Military Review

The Fire Hammer of the Third Rome. Part of 2

What were the most important of the heavy field artillery guns?

The 107-mm gun of the Schneider system of the 1910 model had a flat fire trajectory and a powerful high-explosive projectile. The gun was very long-range - effectively proving itself where the use of other types of guns was of little prospect. The use of this weapon was allowed: a high-explosive projectile (grenade) - on important (and remote), mostly vertical, targets (railway stations, observation posts, reserves and headquarters), on enemy long-range artillery (counter-battery combat); shrapnel - for shelling of tethered aerostats, for hitting remote large open living targets (military columns, etc.).

The last task was most relevant during rearguard battles - when the long-range 107-mm cannon fired on the avant-garde units of the advancing enemy. Thus, the 2 th battery of the Life Guard heavy artillery battalion in 22 - 23 battles in July 1915 in the Vlodavka direction repulsed several powerful enemy attacks, giving the combat stability to the infantry that had switched to a successful counterattack (see Second heavy).

Heavy howitzers were used: for the destruction of defense units, machine-gun nests, gun installations, shelters, etc. — that is, the main elements of the defense; for the destruction of particularly strong wire obstacles (iron stakes on concrete foundations, obstacles in the forest, special-purpose barriers). thicknesses - wire cylinders), for the destruction of wire obstacles behind the slopes of heights and in deep ravines, for the destruction of buildings, fortified observation posts, settlements, for the destruction of reinforced batteries and living targets for entail a grave closed.

Howitzers were used as a high-explosive projectile, and shrapnel.

9- and 10-inch guns, 9-, 11- and 12-inch howitzers of Vickers systems and Obukhovsky plant were supposed to destroy especially remote and significant objects - warehouses, railway junctions, heavy artillery positions, etc.

The 305-mm howitzer of the Obukhovsky plant of the 1915 type was the pinnacle of the artillery pyramid of the Russian army.

305-mm howitzer- "butt" arr. 1915 d. Catalog of the material part of the domestic artillery. L., 1961. From the author's library

The howitzer was designed by the Obukhov and Petrograd metal plants, and fired at the 13,5-km distance 372-kg projectile. A shell pierced a concrete slab with a thickness of 3,4 meter. The gun belonged to the systems of long range and "great power" (howitzer classmate of the Vickers system with the same caliber fired only at 9 km).

The brightest episode of the combat use of the “Russian Berta” is the 03 firefight. 12. 1916 y der. Elovka - on the front Dvinsk. The 19 X Army Army Corps (2 305-mm and 6 152-mm guns struck the 8 objects of the Germans from Elovka) with a shock art group. Objects located at 11 - 13-km distance from the front line were hit.

Now worth a look at historical the development of Russian heavy artillery by the beginning of the XNUMXth century, as well as the evolution of its structure.

The first experience of giving the Russian troops heavy artillery in harnesses refers to 1898 - 1899. - it took place on large maneuvers of the Kiev Military District troops, which at that time was commanded by General M. I. Dragomirov.

The Kiev siege battalion under the command of Colonel A.V. Shokoli formed a platoon of 8-inch light mortars, placed on "hard" gun carriages. The wagons with platforms and ammunition were harnessed by "civilian" horses - the siege battalion did not have "its own". This experience showed the possibility of moving heavy artillery system on country roads and even (for a short distance) on plowing. The maneuvers ended with live firing with the attack of fortified positions. In accordance with the requirements of that time, the artillery, after conducting a fire preparation of the attack of the infantry, changed its position, which was then exclusively open. But the heavy artillery of that time could not change positions.

The next episode, when the heavy artillery was attached to the field forces, occurred in 1903 on the Rembertow training ground near Warsaw. Colonel J.F. Karpov (later the commander of the new-George Orland Artillery) commanded the guards, which were taken from the Warsaw Fortress Artillery (with special wooden platforms), while the Life Guards 3 Artillery Brigade provided their teams. At the same time, a device called "shoes" was tested - it was put on the wheels to reduce the "bindability" in the ground.

