Schneider armoured observatory



Schneider observatory




In every Bulgarian field battery two ammunition wagons of the Schneider 75mm field gun M. 1904 were equipped with an armoured observatory weighing 27 kg. It was composed by a platform with a double armoured shield. It was fixed at the shaft of the ammunition wagon that was raised vertically. It could be put into three different fighting positions, according with the height from which the observer wished to watch. The window of the observatory was respectively at the height of 2.90 m, 3.30 m and 3.90 m.

The Schneider 120mm field howitzer M. 1911 was equipped with similar observatory, weighing 36 kg.

Similar observatories were used also by the Serbian and the Greek Army, as well as by almost every army that bought Schneider guns. Krupp too equipped its field batteries with armoured observatories that were adopted, among others, by the Romanians.

Unlike many counties, like Germany and France, Bulgaria did not adopt an observation wagon equipped with an observation ladder.


During the Balkan wars the armoured observatories were rarely used by the battery commanders, because it was very difficult to hide them when they were mounted on the back of the ammunition wagons. Therefore, in 1915 the Artillery Inspection ordered that the Sofia Artillery Arsenal arrange a model of support that would allow the shield of the disassembled observatory to be used to protect an observer who operates standing, kneeling or lying down. The workshops of the field and the howitzers regiments manufactured the supports for all the shields of the observatories assigned to their batteries, but during the First World War, these shields again proved to be of little use and remained largely unused.