the Artillery Museum at that time, was present at this event and requested the gun be handed over to the Museum for eternal keeping. Next to it there is a 8‑cm Turkish field steel gun Model 1873, Krupp type. It is another trophy taken by Russian troops near Plevna.
Among the other trophies displayed in the room there are the Turkish colors and keys from the city of Olta. In memory of the bravery and heroism of Russian warriors in battles of the Russian-Turkish War of 1877–1878, the monument The Glory was erected to commemorate the anniversary of the victory near the settlement of Gornyi Dubniak in the Izmailovskii Prospekt [avenue] in front of the Izmailovskii St. Trinity Cathedral in St. Petersburg on October 12, 1886. It consisted of 138 steel and bronze trophy guns. This beautiful monument was disassembled in 1928, but restored again in 2005 with active participation of the Military-Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineer and Signal Corps. Visitors may see a model of this monument in the room.
Battle paintings of well-known Russian artists depicting the heroic exploits of Russian warriors in battles on the Balkan and Caucasus theatres of war in 1877–1878 are on display as well.
Among them are N. DmitrievOrenburgskii’s canvases The Artillery Combat near Plevna and The Attack of the Life Guards Grenadier Regiment on Turkish Positions near Gornyi Dubniak, A. Kivshenko’s painting Nizhnii Novgorod Dragoons are Pursuing Turks along the Way to Kars, as well as the Defence of the "Eagle’s Nest" painted by A. Popov, participant in the Russian-Turkish War. The latter depicts one of the fighting episodes in the heroic defence of the Shipka Pass.
|A. N. Popov. Defence of the «Eagle's Nest» on August 12, 1877. 1893
The Russian army gained precious battle experience in the Russian-Turkish War. The rearming of the Russian artillery with guns Model 1877 had already started during the course of the war. The guns were called by their fighting characteristic, "long-range," for the first time in the history of artillery. New pebble powder started to be used for achieving greater firing range. This led to a significant increase in the initial speed of shells, which in turn required increasing the barrel strength. Steel barrels were used for guns in the field, fortress and siege artillery. Among the exhibits there is a 42‑lined (107‑mm) cannon, which has a steel barrel jacketed by the method of A. Gadolin. It was supplied with a cylinder-prism wedge breechblock. Recoil wedges were placed behind the wheels to reduce the back-blow. The exhibited guns were provided with side-mounting bar sights that allowed taking into account secondary lateral deflection. All barrels Model 1877 were designed by N. Maievskii and A. Gadolin. According to their methods, barrels of small calibers were jacketed, while ones of larger calibers were bound with rings in 1–3 layers, as demonstrated in the barrel of the exhibited gun.
In the 1880’s, the process of improving artillery guns, carriages and ammunition took place in the Russian army through war experience in 1877–1878. The Mikhailovskaia Artillery Academy (named in honor of Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich Romanoff) became a recognized center, not only for training the artillery staff, but also for the development of science in the second half of the 19th century. It was founded on the basis of artillery classes at the Mikhailovskii Artillery College in 1855. Such prominent Russian scientists and designers as A. Gadolin, N. Maievskii, P. Chebyshev and A. Fisher worked and taught there. Their works are displayed in glass-cases. The academy succeeded in training specialists with high artillery education. All designers of artillery arms in the second half of the 19th — early 20th century, studied in this academy and worked here. Visitors can see photos of buildings of the Mikhailovskaia Artillery Academy located in the Vyborgskii district in St. Petersburg on a special stand dedicated to the academy. The exhibits also show badges of graduation from the Artillery College and the Artillery Academy, including the scholarly works of scientists from the academy with their explanatory texts.
Aleksandr Engelgardt (1836–1907) was one of the students of the academy as well. He designed not only carriages for guns Model 1877, but also all limbers and caissons during the 1870’s1880’s. The Russian-Turkish War of 1877–1878 revealed a necessity for high fire guns in the field artillery to fire powerful shells. However, attempts at firing from carriages with a steep angle of elevation caused carriage axles to break. A. Engelgardt solved this difficult problem by using rubber buffers and a support pedestal. He was the first in the world who created a 6‑inch (152‑mm) field mortar Model 1885 on a wheeled carriage. Mortars of this type were used during the Russian-Japanese War. A portrait of A. Engelgardt is exhibited in the room.
