On the eve of the World War



After the end of the Balkan Wars the wish of put the army quickly in the condition for fighting at best in a new war had to face the dramatic state of the finances of the country after a bloody and unsuccessful war. The rapid creation of a great number of new units could not be executed after the great losses of the two previous years and a reorganization of the army could accomplish only at a slow pace and gradually. The lesson learned on the battlefield enabled to avoid the mistakes made in the recent past.


On 8 August 1914 the Edict N° 41 introduced the changes and complements of the Law for the organization of the Armed Forces of the Principality of Bulgaria (§ 25), passed by the XVII Ordinary National Assembly on 15 July. According with this document the artillery included four branches :

    field artillery, composed by 10 artillery regiments, with 3 divisions each, and 3 howitzers divisions attached to 4th, 5th and 8th artillery regiments – all the division having 3 four-guns batteries;

    horse artillery, composed by 2 four-guns batteries;

    mountain artillery, composed by 3 mountain artillery regiments, 1st and 3rd with 3 and 2nd with 4 divisions, with 2 four-guns batteries each;

    fortress artillery, composed by 3 fortress battalion with 3 groups each.


The same day with Edict N° 39 the Bulgarian artillery took the first steps towards its full reorganization :

    the cadre howitzer batteries attached to 4th, 5th and 8th artillery regiments were expanded in howitzers divisions with 3 batteries each;

    the horse artillery raised its first battery;

    the mountain artillery regiments raised 4 more division with 2 batteries each;

    the fortress artillery battalions raised their third group.

The direction of the mountain artillery was abolished, the mountain artillery regiments being attached to three Infantry Divisions : 1st regiment to 6th Bdinska Division, 2nd regiment to 7th Rilska Division and 3rd regiment to 2nd Trakiyska Division. Finally, seven years after the establishment of the Military Inspections, the charge of “head of the artillery” was introduced to direct all the units of the Inspection in peace and command them in wartime.


Only little improvements were introduced in 1915 : with Edict N° 96/31 December 1914 the howitzers divisions were renamed howitzers regiments and the fortress battalion fortress regiments. The latter at the beginning of October changed again their denomination in heavy artillery regiments. From January they were reorganized in 2 groups with 2 batteries each : the old groups were renamed batteries and a further battery was raised.


After the beginning of the World War in Europe, on 17 September 1914 the new Minister of War, Lt. gen. Ivan Fichev, issued the Instructions for the mobilization of the Army in the event of war during the present year and the beginning of the next year. It was a temporary document aimed at getting the most from the limited resources at that time available in the event that Bulgaria was forced to go to war. As for artillery, the measures taken were aimed to increase the number of the guns assigned every 1000 rifles.

Every Infantry Division should form an artillery brigade, composed by 2 artillery regiments with 2 divisions with 3 quick-firing batteries each, 1 division with 3 not quick-firing batteries, administratively attached to the second regiment of the brigade, and a mountain artillery regiment with 2-3 batteries. The artillery brigade and the not quick-firing division should have the same number of the respective Infantry Division, the old artillery regiments kept their number, the new artillery regiments should adopt the number of their parent regiment increased by ten. Therefore 1st artillery brigaded was assigned to 1st Sofiyska Division and was composed by 4th and 14th artillery regiments and 1st not quick-firing artillery division, 2nd Trakiyska Division by 3rd and 13th artillery regiments and 2nd not quick-firing artillery division and so on.

The not quick-firing division should begin their mobilization only when the respective artillery regiments were fully mobilized; the mountain artillery division mobilized in the peace headquarters of their regiment and then moved to the artillery brigade to whom they were assigned. Every artillery brigade and every mountain artillery regiment at the mobilization should raise a replacement battery.

Every howitzer division should raise a howitzer regiment composed by 1 quick-firing and 1 not quick-firing division with 2-3 batteries each. The staff of the regiments would be formed with the staff of the existing mountain artillery regiments, after they had been mobilized in their peace headquarters. They should have the same number of the Army to whom they were assigned : 1st howitzer regiment would be the old division of 4th artillery regiment,  2nd howitzer regiment the old division of 8th artillery regiment, 3rd howitzer regiment the old division of 5h artillery regiment. The number of the gun was reduced from 6 to 4 also in the not quick-firing batteries.

Every fortress battalion should form a fortress-siege regiment, as follows 1st fortress-siege regiment from Sofiyski battalion, 2nd fortress-siege regiment from Shumenski battalion, 3rd fortress-siege regiment from Vidinski battalion. Their composition should be fixed according with the artillery materiel at hand so that every battery had not less than 3 pieces and not more than 4.

The artillery Arsenal in Sofia and the artillery workshop in Shumen should complete their war establishment.

Since at that time the guns in working order were not enough to arm all the units envisaged by the mobilization plan, a lot of batteries had to mobilize with only three guns instead of four, waiting the delivery of the guns that were under repair at the Arsenal. Only 9 artillery regiments had their full establishment of 24 field guns.




The organization of the Bulgarian artillery at the end of 1914