Military Review

Red artillery in the Civil War. Part of 2

By 1919, the Soviet artillery underwent a reorganization.

In the rifle division, the number of guns was reduced in 2,5 times, which largely eliminated the discrepancy between the country's economic capabilities and the conditions of the Civil War. The transition to a reduced organization caused a decrease in the norms of artillery stocks in warehouses - which streamlined the system of artillery supply to the troops.

The replenishment of artillery with trained privates was carried out through the system of spare parts, which by this time had acquired a certain symmetry and uniformity. Thus, in the Moscow Military District, a reserve heavy artillery brigade was formed, in which about 3 thousand people of variable composition were trained. Reserve brigades were also created in the armies and fronts.

The equipment of the Red Army field artillery increased. So, by February 25 there were 2050 field guns in the army, of which in the operating units - around 1700. The presence of ammunition in the bases and warehouses of the State Agrarian University, as well as at the disposal of local Soviets, amounted to almost 4 million shells, or up to 2 thousand units per gun.

On the Eastern Front 4 - 6 March, A.V. Kolchak's troops (about 140 thousand people, 211 guns) launched an offensive against the Soviet forces (100 thousand people, 374 guns), delivering the main attack in the 5 Army’s sector in the direction of Ufa, Samara. By creating superiority in the direction of the main attack (108 guns against 52), the white forces began to advance towards the Volga.

The artillery of the 5 Army in the course of heavy defensive battles provided the infantry with all possible support. She was distributed along the regiments and acted in the infantry fighting systems. The main support tasks were performed by specially selected light batteries and armored trains.

During the period of the counteroffensive of the Eastern Front troops (April – June 1919), the front already had over 510-ti guns. Under the conditions of the spring thaw, a bold maneuver was made on 300-500 km, as a result of which the infantry and artillery and the entire cavalry were concentrated on the direction of the main attack of the southern group of troops of the front (the counteroffensive was planned to be carried out in the zone to 2 km). The average tactical density of artillery in this direction was 3 - 220 guns on 0,9 km of the front and was maintained during the entire counterattack. In the direction of action of the 1,2 strike forces, the white guns opposed the 1 guns of the Soviet forces.

Field artillery of rifle divisions was distributed between brigades and regiments. This took into account the presence of tools and the importance of directions. Therefore, one brigade was assigned an artillery platoon or a battery, and to others - a division or more. Brigade artillery was reassigned to the regiments, and sometimes to battalions and detachments.

In May, 1919 was in grave danger over Petrograd. The troops of N. N. Yudenich, concentrating the main efforts on the Narva (up to 12 thousand bayonets and sabers, 41 gun) and the Gdov-Pskov directions, broke through the defenses of the 7 Army, on May 17, captured Yamburg, and then the cities of Pskov and Yam . The opposing forces of the 6 Infantry Division, defending the 80-kilometer-long Narva sector, were exhausted by the previous battles, had incomplete staffing (5 thousand bayonets and sabers, 32 guns) and could not hold back the whites. Of the total number of guns, only 23 occupied firing positions, two batteries were on retrofitting in Gatchina, 3 guns were faulty.

When the 6 division was withdrawn, 20 guns, a significant amount of charging crates, property were lost. Deprived of artillery support, the division left one position after another.

As a result of the measures taken at the end of May, there were already 60 guns in the Narva and Luga sectors, and by May 23 the defense front had stabilized.

Despite the heavy defensive battles, 7-I army did not cease to accumulate forces and prepare to go into a decisive counterattack. An important role was played by the replenishment of its fresh and reliable parts that arrived from other fronts, primarily from the East. The army received more 70-guns.

By June 20, the 130 guns operated on the Narva-Pskov direction, and the organization disrupted during the retreat and as a result of frequent regroupments in the artillery of the army was restored.

The decisive battles against the army of Yudenich turned on the Narva sector. Here, parts of the Coastal Group and the 6 Division (up to 13-thousand bayonets and sabers, 66 guns and 2 armored trains) had to fight against the 1 Corps of the North-West White Army (up to 10-thousand bayonets and sabers with 18 guns). For the offensive part of the 6 division were divided into 3 combat area - which included most of the artillery (56 guns from 66). Some batteries supported rifle shelves.