Wars of the last quarter of the 19th century led to a necessity for considerably increasing firing capabilities of artillery by producing new, more powerful explosives and a transition to quick-firing artillery guns. Russian scientist-artillerists and designers of artillery guns were busy trying to solve this problem during the last decade of the 19th century and the early 20th century.
The light field cannon Model 1895 became the first sample of such a gun. It was worked out to use smokeless powder. It became a transitional toward quick-firing systems and was called a gun of ‘accelerated fire’. If looking attentively at the muzzle end, visitors may see a liner made by the method of A. Kolokoltsov. The gun-carriage was designed by A. Engelgardt.
By order for the Department of War dated January 5, 1895, smokeless powder was introduced for small-arms and all types of artillery. Its creation and industrial production determined how it was made as early as the 1890’s. Staff-Captain Sergei Panpushko (1856–1891) was engaged in filling artillery shells with new explosives — pyroxyline and picric acid. He graduated from the Mikhailovskaia Artillery Academy. To the great regret of Russian military science, he tragically perished while testing shells.
The creation of the 3‑inch (76‑mm) quick-firing field cannon Model 1900 became the next step in strengthening Russia’s quick-firing artillery. The gun was worked out at the Putilov works in St. Petersburg, with participation from N. Zabudskii and A. Engelgardt. It had a quick-acting screw breechblock with a locking device, impact and extracting mechanisms and a safety device; an elastic carriage and a spade, a recoil break and a rubber counter-recoil mechanism and a deflection allowing one to fire from indirect laying positions. The essence of this method is shown on the stand Firing from Indirect Laying Positions. Visitors may also see here photos of the fathers of this method, Captain Karl Guk and General-Major Eduard Forseles, including the cover of a book by K. Guk The Covered Fire of Field Artillery published in 1882. The method of firing was included in the Rules of Firing Artillery of 1891, 1903 and 1904 and then used in the battle training of troops.
Military operations during the Russian-Turkish War of 1877–1878 with the use of extended order revealed a necessity for sharply increasing the firing rate of small arms. Designers from different countries thought about the creation of magazine rifles to solve this problem. Initially gunsmiths remade single-shot rifles into magazine ones (such remade samples are placed in a large vertical case). Soon, however, it became clear that the future belonged to original designs. Captain Sergei Mosin (1849–1902) played the main role in creating the magazine rifle in Russia. A portrait of this prominent armorist is on display. Also exhibited are experimental samples of rifles of his design and his principal competitor, Belgian designer Leon Nagant. Among the exhibits is the main work of Mosin, a 3‑lined magazine rifle Model 1891 bearing є1 of the Sestroretsk Small-Arms Factory. The gun was added to the armory by a special commission after testing 119 samples of magazine rifles. Neighboring glass-cases display Mosin’s infantry, dragoon and Cossack rifles.
Simplicity of the design and reliability of functioning ensured a long life for the Mosin rifle. The 3‑lined rifle was adopted in the Russian, Red, and then Soviet Army, without significant changes for 60 years. The first Russian carbine designed on the basis of the Mosin rifle Model 1891 was added to the armory of the Russian army in 1907. In 1907–1910, the rifle underwent its first modernization, the main essence of which was working out a new cartridge with a pointed bullet. The sight was also changed during the modernization and special ‘holes’ appeared instead of sling swivels. Both the first Russian carbine and the modernized Mosin rifle are displayed in glass-cases. In 1894, S. Mosin received the Mikhailovskaia Award (also named in honor of Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich Romanoff) and was appointed to the position of Chief of the Sestroretsk Small-Arms Factory.
On January 27, 1904, the Russian-Japanese War broke out with a surprise attack by the Japanese fleet on the Russian naval base in PortArthur.
It was the first war of the machine period in which automatic weapons were used. In 1895, Maxim machineguns had improved in comparison with those of Model 1889 on a mount of a gun-carriage type (displayed in the section dedicated to the Port-Arthur epopee) which were added to Russia’s armory. They had been adopted only by fortresses at the beginning of the war and had not yet been used in field battles. Military commanders were still skeptical with respect to automatic weapons. Only one machinegun company had been in the Russian army, in the Far East (8 machineguns), by the beginning of the war campaign. Several machineguns were adopted in the Port-Arthur fortress and 12 were used, in Vladivostok. 370 machineguns were used on battlefields by the end of the war. The trophy Japanese cannon Model 1898, Arisaka type is displayed in the room.
|F. A. Rubo. Attack of the Novocherkassk Regiment during the battle near Shakha river. 1907
A general course of tactical operations is depicted on the map. Visitors may also see posters (cheap popular prints) The Japanese Soldiery is Begging for the Help of Uncle Sam, as well as ones telling about the courage of Russian warriors, such as The Exploit of Lieutenant Lesevitskii and The Exploit of the Battery under Colonel Smolenskii. In the glass-cases there are award sabers received by officers for their heroism and bravery shown in battles. Portraits of organizers and heroes of the defence of Port-Arthur, Admiral Stepan Makarov (1848–1904) and General-Lieutenant Roman Kondratenko (1857–1905), are on the display, as well.
