The defence of the motherland occupied a pivotal place in the life of ancient Slavs. Artifacts exhibited in the room are evidence of that. They reveal the initial stages of Russian military history and the first steps of developing Russian artillery.
As a result of East Slavic tribes who had resided on the vast plain from the Volkhov to the Dniestr and the Don uniting an ancient state, Kiev Rus with its center located in the city of Kiev, was formed in the 9th century. In order to have more trade ways and to protect the borders, the Russian state constantly had to carry on a ponderous struggle against tribes of nomads, Hazards, Pechenegi, Polovtsy, as well as Byzantium.
The life of one of the first princes of Kiev, Sviatoslav Igorevich (945–972), was spent in constant military campaigns. His sculpture by E. Lancere is displayed in the room. The visitor may also view next to it a portrait of Sviatoslav’s son, Vladimir, Prince of Kiev (980‑1015). He was known not only as a brave warrior, but also as one of the most significant figures of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Christening of Kiev Rus is associated primarily with his name. The portrait was made by an anonymous artist in the early 20th century.
On display is a model of the smithy in the 10th–11th centuries, with a set of blacksmith’s tools as well as samples of arms from Old Russian warriors; swords, arrowheads and tips of spears, battleaxes, maces and bludgeons. A set of arms from an equestrian warrior, a nomad of the 12th–13th centuries is also included; a helmet, chain mail, saber, stirrups and bit, tips of a spear and arrowheads. The objects were found during archaeological excavations of a barrow in the southern part of the province of Kiev, which were undertaken in 1891 by General Nikolai Brandenburg, director of the Artillery Museum from 1872 to 1903.
In the late 12th — early 13th century various missiles and battering machines started to be used in Rus as a principal combat means for the defence and siege of cities. The display includes models of such machines; a battering-ram from the 15th century, a veretenishch (mechanical sling from the early 13th century) and a heavy arbalest with a slideblock from the 13th–14th centuries. The missile machines were used in the Russian army until the mid16th century.
In 1237, MongolianTartar Khan Batyi attacked Russian lands. Rus which had been parceled out to small principalities could not resist the terrible onslaught of nomad hordes. Defenders of Riazan, Vladimir, Kozelsk and other Russian cities heroically fought, but perished. One of the most striking examples of resistance to the aggressors was the feat of the armed force of Riazan boyar Evpatii Kolovrat, which raided Tartars on the Suzdal land. Occupied from all sides his force fell during the unequal combat. The last battle of Evpatii Kolovrat with Tartars is pictured in the painting by P. Litvinskii on display in the room.
A process started to unite the lands around Moscow in the 14th century. Moscow princes did their best to strengthen the state and to strike a crushing blow to the MongolianTartar yoke. In 1380, the united Russian troops commanded by Moscow Prince Dmitrii Ivanovich (1350–1389) gained victory over troops of Khan Mamai in a battle on the Kulikovo field (not far from the place where the Nepriadva River joins the Don). Prince Dmitrii was called Donskoi (i. e. Prince Dmitrii of the Don) for this victory.
The culmination of the Kulikovskaia battle was to stab an ambush regiment into the back of the Tartar troops, deciding the outcome of the battle. Just this moment is reproduced in the model exhibited in the room. Also displayed is a portrait of Dmitrii Donskoi made by an anonymous artist in the early 20th century, as well as a model of the monument to Russian warriors who perished on the Kulikovo field. The monument was erected on the field in 1850. The author of the monument project was the architect A. Briullov.
According to Russian chronicles, the explosive characteristics of powder had already been known in Rus by the time of the Kulikovskaia battle. The earliest mention of combat using Russian artillery dates from 1382. Muscovites used tiufiaks and "great guns" during the defence of Moscow from troops of Khan Tokhtamysh in September of that year. One of the stands shows a fragment of the chronicle and a copy of the miniature from the 16th century telling about the first use of artillery in Rus, as well as an ancient sample of the Russian tiufiak, a weapon which fired drob, i. e. pieces of iron, road-metal and small stones. The visitor may view here three ancient samples of artillery guns made in the late 14th — early 15th century. These are a West European bombarde of the early 15th century on a wooden mount reconstructed in the 19th century and two breech-loading cannons of the late 14th — early 15th century. The cannon of a larger size is of special interest. It was heaved from the bottom of the Baltic Sea near the coast of Denmark in 1852. That same year the Danish King Frederik VII presented it to Russian Emperor Nicholas I. The cannon was then transferred to the Artillery Museum from the Tsarskoe Selo arsenal in 1876. An honor was given it in 1889 when the cannon "played the role" of being the first Russian gun during the 500th anniversary celebration of Russian artillery, which took place at the Artillery Museum (later, this date was referred to as 1382).
Three general types of arms had been used in the Russian artillery by the early 15th century. These are cannons, intended for plunging fire, pishchals for flat trajectory firing with balls and tiufiaks for shortrange firing with drob.
Considerable changes took place in artillery of the 15th century. These connect first of all with new technology of making guns and powder. In the middle of the century iron forging was replaced with casting guns from bronze, an alloy of copper and tin which made the production process much easier and quicker. In addition sighting systems appeared in the form of front and back sights that were intended for visual homing guidance of the gun on a target. Also the army adopted wheeled carriages which considerably improved the mobility of artillery and allowed guns to be used not only for the defence or siege of fortresses, but also in field battles.
However, in spite of successful uses of bronze, the production of iron guns was still maintained in the 15th–16th centuries. Wonderful samples of Russian ironshod cannons are pishchals made in the late 15th — first half of the 16th century in UstiuzhnaZheleznopolskaia, one of the biggest centers for producing iron guns in Russia. The story of finding the collection of Ustiuzhna pishchals is of particular interest. It was accidentally found in the basement of an old city police building which was ready to be pulled down in 1852.
Hand firearms started being used in Russia by the mid15th century. Three barrels of hand pishchals of the late 14th–15th centuries, the oldest samples of Russian hand firearms are displayed in the glass case with objects from the armament of Russian warriors. Two small barrels with a caliber of 12.5 mm are prototypes of the cavalry carbines and pistols. They were made for arming the cavalry.
Russian artillery developed appreciably under Grand Duke of Moscow Ivan III (1440–1505), whose name is associated with organizing a united state. The so-called Pushechnaia izba (literally "cannon house") was constructed in Moscow for gun production in 1479. After the fire of 1488, it was expanded and acquired the name Pushechnyi dvor (i. e. cannon yard). Ivan III invited foreign foundry workers, including famous Italian architect, engineer and artillerist Aristotle Fiorovanti, who constructed the Uspenskii Cathedral in Kremlin, to teach cannon founding to Russian masters. The Porokhovoi dvor (i. e. powder yard) was arranged in Moscow during those same years, as well. Thus, Moscow became the center of Russian artillery production in the 15th century.
A brilliant sample of Russian guns of the 15th century is the bronze pishchal cast by Russian master Jacob in 1491. It is the only dated monument of Russian bronze cannon founding of the 15th century which has survived to the present day.
Since the early 16th century the word pushkar (i. e. gunner) may be found in Russian chronicles. It shows that people specially trained for firing guns appeared in the Russian army at that time. Previously cannon-founders were engaged in operating guns during battles. In addition, the quality of artillery guns and ammunition was considerably improved. The howitzer cast by master Ignatii in 1542 is notable for its beauty and elegance. It is evidence of a high level of mastership by Russian foundry workers. The howitzer shot both balls and drob.
The reign of the grandson of Ivan III, the first Russian Tsar Ivan Vasilievich IV, nicknamed Ivan the Terrible (1530–1584), occupies a special place in the military history of medieval Russia. As a result of reforms he instated in the mid16th century the streltsy army was formed. It laid down the foundations for a regular Russian army. The artillery was separated as an independent arm of the service and was divided into field, siege and fortress branches. Each streltsy regiment received several light guns which started the creation of regimental artillery in the Russian army.