The attack was preceded by artillery preparation, which began on the evening of June 20 and lasted intermittently until the next morning. Shooting was carried out both on individual targets (machine guns, trenches, barriers), and on squares (batteries, live force, controls).

At the section of the Coastal group and the right combat section of the 6 division, the underdeveloped defense of the whites was reliably suppressed and then quickly overcome by the infantry. In the rest of the plots, the defense of the whites turned out to be more prepared in engineering. Long-term artillery preparation was not crowned with success. Here the battles took a protracted and tenacious character. In this case, the artillery had to destroy the most important goals, then repel violent counterattacks.

Subsequently, the number of Red Army troops in the Narva sector increased almost twice. On August 3, after a short artillery preparation of a part of the 6 division, they launched an offensive. According to the artillery preparation plan, the batteries fired with a gradual increase and transfer of fire to the most important targets. By the beginning of the offensive, the fire of batteries was focused on the objects of attack and brought to the greatest degree of intensity.

The offensive developed successfully. On August 5, the 7 Army captured Yamburg, and three weeks later the Army 15 occupied Pskov.

By this time, the All-Union Soviet Union of Managers was cramped by the Soviet armies, which were forced to retreat inland. The main blow was delivered to Moscow - in the shortest direction through Kursk, Orel, Tula.

The number of guns on the Southern Front, despite the losses in heavy defensive battles, did not decrease, but increased from July to October from 432 to 874. As a result, by the beginning of the counteroffensive, the superiority of the troops of the front in artillery over the whites was more than triple.

This period of the Civil War was characterized by maneuvering actions, strikes both from the front and from the flanks and the rear, often with the absence of a solid front. This explained the decentralized use of artillery. The regiments, and sometimes the battalions, were assigned one battery each. Fire control was carried out most often in the battery link - which sometimes acted on a platoon basis and after a turn.

During the counter-offensive of the Southern Front armies 10 of October - 17 in November, the artillery of the strike group in the Oryol-Kromsky operation had the following grouping. First echelon - 1-I brigade of the Latvian rifle division with 1-m light battalion (12 guns) and 1-i battery (2 guns) of the howitzer battalion, 2 brigade with 2-m light battalion (12 guns (2 guns); the battery (1 gun) of the howitzer battalion and a separate rifle brigade with two batteries (6 guns). Second echelon - 3-I brigade of the Latvian rifle division with 3-m light division (11 guns) and battery (2 guns) heavy division. Batteries of light divisions were distributed among rifle regiments. Howitzer batteries and heavy artillery battalion batteries were at the disposal of rifle brigade commanders.

When attacking large populated areas and fortified positions, artillery in the directions of the main attack was used centrally in narrow sectors of the front. So, by the beginning of the assault on Voronezh on October 23, the 6 th cavalry and 12 th rifle divisions 22 km long concentrated more than 60 guns, which averaged 3 guns on 1 km, and in the breakthrough areas of these divisions the density of artillery was brought to 5 - 7 guns. Artillery, as a rule, was grouped in the points planned for crossing the Don.

For the centralization of control in rifle divisions, as well as in the equestrian corps of S. M. Budyonny, shock artillery groups were created, which included almost all of the division’s artillery. The battalion commanders of the divisions controlled the concentrated fire of the strike groups.

In the course of the struggle against the forces of A. I. Denikin, horse artillery of the first time created cavalry units was widely used. So, 2 equestrian artillery battalions of 3-battery were active in the Horse Corps. The divisions were regular units of the 4 and 6-th cavalry divisions and wore the corresponding numbers. Personnel of the divisions moved on horseback and only in rare cases - on carts. The ammunition was transported in charging boxes with guns and on the supply of artillery parks, which were one in each division. The divisions were very mobile and maneuverable. On the marches and during the fighting, they followed along with the cavalry in readiness at any moment to support it with fire. As a rule, horse artillery was sub-divisional and battalion attached to cavalry brigades and cavalry regiments. When the situation required, the batteries acted on a platoon and even before the line - from short stops to direct fire.

During the battles, the gunners had to engage in combat with armored trains. This fight was usually a duel at close range. Suffice it to recall the battle near Lgov, when the three light batteries of the 8 Cavalry Division were forced to surrender five white armored trains, "locked" by sappers in a limited section of the railway.