The section pertaining to the Port-Arthur epopee displays photos of well-known Russian artillerists who taught in the Officers Artillery School and worked out a method for firing from indirect laying positions approved on battlefields of the Russian-Japanese War. Lieutenant-Colonel Aleksei Pashchenko and Colonel Vladimir Sliusarenko, whose photos are on the display, proved the advantage of this method in a single fight between Russian batteries and Japanese ones in battles near Tashihchiao (Dashiqiao), Liaoyang and near the Sha Ho (Sha River).
The new method of gunnery made the control of artillery fire much more difficult. The visitor may see it on the photo The Control of Fire of the 45th Artillery Brigade from a Command Post. Attempts were made in the Russian army battles near the Sha River in October-November 1904 to centralize control of artillery fire on a corps scale. Thus, in the 5th Siberian Corps a chief of the corps post headed the control of fire for the artillery of all the corps.
Entirely new artillery instruments were also developed. New goniometers are exhibited in a special glass-case dedicated to the artillery instruments along with a quadrant and a telescope. The next glass-case displays the St. George Order ribbon and a tip from the colors of the 16th East-Siberian Regiment which participated in the defence of the Port-Arthur fortress. Visitors can also see here F. Roubaud’s painting The Attack of the Novocherkassk Regiment in the Battle near the Sha River.
Russians took first place in the development of mortars. During the heroic defence of Port-Arthur Lieutenant of the Navy N. Podgurskii offered to remake and use missile devices for fighting in field conditions. In October 1904, Captain L. Gobiato together with Sub-Lieutenant S. Vlasiev designed a special mine and used the 47‑mm sea gun for its delivery. These were the first mortars of their kind. Portraits of their makers, a draft of a pole-finned bomb and the photo A Shot from the Sea Missile Device Placed on the Positions in PortArthur are exhibited in the room.
A complex of coastal guns from the period of the Russian-Japanese War is shown in the section dedicated to the war. The first of the display is a 9‑inch coastal mortar Model 1877 made under the project of N. Maievskii. It participated in the defence of Port-Arthur. After its liberation from the Japanese in 1945, it was handed over to the Artillery Museum as a relic of the Russian battle glory in 1948.
The next cannon was the first rifled gun in the world of coastal artillery. This is an 8‑inch experimental coastal steel non-bound cannon, which was worked out by N. Maievskii and made under his guidance in 1864 (the carriage on a traverse platform was designed by S. Semenov). The gun made more than 700 shots during its tests. As a result it was decided to add breech-loading guns to the armory of the coastal artillery.
On the left of this cannon there is a 9‑inch coastal cannon Model 1867, with a steel barrel, reinforced with rings. It was made according to the project of N. Maievskii in 1871. The barrel is placed on the S. Semenov carriage on the traverse platform. And finally, the most powerful gun of the coastal defence of that time, i.e. the period of the Russian-Japanese War, is the 11‑inch coastal cannon Model 1867.
|Experimental 8-inch steel non-bound coastal cannon (1863) and the 9-inch coastal cannon Model 1867
The introduction of armored vessels in the navies of the most powerful states caused a revolt in coastal and sea artillery and forced all countries to look for new metals for the production of armor-piercing shells. This was because the cast-iron ones crumbled on meeting the armor and did not break it. It was Admiral S. Makarov who solved this problem in Russia. He showed his worth not only as a prominent naval commander, but also as a brilliant scientist. He offered to provide shells with caps of soft steel, which significantly increased the effectiveness of firing at armored vessels. Such a Makarov shell is exhibited near the armor plate, all riddled through from test firings.
At the end of the Russian-Japanese War, Russian artillerists started studying in detail the experiences of tactical operations, the use of artillery technique, methods of combat application of artillery and methods of fire destruction. Their discoveries were approved before the war and appeared during the military operations.