In the Russo-Japanese War in the areas of art. Dashichao, under Liaoyan and Mukden acted East-Siberian Siege Artillery Division (formed in the Kiev Military District), which was given the battery, isolated from the Vladivostok Fortress artillery, as well as transferred from the Warsaw Fortress.

Then for the first time the Russian heavy artillery practiced shooting at an invisible target.

In 1906, Siege Artillery Divisions were formed. Composition - three batteries: two 42-linear and one 6-inch. They were given a communications unit and a searchlight unit.

At the beginning of World War I, the Russian army had only 5 siege artillery battalions (107-mm cannon and 152-mm howitzer). And then, in the course of the war, their number tripled (including the 2 Siberian, besides the number ones), becoming the basis for siege artillery brigades.

The Russian and French armies entered the First World War, clearly underestimating the role and importance of heavy artillery - the first had 240, and the second - 308 heavy guns. Make up for missed already in the course of a heavy war.

With the beginning of the war, the commanders of armies and fronts threw the Stavka with requests for the addition of heavy artillery. The Main Artillery Directorate was at first lost, and then remembered the existence of serf artillery - which could give the guns until domestic plants could cope with the corresponding task and the guns from the allies arrived.

What fortresses could give guns? Onshore: Kronstadt, Sveaborg, Sevastopol, Libava, Vladivostok - they themselves were armed and had to support the fleet. Land: Novogeorgievsk, Brest-Litovsk, Osovets, Kovno, Grodno - were to become the basis of the defensive line of the Austro-German front. In the Caucasus there were Kars, Akhaltsykh (fortification), Akhalkalaki (fortification), in part - Batum. But these fortresses and strongholds, with a small number of troops on the Caucasian front, were to be in constant readiness, supporting the Caucasian army. Privisly fortresses - Warsaw and Ivangorod - despite the fact that they were at the stage of reorganization, did their job. Dali guns of the fortress artillery. Warsaw was the first to give 12 guns - a heavy division was formed, named: "Warsaw". In the middle of October, 1914 and the Vyborg fortress artillery sent 12 guns to Warsaw, from which the Vyborg heavy division was formed. Novogeorgievsk also selected 12 guns to form the same division. Novogeorgievsky heavy division participated in the siege of Przemysl.

Installing a heavy battery under Przemysl. Military, 1918.

A war participant recalled: “Already in 1915, heavy artillery battalions appeared on the front, formed from serf artillery. I had to see heavy artillery battalions formed from Ivangorod and Brest-Litovsk fortress artillery. I have often been in one of these divisions, as they were commanded by one of my “brother-soldiers”. Often in this difficult battalion, I noted with great pleasure that the spirit and mood of the officers of the battalion differed favorably from the spirit and mood of the officers of the serf artillery in peacetime. ”

Although the formation of serf divisions continued (the 4 of Brest-Litovsk was being formed, the 2 of the Ivangorod heavy artillery division, etc.) was not enough, of course.

It was the needs of the front, if not in the divisional, then at least corps heavy artillery that led to the creation of heavy (in the cropped 5 of such divisions were at the beginning of the war) 3-battery artillery divisions. Two batteries were howitzer (152-mm) and one gun battery (107-mm). Each battery contains 4 guns. During the war, the number of numbered heavy battalions steadily increased. In 1915, the Life Guards Heavy Artillery Division was formed.

Heavy divisions became the basis for the subsequent formation of heavy field artillery brigades (3-divisional composition). During the war years there were 17 heavy artillery brigades (15 numbered, Osovetskaya and 1-I Siberian) - and in 1916 - 1917. they were abolished with the withdrawal of divisions belonging to them with the name of the latter "separate field heavy artillery divisions." A significant number of more mobile and better managed divisions allowed the Army to fill the troops of the Army with the necessary volume of organizational units of heavy artillery.