Supporting infantry and cavalry, artillery fought with tanks. For the first time, units of the 1st Cavalry Army met tanks in early January 1920 in the Sultan-Saly area (25 km northwest of Rostov). The advancing 3rd Brigade of the 6th Cavalry Division was counterattacked by the white infantry with the support of three slowly moving tanks. However, the appearance of tanks brought no result. A battery advanced towards: letting the tanks into the distance of a direct shot, it hit 2 cars with direct fire. The infantry advancing behind the tanks was stopped by carte gun fire, and then thrown back by the horsemen to their original position.
With the mastery of 10 on January 1920 in Rostov-on-Don, units of the Red Army captured 7 tanks and 33 guns on the outskirts of the city. Here the artillery of the Cavalry Army gained experience in dealing with armored trains. Where there was no such experience, the fight against the tanks was carried out by setting barrage fire or fire attacks on the squares. Special tools to fight tanks in this period has not yet been allocated.

During the 1920 campaign, Polish troops deployed about 150 thousand bayonets and sabers and up to 1150 guns and bomb bombers. The opposing armies of the Western and Southwestern fronts had little more than 800 guns.
On April 25, the Poles launched an offensive in the Southwestern Front and broke through the defenses of the 12 and 14 armies. On May XNUM the Red Army left Kiev.

By the spring of 1920, Soviet artillery compared with 1919 did not undergo any significant organizational changes. In divisions, in the absence of a sufficient number of guns, the replacement of guns with howitzers was allowed and vice versa. In special purpose heavy artillery, a spare battery was introduced instead of a reserve brigade; The composition of the army and reserve brigades has partially changed.

The release of tools by industry overlapped the plan, but the pace of repairs turned out to be low. As a result, in 1920, the current army received less 400 guns. Along with the loss of materiel in battle, this led to a shortage of artillery in the army. As a result, infantry divisions were not always equipped with a regular number of batteries and divisions - especially howitzer and heavy ones. For example, in the divisions of the Western Front, the shortage of guns reached 18 - 54%. Therefore, the batteries instead of four often had two or three, and even one gun each. Incomplete horse personnel, charging boxes and ammunition reached 60 - 70% - because of which the batteries could not raise the regular amount of ammunition.

To facilitate the position of the South-Western Front, in the middle of May, the Western Front launched an offensive, delivering the main attack on Vilna. During the offensive actions of the Western forces, and then with the transition to the counteroffensive and the Southwestern Fronts, artillery, interacting with the infantry and cavalry, also played an important role in fulfilling the tasks assigned to the troops.

This period is characterized by the further development of artillery control, which can be traced back to the example of the 16 Army of the Western Front. This army in May 1920 was to break through the defense of the Poles in the Minsk direction.

On the direction of the main attack of the army operated 17-I and 8-I infantry divisions. For artillery support, 92 guns were attracted - which, with a breakthrough width of up to 10 km per division, was about 5 guns on 1 km of the front. The Poles had no less than 100 guns and bomb bombers in the Minsk area. If previously each division acted only with its own standard artillery, here 52 guns were regular, and 40 - were reinforcement artillery. The “strike artillery group” recently arrived from the Eastern Front was used as a reinforcement. The reinforcement artillery was used in the offensive zone of the 8 Infantry Division, so that a slight superiority was achieved over the enemy over the guns. For the period of the Berezina forcing in the division, it was planned to use both the standard and attached artillery centrally, and with the output of the units to the west bank of the river, subordinate the batteries to the brigades.

For this, all the artillery was divided into three artillery groups and an artillery reserve. The right and center groups, each consisting of 16 guns, operated in the band of the 22 Infantry Brigade, and the left, which included the 20 guns, in the 24 Brigade band. The reserve divisions were 8 guns. The strike artillery group was to fight the enemy artillery and "paralyze enemy attempts to cross" in the Berezino area.

The operation of the 16 Army began on May 19. Around 5 in the morning the troops began to force. After the crossing, the artillery of the 8 Division was reassigned to the brigades. The heavy artillery of the division (heavy and howitzer divisions) made up the group of the division commander. In the course of the operation, the newly arrived 21-Infantry Division was brought into battle by the decision of the army commander. She passed a strike artillery group, which in a short time made a difficult almost 100-kilometer march.

Thus, in the operation of the 16 Army, a front-line attack artillery group was used. It was one of the first examples of the use of front-line artillery in military operations of the Civil War.

