Military Review

Emperor with engineering education

Grand Duke Nikolai Pavlovich (1820) - Future Emperor Nicholas I

Nicholas I, being one of the few Russian emperors with good engineering background, was seriously interested in weapons, repeatedly visited TOZ and even personally participated in the manufacture of three guns!

Studying the reign of Emperor Nicholas I, it is impossible not to note his great contribution to the arms industry. Nikolai Pavlovich - the first (after Peter I) Russian monarch, who received a good engineering education. Generally speaking, he never thought that he would become emperor, because according to the law, Prince Constantine was heir to the throne, but he refused to become the head of Russia. And 16 August 1823 g. Alexander I issued a manifesto on the appointment of the heir to the throne of his brother Nicholas, who 19 on November 1825 and took the throne.

According to contemporaries, Nicholas I led a healthy lifestyle: he did not smoke, did not drink, walked a lot, was distinguished by good memory and great performance. His working day lasted 16-18 h. About himself, he said: "I work like a slave in the galleys."

As for hunting, Emperor Nicholas I "... was not a passionate hunter, but at the same time was not alien to the entertainment of hunting." He loved to hunt deer and small game - hares, partridges, pheasants and ducks.

Nikolai Pavlovich was brought up in a spartan spirit. He was not a sissy - he slept on a narrow camp bed with a leather mattress full of hay, loved horse riding and was fearless and clever on horseback.

And by right his contemporaries called the Emperor Knight.

Having received an engineering education, the Grand Duke Nikolai Pavlovich could not help but be interested in the weapon business and, by the nature of his activity, and as a member of the imperial family, he regularly visited arms factories.

So, for the first time, he visited the Tula Arms Factory for July 28 1816. During this visit, he met with gunsmiths, examined samples made both at TOZ and gunsmiths-handicraftsmen. The Grand Duke took part in the welding of the barrel for the lancer fitting. This operation, he did a hammer, which at one time worked his grandmother Empress Catherine II. The prince also visited the arsenal, where he examined the rifle with great interest, in the “manufacturing” of which Catherine II participated (See “Arms” No.12 / 2010, “North Artemis Gun”), Nikolai Pavlovich visited the coal deposit in the area with. Great Tula province. And he was at that time only twenty years old.

Infantry rifle arr. 1826, the trunk for which Emperor Nicholas I brewed

French battery lock infantry gun arr. 1826

The Ulansky union, in which the Grand Duke Nikolai Pavlovich took part in the brewing of the barrel, remained in storage in the arsenal of TOZ. The fitting had a caliber 16,5 mm, barrel length - 322 mm, weight - 2,613 kg.

Each squadron ulan had 16 such fittings, the other soldiers were armed with two pistols or one smooth-bore carbine.

And later, Nikolai Pavlovich, even when he became the emperor of Russia, did not forget the Tula gunsmiths. After assuming the throne, less than a year after this momentous event (20 September 1826), he again visits Tula. This day began for him with an inspection of the arsenal and his weapon collection. Then the emperor went to the factory and in the most detailed way familiarized himself with the process of manufacturing weapons using manual and machine operations.

During the visit and inspection of the plant, Nikolay Pavlovich fully displayed his engineering vein. He took an active part in the implementation of several production processes: he cut the lock knobs on the press, squeezed out the word “Tula” and “1826 year” on another press, made a groove and hole in the bayonet tube. In conclusion, he took the hammer from the gunsmith's master and independently made the barrel for an infantry gun arr. 1826

View of the infantry gun arr. 1826 from above. The memorable inscription made by gold on the participation of Nicholas I in the manufacture of this gun is clearly visible.

View of the breech of the infantry gun arr. 1839 from above (above) and below (below). On the top image there is an inscription indicating the participation of Nicholas I in the work on this gun.

This gun has a French battery lock, a smooth barrel - round in the front and faceted - in a breech, a box with a long forearm and a cheek on the left side. The material of the trunk is steel, the surface is blued. Brass shelf with a ledge in the front. The sighting device is a brass oval fly, covered with gold foil and a slot in the screw shank in the breech.

The muzzle of the trunk below has a rectangular bayonet stop.

The brass rifle device is the tip of the forearm, connected to the stock ring, two stock rings, the trigger guard, pad for the locking screws and the butt plate. Antabuk steel, upper - on the top of the ring of the ring, lower - in front of the trigger guard.