Military campaigns to Kazan of 1547, 1550 and 1552 became the first serious ordeal for the young Tsar. The first two campaigns failed and only in 1552 as a result of careful preparation (150 pieces of ordnance were concentrated near Kazan) were Russian troops able to take the city after 38‑days of siege. A siege tower was constructed by an invention of talented Russian engineer deacon Ivan Vyrodkov who was responsible for the siege works. The tower rendered much assistance to the warriors who took part in the siege. 10 light guns and 50 gunners were placed on the upper landing of the tower which was higher than the walls of Kazan. As a result it became possible to throw fire upon the internal part of the city and to suppress any attempts of the beleaguered Kazan residents to make a sortie. In addition mine saps were used under the city walls. Their blasting served as a sign to start the storm.
The display includes two cannons which were part of the Russian ordnance used near Kazan. They were found near the city of Laishev near the Kama River. Also exhibited are V. Bodrov’s painting called The Russian Artillery near Kazan, and a model of The Seizure of Kazan by Russian Troops on October 2, 1552.
The Livonian War that lasted 25 years (1558–1583) and which Ivan the Terrible fought as neither good nor bad for going out to the Baltic coast abounded in losses and exploits, including those of Russian gunners. V. Nechaev’s painting The Exploit of Russian Gunners near Wenden is dedicated to one of the outstanding feats of Russian artillerists during the Livonian War. In October 1578, Russian troops seized the fortress Wenden which was the residence of the leader of the Livonian order. However, the day before the storm was to happen reinforcements came to the aid of the beleaguered. The Russian army retreated in a hurry, having no time to take out 17 siege guns. The gunners that were surrounded by the enemy fired to their very last and, not wishing to yield themselves as prisoners, then hanged themselves on their guns.
Two guns which were used in the Livonian War are displayed in the room. These are the pishchal cast by master Bogdan in 1563 and used during the siege of Polotsk and the Inrog [Unicorn] siege pishchal cast by master Andrei Chokhov in 1577 which was used during the Livonian and Smolensk Wars. The destiny of this pishchal is rather interesting. During the Smolensk War (1632–1634) it was captured by Polish troops and brought out to Elbing, where it was kept until 1703 when the city was taken by Swedes during the Northern War (1700–1721). In 1703, the cannon was brought out to Stockholm and its barrel cut into three parts was brought from there back to Russia by Swedish merchant Jahan Prim in 1723. By the order of Peter the Great a master from the St. Petersburg arsenal, Semen Leontiev, skillfully soldered the barrel in 1724. It was ordered by the Emperor to pay 7 rubles in silver for each pood of the cannon’s weight to Jahan Prim.
The name of a talented Russian gun-maker and bell master Andrei Chokhov (circ. 1545–1629) occupies a special place in Russian history. He worked for more than sixty years at the Moscow Pushechnyi dvor and cast dozens of wonderful pieces of ordnance and bells, as well as teaching many apprentices. 12 big guns cast by Chokhov have been kept to the present day. Seven of them — the most significant collection — are exhibited in the St. Petersburg Museum. Three of Chokhov’s guns — the aforementioned Inrog pishchal, the Yegup mortar cast in 1587, and the so-called “mortar of the pretender” cast in 1605 may be seen in the room.
Guns of the 16th–17th centuries are notable for their rich finish and decorations, including artistic inscriptions. Many of them, especially the big ones, have names of their own. The sometimes anxious attitude of masters to their works is explained by the very process of producing barrels which took many months.
In addition to casting guns from bronze, the production of cast-iron started in the 16th c. A more comparative uniformity in gun founding and rather exact division into kinds and types, first of all depending on their length and caliber, was established that time. Not less than 2,000 pieces of ordnances were numbered in the Russian artillery by the late 16th century.
Two iron-shod breech-loading pishchals exhibited in the room are a sample of the outstanding mastership of Russian gun-makers of the 16th century. The barrel of the first one is forged on the outside in the form of an octahedron. It has 12 straight parallel rifling grooves with a length of about 50 cm in its chase. The breech is closed with a screwing breech button which is a prototype of screw breechblocks. Another pishchal was called Tri Aspida [Three Asps]. Its barrel was cast in the form of three serpents. One holds the tail of the other with its mouth. It is notable for its unusual length — 109 calibers (492 cm). The barrel bore is closed with a horizontal wedge resembling modern wedge breech mechanisms. In the breech bore there is a stuck lead shot. The Tri Aspida cannon was a bold technical experiment revealing the masters’ attempts to increase the firing range by lengthening the barrel.
Blank weapons, protective arms and firearms of the Russian army of the 16th–17th centuries displayed in the glass-cases are of great interest. The glass-case with blank weapons and protective arms shows a bow with arrows, battleaxes, a spear, a bear-spear, a chain mail and a yushman — a variety of annulated armor of the 15th–16th centuries. As well, a shestopior and a pernach (original maces — the former with 6 metal flanges, and the latter with 10) which served as a symbol of power for military commanders. The most notable samples of smallarms are two matchlock hand pishchals of the 16th century. Such pishchals which have been kept in their original appearance are very rare, since the majority of them were remade into flintlock in the 17th century.
In addition to matchlock pishchals the glass-case shows guns with improved types of locks invented in the 16th century — wheel-lock and flintlock ones. The wheel-lock was more reliable than the matchlock, which enabled production samples of firearms especially for the cavalry — pistols and carbines. However, the wheel-lock was rather expensive and difficult to produce. In addition a special key was required for its winding. So the wheel-locks were not widely practised. They were used mostly by cavalrymen. The invention of a simpler and less expensive flintlock favored the development of small arms.
In the 16th century Russian gun-makers started production of so-called rifle pishchals — with rifling grooves in the barrel bore. This increased the firing range and target accuracy. Breech-loading rifled weapons, however, took much longer to charge than smoothbore ones. A rifled pishchal of the second half of the 17th century is exhibited in the glass-case with small arms. A sample of a combined arm made in the 17th century is of undoubted interest. This is a small axe weapon, with the handle of a flintlock pistol.
The end of the 16th–17th century was quite hard for Russia. The dynasty of Russian rulers who had originated from the first Russian Prince Rurik stopped with the death of the son of Ivan the Terrible — Tsar Fedor Ioannovich — in 1598. The Boyars then started fighting for the throne. The situation became even more difficult when Polish detachments under prince pretender Grigorii Otrepiev invaded Russia in 1604. He made himself out to be the estranged son of Ivan the Terrible — Tsarevich Dmitrii. Many people believed in the pretender and he succeeded in quickly coming to Moscow. In July 1605, False Dmitrii I came into the capital. One of the most significant exhibits of the room and the Museum in general is the aforementioned "Mortar of the Pretender." It reminds us about his short reign (False Dmitrii was killed by Muscovites who rose in rebellion against him). The mortar was cast by foundry worker Pronia Fedorov under the guidance of Andrei Chokhov in 1605. Opposite the mortar, on the wall, there is V. Nikiforov’s painting called Andrei Chokhov with His Apprentices. It pictures Chokhov and Pronia Fedorov in the workshop near the "Mortar of the Pretender," which had been recently cast.
Important changes took place in the development of the Russian state armed forces in the 17th century. In the 1630’s, so-called regiments of a "new system" appeared in the Russian army. They were armed, fitted out and trained according to a Western-European model. By the early 1680’s, there were 63 such regiments numbering 90 thousand persons. Streltsy regiments, which in the early 1660’s had consisted of a little more than 40 thousand persons, were considerably reinforced as well. There is a glass-case in the room, which displays the figure of a strelets from the 17th century, samples of armament and outfit of the streltsy and soldiers of the regiments of the "new system." These include a matchlock musket, an iron helmet, and a berendeika — a cross-belt with wooden tubes for powder charges.
Artillery was considerably improved during that time as well. The guns started being made using drafts by the second half of the 17th century. The greatest number of guns of the same type (equalled in their caliber and length of barrel and different only by their weight) was produced by the Moscow Pushechnyi dvor. It is interesting that not only the year of casting and name of the master, but the caliber, length and weight of the barrel were inscribed on barrel bores. 14 general calibers were defined in the Russian artillery by the mid17th century. In addition to barrels of the same type, gun carriages of the same type started being produced. The process of loading guns became much easier and quicker due to implementing bag-loading in the mid17th century. Also paper cartages started to be used in hand firearms at the same time.