With the appearance of new samples of materiel for artillery and ammunition, the introduction of new battle application methods of artillery in the Russian army and the method of indirect fire the combat training, as well as mastership of artillerists were improved. The organization of competitive firing practice also favored improvement. Glass-cases show awards for first place in firing and artillery sport competitions, as well as gifts presented commemorating particular anniversaries. An excellent collection of silverware from regimental museums and officers’ assemblies of the Life Guards Keksholm, the Life Guards Pavlovsk and the 147th Infantry Samara Regiments is on display as well.
|A. Dolgov. Artillery during maneuvers. 1904
The Officers’ Artillery School and its brilliantly trained staff of teachers and scientists became the main elaborators of the Rules for Indirect Firing and the organizers of their application. In addition to studies they performed a great deal of educational-scientific work. As early as 1896, the school tested various samples of gun and commander’s goniometers, aiming circles and other devices for gun laying during indirect fire by the order of the Main Artillery Administration. As a result the commander’s goniometer and a battery aiming circle worked out by Artillery School lecturers V. Mikhailovskii and V. Turov were added to the armory of the artillery. Improvement of the artillery’s materiel and methods of use required the elaboration of new instruments for observation, reconnaissance and fire control. In 1906, an optic panorama sight was added to the armory for the 3‑inch cannon Model 1902, and later for the other field guns. Glasscases also show instruments worked out in the Officers Artillery School, portraits of its lecturers and their scientific published works.
The research work of General-Lieutenant Nikolai Zabudskii (1853–1917) much furthered the development and improvement of Russian artillery. He was N. Maievskii’s student, a specialist in the sphere of exterior and interior ballistics and artillery materiel. His portrait and scientific works are exhibited in the room. General-Major Vasilii Trofimov (1865–1926) also made a great contribution to developing the theory of artillery firing and other spheres of artillery science and technique. Visitors may see his portrait, too.
A new 3‑inch (76‑mm) quick-firing field cannon Model 1902 was added to the armory of the Russian army in 1902. Its positive characteristics were proved on the battlefields during the Russian-Japanese War.
It is notable for its perfect counter-recoil mechanisms and a cradle. The experience of the Russian-Japanese War served as a reason for further improving the materiel of these guns. Since 1906, they started to be equipped with a shield cover and a perfect arc panorama sight. Guns of this type were among the best cannons of the time and were successfully used during World War I. They were added to the armory of the Red Army and were adopted after the modernization of 1930 until the end of World War II. Such a gun is displayed in the room with a limber for it Model 1902.
|3-pounder field quick-firing cannon. Model 1900
Opposite to these guns there is an interesting exhibit — the Maxim machinegun with air cooling. In 1888, Emperor Alexander III personally tested it in the riding-hall of the Anichkov Palace in St. Petersburg.
|Maxim air-cooled machine-gun
Work to improve the Maxim machinegun was carried out at the Tula Small-Arms Factory. As a result the Maxim machinegun, on a mount designed by A. Sokolov (1887–1924), was added to the armory. This mount appeared to be so good that it was used for about 30 years, up to the end of World War II. A sample of such a machinegun on the Sokolov mount is on display.
The necessity of fighting in mountain conditions required the creation of lighter guns adapted for transporting them in packs, with a shell flight trajectory more carved than that of field cannons. The Russian 3‑inch quick-firing cannon Model 1904 made in the Obukhov works became such a gun for the Russian army. However, due to some of Model 1904’s shortcomings the 3‑inch (76‑mm) mountain cannon Model 1909 offered by the Putilov works became the main gun in mountain artillery. An example of the latter is displayed in the room together with a cartridge and a 3‑inch high-explosive trinitrotoluene shell.
Next to the mountain guns there are the 48‑lined (122‑mm) field howitzer Model 1909, the 6‑inch (152‑mm) field howitzer Model 1910, as well as ammunition for them. Russia had these guns just when it joined World War I.
Lieutenant N. Benois created the first sound-bearing station in the world for reconnaissance of enemy firing batteries and individual guns in 1909. It determined the coordinates of a firing gun by the shot sound. The display includes a set of instruments for such a sound-bearing station. It was a completely new kind of artillery reconnaissance which was widely used on battlefields during World War I.
