Barber wire entanglements

The barbed wire entanglement surrounded the main defence line and was usually composed by 6 rows of metallic supports, with an interval of 1.5 m from each other, that meant a depth of 7-8 m as a whole. Sometimes a seventh row was added.

The supports were iron stakes of two different kinds : great, 1.50-1.80 m above the ground level, and small, 1.1 m above the ground level. The upper part was sharpened and barbed, while the lower part had an iron plate, 5cm long, riveted on the stake, and buried 40-50cm under the ground to prevent the extraction of the supports. The wire had a diameter of 2mm, with big points very close together. It was fixed to the supports by one or two winds around the notches of the stakes. The lower part of the support had a little iron riveted plate. The last ranks were winded up between the ground and the plate to prevent to raise them and to slip under the entanglement. Even when the low ranks were of lesser quality, the upper ones were always of Reitmayer special barbed wire.

The entanglements were placed 50-100 m in front of the main defence line, and in North-western sector they were often doubled. When they crossed a route, the breach was blocked by means of a sort of cheval-de-frise, composed by perches encircled by barbed wire having the form of great right prism.

The entanglement was defended by the direct fire of the troops placed in the trenches behind, and sometimes also by enfilade fire, but generally it was not out of sight of the enemy and was exposed to the horizontal fire of the artillery. It was a powerful obstacle for the attacker, but, forming an uninterrupted line around the fortress, it hampered also the forward movements and the eventual counterattacks of the garrison itself.



Aivas Baba

Kasan Tepe



Ammunition depots

The first line depots for the batteries protected only by earthwork were composed by niches near the guns and by little not bomb-proof warehouses placed at the end of the batteries or even between the guns. The fortress batteries with concrete emplacements had their ammunition depots between the guns.

The intermediate depots were a great number of little warehouses of two different kinds. For the fixed ammunition of the quick-firing guns and the metallic boxes containing the bags with the charge of the heavy guns, the depots were entirely buried and covered by a thick plate of corrugated iron, protected by wood and earth. The less bursting projectiles (the shells of the not quick-firing guns without the battering charge) were simply stored in light sheds made of wood and corrugated iron.

The sector depots were placed on the slopes, directed towards the fortress, out of the enemy sight. As a rule they were about 300 m far from the batteries that they had to supply. In Southern and North-western sectors there were concrete warehouses, with the facade opposite to the enemy, the back wall and the pillars protected by earthworks. They had many vaulted rooms, with the bases slightly under the ground and the intrados made of corrugated iron. The concrete abutments were 60cm thick, the vault 1 m near the keystone. They had two or three doors and some little windows on the facade. The depots were connected each other and with the arsenal by means of a narrow-gauge railway, with the batteries by means of communications trenches.



Sector depot

Depot of battery 3



The fortress had also a great and well equipped arsenal, located on the right bank of the Tundzha and the left bank of the upper Maritza. It was used as main depot for arms, ammunition and spare parts. The old forts, even if clearly visible from far away and provided only with warehouses protected by earthworks, were commonly used by the Turks as ammunition depot.