Field service regulations for not quick-firing mountain artillery
First drill regulations for mountain artillery with order in Bulgarian were published in 1889, but concerned only the gun training. After ten years of application, they were revised, adding the battery training. In 1897, cpt. Georgi Kukureshkov wrote a draft that was published in the Военен Журнал and submitted to the attention of the mountain artillery officers. The final version of the new Устав за строевата служба в планинската артилерия (Field service regulations for the mountain artillery) was published in 1899 and remained in force for not quick-firing mountain guns even during the Balkan Wars, with few emendations added in 1909, after the introduction of quick-firing guns.
The main difference compared to the field artillery regulations concerned the loading and unloading of the pack guns. As for fighting, firing procedures and choice of the positions, the mountain artillery acted like the field artillery, since there was only one Direction for firing both with field and mountain artillery. The Regulations list the orders relate to gun service, explaining precisely the actions that the individual servants must perform in each situation (fire, manoeuvres, movement).
Composition and subdivision of the units
The 75mm mountain battery is organized as follows :
– fighting battery : 6 guns, 12 ammunition loads with 2 boxes with 8 shells each, 1 load with case shots, subdivided into three sections;
– battery reserve : 12 ammunition loads with 2 boxes with 8 shells each, 1 load with case shots, 1 pack forge, 1 load with drugs and bandage for men and horses, reserve troops, reserve horses, hors rang troops;
– transport train : 24 ammunition loads with 2 boxes with 8 shells each and the pack supply train.
The servants (прислуга) of the mountain artillery piece are :
– one gun sergeant (фейерверкер) as leader,
– one ammunition sergeant,
– six gunners, one more than the field artillery :
No. 1 with a bag for ordinary fuzes and the ignition cord for primers;
No. 2 aimer, with a bag with oily rags, a case for the back sight and knee pad;
No. 3 with a bags with stems for percussion fuzes and keys for percussion and time fuzes;
No. 4 loader;
No. 5 and 6 shell handlers;
– 11 drivers, 3 for the gun – 1 for the barrel, 1 for the carriage, 1 for wheels – and 8 for the ammunition.
The ammunition boxes are divided into 1st and 2nd echelon. In 1st echelon there are 4 boxes, i.e. 2 pack horses (near second and fifth gun there is also a box with case shots), in 2nd echelon there are 12 boxes i.e. 6 pack horses. The ammunition sergeant leads all the boxes of the 1st and 2nd echelon only when they are together, when they are separated, he leads the boxes of the 2nd echelon.
Disposition of the gun in park. In park, the gun is placed in battle order, detached from the limonière, and with the muzzle forward. The limonière is put onto the carriage in such a way that its traverse rests on the trail and its shafts on the wheels. The boxes are put on 4 piles, 30 paces away from the trail. The left piles are placed one pace behind each other : in the front pile there are 2 boxes, one on to the other, and in the back pile there are 3 pairs of boxes one on the other, facing out. The right piles are placed 3 paces to the right and in line with the left piles, so that the extended axis of the gun tube coincides with the middle of the boxes arrangement. If there are case shot boxes, they are placed on one of the outer sides of the front piles (Чер. 1).
The Regulations report the orders relating to the entry and exit of the servants and the drivers from the park, indicating the place that each of them is required to occupy in all circumstances.
Once the crew has entered the park and unloaded the boxes from the ammunition horses, the servants go to the gun : No. 1 and 2 are respectively to the right and to the left of the gun, one pace away from the carriage, No. 3 and 4 are behind Nr. 1 and 2, half a pace away from them in the same line, No. 5 is one pace to the left to No. 3 facing him (Чер. 2).
To load the gun. At the order Load the gun with shell (with shrapnel, with case shot, with blank shell) – with shrapnel also Fuze x seconds – No. 6 takes the projectile and the battering charge from the first ammunition horse and hands them to No. 5. No. 3 with its key sets the T&P fuze of the shrapnel for the correct number of seconds or arms the percussion fuze of the shell. No. 2 pierces the primer twice with the spine and open the breech-block, No. 3 puts the projectile and the charge in the bore and No. 4 push first the projectile and then the charge with the rammer. No. 2 lock the breech-block and pierces the charge, leaving the spin in the primer.