Museum objects and materials indicative of success by Russian armorists in the sphere of creating automatic small-arms occupy a special place in the display dedicated to the pre-war period. An original device created by Ya. Roshchepei was one of the first experimental automatic small arms. A photo of the designer and his automatic rifle are exhibited in the glass-case together with rifles designed by V. Fedorov Models 1912 and 1913. The next glass-case shows a sample of the first submachine gun in the world, created by V. Fedorov in 1916, and a photo of the first subdivision of submachine gunners in the world. V. Fedorov received the great Mikhailovskaia award, which was given only once in five years, for creating the automatic rifle Model 1912.
World War I broke out on August 1, 1914. The display includes schemes for battles of the maneuver period of the war; in Gumbinnen and Galicia. They are evidence of successful operations by the Russian artillery, especially in the encounter Gumbinnen battle on August 20, 1914, which ended with the defeat of the 8th German Army. Already at the beginning of the war in August 1914, Russian artillerists for the first time in the world used Benois sound-bearing stations for ranging the firing batteries of the enemy, in the battles near the village of Bykhov and Golenzova.
The transition of the war to the trench phase caused an acute necessity for short-range weapons. A new type of artillery, for trenches, appeared.
The display includes a 37‑mm trench cannon designed by Colonel M. Rosenberg. It was disassembled into three parts and easily carried from one place to another for immediate infantry support. Next to the cannon there are samples of mortars and bomb throwers used during the war, including homemade ones created in army workshops by primitive methods from used cartridges, just inside the zone of military operations. Only starting in 1916, were 20‑mm and 47‑mm mortars designed by E. Likhonin sent to the army. From 1917, Russian troops were provided with heavy mortars produced by the Izhorskii works.
|P. P. Kariagin. Horror of War. Here we are!. Attack of the Russian Infantry to German trenches. 1918
The bomb throwers were intended for shooting fragmentation bombs and mortars — blast mines. Behind the mortars visitors can see a signal flare launching rest.
|Vasilevskii 95-mm bomb-thrower. 1915
The influence of aviation and its quick development during the war set another task before the artillery; to combat enemy aircraft. Thus, the 3‑inch (76‑mm) antiaircraft cannon Model 1915 equipped with a semiautomatic wedge breechblock was added to the armory during the war. It was created by the talented designer F. Lender (1881–1927). He worked out a mechanism for automatic breech opening and closing, which allowed the firing rate to be increased up to 20–25 rounds/minute. Visitors will see a photo depicting F. Lender testing the semiautomatic breech mechanism and a 3‑inch antiaircraft cannon in both firing and travelling positions. A portrait of the designer is on display as well. F. Lender started the project of the antiaircraft gun just before the beginning of World War I, and the first antiaircraft battery was sent to the front by March 1915. Nevertheless, only 36 guns of this type were created during the war. The 3‑inch cannons Models 1900 and 1902 on a special antiaircraft mount were also used for aerial shooting. A model of the cannon mount is exhibited in the room, too.
Two vertical cases display samples of small arms used during World War I, as well as samples of uniforms for soldiers and officers from the Russian army of that period.
|Shako for an officer of the Life Guards 1st Artillery Brigade.1909-1917
The experience of World War I stimulated the improvement of firearms. Thus, a rifle grenade launcher and a so-called handheld mortar, an original prototype of modern under-barrel grenade launchers for firing special projectiles, were created. The glass-cases show short-range weapons, including both Russian and foreign projectiles and hand grenades.
The problem of defending soldiers from splinters was not set aside either. Steel helmets and breastplates were sent to the army. They are exhibited in one of glass-cases along with wire cutters that were put on rifles and bayonets with a hook.
The final section of the display is dedicated to the combat application of Russian artillery in the campaign of 1916. Its actions were especially effective in the operation of troops on the South-Western front commanded by General of Cavalry Aleksei Brusilov (1853–1927) in June-September 1916. A portrait of General A. Brusilov, drawings by frontline artists G. Vereiskii, A. Semenov and A. Przheslavskii, along with original photos of the period of World War I is a vivid illustration of the events.
At the end of the room there are guns captured from the enemy. These are the 80‑mm Austrian bronze cannon, the 150‑mm German heavy howitzer, as well as very interesting exhibits, the first Italian submachine gun in the world, Revelli type, and the machinegun Model 1914, Colt type with air cooling. The display ends with the Russian 42‑lined (107‑mm) quick-firing field cannon Model 1910, the best gun of its type for that time. It had a great firing range and a respectively small weight. There are also documents and photos that indicate the rising revolutionary movement in the Russian army and participation by soldiers and officers in the February revolution of 1917.