The first of the formed heavy divisions acted on the Bzura and Ravka rivers in the autumn and winter of 1914. Their appearance at the front caused great joy in the troops. Gunners with honor passed the first test. An eyewitness recalled: “the young staff-captain Boris Klyucharev of the Warsaw Division brought the 42-x linear gun to the infantry trenches at night, and when it dawned a bit - opened fire on German machine-gun nests (on Bzura) that hit our positions. Nests were completely destroyed. Of course, the Germans later answered too. But this weapon was not damaged and the next night he brought it unscathed. ”

An officer of the Caucasian Grenadier Division, K. Popov, wrote about the bottom of November 22, that “our artillery, supported by unknown heavy artillery, smashed all German attempts to stick its head out. Artillery fire was so strong and successful that the Germans left their trenches and fled. ” [Popov K. Memoirs of the Caucasian Grenadier 1914-1920. M., 2007. C. 47].

The experience of the formation of heavy divisions and the great importance of the fact of their appearance at the front indicated to the Chief Artillery Directorate the need to give these formations a coherent system. And in 1915, the Spare Heavy Artillery Brigade was established in Tsarskoye Selo and was headed by Academician-artilleryman NI Fonshtein. The work of this brigade under the able guidance of N. I. Fonshtein gave the Russian army organizationally slim and numerous heavy artillery.

Heavy battery in position. Pictures of war. M., 1917. From the author's library

To be continued
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  1. Serge72
    Serge72 10 January 2018 07: 52
    That's interesting.
    He knew little about the development trends of Russian heavy artillery during World War II.
    And the trends are normal. The quieter you go, the further you'll get
  2. parusnik
    parusnik 10 January 2018 08: 03
    Popov, Konstantin Sergeyevich in the Volunteer Army since 1918. Participated in all battles between Tsaritsyn and Kamyshin until October 1919. On March 8, 1920 Popov fell ill and was evacuated from Novorossiysk to the island of Cyprus. In 1921 he moved to Belgrade, and then moved to France. In 1930-1931, he spoke at military organizations with reports on the Russian All-Military Union (ROVS). Since February 1931 - Secretary of the editorial office of the monthly newspaper Russian Invalid, founded by General N. N. Baratov. He was forced to leave the office and settled in Osgor, in the department of Landa, where he was engaged in gardening and horticulture on the farm until 1946. In 1946 he returned to Paris. Throughout his life in exile, he remained an employee of the Foreign Union of Russian Military Invalids and the Association of the 13th Life-Grenadier Erivan Regiment. Member of the Congresses of the Union in 1955, 1959-1962 in Issy-les-Moulineaux (near Paris). Member of the Union of St. George Knights, since 1960 member of the Court of Honor of the Union. For many years, a member of the Society of lovers of Russian military antiquities. He was a member of the Union of Zealots in memory of Emperor Nicholas II. Author of several books on the theme of the First World War and the Civil War. After the Second World War, on the proceeds from the sale of the farm, Popov published the book “Life Erivans in the Great War”. He was published in the newspaper "Russian invalid", collaborated in the magazine "Military reality." He died on March 24, 1962 in the House of Russian military invalids in Montmorency near Paris. Buried in a local cemetery.
  3. XII Legion
    XII Legion 10 January 2018 08: 48
    Serf artillery played a role!
    Not only direct - defensive, but also organizational - becoming the basis for the formation of a number of parts.
    Thank you!
  4. kvs207
    kvs207 10 January 2018 09: 13
    There is an excellent book on the topic - "Heavy Division". Although artistic, but quite reliable.
    1. kalibr
      kalibr 10 January 2018 18: 52
      The Zvonarev Family - a sequel to Port Arthur, read. About the same ...
  5. Blue cop
    Blue cop 10 January 2018 09: 40
    Underestimating the prospects of any weapon is not terrible
    The main thing is to be able to draw conclusions and try to catch up
    By the way, the first (so far temporary) in the East experience of forming a positional front took place on Bzur
  6. soldier
    soldier 10 January 2018 10: 03
    Interesting photos and illustrations.
    305 mm jacket: bringing to a firing position
  7. soldier
    soldier 10 January 2018 10: 03
    Schneider's 280 mm howitzer in combat
    1. Blue cop
      Blue cop 10 January 2018 12: 48
      Narrow gauge tracks when creating firing positions of heavy artillery of those years are irreplaceable
  8. soldier
    soldier 10 January 2018 10: 05
    152 mm gun in combat position
    1. Cat
      Cat 10 January 2018 18: 01
      She is the same after the modernization of 1930!
      Museum in Verkhnyaya Pyshma.
  9. Some kind of compote
    Some kind of compote 10 January 2018 11: 27
    It is interesting to read about the origin and development of RIA heavy field artillery
    Waiting for the finale good
    BRONEVIK 10 January 2018 17: 05
    Amirkhanov in the work "The Sea Fortress of Emperor Peter the Great" provides the following interesting data on the combat use of 305 mm guns that were in service with the fortress:
    "In 1916, the land front of the naval fortress of Emperor Peter the Great had to part with part of the artillery. The 1st and 2nd naval heavy divisions specially formed for the land defense of Revel, armed with 305-mm howitzers of the 1915 model, were sent to Ust- Dvina Fortress: The divisions took an active part in the defense of Riga, shelling German positions until the last day.
    In September 1917, the divisions returned to the fortress of Emperor Peter the Great, and with them other artillery formations of the Ust-Dvinsk fortress "P. 46.
    1. Cat
      Cat 10 January 2018 18: 07
      By the way, “from poverty and poverty in a heavy artillery fleet,” the military personnel and craftsmen of the Russian Empire learned to such an extent that the guns were removed and mounted that during the years of the Gozhdan war, a week was enough to dismantle 130-152 mm cannon guns from the ship and mount them on armored trains, etc. . land positions.
      So "bye-bye" made the entire naval artillery of the cruiser Aurora.
      1. hohol95
        hohol95 10 January 2018 22: 21

