The Fortress Artillery during the Balkan Wars
beginning of the war against
The deputy chief of the artillery, col. Kalin Naydenov, did not agree with this idea, thinking that the field army should not be without heavy artillery. By mutual consent of the Chief of the Operations Department, col. Stefan Nerezov, decided to assign to the 1st Army some of the most modern heavy artillery pieces, 12 – 150mm L/12 howitzers and 12 – 120mm L/28 guns. The chief of the General Staff was not informed of this decision, but this plan was not carried out, since later these batteries were sent back and assigned to the North-eastern Sector of Odrin siege army, without the chief of the artillery knowing it.
mobilization of the fortress artillery battalions was very hard and slow. Clothings and equipments were not enough, and most of the
men wore their own clothes. There were not even caps for all. Many reservists
of the Sofiyski and Shumenski
battalion were not correctly informed or were not informed at all on the unit
where they had been assigned and went to Belogradchik
Sofiyski Fortress Battalion – commander : Lt.Col. Stefan Slavchev
completed its mobilization on 5 October 1912 and the same day the 5th
75mm Krupp battery was sent to Burgas by rail. On 7
October the light siege division was sent to
The heavy siege division was transferred by rail to Tarnovo Seymen on 9 October. The group armed with 120mm L/25 Krupp guns was disembarked at Kadiköj and assigned to Shumenski fortress battalion. The rest of the division was sent to at Mustapha Pasha and was later deployed in the North-Western Sector. On 18 October the whole battalion was ready to fire and to take part in the siege of Odrin.
As for the
rest of the battalion, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th
75mm Krupp batteries were sent to Tarnovo Seymen. The 5th and 6th 57mm Gruson
platoons as a part of the heavy siege division were assigned to the Serbian Timochka Division I and attached to the 15th
and 20th Infantry Regiment. I was not able to know where the four
remaining 57mm platoons were deployed: probably the stood in
Shumenski Fortress Battalion – commander : Lt.Col. Petko Valchanov
siege division completed its mobilization on 28 September 1912 and was
transferred by train on the railway line Shumen – Preslav
– Varbitza – Isupli – Aleksandrovo – Zimnitza –
Yambol – Eni Begli – Kazal Agach – Chitalovo – Golyam Dervent – Provadiya, where
arrived on 14 October, covering a distance of
The 1st group armed with 120mm L/28 Schneider guns was attached to the Sofiyski fortress battalion. But later the order was cancelled and the group went on to Chitalovo. On 14 October it was assigned to the 2nd Army. The next day it reached Hadzhiköj and was deployed in the sector hold by the 9th Plevenska Division.
siege division completed its mobilization on 1 October 1912 and was sent to Gabrovo together with the 1st and 2nd
57mm platoons. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd 75mm
Krupp batteries were sent to
Between 3 and 6 October the heavy division crossed the Balkans at Sv. Nikola pass and reached Tilovo. There two batteries – 2nd 150mm L/12 Schneider howitzers and 5th 57mm Gruson guns – were detached and sent by road to Shumen and then by rail to Varna. The heavy howitzers were placed near the monastery of Sv. Konstantin (battery N° 9), but later, on 2 November, they were assigned to the 2nd Army, and took part in the siege of Odrin.
On 5 October at Shipka, the head of the Shumenski fortress battalion was appointed head of the Tarnovo Seymen mixed fortress battalion. On 7 October in the evening, the batteries of the heavy division became to reach Tarnovo Seymen by rail, while the two 57mm platroons were sent by rail to Lyubimetz. On 12 October the heavy division was again loaded on the train and dispatched to Mustafa Pasha, where it should be assigned to the 2nd Army. The next day the Tarnovo Seymen mixed fortress battalion was dissolved and the Headquarters of the Shumenski fortress battalion was sent to Mustafa Pasha, where Lt.Col. Valchanov took charge of the siege artillery against the Odrin fortress.
On 15 October the heavy division, stored on the train at Lyubimetz, was dispatched to Kadzhiköj, where it was assigned to the 8th Tundzhanska Division, together with the group armed with 120mm L/25 Krupp guns from the Sofiyski fortress battalion. The two 57mm platoons were sent back Tarnovo Seymen. On 20 October Lt.Col. Valchanov deployed his batteries, which took part in the siege of Odrin.
In view of the attack against the Chataldzha line, a siege artillery detachment under command of maj. Angel Angelov was formed with 1st and 3rd 150mm howitzers batteries and 3rd 120mm L/28 Schneider guns battery of the Shumenski fortress battalion. It was assigned to the 1st Army. On 13 December 1912 two 150mm howitzers of the 3rd battery were dispatched to Rodosto, but on 25 December the detachment was sent again to Odrin.
On 13 March 1913 two 120mm L/28 Schneider guns batteries were dispatched to the 1st Army at Chataldzha.
The rest of
the battalion (3rd and 4th - 57mm platoons, 4th
and 5th – 75mm not QF batteries), under command of 2nd
lt. Ivanov, formed a mixed group, that stood at
Vidinski Fortress Battalion – commander : Lt.Col. Konstantin Kirkov
the outbreak of the war against
Since 18 September 1912, the day after the declaration of the general mobilization, the 2nd ten-barrel Nobel MG battery with 4 machine guns was sent to Varna, in order to strengthen the garrison of Varna, at that time composed only by two Opalchenie (Varna I and II ban) and one replacement (8th Primorski regiment) battalion.
headquarters of the fortress battalion were sent to
1st fortress siege division (maj. Nikola Minkov) :
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 9 pdr [106.7mm] batteries with 24 guns,
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th 57mm turret platoons with 8 guns.
2nd fortress siege division (cpt. Sotir Atanasov) :
5th, 6th 9 pdr [106.7mm] batteries with 12 guns,
1st, 2nd 24 pdr [152.4mm] batteries with 6 short guns,
3rd fortress siege division (maj. Dimitar Nachev) :
3rd 24 pdr [152.4mm] battery with 3 short guns,
1st, 2nd 24 pdr [152.4mm] batteries with 8 long guns,
1st ten-barrel Nobel MG battery with 3 machine guns.
4th fortress siege division (maj. P. Todorov) :
7th, 8th 9 pdr [106.7mm] batteries with 12 guns.
1st division was sent to
2nd division was sent to
3rd and 4th division were
transferred on the steamers and the barges of the Danube Flottilla
Finally 1st six-barrel Nobel MG battery with 3 machine guns was sent to Burgas.
the war against
diplomatic relations with
On 15 June
of the 9 pdr batteries were assigned to the
advanced towards Serbia, along with two 75mm not QF batteries, three 57mm
platoons and three ten-barrell old machine guns,
while 3rd – 75mm not QF battery was attached to the Kula
Detachment (three opalchenie battalions and one
pioneer platoon under command of lt.col. Cherkovski). The remaining artillery pieces (6 – 57mm, 6
– 9 pdr, 6 – 24 pdr short
guns and 4 –
During the Interallied War 105mm L/30 battery was assigned to the 2nd Army: one section under Lt. Rodev was placed at the Kresna defile, while the other section, under 2nd Lt. Kolev, fought bravely at Rupel defile, and after having fired all the available rounds, its crews destroyed their guns and withdrew. At Sofia 2nd Lt. Kolev and his men were assigned to a mountain artillery section armed with 75mm not quick-firing guns, that fought against the Greek Army at Razlog until the signing of the armistice.