Three 2‑pounder regimental pishchals that are almost identical are displayed in the room as a sample of guns of the same type. The sameness is proved by the emblem, a cross with a spear on the right and a cane on the left, which is on their breeches. The pishchals were cast for the regiments of the "new system" in the 17th century. Another exhibit, a barrel of the small bronze Volk [Wolf] pishchal, attracts attention by the elegance of its decoration. This gun was adopted in the city of Tobolsk and the barrel was cast by master Yakov Dubina in 1684.
The art of early gun-makers of the 17th century. was revealed in three iron-shod breech-loading ceremonial pishchals intended for meetings with foreign ambassadors and various celebrations at the Tsar’s court. One of the pishchals was made by a master from the Moscow Armory, Ermolai Fedorov in 1661–1673. The barrel has 16 semicircular rifling grooves and is locked with a screwing button. It is decorated with chased ornament and inlaid with tinsel and silver, placed in a pivot yoke on a wooden box-shaped carriage which has collapsible seats on each side. The barrel of another pishchal is also inlaid with gold and silver, locked with a side wedge through the help of a handle. The third cannon is placed on a tripod carriage. Its bore is closed with a vertical wedge by the help of a handle.
One more interesting exhibit displayed in the room is a soroka (magpie) or an organ, i.e. multibarrelled gun. Such pieces of ordnance were adopted since the second half of the 16th century. The exhibited soroka has 105 barrels set in 7 rows. It was actuated with one percussion flintlock.
In a pier, almost opposite to the "participant" of the Azovian campaign of 1696, Chokhov’s Yegup mortar, there is a miniature cannon. Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich (1629–1676) presented it to his youngest son, Tsarevich Peter, future Peter the Great (1672–1725). The tsarevich was not yet 4 years young when he received such a present. This small cannon was made according to the best traditions of artillery production of that time. It has an elegant bronze barrel and an oak carriage with all the appropriate iron bindings. It was possible to fire this cannon the right way. Peter grew up playing at war with children, and his poteshny detachment (i. e. the one which consisted of boysoldiers) increased as well. Soon the young tsar had two valuable infantry regiments, Preobrazhensky and Semenovsky (called by the names of villages near Moscow, where they were quartered). The regiments participated in many maneuvers in Moscow suburbs. An episode of maneuvers near the settlement of Kozhukhovo in 1694, called the “Kozhukhov Campaign,” is depicted in the painting by an anonymous artist of the 19th century. It is placed on the wall above the cannon.
In 1695 and 1696, troops commanded by Peter the Great realized two campaigns to the Turkish fortress of Azov. The first one failed, but a year later the Russian army together with the fleet took the fortress. It was the first victory for Peter. The Azovian campaigns finally convinced him of the necessity for radical military reforms. Nearby, in K. Weyerman’s engraving The Storming of the City of Azov on July 18, 1696 and the scheme disposing the Russian artillery near Azov in 1696, visitors may see the partisan (a pole arm, variety of pike) with which Peter participated in the first Azovian campaign. Other personal belongings of Peter the Great are also included in the display. In an individual glass-case there is the elk-skin kolet (a kind of man’s jacket usually made of white cloth) which the young Tsar wore as he mastered shipbuilding. He worked as an uriadnik (the lowest rank of noncommissioned officer) of the Preobrazhensky Regiment at shipyards in Saardam during the Great Embassy of 1697–1698. Leather kragi (boot tops) which Peter wore on the day of the Poltava battle lay beneath the kolet. Near them is a blade of the saber which belonged to the Tsar. Later Emperor Paul I handed over this blade to his son Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich before sending the latter to the army of A. V. Suvorov in 1799. There is one more partisan of Peter the Great in the room. It was granted to the Emperor in connection with his promotion to the rank of colonel of the Preobrazhensky Regiment on August 6, 1706.
The Northern War started breaking out for Russia with a defeat near Narva. On November 19, 1700, a small detachment under young Swedish King Charles XII (1682–1717) came to the rescue of beleaguered soldiers in the fortress and routed Russian troops outnumbering it. The majority of the Russian army consisted of streltsy, home guards and soldiers who did not have any combat experience. The Swedes took all 145 artillery guns. Only the heroic opposition of the Life Guards from the Preobrazhensky and Semenovsky Regiments saved the Russian army from utter defeat. It was they who protected the retreat of the demoralized regiments. In memory of the courageous guard near Narva, Peter ordered the date of the Narva battle placed on breastplates for the commissioned officers (in ranks from ensign to captain) of the Life Guards Preobrazhensky and Semenovsky Regiments. A similar breastplate, but of a later model (1741) is displayed in one of the glass-cases in the room.
The Svitok [Scroll] pishchal cast by Novgorod master Semen Dubinin in 1591 was a witness of that battle. It had been captured by the Swedes near Narva and only in 1723 was redeemed by Russian merchants Anikeev and Barsukov (Borsukov) in Stockholm. As it is said above, the Medved [Bear] pishchal of Semen Dubinin’s work, Chokhov’s Lev [Lion] and Skoropeia [Scorpio] pishchals were redeemed as well. The Svitok pishchal placed on an oak carriage of the 17th century is displayed in this room.
The Narva defeat led to further military reforms. The Russian regular army had been formed only during the Northern War. Peter I organized valuable regular armed forces out of heterogeneous lots of troops. Since 1699, the army was completed by recruitment. A recruit was proposed from a definite number of peasant households. Moreover peasants who became soldiers were automatically released from serfdom. The second birth of artillery is associated with the epoch of Peter the Great. In 1701, the field artillery had been brought together in the Artillery Regiment, whose staff was finally determined in 1712. Guns and ammunition had to be made strictly by drafts and any deviation from the uniformity in their production was severely punished. Regular Russian artillery kept 12 calibers. Pieces of ordnance were subdivided into cannons, howitzers and mortars.
A number of new guns were adopted by the Russian artillery at the beginning of the Northern War. Talented artillerist Vasilii Korchmin worked out a 3‑pounder (by the size of the shot) regimental cannon with two small 6‑pounder mortars on the carriage axle in 1706. In 1707, J. W. Bruce and V. D. Korchmin created a new ‘long’ ½pounder howitzer for arming the horse artillery. A 3‑pounder regimental cannon with a steel cylinder fixed to the chase for firing with 6‑pound grenades and the ½pounder howitzer are exhibited in the room. The latter is the only remaining sample of such guns.
The new Russian army won its first serious victory over the Swedes near the village of Errestfer on December 29, 1701. Russian troops commanded by future Field-Marshal Boris Sheremetev (1652–1719) smashed down the detachment of Swedish General Schlippenbach in that battle. The Yaroslaval Dragoon Regiment and the Guards regimental artillery under V. D. Korchmin distinguished themselves near Errestfer in a special way. This episode is pictured on the canvas by well-known painter of battle-pieces M. Grekov called The Attack of the Swedes by Yaroslavl Dragoons (1914).
Still more victories were won by Russian troops in the first years of the Northern War. They captured the fortresses Nöteborg (Oreshek), Nyenskans and Narva. In May 1703, the foundations of St. Petersburg were laid near the mouth of the Neva.
In late 1707, the Swedish Army commanded by Charles XII invaded Russia. The 17‑thousand troop corps of General A.L. Lewenhaupt went on a wagon train from Livland to support the general forces of the Swedes. On September 28, 1708, the corps of Lewnhaupt was routed by the Russian detachment under Peter the Great near the village of Lesnaia. Peter called this victory ‘the mother of the Poltava battle.’ The engraving depicting this battle is on display.
A. Sokolov and A. Semenov’s painting Artillery in the Poltava Battle is dedicated to operations of the artillery near Poltava on June 27, 1709. The canvas also may be seen in this room.
The fire of Russian guns brought to naught the offensive burst of Swedes. Commander of the Russian artillery Jacob Bruce (1670–1735), who had become a General Feldzeugmeister in 1711, was awarded with the St. Andrew Order, the only order in Russia at the time, for the Poltava battle. A portrait of J. W. Bruce with the order on his artillery full-dress uniform is exhibited in the room.
The 3‑pounder presentation cannon made by Tula gun-makers in late 1709 is an original memorial of the Poltava battle. It was presented to Peter the Great. The iron-shod barrel is inlaid with silver; decorations imitate a decor of damask steel, with gilded dolphins (handles on the barrel). Materials captured by Russian troops in the Northern War — two Swedish colors, arms, pectoral officers’ insignia — are displayed in the room, as well.