To fire. At the order Gun fire at one target, elevation x (firing with case shot, instead of graduations meters are indicates), No. 1 primes the charge, No. 2 sets the sight and the lateral adjustments mechanism to the commanded number of graduations to give to the gun the correct elevation and direction. At the order Gun, No. 1 prepares to open fire and when No. 2 orders Light he fires the shot.
After the first shot, No. 2 opens the breech-block and No. 4 takes the rammer and holds it until the order Stop or Not loaded. No. 5 goes to the first ammunition horse and together with No. 6 unloads the bags, taking a charge and a projectile. No. 6 goes with its horse to the other driver and when the projectiles are finished, comes with another ammunition horse. The gun is loaded as above, except that No. 2 does not pierce the charge.
Firing with case shot, for the first round No. 2 takes the case shot from the fore part of the carriage, opens the breech-block and put it in the bore along with the charge received by No. 5. For the following round No. 5 take a case shot from the second or fifth ammunition horse and running carries it to No. 2.
Blank shell is loaded from the muzzle with the aid of the piassava brush.
Firing with every kind of projectile, excepting blank shell, the gun must be braked with rope to reduce the recoil. Therefore, after having unlimbered the guns, No. 1 and 4 detach the ends of the rope from the axis of the carriage and hook them to the spokes of the wheels. At the order Backwards, they release the wheels and hook the brake rope straps to the axle, each on its side.
In all cases, except when firing with case shot or blank shell, immediately after firing and without waiting for an order, the gun is rolled to its first place, loaded with the same projectile (the shrapnel with the same fuze) and directed at the same target. To roll the gun, No. 1 and 2 act on the wheels by grabbing the spokes, No. 3, raises the trail with the lifting handle and pushes forward. Then, No. 2 immediately directs the gun to the target.
To change kind of the projectile. The name of the new projectile is ordered, also determining for the shrapnel the number of seconds for which the fuze must be set. If a shrapnel is to be fired instead of a case shot, the order is : Shrapnel without fuze. When changing the distance or the target, the order is : Sight x, or for this target sight x. To change the shrapnel fuze setting only, the order is : Fuze x seconds.
To stop firing. At the order Stop, No. 1 takes the fuze out of the bore, and puts it and the ignition cord it in his bag. No. 2 lowers the sight, takes the spin from No. 1, and pierces the charge, leaving the spin in the primer. No. 3 gives the initial position to the gun. No. 4 leaves the rammer in its place. If the order is given when the gun has not yet been loaded, it must first be loaded with a shell. If it is loaded, No. 5 leaves the projectile and the charge in the box. To resume fire the order is : Fire at this target, sight x graduations.
To stop loading after the shot, the order is : Not loaded. No. 2 pierces the igniter, passes the spin to No. 1, and lowers the sight. No. 1 puts the ignition cord in his bag and takes the spin from N. 2. No. 4 and 5 act as above.
To discharge a gun. If the gun is loaded with shrapnel, it is discharged by firing a shot, if it is loaded with shell, case shot or blank shell, at the order Discharge the gun, No. 2 unlocks the breech-block and, after the gun has been unloaded, locks it again. No. 4, after having inserted the brush into the gun muzzle, gradually pushes the projectile through the barrel. No. 3 takes out the charge and the projectile. If it is a shell, he unscrews the stem of the percussion fuze and put it in his bag. Then he gives the shell and the charge to N. 5. If it is a case shot, he puts it in the fore part of the carriage and gives the charge to No. 5.
At the order Free, the servants stands freely without moving. At the order : At ease, No. 4 puts the rammer and the brush in their post, and the servants can move and sit without moving away from the gun. At the order Halt, the servants stand in their place and No. 4 takes the rammer. If the order Shot is given before the order Halt, they prepares to open fire (as above). At the order Attention, the servants stand near the gun.