The successfully launched offensive in the western direction was used by the troops of the South-Western Front to launch a counter-offensive - during which the introduction of the 1 Cavalry Army into the battle was of particular importance. The army broke through the enemy’s focal defense in the area up to 12-km at the Samgorodok line, Snezhno with artillery density of at least 4-guns on 1 km of the front, which ensured four-fold superiority over the enemy. In each cavalry division of the first echelon, artillery was used mainly decentralized.

However, in the morning of June 5, when the regiments of the 3 Brigade of the 4 Cavalry Division were to attack the strong Ozerno stronghold, the horse-artillery division (12 guns) was used centrally. Platoons and batteries with crossfire destroyed wire obstacles, hit the Poles in the trenches, and then repelled a strong counterattack of the enemy cavalry. To 18.00, the red cavalry captured Ozerno.

With the breakthrough of the enemy’s defense, the Cavalry Army rapidly developed prosecution, and its artillery was used battalion-wise, platooned and even short-range, maneuvering and occasionally supporting squadrons and brigades with its fire.

The troops of the Western Front, having forced the Western Bug on the march, moved into pursuit in the direction of Warsaw. With access to the river, there was a lack of ammunition and forage. Due to the depletion of horses, artillery units lagged behind the infantry.

As the river was forced, resistance on the west bank intensified. And in mid-August, the situation began to change in favor of the enemy. It was especially difficult for the Western Front - whose troops were forced to begin a retreat, leading heavy and exhausting battles. With the withdrawal, she suffered losses and artillery. Fully killed shock artillery group.

The ending should ...
Articles from this series:
Red artillery in the Civil War. Part of 1
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  1. igordok
    igordok 13 May 2018 05: 50
    ... in the Gdov-Pskov direction, broke through the defenses of the 7 Army, on the 17 of May they captured Yamburg, and then the cities of Pskov and Yam.

    Yam and Yamburg are the names of one city. In those areas there are no more cities with the name Yam. Here are villages or villages with a similar name exist. For example, the village of Yamm, on the road between Narva and Pskov.
  2. Bouncer
    Bouncer 13 May 2018 08: 42
    Thank you for continuing an interesting cycle)
    features of the development of the artillery of the Red Army, which grew in the fire of the Civil War are clear and detailed
    Respect for the author
    1. kipage
      kipage 13 May 2018 12: 00
      Keep hi
  3. Serge72
    Serge72 13 May 2018 09: 22
    Details of the use of artillery of the Red Army
    Extremely interesting, ATP
  4. Hunghuz
    Hunghuz 13 May 2018 10: 40
    Valuable allowance. I read and read :) An interesting article.
  5. kipage
    kipage 13 May 2018 12: 02
    Of the new tasks that artillery first had to face (and it so happened that it was in the Civil War) is the fight against tanks.
    VET of our army - hails from those years
  6. Albatroz
    Albatroz 13 May 2018 13: 57
    The organization is flexible, nowhere more flexible
    focal databases, otherwise, with such powers, with the right war, it would have been tight
  7. hohol95
    hohol95 13 May 2018 14: 37
    In the second photo - a gun captured from parts of Yudenich - a 76-mm cannon of the 1900 model!

    By the beginning of World War I, there were 813 fortresses in the fortresses. three-inch guns mod. 1900 year. After the outbreak of war, the guns were used as guns of serf and field artillery, as well as anti-aircraft guns. In addition, during the war a certain number of guns mod. 1900 converted into shortened "anti-storm" guns.
    At the end of 1914, due to the shortage of three-inch guns of model 1902, the infantry divisions of the second stage began to replace them with three-inch guns of model 1900 (without shields) and even 87-mm guns of the mod. 1895 year.
  8. Sasha75
    Sasha75 13 May 2018 18: 46
    I would like to read about captured German German and Amer weapons, because they were at war and survived even before the Second World War. How was the supply of ammunition.
    1. avt
      avt 14 May 2018 12: 53
      Quote: Sasha75
      I would like to read about captured German German and Amer weapons, because they were at war and survived even before the Second World War. How was the supply of ammunition.

