The development of the fortress artillery
the end of the Serbo-Bulgarian War fortress artillery was composed only by a
siege cadre with 1 non commissioned officer and 22 privates. It was attached
to the artillery arsenal in
expansion of the fortress artillery took place very slowly. On 1 January
11 January 1890 the siege battery
was renamed “Sofiyska fortress battery”, while a similar battery was raised
Law for the organization of the Armed
Forces of the Principality of
state of the Sofiyski fortress battalion was established with Order N° 88/1893.
The battalion was administratively composed by 3 companies and a pioneer
detachment, and technically by the fortress division and the fortress-siege
and pioneer detachments. Its task was to instruct the troops in
fortress-siege service, to take care of the guns required to arm the defences
1 January 1895 with Edict N°
The 120mm Krupp field howitzers purchased in two batches in 1891-92 and assigned at first to the artillery regiments, in 1895 were replaced with 87mm field guns and delivered to fortress artillery. At that time in fortress battalions warrant officers and non commissioned officers were armed with revolver Smith & Wesson and swords, privates (Kanonir) and lance-corporals (Bombardir) with Berdan carbines. In 1900 the latter were replaced with the recently purchased Mannlicher carbines.
The same Edict established also the creation of the Direction of the fortress artillery, with a staff of a colonel, with the rank of a brigade commander, as head; a captain, with the rank of a battery commander, as adjutant; a senior clerk and a young clerk. From then on the fortress battalions were directly subordinated to the head of the fortress artillery. As battalion commander at that time was established a lieutenant colonel, with the rank of an artillery division commander, and as company commander a captain, with the rank of a battery commander. The fortress company had the same number of men of a field artillery battery.
The duty of head of the fortress artillery was at first performed by lt. col. Nikola Ryazkov, replaced on 1 January 1906 by col. Panteley Tzenov, who was at the same time Inspector of the Armaments. In 1908 he was replaced by col. Hristo Kushev and in 1912 by col. Stoyan Zagorski, who held the post till the beginning of the Balkan War.
the changes introduced into the Law for
the organization of the Armed Forces in 1897 the fortress battalion in peace should be composed by 5
companies, and would raise more units in wartime. Nevertheless no new unit
was raised, even if new modern guns and howitzers had been ordered in
for the arrival of these guns, the General Staff of the Army, in order to
assure the defence of the country, decided to assign to the fortress of Vidin
and Belogradchik 8 – 24 pdr long guns, 8 – 150mm and 8 – 120mm long guns, in
addition 12 – 4 pdr to Vidin and 10 – 4 pdr to Belogradchik. It ordered that
all the ammunition available in
The situation did not change at the beginning of the 20th Century. Even if the Law for the organization of the Armed Forces passed in 1903 envisaged that the fortress battalion should be composed by 8 companies, the budgets for 1904 – 1911 authorized only 3 companies as before.
return the tasks of the fortress battalions were carefully detailed with the
Order N° 311/1905. In peace it was composed by 3-8 companies, 1 park platoon
with laboratory detachment. Its task was a) to instruct officers and soldiers
in the artillery service during the attack of fortress or fortified position;
b) to keep in perfect working order and ready for action all the material,
clothing, arms and equipment; c) to train the personnel; d) to take care of
horses and oxen. According with the circular of the General Staff N° 459/1901
the men to be assigned to the fortress artillery should be literate, strong,
healthy and at least
In wartime the companies should form the batteries according with the artillery material that they manned in peace. Its task was to arrange the artillery defence of a fortress or fortified position. Therefore its mobilization plan should contain a detailed list of the works that the battalion had to do in the fortified point where it was placed or it would be send. At the mobilization the battalion would form: a) the mobile siege groups, composed by 3-4 heavy field batteries, drawn by horses or oxen; b) the units of the siege artillery park required for the attack of a fortress or a fortified position; c) the means of transport required to defend a fortress.