One of the stands shows a portrait of Sergei Bukhvostov (1659–1728), whom Peter the Great called ‘the first Russian soldier.’ After being a member of one of the first poteshnyi regiments, Bukhvostov participated in the Azovian campaigns and in the principal battles of the Northern War, near Narva, Lesnaia and Poltava. He went on the path from being a soldier to a major. In 1715, Bukhvostov was moved to the artillery of the St. Petersburg garrison, where he served until his death. He was responsible for the Zeughaus of the Peter-and-Paul Fortress, from which the Artillery Museum originates.
The Museum holds the greatest collection of guns from the first quarter of the 18th century. Among them there are a few worthy of special note. These are the 5‑poods mortar cast by master Semen Leontiev in 1700, the 6‑pounder cannon cast in 1709, which belonged to A. D. Menshikov, the 3‑pounder cast-iron fortress cannon cast in the presence of Peter I at the Olonets works in 1719. As well, there is a 3‑pounder cast-iron quick-firing breechloading cannon cast in Olonets in 1711.
A large collection of blank weapons and hand firearms of the Petrovian epoch is kept, with spears which were the main blank weapon in the Russian army in the early 18th century, including muskets and guns. Two small dragoon mortars are of interest. They were intended as long-range hand grenades. The mortars had a flint lock for igniting the powder and a wooden stock. The stock was rested against an earth or a saddle while firing. Firing the mortar with the rest of the stock against one’s shoulder, as it is sometimes depicted in modern drawings, was impossible because of a powerful firing reaction. Nearby the mortars, the visitor also may see a hand grenade of the early 18th c. and not far away in an individual glass-case, a sculpture of a grenadier from the epoch of the Northern War.
In the second half of the 18th century the history of Russian artillery is characterized with working out many experimental patterns for artillery guns that were offered for adoption in the army. Russian scientists-artillerists tried to solve problems of increasing the firing rate and fire power of guns. An interesting sample of such systems is the 3‑pounder experimental cast-iron cannon with a rectangular barrel bore cast in Olonets in 1722. It was intended for firing three 3‑pound balls, which were wrapped round with linen and placed in one row on a wooden tray.
A special place among artillerists-inventors of the second quarter of the 18th century is given to Andrei Nartov (1693–1756), member of the Russian Science Academy and personal turner of Peter the Great. A portrait of the scientist is hanging in the room above a window opposite to the 44‑barreled battery. A. Nartov invented machines for drilling guns’ barrels and turning trunnions. A telescopic sight was offered to help laying guns for the first time in the world. He also created a number of interesting artillery systems. Among them the most notable is the 44‑barreled "quick-firing" 3‑pounder mortar battery made by Nartov in 1754. 44 small copper mortars are placed on an oak circle and divided with copper disks into sections of 5–6 mortars. Each section has a common powder rack. After firing the section directed towards the enemy the circle was turned and then another section fired. Thus according to the plans of the inventor, the battery could deliver continuous grenade fire for a long time. In 1754, the battery was tested, but was not adopted into the army. In spite of good results, the carriage load appeared to be too much during firing.
Significant reforms took place in the Russian artillery in the 1850’s. They became closely connected with the name of Count Petr Shuvalov (1710–1762), who was a General Feldzeugmeister in 1756, the seventh in the history of the Russian artillery. Arrangements were made under the guidance of P. Shuvalov to improve the organization, combat training and arming of the artillery. Shuvalov also left a reminder of himself as an inventor. He offered the idea of making a howitzer intended especially for firing case shot. Elaboration of the new metal gun was realized by Major MusinPushkin and gun-maker M. Stepanov in 1753. The howitzer acquired the name of a "secret" one. The secret was in the oval form of the barrel bore which ended with a bell muzzle in the chase. Such a mechanism for the gun increased the angle of case shot dispersion in the horizontal plane. The barrel has a cylindrical form breech chamber. In the room there is one of the first "secret" howitzers cast in Moscow in 1753. However such howitzers did not justify the hopes that were set on them and were removed from the artillery service in the mid 1770’s.
In the mid 1750’s a group of officers-artillerists including Lieutenant-Colonel M. G. Martynov, Captains M. V. Danilov, I. I. Meller, I. V. Demidov, M. Rozhnov, M. Zhukov, as well as gun-makers Stepanov, Konstantinov and Kopiev guided by P. I. Shuvalov worked out a long howitzer with a conical breech chamber on the basis of the "long" howitzer Model 1707. Due to such a breech chamber the ball was centered better in the barrel bore. Clearance between the bore surface and the shot was minimal in the beginning period of the shot. It increased the range and closely-grouped fire (almost twice as much in comparison with usual guns of the same caliber). In addition the characteristics of the conical breech chamber made the barrel shorter, which significantly lightened the guns and increased their mobility. In 1757, these howitzers entered service in the Russian artillery. The dolphins and the button of the new guns were cast in the form of a unicorn (edinorog in Russian), so they were called edinorogs. (It is interesting that a unicorn was pictured on the count blazon of P. Shuvalov). Construction of the edinorogs was so good that they were adopted in the Russian artillery for about hundred years. In addition to Russia, edinorogs were also used in the Austrian artillery, which was considered the best one in the world in the second half of the 18th century. A few edinorogs Model 1757, including a drawing of P. Shuvalov’s blazon and his portrait made by L. Ostrova in 1947, are here on display.
In 1756, the Seven Years War (1756–1763) broke out in Europe as a result of contradictions between Prussia, England, Austria and France. Russia joined the Austrian-French coalition which acted against Prussia and England. This opposition was not easy, for the Prussian army had great war experience and had become the best in the world by that time. Prussian King Friedrich II the Great (1740–1786) was recognized as the best commander in Europe. At the same time Prussians faced the high combat qualities of Russians in the battles near Gro-Jgersdorf in 1757, near Zorndorf in 1758 and near Palzig and Kunersdorf in 1759. Russian artillerists bravely fought against the enemy along with the infantry and the cavalry.
The small regimental cannon of the Akhtyrka Village Cossack Regiment (later on, the famed Akhtyrka Hussar Regiment in the ranks of which D. Davydov, hero of the War of 1812, served) is a reminder about the victory near Gro-Jgersdorf. The regiment used this particular gun there.
N. Sablin and P. Balabin’s engraving The Battle near Palzig on July 12, 1759 is also of great interest. Russian artillerists fired over friendly troops for the first time in the world in that combat.
The Kunersdorf battle became an hour of triumph in the Seven Years War for the Russian artillery. Fighting under Russian General En-Chef Petr Saltykov (1698–1772) and Austrian General-Lieutenant G.E. Laudon (1716–1790), who had served in the Russian army for ten years, Russian and Austrian troops crushed the Prussian army commanded by Friedrich II on August 1, 1759. The Russian artillery was of decisive importance for the Kunersdorf victory. In spite of losses it bravely repulsed attacks from the Prussians. General Seidliz, a favorite of King Friedrich, twice sent iron rows of his Cuirassiers to attack Russian regiments, and twice they streamed back under the fire of Russian case shots. Two captured Prussian field cannons are a reminder of that glorious victory. The breeches of the cannons are engraved with an inscription in Latin ULTIMA RATIO REGIS (The Ultimate Reason of the King) above the monogram of Friedrich the Great. This inscription was copied by the Prussian King from French cannons. He considered the artillery to be the most powerful means of influence upon the enemy. Not far from the cannons there is a glass-case which displays the other trophies of the Russian army from the epoch of the Seven Years War. These are the Prussian colors of the 1st Harrison Regiment, blank weapons and firearms, an officer’s breast plate, along with keys from the city of Memel captured by Russian troops in 1757.
The only ceremonial kettledrum chariot in the world is a wonderful monument to the bravery and heroism of Russian artillerists during the Seven Years War. It was the property of the 1st Artillery Regiment, which participated in the main battles for the Russian army with Prussians.
