The Russo-Japanese War and Sofia military school



On 26 February 1912 the chief of Military school, col. Ivan Pachev, signed the School special order N° 27, a text of three typed pages, where he fixed accurate directions for the education and the training of the cadets. His instructions did not concern directly the artillery, but showed the great importance that the Bulgarian Army assigned to the assimilation of the most modern military techniques.


The first paragraph pointed out the importance of the military engineer art in defensive fighting. Col. Pachev stressed that “…today, after Russo-Turkish, Boer, and especially Russo-Japanese wars it had gained more and more importance even in offensive fighting”. Therefore it should be studied by all kinds of soldiers : “The spade – he affirmed – proved to be the most indispensable element of the military equipment; this means that it almost equate the gun and consequently it should be widely used and utilized”.

He tackled also the question of the transmission of the orders and stressed that, as a result of the recent developments of the art of war, a great rapidity should be required in it. Therefore he demanded that all the line-officers, teachers and school instructors should pay special attention to this issue, while the commanders of the companies should make all arrangements for the use of adequate principles and directions for the works of the companies in every time and in every place. He affirmed that “only in this way works will be done with the proper earnestness, energy, order and accuracy”.


In the second paragraph, appreciating the great importance of the question of the engineer equipment, col. Pachev designated a commission with lt.col. Silyanovski as president, maj. Yonkov and cpt. Hesapchiev as members. It had to examine the school area and choose a place where it could be built a permanent drill-ground for practical training of fortification and trench trial with the cadets. Furthermore in short time the commission had to develop and to present a plan of the drill-ground.


In the third paragraph col. Pachev affirmed that the school had to pay great attention to all the innovations appeared in the armies even after the Russo-Japanese war. This should be applied to the cadets of the first and second special class – in 1912, on the eve of the Balkan War, the education in the military school lasted three years: in the preparatory class the cadets received a general education, while in the in the first and second special class they studied military and special military disciplines. Col. Pachev ordered that every head of the school classes should examine all the innovations of his specialization (cars, balloons, planes, searchlights, machine guns and so on). The class inspectors had to achieve this goal through visits to arsenals, barracks and depots or carrying these stuffs to the school. Every cadet should know the peculiarities of the other army branch (artillery, cavalry, and engineers) in order to “develop the mutual collaboration that should be characteristic of an exemplary and highly patriotic army”.


Since the Army had recently adopted a 8mm Maxim machine gun, in the fourth paragraph col. Pachev ordered that the cadets of the two senior classes “should have a good knowledge of the this machine gun, both theoretically and from experience. In this way the officers recently promoted from the beginning of their service had the opportunity to take advantage of operating near the machine-gun and firing with it”.

Therefore he decided that cpt. Mitsev, on officer educator, would be in charge of practical lessons with machine guns. He had to examine the matter and by 15 March he had to present a plan for the study of this weapon and a program of drills with it. Finally col. Pachev affirmed that in the following months also other technical and tactical innovations should be introduced in the education of the cadets of the Military School.