Russian guns



At the beginning of 20th Century the cultural and historical ties between Russia and Bulgaria were strong, and Russophile sentiments characterized much of the Bulgarian people. The Russian Army was the author of the liberation of the country after five centuries of Ottoman rule, and this feed a sharp sense of Slavic solidarity among the Bulgarians. At the beginning of the World War, a number of Bulgarian officers, among whom the Balkan Wars hero general Radko Dimitriev, volunteered to serve in the Russian Army. In 1915 the decision of the Radoslavov government to join the Central Powers provoked the dissatisfaction of part of the army officers. Another hero of the Balkan Wars, general Ivanov, the conqueror of Odrin, having received an appointment in the General Staff, left the Army, refusing to fight against Russia. In this context Bulgarian High Command hoped that a direct engagement against the Russians should be avoided. However during the war the Bulgarian Army had to faced the Russian troops both in Macedonia and in Rumania.


In Macedonia at first the two Special Brigades sent by the Russian Head Quarters had not their own artillery and were supported by French and Serbian batteries deployed in their sector of the front. Only in July 1917 the recently formed 2nd Special Division received its artillery brigade, but it was armed with French 75mm Mle. 1897 field guns. Consequently the Bulgarians had not any chance to capture Russian-built guns in Macedonia.

In Rumania the Russian Army at first deployed only two infantry and one cavalry divisions, but the defeat of the Rumanian Army in the initial stages of its offensive forced the Russian Head Quarters to send more and more troops to support its staggering alley, and to avoid the collapse of the front. By the end of 1916 thirty-six Russian infantry and eleven cavalry divisions were sent to Rumania in addition to the three divisions originally sent at the outbreak of military operations. This comprised 23% of total Russian infantry and 37% of cavalry divisions on the entire front from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. Without doubt during the battles fought in 1916-1917 and the advance towards Bucharest the Bulgarian Army could capture some Russian guns. The Bulgarian inventory listed 76.2mm field guns and 152mm heavy howitzers.


During the war German Army delivered as well to Bulgaria a number Russian guns captured in the Eastern front, especially the trophies taken in great numbers in the surrendered Polish fortresses. Some of them were nearly unfit of use: the 254mm guns assigned to the defence of the Black Sea coast were worn out to the tune of 90%, and the 152mm guns of 75%. In 1917 the Bulgarian Army received also at least twelve 76.2mm Russian anti-aircraft guns, in all probability standard Russian field guns modified by the Germans.

In 1915-18 the Bulgarian artillery received 98,400 rounds for 152mm Russian howitzers and in 1915-16 54,000 rounds for 76.2mm Russian field guns. This meant that  if the howitzers were intensively used during the whole war, the field guns were probably not used in great number, and was only regarded as stop-gap guns. The fact that in 1917 no ammunition for these guns were delivered, prove that as soon as better guns became available, the Russian field guns were discarded.




Russian Artillery in Macedonia

Russian Artillery in Dobrudja and Rumania

Russian guns data

Russian antiaircraft guns

Putilov 76.2mm QF field gun M. 1900

Putilov 76.2mm QF field gun M. 1902

Putilov 76.2mm anti-aircraft M. 1902

Putilov 76.2mm QF Lender anti-aircraft gun M. 1914/15

Putilov 152mm QF fortress howitzer M. 1909

Schneider 152mm QF field howitzer M. 1910

Canet 152mm coastal gun M. 1895

Russian 228mm light mortar M. 1892

Obuchov 254mm coastal gun M. 1895