The chariot was made in two months on the order of P. I. Shuvalov by Russian masters. They were headed by ‘painting master’ F. L. Zadubskii from the St. Petersburg Artillery Laboratory and under guidance of Major P. I. Melissino in 1760. The chariot was intended for carrying the colors of the 1st Artillery Regiment during parades. A copy of the colors presented to the Regiment in 1745 was put above the chariot. Its unique feature is in the fact that it is the last one in history of the Russian Imperial artillery. The artillery did not have colors between 1763 and 1917. From the epoch of Emperor Nicholas I the colors of the 1st Artillery Regiment acquired the status of the colors of all the Russian artillery. It was also used during burials of General Feldzeugmeisters and during celebrations of the 500th anniversary of this arm of the service.
The regimental colors is a width of white satin with colored images of a field cannon, two crossed bore brushes, and a powder barrel in the foreground. Above the cannon is a sparing double-headed eagle throwing lightning. The gilded Latin motto TUETUR ET TERRET (Protects and Frightens) is on top of the colors. In the top corners of the width are two grenades with burning fuses. The images were sewn on the cloth and partially embroidered. The unique original colors is kept in the Museum collection. A copy is displayed in the room.
The reign of Empress Catherine II (1729–1796) is marked with two victorious wars with Turkey (1769–1774 and 1787–1791), the annexation of Crimea (1783), and a victory over Sweden in the War of 1788–1790.
Glorious victories in the epoch of Catherine the Great were connected with the names of prominent Russian commanders, Field-Marshal Count P. A. Rumiantsev of the Danube (1725–1796) and Generalissimo Prince A. V. Suvorov of Rymnik (1729–1800).
Petr Rumiantsev had gained fame for himself as far back as the Seven Years War, near Gro
Jgersdorf and Kunersdorf. Friedrich the Great, Suvorov and Emperor Pavel I were friends of his and were proud of this fact. However, he acquired real fame in 1770 when he crushed the Turks in battles near the Larga (July 7) and the Kagul (July 21). Rumiantsev was awarded with the St. George Order, First Class for the Larga battle. He was the first who was honored with this highest military award instituted by Catherine II on November 26, 1769. A portrait of P. A. Rumiantsev by A. Gurin called The Battle near the Kagul on July 21, 1770 and a black-orange ribbon of the St. George Order First Class are exhibited. Also displayed is a portrait of another artillerist who gained fame many times during the war, General of Artillery Petr Melissino (1726–1796). He distinguished himself as a brave officer, talented scientist, inventor and pedagogue. He made a significant contribution to improving the technology of powder production. In 1793, the Russian artillery adopted a new alloy of artillery bronze worked out by Melissino that was used until the mid19th century. From 1783, P. I. Melissino was the director of the Artillery and Engineers Noble Military School (Cadet Corps). He headed the school up to 1796 and this was considered to be a wonderful period in the history of the Corps. In 1795, P. I. Melissino was charged with forming the first regular horse-artillery companies.
Aleksandr Suvorov gained his first famous victories during the Russian-Turkish War of 1768–1774. The victory near Kozludzha on June 9, 1774 was an especially striking success. There the 25‑thousand Russian detachment smashed the 40‑thousand Turkish army. A copy of N. Samokish’s drawing called Suvorov during the Battle near Kozludzha, 1774 is on display.
The commanding talent of A. V. Suvorov was revealed in all its glory during the RussianTurkish War of 1787–1791. At the end of the room against the background of a picture named Suvorov’s Herculeses made by an employee of the Museum ensign V. Ponomarev in 1989, visitors may see the sculpture A. V. Suvorov in the Battle near Kinburn. 1787. This is a copy of the monument by sculptor B. Eduards erected in Ochakov in 1907. The two-thousand member Russian detachment under A. V. Suvorov crushed the five-thousand landed Turkish troops. Suvorov was twice wounded during this battle, but continued to command the battle until the complete defeat of the enemy.
Pieces of ordnance as well as small-arms and blank weapons from the period of the RussianTurkish Wars of the second half of the 18th century are displayed in the room. Among the exhibits there are also keys from Turkish fortresses captured by Russian troops and trophy arms. Lithographs picturing officers and soldiers of the foot and horse artillery of the Gatchina troops are displayed along with these objects. The Gatchina troops appeared by the initiative of Grand Duke Paul Petrovich, the future Emperor Paul I (1754–1801) in 1782. They were a model regiment, following which Pavel was going to reform all the Russian army upon accession to the throne. Many things were borrowed from the Prussian army, including outdated tactical methods. The positive features of the Gatchina troops were the discipline and high combat training. Pavel Petrovich paid special attention to the Gatchina artillery, which excelled the rest of the Russian artillery by the level of drill and battle training. The organization, methods of training and materiel of the Gatchina artillery troops were assumed as a basis for reforms in the whole artillery in the late 18th — early 19th centuries.
On January 28, 1798 Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich (1798–1849), the youngest son of Emperor Paul, was appointed General Feldzeugmeister (though officially he took up his post in 1819). From that day onwards only representatives of the Emperor’s family were commanders of the Russian artillery.
Samples of small-arms and blank weapons adopted in the army under Emperor Paul are exhibited in this room. Also displayed are a grenadier cap for the Life Guards Preobrazhensky Regiment Model of 1797, a cartridge pouch and a photocopy of the title page of the Military Regulations about the Field Infantry Service implemented to the Russian army in November 1796. One of the glass-cases shows a medal of the St. Anne Order for low ranks. The medal was instituted in November 1796, and was intended for awarding non-commissioned officers for 20 years of blameless service. The medal of the St. Anne Order was the first in the world award for irreproachable service.
Suvorov’s Herculeses fought during the Italian and Switzerland campaigns of 1799 under colors with the monogram of Emperor Paul I. Russian troops won glorious victories for three months, near the Adda River on April 16, near the Trebbia River on June 6–9 and near the city of Novi on August 4. They helped liberate Italy from the French. The 20‑thousand corps of A. V. Suvorov advanced to Switzerland across the Alps in order to join with the corps of General A. M. RimskiiKorsakov. Suvorov, who had in fact been betrayed by the Austrians, was surrounded by the French on all sides. He had no ammunition or rations. Nevertheless, he and the troops broke out fighting the way to Switzerland.
The most striking page in the history of the Switzerland campaign was the battle for the Devil’s Bridge on September 14, 1799. Under a hurricane of French fire, the Russian soldiers managed to get across the tumbledown bridge and forced their way ahead with bayonets. The engraving called The Battle for the Devil’s Bridge is included in the display.
A monument to Suvorov’s soldiers was opened near the Devil’s Bridge on September 14, 1898. This is a 30‑meter cross cut out of rock. The Russian government redeemed the land at a radius of 100m around the monument. Thus a plot of Russian land appeared in the very core of Switzerland. A model of the monument is also on the display.
Emperor Paul granted the rank of Generalissimo to A. V. Suvorov for the unparalleled Switzerland campaign and ordered a monument to the commander placed on the Marsovo Field in St. Petersburg.
The opposition of Russia and Napoleonic France continued under Emperor Alexander I (1777–1825). The first campaigns of 1805–1807 took place against the background of military reforms. The Russian army received new samples of armament and uniforms. The army organization improved as well. Starting in 1807, regular divisions and corps were introduced. Greater attention was paid to achieving perfection in the artillery.
Artillery reforms in the early 19th century are associated with the name of General of Artillery Count Aleksey Arakcheyev (1769–1834), who was the general inspector of the artillery in 1799 and 1803–1808, general inspector of the infantry and the artillery since 1808 and Minister of War in 1808–1810.
In 1802, Arakcheyev headed a special commission which aim was to work out new artillery guns as well as the artillery staff. In 1805, new pieces of ordnance entered the service, and acquired the name of guns Model 1805 or guns of the Arakcheyev system. The Russian artillery used the Arakcheyev guns in all battles of the Napoleonic wars epoch starting with the campaign of 1805.
In the room there are guns Model 1805, sights for them, models of some lathes used since the early 19th century for making guns, standard bronze patterns for some elements of gun-carriages and limbers and a draft of the barrel of the 3‑pounder edinorog made life size on a copper sheet. Such drafts were used in arsenals since 1805 instead of those made on paper. Here also there is a portrait of A. A. Arakcheyev which is a copy of the portrait by D. Dawe exhibited in the Military Gallery of the Hermitage. An individual glass-case displays models of cars from an artillery train, including a charge wagon, charge and bomb caissons and a field smithy. Special cases show samples of firearms and blank weapons, as well as uniforms of the Russian army from the early 19th century, including a greatcoat for an officer of the Life Guards Preobrazhensky Regiment and a cartridge-box (liadunka) for an officer of the Life Guards Hussar Regiment, which belonged to Emperor Alexander I.