The gun is equipped with a steel ramrod with a truncated cone-shaped head. A sample of the “nominal” - on the trunk is inscribed in gold: “Sovereign Imperial Nicholas 1 was examined by TS. September 20 backwater 1826 deigned to hit the hammer several times when welding the trunk. Pressing to press in the bayonet slot, on the keypad of Tula, in the trigger, a heart-shaped slot, on the back of the coat of arms, according to this sacred memory the plant made this gun ”.

On the blued part of the keypad in an oval, gold is applied: "Tula 1826". On the back of the plate: “Squeeze the sovereign,” a double-headed eagle under the crown.

On the breech of the trunk gold is applied: a double-headed eagle under the crown and HI (monogram of Emperor Nicholas I) and a ribbon from floral ornament.

A screw with two blades, a gun barrel and two hammers (the emblem of the city of Tula) are made on the propeller shank in the breech section. All this is placed in the ornament of military paraphernalia.

Caliber shotgun - 17,78 mm, weight without bayonet - 4,4 kg, weapon length - 1460 mm, barrel - 1050 mm.

During this second visit to TOZ, Nikolai Pavlovich became convinced of the interchangeability of the components and parts of the weapon. In 20-s. XIX century. among experts of other weapons factories there was the opinion that it was impossible to achieve interchangeability in weapons. However, Tula people had the opposite opinion, which they managed to prove to the emperor.

From a large number of rifle locks it was taken somewhat at random. Then they were disassembled into separate parts, which were moved in a random order. After that, the wizard easily collected weapons locks without additional fit and refinement. Locks installed on weapons, and they worked successfully. This experience once again confirmed the highest qualification of the Tula masters and their superiority over the masters of other plants. The arbitrator in this dispute was made by Nicholas I himself, and his engineering training allowed him to do so.

The third visit to Tula by the emperor took place in September 1842. On this visit, he brewed the barrel of an infantry rifle arr. 1839, which was different from the previous model of the new front sight, having a slightly larger size in the upper part. The gun was adopted by the Russian army by order of the Minister of War 1837, No. 17 of February 10, approved by the emperor. The specimen began to enter the army in 1839, and was taken out of service in 1844.

Caliber shotgun - 17,78 mm, weight without bayonet - 3,91 kg, weapon length - 1460 mm, barrel - 1050 mm.

Information about the time of manufacture and welding of the trunk by the emperor was applied to the gun, the state emblem and the imperial monogram were made. The place (Tula) and the time of manufacture (September 5 1842) are indicated. There are floral and geometric ornaments. Gilding was used for decoration.

Infantry guns of the 1826 model and 1839 were entered into the TOZ collection fund in 1873 and are now in the Tula State Museum of Weapons fund.

These two guns arr. 1826 and 1839 have once again confirmed the great importance of weapons production in the Tula region, the high qualification of gunsmiths and their creative enthusiasm.

At the same time, for the first time after Peter I, the emperor, well versed in technology and industrial production, became head of state.

