The deliveries of optical devices
Rangefinders. At the end of the 19th
century the Bulgarian artillery was provided with special optical devices. In 1892 the Russian
Army tested in the
It could be employed only for infantry, since its accuracy decreased
for ranges up to
The Bulgarian Army followed once more the Russian example and adopted the jumelle-télémčtre Souchier (далекомер Суше) for its artillery, while no rangefinder was introduced for the infantry units. At the end of the century every battery received a rangefinder and the rules issued in 1902 stressed that firing at medium and long ranges, the distance should always determined by rangefinder.
At the end of the 19th Century, the fortress artillery was equipped with the Stroobants prismatic rangefinder (далекомер на Стробанса), adopted also by the Belgian infantry in 1894. It was lighter and smaller than the Souchier rangefinder, easy to use and very cheap.
In February 1906 cpt. Nikolov of the 34th Troyansky Infantry Regiment
invented a new kind of rangefinder and proposed its adoption by the Army. The
War Minister Mihail Savov set up a Commission presided by major general
Georgi Vazov in order to test it. According with the official report, the
rangefinder proved to be light and easy to use. Without a long practice, it
could be handled by a man standing, kneeling or laying. As for its accuracy,
on a distance of
After having examined the device and the practical results of its use, the Commission, taking into account the increased battle dynamics as well as the shortage of other reconnaissance tools, concluded that the Nikolov rangefinder was quite effective for both infantry and artillery. Nevertheless it seems that it was never adopted by the Bulgarian Army.
In 1909 some infantry and artillery units begun to test the most modern kinds of coincidence rangefinders : “Goerz”, “Zeiss”, “Hahn” and “Barr & Stroud”. The following year the Artillery Committee with Report Nr. 3/25-26 November 1910 concluded that all of them were solid, watertight and easy to use, the range being estimated from a single place in a minute. Among the artillery rangefinders the “Goerz” model was the most reliable, the error in setting being only 2-5% of the estimated range, while among the infantry ones both “Goerz” and “Barr & Stroud” were regarded as very effective. Nevertheless the Committee suggested the adoption of the “Goerz” model, since it had proved to be also the most solid. The infantry model could be carried by a soldier in a knapsack, the artillery one by horse in a bag.
Therefore the Bulgarian Army purchased from
the German firm “Optische Anstalt C. P. Goerz A.G. Berlin
– Friedenau” 36 rangefinders
On 21 October 1915, just after the declaration of War, the Artillery
Inspection obtained from
They were distributed as follows:
20 artillery and 16 infantry rangefinders were sent to 1st Army to be assigned to 1st, 6th, 8th and 9th Division;
20 artillery and 16 infantry rangefinders were sent to 2nd Army to be assigned to 3rd, 5th, 7th and 11th Division;
5 artillery and 4 infantry rangefinders were sent to 2nd Trakyska Division;
remaining 5 artillery and 4 infantry rangefinders were probably send to 3rd Army to be assigned to 4th Division.
Binoculars. At the beginning of the 20th Century the Bulgarian artillery was equipped with Galilean binoculars, mainly from the French firm “Huet” (“Societé Anonime des Anciens Établissements Huet et Cie. Paris”), that was also the supplier of the French Army, while a lot of officers were equipped with “Goerz” field glasses, with a magnification power of 8 times. With the introduction of the quick-firing artillery, more modern devices should be adopted. In 1911 the Artillery Committee tested some prismatic field glasses of the firms “Goerz”, “Zeiss” and “Huet”. All the models were achromatic and had parallel axis, but the two German models proved to be better both for the optical features of the lens, the quality of the image (cleanness, definition and precision) and the solidity, being shockproof and watertight. Therefore with Report Nr. 2/30 April 1911 the Committee recommended for the officers the adoption of the binoculars of the firm “Zeiss” (“Carl Zeiss Optische Wekstätten Jena”), with a magnification power of 6 times, a highness of 25, and a field of vision of 150 milličmes.
Stroobants prismatic rangefinder