The Guards horse artillery participated in the battle near Austerlitz and assisted in capturing the only trophy, a battalion eagle of the 4th Battle Regiment. Four guns commanded by Staff-Captain Petr Kozen (1778–1853) broke the ranks of the battalion, which was threatening to repulse the cavalry attack, and the Life Guards Horse Regiment completed the defeat. The capture of the eagle is pictured on B. Villevalde’s painting The Exploit of the Horse Regiment in the Battle near Austerlitz.
Near the painting there is the sculpture The Exploits of a Non-Commissioned Officer Starichkov of the Azov Regiment and the Private Chuika of the Butyrka Regiment. Starichkov, standardbearer of the Azov Regiment was seriously wounded in the battle near Austerlitz. Bleeding he took great pains to take off the regimental colors from the staff and hid it on his breast. Dying in captivity, he handed over the colors to a private Chuika of the Butyrka Regiment and made him swear to return the sacred thing to the regiment. Just this very moment was depicted by the sculptor. Chuika kept the colors for a long time and then passed it to the Azov Regiment through Lieutenant-Colonel Treskin. On February 25, 1906, non-commissioned officer Starichkov was enrolled in the 45th Azov Infantry Regiment forever.
On June 2, 1807, the Russian and the French armies had to measure their arms again near the city of Friedlnd. Visitors may see V. Mazurovskii’s painting The Battle near Friedlnd on June 2, 1807. The painter pictured the counterattack of the Life Guards Horse Regiment against the French Cuirassiers who had attacked the left flank of Russian troops. In spite of the fact that this brilliant attack did not entirely save the situation and the Russian army had to retreat under pressure from the outnumbered forces of the enemy, the fortitude of the Russian Guards did not allow Napoleon to crush the Russian army completely.
On June 12, 1812, at the head of the 600‑thousand member French army and with 1,372 pieces of ordnance, Napoleon marched into Russia. He strove to beat the Russian army in a general battle near the border and then thrust a peace treaty advantageous for France at Russian Emperor Alexander I. Russia could oppose the enemy with only 220 thousand soldiers and 942 guns on its western border. The 1st and 2nd West Russian armies commanded by Generals of the Infantry Mikhail BarklaideTolli (1761–1818) and Prince Petr Bagration (1765–1812) started a hard retreat, seeking to unite with each other in order not to be routed one by one. Portraits of the two commanders are exhibited in the room.
The French suffered great losses near Kliastitsy, Krasnoe and Polotsk. The 1st and 2nd West Russian armies finally united and the forces of Napoleon dwindled as they made headway into the heart of Russia.
In August 1812, soon after the battle for Smolensk, the new commander-in-chief, General of the Infantry Mikhail Kutuzov (1747–1813), arrived to the army. In the room there is a portrait of the commander made by R. Volkov.
The Russian army slowly drew off to Moscow. It was decided to make the general battle near the walls of the ancient Russian capital. The Borodino battle, one of the bloodiest in world history, took place on August 26, 1812.
Napoleon directed his main attacks to the center and the left flank of the Russian position, at the Raevskii battery (also known as the Central, Kurgan or Shulman battery, by the name of commander of the 24th Artillery Brigade, Colonel Shulman) and the Semenov (Bagration) flech˜es (i. e. field fortifications). Artillerists fought with the enemy to the bitter end along with the infantry and the cavalry, obeying orders given before the battle by the chief of the Russian army artillery, General-Major Aleksandr Kutaisov (1784–1812).
The French attacked the Raevskii battery three times and were turned away twice. A. Kutaisov perished during the second attack. After the battle his body was never found. Only the horse of Kutaisov returned to the Russian positions with a bloody saddle. In the room there is a portrait of one more hero of that battle, V. Kostenetskii, who had the rank of General-Lieutenant at that time. Having taken a cleaning rod, like near Austerlitz, he violently shattered the French together with common artillerists. The third attack of the French to the Raevskii battery is shown on the model displayed in the room. Two infantry and two cavalry divisions of the French with difficulty broke the resistance of its bleeding defenders, though due to the massive fire of Russian artillery the enemy had to leave the battery towards evening.
The French attacked the Bagration fleches eight times. Only serious losses, including the wounding of a commander on the left flank of the Russian army, Prince P. Bagration, made the troops leave their positions near the village of Semenovskoe. The wounding of Bagration and the battle for Semenovskoe is depicted in A. Schwabe’s painting The Battle near Borodino on August 26, 1812 made after the original by P. Gess.
F. Roubaud and K. Becker’s painting dedicated to one of the episodes in the Borodino battle, the counterattack of the Life Guards Horse Regiment to the French cavalry ready to strike the regiments standing behind the Raevski battery, is exhibited in the room. Also displayed is a bullet which General N. Raevski was wounded with, as well as portraits of heroes of the battle, Generals M. F. Stavitskii (1779–1841), K. F. Levenshtern (1770–1840), P. A. Kozen (1777–1853). There is also a model of the monument to the 2nd Battery Company and the 2nd Light Company of the Life Guards Artillery Brigade which was erected on the Borodino field commemorating the 100th anniversary of the battle in 1912.
The Russian people’s volunteer corps and its partisans played an outstanding part in the victory over the conquerors. One of the exhibits connected with the home guard of 1812 is a miniature cannon made in 1812 and adopted by the 5th squad of the St. Petersburg home guard, commanded by Major Aleksei Tomilov (1779–1818). Being an officer and Maecenas, holder of one of the best painting collections in Russia, A. Tomilov bravely fought with his group near Polotsk on October 6, 1812. He headed the attack with members of the volunteer corps and dislodged the enemy from the Polotsk fortifications. A. Tomilov was badly wounded in the leg. He was awarded with the St. Vladimir Order, Fourth Class for bravery.
In the room there are portraits of famed commanders of the partisan detachments, Denis Davydov (1784–1839), Aleksandr Seslavin (1780–1858) and Aleksandr Figner (1787–1813).
A glasscase with personal belongings, arms and awards of heroes of the War of 1812 is of much interest. It displays a miniature portrait and a tobacco pipe of General-Lieutenant Dmitrii Neverovskii (1771–1813), the awards of Denis Davydov, a saber and a snuffbox of Ottoman of the Don River Army Region, Matvei Platov (1751–1818).
In early October 1812, the French army left Moscow. The Tarutino march-maneuver of M. Kutuzov did not let Napoleon penetrate into the Kaluga province and forced him to retreat by the old Smolensk way, which had been ravaged by soldiers of the "great army." The retreat soon turned into a flight. After a cruel battle near the settlement of Krasnoe on November 5, 1812, the French army stopped its existence as an organized battle force. In the middle of November its pitiful remainders crossed the Berezina. On December 25, 1812, Emperor Alexander I issued a manifesto for completely driving the enemy out of Russia.
Among the exhibits of the room there is the engraving from D. Scotty’s painting The Victory near Maloyaroslavets dedicated to the bloody battle on October 12, 1812, which marked the beginning of full-scale offensive operations by the Russian army. As well, K. Buinitskii’s drawing of The Life Guards Dragoons Attacking the French Battery on November 5, 1812 which depicts an episode of the battle near Krasnoe.
Some captured material is exhibited in the room also. There are French guns, pistols a saber and the standard of the 28th Dragoon Regiment, as well as the barrels of two French howitzers, one of which is decorated with the monogram of Napoleon. A glass-case with memorial trophies is of a special interest. It displays the sporting gun of Emperor Napoleon, pistols of Marshal Murat and the saber of the brother of Napoleon, Dutch King Louis. The saber is richly decorated with artificial stones made of polished metal that resemble precious ones. Glass-cases also demonstrate medals given in memory of the War of 1812.
