The siege of Odrin
The heavy artillery was unloaded in Mustafa Pasa and despatched to the Western and Northwestern Sectors of the girdle. On 19 October 1912 all the batteries were deplaced and ready to fire.
The Western Sector, between Arda and Maritza rivers, under the staff of the Shumenski fortress artillery battalion (Lt.Col. Petko Valchanov), received the following batteries:
2 batteries 150mm Krupp guns L/30 - 6 pieces,
2 batteries 120mm Krupp guns L/30 - 6 pieces,
1 battery 150mm Schneider howitzers L/12 - 4 pieces (from Sofiyski battalion),
2 batteries 120mm Krupp guns L/25 - 6 pieces (from Sofiyski battalion),
3rd/2nd battery 120mm Schneider QF howitzers - 4 pieces, together 26 pieces.
directions and goals, Cherekköj (
These batteries were assigned to the 8th Infantry Division: tactically the 150mm L/30 guns and the howitzers were subordinated to the light siege division of the battalion, while the 120mm L/30 and 120mm L/25 Krupp guns were subordinated to its heavy siege division.
The 2nd battery of 150mm Schneider howitzers L/12 with 4 pieces was detached from the battalion and assigned to the 11th Infantry Division (Northwestern Sector).
The Northwestern Sector, between Maritza e Tundzha rivers, under the staff of the Sofiyski fortress artillery battalion (Lt.Col. Stefan Slavchev), received the following batteries:.
A] heavy division:
2 batteries 150mm Krupp guns L/30 - 8 pieces,
2 batteries 120mm Krupp guns L/30 - 6 pieces,
3 batteries 120mm Schneider guns L/28 - 12 pieces (from Shumenski battalion), together 26 pieces.
grouped southwest of Kemal placed in two lines behind the shrubberies. The
120mm guns fired against Papa Tepe (
B] light division:
3 batteries 120mm Schneider guns L/28 - 12 pieces,
3 batteries 150mm Schneider howitzers L/12 - 12 pieces,
1 battery 150mm Schneider howitzers L/12 - 4 pieces (from Shumenski battalion),
3 batteries 120mm Krupp howitzers - 18 pieces, together 46 pieces.
Part of this group, especially howitzers, was in Kara Bulat, the rest, guns and howitzers, north and east of Akbunar with the common task of firing to Saitan Tarla and the advanced position of Juchi Tepeler. Two batteries placed in Akbunar enfiladed the Northwestern Sector. Consequently the batteries stood almost everywhere at the limit of their range.
The Eastern Sector received only the 1st/2nd and 2nd/2nd batteries 120mm Schneider QF howitzers (8 pieces), which were assigned to the 9th Infantry Division
According with the Russian exemple, the greatest part of the hollowed battery rooms was covered up with zinc or iron sheets, which carried a thin layer of earth to make them indistinguishable in the ground [Fig. 40, 41]. Such light covers granted protection against shrapnel fires as well as against the observation by aircraft. Observation posts for artillery groups and batteries were often shifted into the infantry lines.
The battery ammunition shelters contained the daily requirement of 20 shells and 60 shrapnels per gun, the artillery group depots close to the batteries the two-day and the sectors depots lying 4 to 5km backwards the three-day ammunition supply. In order to replace the daily requirement in the ammunition shelters, projectiles and cartridges had to be transported from the group depots. The filling of the groups and sectors depots was carried out by axle from the ammunition park in Mustafa Pasa.
commander of the Siege Army led the direction of the gun fire and his
instructions were transmitted to the regiments, battalions and groups. The artillery had its own telephone network :
the batteries were connected among one another and with the commander through
the field telephone network. At first in the engineer
On 14 November the Serbian Dunavska Division arrived at Odrin. Since then untill the conclusion to the siege no further change in the occupation of the individual sectors occurred. The Serbian contingents were divided between the western and northwestern fronts, while the Bulgars took for itself the northeastern and the southern fronts. As heavy artillery the Serbians had at their disposal:
5 batteries 120mm Schneider guns L/26 - 10 pieces,
5 batteries 120mm Schneider QF howitzers - 20 pieces,
2 batteries 150mm Schneider QF howitzers - 8 pieces.