        And on the tractors!
  11. Alexey RA
    Alexey RA 10 January 2018 18: 11
    If my sclerosis does not fail me, then the 305-mm howitzer of the 1915 model is a naval gun ordered by Morved for coastal fortresses. Heiress 11 "mortar - to work on decks in tightness. The order was intercepted by the Military Authority, but several of these howitzers still got into the battlefield - near Batumi and Vladivostok.
    In Vladivostok, however, the battery number 911 was transferred from the BO to the Imansky UR, eventually forming the 295th Separate Artillery Howitzer Division of high power from its guns. Having become in 1945, EMNIP, BM artillery record holder in the number of shells fired - 866 units in 11 days.
    Within 11 days from 9.08. on 19.08.1945/9/1 the battalion’s batteries destroyed: DOT-1, two-story brick buildings - 1, stationary radio stations - 75, railway junction - 1, destroyed: 310-mm battery - 1; XNUMX-mm gun - XNUMX (direct hit in the embrasure).
    The fire of the division set fire to the South-Western, Central and Northern towns twice, once - the Eastern town of the Khutou UR.
    The composition of the AR-35 group of the 1st Far Eastern Front was silenced by 2 280 mm guns and 1 310 mm gun until 15.08.1945/1/410, 17.08.1945 150 mm gun until 4/19.08.1945/XNUMX. and a XNUMX-mm armored XNUMX-gun battery - until XNUMX/XNUMX/XNUMX, as a result of which the fire of this artillery was not intense and inefficient.
    19.08.1945/15.00/XNUMX at XNUMX. the battery fire was stopped and no longer resumed.
    In total for the operation, the division fired 866 shells, which amounted to 236 tons of metal and explosives.
    © Historical Form 295 of the High Power Separate Artillery Howitzer Division
  12. Lieutenant Teterin
    Lieutenant Teterin 11 January 2018 11: 50
    Informative and informative article. To the author - my gratitude for the work done!