On March 18, 1814, Russian troops approached the French capital fighting. The Battery Company of the Life Guards Artillery Brigade under Colonel Baron K. Taube occupied the Chamonix heights, beat off an attack from the defeated French infantry and started to fire on Paris. Half an hour later a French truce envoy came to Colonel Taube with a declaration surrendering the city. Taube accompanied the envoy to Emperor Alexander I, who was standing not far from the company positions. He later received the St. George Order, Third Class personally from the sovereign. Having found out about the surrender, Alexander ordered a ceasefire. This moment is pictured vividly on the canvas in the room, a copy from B. Villevalde’s painting The Last Shot at Paris.
One of the glass-cases shows a sword which belonged to a participant in the Italian and Switzerland campaigns of 1799, and a hero of the Napoleonic wars, General of Infantry Count Mikhail Miloradovich (1771–1825). According to legend, it dropped out of his hands when he was mortally wounded in the Senate Square during the revolt of December 14, 1825.
St. George Order silver trumpets instituted in 1806 and granted for service in battles to colorless cavalry regiments and units and first of all to artillery companies, is another reminder of the glorious exploits of the Russian army in the campaigns of 1812–1814. A few of the trumpets bestowed to the Guards artillery may be seen in the room. One of the glass-cases also shows shako badges “For Merit” instituted in 1813, which particularly awarded artillery companies.
The ten years which followed the Napoleonic wars epoch were marked with significant measures undertaken to raise the level of artillery education. In 1820, by the initiative of General Feldzeugmeister Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich, the Artillery College and the Training Artillery Brigade were founded in St. Petersburg. The former was intended for training officers of the artillery, and the latter for training fire-workers (non-commissioned officers) of the field artillery. In 1821, the Artillery Technical School was opened for training masters of powder works and arsenals. Among exhibits in the room are portraits of Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich and the first chief of the Artillery College, General-Major Aleksandr Zasiadko (1779–1837), one of the first missile-men.
The beginning of the reign of Emperor Nicholas I (1795–1855) was marked with two wars, both victorious for Russia: the Russian-Persian War (1826–1828) and the Russian-Turkish War (1828–1829) which strengthened Russia’s positions on the Black Sea coast. A small section of the display is dedicated to these wars. Visitors may see here a copy from V. Mashkov’s painting The Surrender of the Persian Fortress Abbas-Abad on July 7, 1827, the engraving Russian Troops Getting across the Mountain Ridge Soganlunge on March 19–20, 1829 and The Capture of the City of Selimno by Russian Troops on July 31, 1829. As well, keys captured by Russian troops from Turkish fortresses, Baiburt, Mandara and Kiustendzha, medals dedicated to the victories of Russian troops, and barrels of trophy guns. Here there are also portraits of General Field-Marshals Ivan Paskevich of Erivan (1782–1856) and Ivan Dibich of Balkans (1785–1831), whose names are associated with victories by the Russian army over Turkey and Persia.
Also exhibited is a portrait and the pistol of one of the heroes of the Caucasus War, General-Lieutenant Yakov Baklanov (1809–1873). He received his baptism of fire during the Russian-Turkish War of 1828–1829 and then linked his destiny with the Caucasus for a long time. He distinguished himself in actions with mountaineers, when his desperate bravery and mercilessness in combination with frightening appearance made an indelible impression. Once he received a big black shawl with an image of a dead head; a symbol of immortality. The shawl became the personal standard of Baklanov. Often it was enough for mountaineers to see the black standard in the distance and they laid down their arms. In 1914, the 17th Don Cossack Regiment commanded by Ya. Baklanov on the Caucasus for a long time received the right to have the dead head depicted on their papakhas (tall astrakhan hats).
In the second quarter of the 19th century the Russian artillery was rearmed with guns Model 1838, which were called guns of a "new design" in contrast with pieces of ordnance Model 1805. They differed by the unified calibers of land and navy artillery, with approximate calibers to whole lines (i. e. to 0.1 dm) and the absence of friezes (bands) on barrels. The breech of edinorogs started to be cast cylindrically from the outside just like guns, which reduced the barrel jump. In 1845, carriages with an improved design were added to the guns Model 1838. They had iron axles and an elevating handle made on the left. In 1846, an iron carriage was adopted for the seacoast and fortress artillery. It was designed by Colonel A. Venglovskii. An important innovation of the system of 1838 was working out patterns for the mountain edinorogs and mortars. They were rather light, what allowed them to be transported on horse packs or carried by arms.
The mobility of light artillery batteries, as artillery companies were called since 1833, was also considerably improved after the adoption of a light 12‑pounder field cannon, which was designed by Colonel L. Baumgarten in 1850.
Samples of pieces of ordnance, along with ammunition and accessories of the 1830’s1840’s are displayed in the room. Here is one of the most interesting experimental samples, the 7‑lined (17.5 mm) steam cannon designed by Engineer-Colonel Karelin made in 1826–1829. It fired usual gun bullets that flew out from the barrel bore under pressure of water steam (a steam-boiler was attached to the cannon). The gun had a firing rate unprecedented up to that time, close to 50 rounds per minute. However, tests administered in 1829, proved that the system was rather difficult and cumbrous and revealed that it was minimally effective at firing. Immediately after the tests the gun was handed over to the St. Petersburg Arsenal and soon came in the Artillery Museum.
In the second half of the 19th century rockets were used in combat conditions for the first time in Russia. Talented Russian scientists-artillerists General-Lieutenant A. Zasiadko and K. Konstantinov (1817–1871) were at the sources of Russian combat rocket production. A model of the 2‑inch battle rocket designed by K. Konstantinov is exhibited in the room. Such rockets were used by the Russian army during the Crimean (Oriental) War.
The artillery changes affected small-arms as well. In the 1830’s, the Russian army was reequipped with percussion arms. Samples of small-arms used in the Russian army in the 1830’s1850’s, including guns, rifles, stutzens and percussion pistols, are exhibited in the room. The greatest collection of blank weapons of that period is also displayed here. An individual glass-case shows samples of uniforms used in the Russian army under Emperor Nicholas I, including a doloman (jacket) for a general of the Life Guards Grodno Hussar Regiment and a hat which belonged to Emperor Nicholas I.
The Russian metallurgy experiments reached great success at that time due to the works of prominent scientists Pavel Anosov (1797–1851) and Pavel Obukhov (1820–1869). P. Anosov succeeded in reviving the technology of damask steel production and making steel of high quality. He was the first in the world who used a microscope for studying the metal structure in 1831. In 1837, he produced steel for the first time by melting cast iron. P. Anosov headed the Zlatoust Small Arms Factory. It produced beautiful blades of wonderful quality, including those made of famous ‘Anosov’ Damask steel. Masters Ivan Bushuev and Ivan Boyarshinov were especially well known in the second quarter of the 19th century. A portrait of P. Anosov and some Zlatoust blades, including the ones made by Bushuev and Boyaryshnikov are exhibited in the room.
P. Obukhov was also engaged in working out artillery steel of high quality. As early as 1859, he made the first significant steel castings. In 1863, Obukhov in conjunction with N. Putilov, established a steel mill foundry which was later on called Obukhovskii. The foundry played an important role in supplying the Russian army with heavy artillery pieces. Near the portrait of Obukhov there is a barrel of a 12‑pounder field light cannon cast of steel worked out by Obukhov in 1860. During the tests which took place from November 1860 to March 1861, the cannon fired more than 4 thousand shots. In 1862, it was displayed at the World Exhibition in London, where it was highly appreciated. The next year it was transferred to the Artillery Museum.
In the second quarter of the 19th century much success was achieved in the development of Russian science. The number of educational institutions, especially technical ones increased. However, a shortage of specialists was still noticeable. The industries of the country were in a difficult situation, especially the military industry. Enterprises subordinated to the Ministry of War did not capably perform orders for the Artillery Department. All of these adversely affected the military might of Russia and the fighting ability of the army.
Contradictions which arose between Russia, Turkey, England, France and Austria concerning territories and religions (e. g. the so-called oriental problem) caused the Crimean (Oriental) War of 1853–1856.
In June 1853, Russian troops marched into Moldavia and Valakhia, what caused a declaration of war by Turkey on Russia. A shattering rout of the Turkish navy by Vice-Admiral Pavel Nakhimov (1802–1855) during the Sinop sea battle prompted the operations of England and France to be more active. In spring 1854, they too officially declared war on Russia. The main military operations took place in the Caucasus and Crimea regions.