Breech of the gun revolve 1839 g. Right view (top) and left view (bottom)
Photos used:
from the author's archive
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  1. Selevc
    Selevc 5 July 2013 08: 34
    This can only happen in Russia - the emperor personally made guns and at the end of his reign it turned out that the enemy had rifled guns and the Russians had smooth-bore guns !!!
    How can this be explained? Someone's malicious intent, sloppiness, betrayal, the machinations of the West ??? No - in Russia there are some things that have not changed for centuries - for example, the fact that power is somewhere in the clouds until the thunder strikes !!!
    1. Poppy
      Poppy 5 July 2013 10: 07
      in fact, it was just that Russia possessed the largest army at that time, rearmament took place, but it was a lot of money, therefore it was not instantaneous but stretched out for several years, in 3-4 years our army would have been invincible, therefore the British and those who joined them mongrels and attacked at this very moment, the only chance was to win, but even so got on the teeth and the goals of the war did not reach
    2. alicante11
      alicante11 6 July 2013 13: 48
      In fact, Russia also had threaded fittings in service, even the article says so. The problem with rifled weapons was that it took a very long time to reload. Since it was charged from the barrel, pushing a bullet through a rifled barrel was much more difficult than smooth. As a result, it was possible to shoot from a smooth-bore gun much more often than from a rifled one. Therefore, in battle, it was much more profitable than rifled. Moreover, in the battle formations of the main armies of that time, linear tactics still prevailed. And so the fittings were used by light infantry - skirmishers who acted in chains in front of the main forces. So really rifled weapons could not decide the fate of hostilities until the moment when the breech-loading rifled weapons appeared. It did not give much advantage to the allies during the Crimean campaign. It is possible that the sniper shots of the British and French caused a lot of trouble to our troops on the fortifications of Sevastopol during the siege war. But the rifled guns of that time obviously could not decide the outcome of the battles.
      Also, the steam engine of those times did not yet give a serious advantage over a good sailboat, since it enabled linear ships to sail at a speed of 2-5 knots. And the well-known armored batteries of the Franks generally could not go any long distance under the vehicles, as a result they were always dragged in tow.
      The problem of Russia was that two of the greatest powers of that time were sprinkled against it. That is why they had an advantage at sea. Although, frankly, at the World Cup at the beginning of the campaign, this advantage was not catastrophic. Moreover, the battleships of the allies were filled with troops and cargo, and giving them a battle was completely within the capabilities of our Black Sea Fleet. Even if he lost and suffered heavy losses, all the same, the landing would be disrupted, or, having suffered losses in a naval battle, would later be dumped into the sea by the army.
      Our opponents also chose a very successful strategy. They managed to force Russia to wage a colonial war on its territory. Crimea was very far from the main industrial and military centers of Russia. Therefore, in the absence of a railway, it was impossible to supply a large army there. Even the troops that were allocated were so expensive to supply that the Russian treasury became the main victims of this war. Here, the Russian open spaces turned to us a big minus. By the way, after half a century, the Japanese repeated the same strategy.
      So it’s not true to say that under Nicholas No. 1 Russia was a backward country - this is not true.
      1. anomalocaris
        anomalocaris 6 July 2013 14: 37
        Put about the fittings you are mistaken and thorough. It was the 40 years of the 19th century that systems were developed having a rate of smooth-bore guns.
        1. alicante11
          alicante11 6 July 2013 14: 59
          Well, mine-bullets aren’t comme il faut either. They are worse in accuracy of conventional fittings and, at the same time, nevertheless, are less rapid-fire than smooth-bore. In addition, only the British were able to fully rearm their troops with these guns, because they had a miserable army. The French, like us, used only light infantry. In principle, during the war, ours also brought the number of fittings to 26 per company. So on a global scale, nevertheless, these weapons could not affect the situation.
      2. The comment was deleted.
      3. anomalocaris
        anomalocaris 6 July 2013 14: 42
        Put about the fittings you are mistaken and thorough. It was the 40 years of the 19th century that systems were developed having a rate of smooth-bore guns.
  2. sergey72
    sergey72 5 July 2013 10: 38
    At this time, Prussia adopted the Dreise needle rifle (1840). On the whole, in the West there was an industrial revolution that resulted in the widest application of new machines and new methods of steel melting. Then think for yourself .....
    1. anomalocaris
      anomalocaris 6 July 2013 06: 11
      And what is Prussia in 1840? Yes, and the Draise rifle is quite a complex and very expensive unit, with reference to our time it can be compared with OICW. By the way, the army of Prussia was only able to fully re-equip with the Dreyze rifle, microscopic in comparison with the Russian, only after 18 years.
      The industrial revolution was not only in the west. A few years later, a completely different fleet and a completely different army could meet the allies.
  3. 755962
    755962 5 July 2013 12: 19
    In the life of Europe, Russia played a very large role precisely under Nicholas I ..
  4. Albert1988
    Albert1988 5 July 2013 12: 32
    Engineering education is good, but people will hardly call a good person "Palkin" or "Nicholas the ensign" ...
    1. Lopatov
      Lopatov 5 July 2013 12: 52
      "Kreakly" also existed in the Russian Empire. Who knows, maybe in a couple of hundred years someone will write "but it is unlikely that a good person will be called" Boteksny "
    2. skullcap
      skullcap 5 July 2013 18: 39
      Quote: Albert1988
      but it is unlikely that a good man will be called by the people "Palkin" or "Nicholas the ensign" ...