In the same time the 3rd batteries 150mm Schneider howitzers L/12 of the Sofiyski and Shumenski battalions together with the 3rd battery 120mm Schneider guns L/28 of the Shumenski battalion were send to 1st and 3rd Army that were fighting along the Chadaldzha line.
In connection with the new distribution of the troops, during the month of November also a redeployment of the siege artillery occurred :
Southern Sector :
1st and 2nd batteries 120mm Krupp guns L/30 of the Shumenski battalion - 6 pieces,
3rd/2nd battery 120mm Schneider QF howitzers - 4 pieces, together 10 pieces;
Western Sector :
1st and 2nd batteries 150mm Krupp guns L/30 of the Shumenski battalion - 6 pieces,
1st and 2nd batteries 120mm Krupp guns L/25 of the Sofiyski battalion - 6 pieces,
1st and 2nd batteries 150mm Schneider howitzers L/12 of the Sofiyski battalion - 8 pieces, together 20 pieces;
Northwestern Sector :
1st and 2nd batteries 150mm Krupp guns L/30 of the Sofiyski battalion - 6 pieces,
2nd batteries 120mm Krupp guns L/30 of the Sofiyski battalion - 4 pieces,
the group (three batteries) 120mm Schneider guns L/28 of the Sofiyski battalion - 12 pieces,
1st battery 120mm Schneider guns L/28 of the Shumenski battalion - 4 pieces,
1st group (two batteries) 120mm Krupp not QF howitzers of the 4th artillery regiment - 12 pieces,
4th battery 120mm Krupp not QF howitzers of the 8th artillery regiment - 6 pieces,
5th and 6th batteries 57mm Gruson guns of the Sofiyski battalion – 4 pieces,
the group (four batteries) 75mm not QF Krupp guns of the the Sofiyski battalion – 24 pieces,
a Serbian battery 120mm Schneider QF howitzers – 4 pieces, together 76 pieces;
Eastern Sector :
a battery formed with two guns of the 2nd battery 150mm Krupp guns L/30 of the Sofiyski battalion - 2 pieces,
1st batteries 120mm Krupp guns L/30 of the Sofiyski battalion - 2 pieces,
2nd battery 120mm Schneider guns L/28 of the Shumenski battalion - 4 pieces,
1st and 2nd batteries 150mm Schneider howitzers L/12 of the Shumenski battalion - 8 pieces
1st/2nd and 2nd/2nd batteries 120mm Schneider QF howitzers – 8 pieces, together 24 pieces;
The guns of
the Eastern Sector were deployed
Also the heavy guns remained in the Northwestern Sector had to change their positions in order to close the gaps resulted from the leaving. Two groups of batteries were formed, one east of the village of Kemal, with 8 – 120mm L/28 guns, 4 - 120mm L/30 guns and 2 – 150mm L/30 guns, the other one north of the way Kemal – Karamelču, with 2 – 150mm L/30 guns and 4 – 120mm L/28 guns. The first group had to fire against Papas Tepe, Bekči Tepe, the villages Marač and Kazan Koprü, the second group to Kazan Tepe and Saitan Tarla. In the same way also the light siege artillery was brought forward. The Gruson guns were assigned to 15th and 20th Infantry regiments of the Serbian Timok Division. Two of the the 75mm not QF batteries were attached to 11th Infantry Division, while the remaining two were used to defend the bridges near Dimotika and Kuleli Burgas.
Army used also six electrical searchlights
diameter, but one of them was put out of order by the enemy fire during the
siege. The siege engineer park had also 1000
steel shields of French pattern, with a 6mm strength
and 4kg weight [fig. 29], which could not be used close to
the enemy lines, since at a distance of 50m they could be perforate by
piercing bullets. Attempts to connect two
of these shields in order to obtain one more resistant proved to be not satisfying, because the weight rose considerably. For the same reason a 12mm
strenght shield of German pattern [fig. 30] was not introduced
before the war, because it weighed 20kg. To remove wire hindrances Bulgarian
Army used wire shears and often also explosive charges.
Many infantrymen had handgrenades that they threw at a distance of