Instruction for the employment of the artillery division



During the war against Serbia, in 1885, the organization of the Bulgarian artillery was very simple: the batteries were directly subordinated to the regiment, without any intermediate command. In fact at that time the regiment was only an administrative unit, without tactical tasks. In wartime the batteries were shared among the military units depending on the circumstances. Later the growth of the artillery regiments and their permanent assignment to the Infantry Division drastically changed their operational mode. The first step towards a modern employment of the artillery in combat was the introduction of artillery division (or detachment – отделение, like the German Army Abteilung), grouping two or three batteries already in peacetime.

In 1891 with the publication of the Инструкция за действие и стрелба от артилерийското отделение от две или три осеморъдейни батареи (Instructions for action and firing of artillery division with two or three eight-guns batteries) for the first time in Bulgaria the group of batteries was regarded as the tactical unit of the field artillery. This text, however, was only an attempt of regulating this complex question issue: only rethinking entirely the field service regulation for the artillery the Bulgarian Army could accurately specify the duties and the role of the artillery division.


The head of the artillery division, not directly involved in the technical duties of the batteries, but informed in detail about the aims of the military action, was charged with the tactical direction of the division. He directed the batteries, reconnoitred the positions, controlled the fire, distributed the targets among the batteries and ordered the changes of positions.

He conducted and directed the batteries placed under his command only with verbal or written orders, dispatched by means of orderlies. He could also command when he was conducting the adjustment alone. But the action and the fire of the artillery division could be really effective only when all the due measures were envisaged and taken opportunely and the battery commanders felt mutual solidarity. They should become accustomed to understand their duties and trust each other.


The instructions fixed accurately the duties of the head of the artillery division :

–    he fixed the aims of the batteries under his command, showing the way to achieve them;

–    he leaded movements and manoeuvres;

–    he reconnoitred the battlefield, selected the positions, distributed the batteries among them and conducted the batteries to their emplacements;

–    he fixed the targets, determined and directed the fire;

–    he took care of the constant supply of the ammunitions from the park;

–    during the combat he selected new positions and set the echelonment of the batteries and the way to occupy the new emplacements;

–     he chose the battery that should accompany the attacking infantry.


In battle formation (бойния строй) the batteries of the division were deployed in fighting formation, along one line or by levels, in either case being placed at a distance of 60 – 100 paces, i.e. twice the distance between two guns. To reconnoitre the firing positions the head of the division went out along with the battery commanders and the men required to trace the emplacements. During the reconnaissance, the batteries stood close in preparatory position (подготвителен позиция), where it got ready to take up their emplacements.

If necessary, the head of the division order to transfer or to mass fire. When the battery commander received the order, he fulfilled it with three sections (six guns), while the remaining section kept on firing at the previous target. To observe the effect of the common fire the general staff of the division sent an orderly to the batteries.

While the batteries placed in first and second positions should wait for the order of head of the division, the batteries chosen to accompany the infantry attack (придружаващи батареи), were under the direction only of their commanders. The batteries remained in position should only took care of the ammunition supply of the advancing ones.

When the head of the division directed personally the fire for adjustment, he fired by half-battery salvos, reporting the battery commanders the most probable height of the sight, as soon as he obtained the 4 graduations bracket. But usually the fire for adjustment was directed according to the rules exposed in the “Red booklet” by the battery commanders themselves, who reported the data obtained to the head of the division.