      So the Russian democrats barked at him, already then licked their boots to any European, especially English, owners.
      Agree: abuse from their side indicates that the man was decent.
  5. sergey72
    sergey72 5 July 2013 12: 35
    Sure sure. The Holy Union, participation in the Hungarian stabbing, Crimean War ..... The list goes on?
  6. Hort
    Hort 5 July 2013 12: 40
    17mm caliber fitting .. however.
  7. Sirius-2
    Sirius-2 5 July 2013 18: 26
    I read Tyurin's book "The Truth About Nicholas I. The Swindling Emperor". And I think that he was better than his brother Alexander I, and his descendants, especially Nicholas II.
    PS Please note: all strong sovereigns of Russia in Europe are hated. Ivan IV is also stigmatized for cruelty despite the fact that his contemporaries in Europe shed tens of times more blood.
  8. xomaNN
    xomaNN 5 July 2013 21: 20
    Basic education, all the more technical, adjusts a person to a systematic approach to solving life problems. so it was clearly not superfluous for the king. And the "cook who runs the state" - alas, the experience was not the most successful :))
  9. Mikhail
    Mikhail 5 July 2013 22: 55
    Nicholas I was one of the best emperors.
    He strangled all fighters for "people's happiness" - for this he is not seen.
    One of the Emperor’s main merits was the preservation of internal order, both in the Empire, and the pacification of the rebels in Europe, from where the entire revolutionary infection came to us. He managed to delay the death of the monarchy.
  10. anomalocaris
    anomalocaris 6 July 2013 06: 02
    The article is basically about nothing. He arrived, participated in the manufacture, knocked with a hammer, and then enthusiastically - and this is at twenty years old, and he could only thanks to the excellent engineering training !. I repeat - this is my impression of the article.
    Nikolay 1 is really not an ordinary person, a really talented engineer. He ruled in a crucial era, the tasks had to be solved very difficult ... And he was not a "stickin". If he were at least half the way the liberal intelligentsia describes him, there would be no one to describe. One story with Herzen is worth something, but I generally keep quiet about Pushkin (because he was still a type).
    About rearmament, I can say the following: the Allied expeditionary forces were armed with the most motley weapons. The same British adopted their Anfield only in 1853. In fact, they managed to rearm only the parts that participated in the war with Russia with this rifle, and even then not all. The rest were armed with a twin-thread Berner fitting. The French had about half the smooth and rifled weapons, and the rifled one was represented by as many as three samples - the chamber fitting of Delvigne arr. 1830, the improved Thierry in 1840, the rod fitting of Tuvenin arr. 1842, the Mignier rifle arr. 1849. True, the French had Neisler's bullets for smooth rifles, which increased their effective range by about half. The remaining adherents were armed with ordinary smooth rifles.
    In Russia, they experimented with rifled weapons. Flintlocks were actively remade under the capsule. By the way, the emperor himself actively participated in the development of the most promising model of an infantry rifle. Another conversation is that the industrial and economic base in the Empire of that time was lower than the plinth. But she also developed quite actively. So if a war happened, as was rightly noted above, about 5 years later, who knows where it would have ended. Perhaps, from old memory in Paris, maybe in Delhi, or, maybe, the hell, in London.
    In fact, enlightened and semi-enlightened navigators achieved success only in the Crimea (and even then, this "success" is more like a Pyrrhic victory). In the rest of their inclinations, they rather sensitively got in the teeth and fell off. The defeat in Crimea was caused by a combination of several factors, both geographic and political. In many ways, a separate "thank you" must be said to Austria-Hungary, which, by the way, Russia pulled out of a deep dupa in 1848.
  11. Pamir210
    Pamir210 6 July 2013 12: 12
    Good monarch
  12. Motors1991
    Motors1991 6 July 2013 15: 11
    In the battle on the Alma River, the allies were able to force the Russian army to retreat, by a maneuver along the seashore, the Russians simply did not have the strength to stretch the army along the front anymore. The ratio of forces in this battle was 33 thousand Russians against 67 thousand allies supported from the sea by the fleet. By the way, the poet and the artist T.G.Shevchenko from the serfdom was bought by the family of Nikolai Pavlovich, and not Karl Bryullov as we were told.
  13. Mika712
    Mika712 8 July 2013 19: 42
    No one was surprised by the senselessness of the king’s actions:

    > The Ulansky fitting, in which the Grand Duke Nikolai Pavlovich took part in welding the barrel, remained in storage in the TOZ arsenal.

    Those. people tried, forged weapons. The king arrived, poked with a hammer - and the fitting went dusting into the museum.