      Yes-ah-ah ... if the author gives out about trophies, well with what the Red Army finished the Civil, this will be a significant addition. good After the Civil one, such a “zoo” gathered diverse in all ,, weighted ”categories, which simply really became unclear how to deal with such a horde. bully
    2. hohol95
      hohol95 14 May 2018 13: 25
      Anatoly Sorokin
      White elephant of domestic artillery. History of the 152 mm Vickers English Siege Howitzer
      Equipment and armaments 2016 numbers 4 and 5.
      Available online!
      The traditional supplier of the Imperial Russian Army, the French company Schneider, could not provide assistance due to the heavy workload of orders for the armed forces of its country. A small batch of 16 150 mm Type 38 howitzers was delivered by Japan. Great Britain turned out to be more “generous”: in 1915, it agreed to sell 100 Vickers howitzers: eight of the ordered guns arrived at the end of 1916, and 92 at the beginning of 1917. They equipped 24 batteries of the letter M of special-purpose heavy artillery ( TAON), four guns in each battery. Thus, by August 1, 1917, there were 96 152-mm Vickers howitzers.

      In addition, non-standard cartridge loading and the installation of tools (especially the sight) greatly complicated the training of qualified personnel. Recall that the domestic mass of 122-mm and 152-mm howitzers-modernizers had a very similar design, and the sights were completely unified, which made it possible to immediately train artillery technicians, gunners, and artillerymen who performed the tasks of current calculators (then this mainly battery commanders). For the sake of hundreds of “white elephants”, among almost ten thousand guns of two standardized types, no additional information was clearly introduced into the personnel training course.
      Therefore, for the most part, British guns were mothballed, which explains their high safety - 92 units as of June 1941. For comparison: many times more 6-dm field howitzers of the Schneider arr. 1910, at the disposal of the Red Army after the Civil War, in peacetime due to wear and tear in the process of daily operation (training firing, etc.), by 1938 it had decreased so much that the modernization of the 152-mm howitzer mod. 1910/37 only about 100 guns passed.
      In anticipation of the impending large-scale war, the 152-mm Vickers howitzers were mostly mothballed. 67 guns of this type were in the West, and 25 - in the Kharkov military districts. Of the first 48, they belonged to the 124th howitzer artillery regiment of the RGC (attached to the 5th Rifle Corps) mentioned above, i.e. he was fully staffed by staff. The combat path of this unit was very short.
      On June 23, 1941, he was included in the Boldin horse-mechanized group in the Białystok region, not having provided enough ammunition. Because of this, the regiment conducted one artillery preparation, and the German aviation sent the convoy of vehicles sent for the ammunition. Already on June 25, the 124th regiment ceased to exist. One can only speculate about what happened to his guns. However, there are only two options: either howitzers were thrown and captured by the enemy, or irretrievably incapacitated by their calculations. The latter is more likely, since nothing is known about their designation in the Wehrmacht, which was received by the same type British (15,2 cm s.FH. 412 (e)), Dutch, Belgian and later Italian systems. On the other hand, such an index exists for equally small 152-mm howitzers arr. 1910/37 and even for 155 mm Schneider howitzers arr. 1917, inherited from the Polish army in 1939. Apparently, the remaining 152 mm Vickers howitzers in the Western Military District suffered the same fate.
      There is no information on the use of the remaining 25 guns of the Kharkov Military District. Even if they managed to evacuate, then in this case there was not too much benefit from them. The stockpiled ammunition for them was already of poor quality, in addition, some of them were lost in warehouses in the first months of the war. Added to this is the lack of trained personnel for the proper operation of these "white elephants" of Soviet artillery. But due to the lack of mention of the Soviet 152-mm Vickers howitzers in the Wehrmacht (the Finns didn’t capture them either), along with the fact that not a single copy of them survived to our time, we can assume that they were also irretrievably corrupted by the Red Army and remained on territory occupied by the enemy.
  9. Elena Bukreeva
    Elena Bukreeva 24 January 2020 18: 24
    Alexey, thank you very much for the article. In the process of preparing the publication about the events of the Civil War in the North Caucasus, additional sources were required about artillery, in particular about the 21st Perm Infantry Division, in which my grandfather fought. He is shown in the photograph you posted "Red Artillery on the Western Front." I beg you to write the sources from which book this photo was taken. In my family archive, the photo was photographed without mentioning the source, I will gladly share it with you, especially since the caption under the photo there is somewhat different. Thanks. Elena