Turks suffered the first serious defeats in the Caucasus during battles near Bashkadyklar on November 19, 1853 and Kiuriuk-Dar on July 24, 1854.
The 11‑thousand Russian detachment under Prince Vasilii Bebutov (1791–1858) routed the 36‑thousand Turkish Anadolu army near Bashkadyklar. The major burden of the battle fell on the Caucasus Grenadier Brigade (Georgian and Erivan Grenadier Regiments). Second ensign of the Georgian Grenadier Regiment Prince Archil Andronnikov distinguished himself in this battle. He carried his friend Cadet Gogniev out from the battle during a brief defeat of one regiment under fire from the Turks. Later on he was promoted to the rank of ensign for his bravery. The exploit of ensign Andronnikov is shown in the sculpture by I. Kovshenkov exhibited in the room.
Two more exhibits are dedicated to the Bashkadyklar battle. These are B. Villevalde’s painting The Cavalry Attack near Bashkadyklar and the small trophy cannon called Herald of the Might which was a gift of the Turkish Sultan to the Commander-in-Chief of Turkish troops Abdy-Pasha on the Caucasus. Turkish soldiers were assured that their army would be invincible while the cannon was in their hands. Turks fought violently defending the cannon and Russian soldiers shed much of their blood getting it. Because of this the gun was called “the red cannon”.
One of the bloodiest battles of the Crimean War took place near the city of Kiuriuk-Dar. The 18‑thousand Russian detachment of Prince Bebutov smashed the 57‑thousand Anadolu army for a second time. The Georgian Grenadier Regiment distinguished itself here once more. Private Mikhail Gorbatenko captured the enemy’s colors during the bayonet attack against the Georgians. The Turks tried to recapture it. However, the brave grenadier broke through with the trophy to his people in spite of bad wounds. Mikhail Gorbatenko was awarded with the Military Order badge for his exploits. I. Kovshenkov’s sculpture The Exploit of Mikhail Gorbatenko is on display.
Crimea became the main theatre of war starting in 1854. On April 8, 1854, on the Great and Holy Saturday, an English-French squadron consisting of 28 ships came up to Odessa in the hope of enticing the Black Sea navy from the Sebastopol bay. On April 10, ships of allies started firing on the city. It lasted for 12 hours. 6 coastal hastily constructed batteries protected the city from the sea. The left flank battery #6, commanded by ensign of the 14th Battery of the Reserved Brigade of the 5th Artillery Division Aleksandr Shchegolev (1832?), had the hardest time. His battery was located on the Voennyi pier of the Odessa road and protruded far into the sea. The enemy’s ships centered their fire upon it. The battery had only four 24‑pounder cast-iron cannons made as early as the epoch of Peter the Great. In addition Shchegolev had to dig out these guns from the earth and clean them from rust, for they had been dug into the earth and served as columns which the boats had been tied to. Fortifications of the battery consisted of wooden frames filled with earth. Shchegolev had 8 artillerists, 22 infantrymen and 5 volunteers from local residents at his disposal. The battery fought the unequal action with nine ships of the enemy for more than seven hours. 360 English-French pieces of ordnance were concentrated against Shchegolev’s four cannons. Three out of four guns were shot down during the battle, but Shchegolev’s crew succeeded in damaging three hostile ships. The battery (to be exact the last remaining gun) fought until the last shot. The command of Shchegolev left the battery enveloped in a column of files, under the beat of drum, in full view of the enemy and under fire. On April 14 the squadron of the allies went to Sebastopol after staying inactive on the Odessa road for several days. Odessa was later rescued.
15 out of 30 officers of low ranks and five volunteers received Military Order badges, and all the surviving crew and the commander of the battery received a year’s pay. In addition, A. Shchegolev was honored with exceptional awards. Emperor Nicholas I was so delighted with the exploits of Shchegolev that he was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant, lieutenant and staff-captain all in one day. On April 20, Aleksandr Shchegolev was awarded with the St. George Order, Fourth Class. Successor to the throne Tsesarevich Aleksandr Petrovich sent him his own cross received for the battle with mountaineers on October 26, 1850 and a letter of thanks. General Feldzeugmeister Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich also granted him a letter of thanks and a saber inlaid with gold letters TO THE BRAVE DEFENDER OF BATTERY #6 on one side of the blade, and ODESSA, APRIL 10, 1854 on the other side. Grand Duke Nikolai, Alexander (future Emperor Alexander III) and Vladimir Aleksandrovich sent staffcaptain’s epaulets to Shchegolev. According to the Emperor’s orders, the name of A. Shchegolev was included on the marble plaque in the Noble Regiment (later, the Grand Duke Konstantin Artillery College, now, the St. Petersburg Military Missile-Artillery College). Lithograph portraits of Shchegolev were sent out to all educational institutions in Russia. The destroyed coastal battery #6 was later restored on the order of Nicholas I and renamed into Shchegolev once and forever. Later, one of the streets in Odessa acquired his name, as well.
A. Shchegolev was an aide-de-camp to Emperor Alexander II. He was promoted into General-Major for his merits near Plevna and included in the suite of His Imperial Majesty. He retired with the rank of General-Lieutenant in 1888.
The 3‑poods cast-iron ball is visible with an inscription THE GREAT AND HOLY SATURDAY OF APRIL 10, 1854. ODESSA is chiseled with gold and Lilie’s lithograph, The Exploit of the Battery of Ensign Shchegolev are reminders of the exploits of Shchegolev’s battery. The lithograph pictures heroes who are holders of the St. George Order.
In early September, English-French and Turkish troops landed in Crimea near Yevpatoria. Russian troops made an attempt to resist them, but were defeated in a battle near the Alma River. The lithograph called The Attack during the Battle near the Alma River is on display.
Allied troops rushed to Sebastopol. On September 10, 1854 the work preparing the city for the defence was already in full swing. It was headed by Vice-Admiral Vladimir Kornilov (1806–1854) and Engineer-Colonel Eduard Totleben (1818–1884). In order to prevent the penetration of enemy ships into the Sebastopol road, on that day the Russian Black Sea fleet started sinking its own ships. Seven bastions were constructed to cover the city from the land and everybody, including local residents, took part in their building. The work was finished by October 5 and the Sebastopol epopee started on September 13. The enemy began bombarding Sebastopol on October 5. Six massive bombardments took place during the 349 days of defence. Defenders of Sebastopol fought to the bitter end. They repelled several enemy storms. However, the forces were unequal. On August 27, 1855, the enemy captured Malakhov Kurgan after 3‑days of bombarding. On the night of August 28 Russian troops left Sebastopol, whose defence became a symbol of courage and heroism for Russian soldiers and seamen.
In the center of the display there is a high relief model On the Kornilov Bastion by sculptor N. Tomskii. The relief is a fragment on the scale of the monument to P. Nakhimov in Sebastopol. The plan of the defence of Sebastopol is beneath the relief. On the wall near the window, there is a drawing by R. Fridman and M. Brusilovskii dedicated to the heroic operations of artillerists of the 3rd and 5th Light Batteries of the 11th Artillery Brigade which played an outstanding part in repulsing the attack of the enemy from the first and the second bastions on May 26, 1855. The young writer Lev Tolstoy (1828–1910) served as a lieutenant in the 11th Artillery Brigade. His photo-portrait is in one of the glass-cases. The portraits exhibited are also of Sebastopol heroes: Afanasii Yeliseev, Petr Koshka, Arsenii Rybakov, Vasilii Kochkarev and Lieutenant D. Brylkin. Visitors may see medals and badges for headdresses connected with events of the Crimean War, awards and trophy arms in the glass-cases. The photo of veterans from the Sebastopol defence who met during the ceremonial opening of the monument to P. Nakhimov in Sebastopol on October 5, 1895 is of a special interest.
The display of the room finishes with a model of the monument to artillerists who perished during the heroic defence of Sebastopol. It was to be erected in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the defence. However, the Russian-Turkish War, which was happening at that time, prevented the realization of these plans.
The Crimean War was the last one in which Russian smoothbore muzzle-loading artillery participated. The epoch of rifle guns had begun.