To replace the servants. During training, in order for men to learn the duties of the different servants, they have to change their occupations. At the orders For change – Right (left) side round – March – Attention, in succession each takes the place of its neighbour to the right or left. However, each time only some of the servant can be replaced, leaving the others in their place.
If one of the servants goes out of line, No. 2 is replaced only by No. 3. As for the others, the first is replaced by No. 4, No. 2 performing also his duties, the second by No. 5, No. 3 performing also his duties, the third by No. 6, No. 3 performing the duties of No. 3, 4, 5 and 6. No. 7 is not replaced.
Formations. In mountain artillery, the following formations are adopted :
a) Towed advancing order : the gun towed to the limonière, the ammunition loaded behind the gun horses;
b) Towed retreating order : the gun towed to the limonière, ammunition loaded in front of the gun horses;
c) Packed advancing order : the gun packed, having the gun loads in front the pack horses and the barrel load at the head of the column;
d) Packed retreating order : the gun packed, having the gun loads behind the pack horses and the barrel load at the rear of the column;
e) Battle order : the gun unhooked from the limonière or unpacked with the horses distant behind one of its flanks;
f) Flank order : the gun hooked to the limonière or packed with the pack horses on its side.
Movement. Mountain guns move only at walk. They can be towed by a horse or transported by pack horses dismantled in three loads. At first Bulgarian gunners tended to tow their guns, to avoid dismantling them, but this might damage the guns, since the wheels of the mountain guns were little and not designed for towing, but only for firing. To move, the order is Gun walk – March. At the second order the movement starts.
When moving in a straight direction, the sergeant should look straight ahead and walk towards the object he sees. The drivers follow behind him, keeping their distance according to § 17.
To stop the gun, at the order Gun halt, the sergeant takes three more paces and stops. The drivers stop their horses gradually behind him, pulling lightly with the bridle slightly to the opposite side of the movement.
If it is not possible to move in column of two horses, at the order Drivers by one – March, all the even-numbered horses slow down and move behind their corresponding odd-numbered horses. To double the row, at the order Drivers by two – March, all the horses quicken their pace and the even-numbered horses double, joining to the left of odd-numbered horses and shortening the distance between the pairs. If the road is narrow and does not allow the servants to go near the towed gun, at the order Servants behind the gun - March, they line up behind the gun in three rows: first No. 5 and 7, then No. 3 and 4 and finally No. 1 and 2. When the road widens, at the order Servants in their places, everyone resumes his regular marching order.
The direction of movement can be changed either by turning or rolling out. There are three types of turns: full 90°, round 180° and half turn 45°. Rolling out can be done at any angle up to 90°. All turns and rolling out can be done from a place and on the move and with gun towed or packed. In all other turns and turns, after the preliminary command, which indicates the turn or rolling out, the pace is stated only when until the execution of the movement, the gun has remained stationary. The various ways to turn or roll out are showed in Чер. 11-14.
When the gun is in flank order and it is necessary for all unhooked horses to go behind the gun, at the order Drivers behind the gun - March, the drivers turn to the gun and line up behind it according to § 17.
Packing. To pack the gun the drivers lead their horses as follows : the carriage horse is placed 2 paces right and 10 paces behind the gun, then in single file, 2 paces away one from the other, the wheels, the barrel, and the two ammunition horses. At the order Load!, the drivers hod their horses by the bridles with both the hands, while three servants first raise and load the barrel, then raise and load the carriage, and the other three servants first raise and loads the wheels and the limonière, and then load the ammunition boxes. The horses are unpacked in the reverse order of packing, the same servants handling the different parts of the gun (Чер. 7-10).
Supplying. When the battery occupies the fighting position, it is followed by the first group of ammunition horses that was unloaded 2 paces right and 3-8 paces behind the gun. The second group, along with the unloaded horses, is leaded by the drivers in the place designed for the gun horses. When the position is changed, the second group goes with the gun horses, while the first group gets to the park unit to resupply the ammunition boxes.