Russian historians — tsarist, Soviet, and modern — are considered history Cossacks as a whole. In fact, one should fundamentally distinguish between historical periods before and after the subordination of the Cossacks to imperial power. For the Don Cossacks - this is 10 – 50-th year of the XVIII century. For the Little Russian Cossack regiments, this is the time they were reorganized into land forces and regular army regiments in the middle of the 18th century. Well, the Cossacks remained "Square" until the defeat of Sich in 1775.
The transition of the Cossacks under the authority of the empire made drastic changes in all aspects of the life of the Cossacks. After all, before this, free Cossacks — the Don, Little Russia, and Zaporizhia — were then independent, then vassal state formations, which pursued an independent foreign policy and fought on their own. There was democracy at all levels — on the circle or in the parliament, colonels and chieftains were elected. All this is a thing of the past with the subordination of the empire.
Cossack artillery of the end of the XVIII - beginning of the XX century differed little from the usual field artillery. But the Cossack artillery of the XV – XVIII centuries had no analogues in the history of Russia, and, possibly, of the world.
Well, where did the Cossacks and the Donians get their material part for the first time? From the Italians. Did they really go to distant Italy to buy bombers and arquebus? Not at all. From 1204 to 1475, the Black Sea was an Italian lake. By the way, the Italians themselves called the former Russian Sea (the name of the Arabs of the 8th – 10th centuries) the Great Sea. The Genoese and Venetians founded dozens of colonial cities on its coast from the mouth of the Danube to Batum.
By the end of the 14th century, cannons appeared on Italian ships in the Black Sea. So, on the Genoese merchant ships of the coca type with a displacement of 300 – 500 tons in 1399 – 1400. It was supposed to have three bombers (type of guns), three ballista and 35 crossbows.
Cossacks seized Italian weapon like the Italians themselves (on ships and in fortresses), and the Turks, who widely used Italian tools.
The Cossacks did not need large bombardments, and they were content with small muzzle and breech-loading guns. At the turn of the XIV – XV centuries, breech-loading guns with piston, screw and wedge gates became widespread in Europe. Often used tools with plug-in cameras.
A sample of the ship’s iron breech-loading cannon of the 15th – 16th centuries is now in the museum of the city of Azov.
The gun was made by the Italians or by the Turks. Caliber cannon about 60 mm. The length of the channel 79, see. And the full length of the trunk 110, see. The entrance chamber to the gun is lost. Note that for communication with the machine gun equipped with a small primitive pins and two eyes. Barrel fastened screw rod.
Close to the device and two breech-loading guns, exhibited in the museum of the city of Saki. Characteristic differences: more powerful pins, and one of them even has a swivel, and both have in-built charging chambers.
In the 16th century, breech-loading guns were abandoned both in Europe and in the Ottoman Empire. The main reason for this is the poor obturation and, accordingly, a large gas breakthrough in the bolt, as well as the lower strength of the breech breeders as compared to the muzzle-loading ones.
The main guns of the Cossack artillery in the XVI century are small guns (falconet) caliber 2 – 3 pounds, as well as small mortars with caliber 40 – 120 mm.
Guns and mortars were cast from copper, less often - from cast iron. I note that it is much more common for us to get cast-iron implements than copper ones. Copper is too expensive metal.
The photo shows two 3-pound falconets from the Museum of Zaporizhzhya Sich on the island of Khortytsya. They already have normal trunnions and swivels. Horizontal and vertical guidance is carried out manually with the help of an iron tail.
But the Cossack trophy is a Polish cannon cast in Lviv at the beginning of the 17th century. Its caliber is 95 mm.
In the campaign, such artillery easily fell on horses, and was transferred by hand to the battlefield. It was no less easily installed on the canoes (mostly on swivels), and in defense - on the wagons forming the camp (Wagenburg). From guns and falconet shooting was conducted by the cores and the grape-shot, and from the mortars - by the grape-shot and explosive grenades. Mortirki on "gulls" and on the ground installed on wooden decks.
Here are a couple of examples of using Cossack artillery. 22 April 1648 Bogdan Khmelnitsky with the army left the camp and moved towards the Poles. Without any problems, the Cossacks captured the Kodak fortress and moved to the channel of the Yellow Waters.
Crown hetman Nikolai Pototsky divided his army. One part of it, numbering from 4000 to 5000 people, consisted of the registered Cossacks and the so-called German infantry. They moved in boats on the Dnieper. 26 cannons and falconet caliber 2 – 3 pounds were installed on the boats.
3 May registered Cossacks and the "German infantry" moored to the right bank of the Dnieper at the Stone backwater. Here the Sich Cossacks met with the registry and popularly explained the situation to them. A few hours later, the registry and the “Germans” mutinied and killed their commanders Barabash, Vadovsky, Ilyash and others, and their corpses were thrown into the Dnieper.
4 May registered Cossacks joined the army of Bogdan: they were brought to the Yellow Waters at the request of Khmelnitsky on the horses of Khan Tugay-bey and on the same day entered the Cossack camp on the left bank of the Yellow Waters. On large boats, on which the registered Cossacks sailed along the Dnieper, stood 26 cannons of the 2 – 3 caliber. Bogdan ordered to immediately produce for them a primitive wooden machine with two wheels and oglobelnyk chuck, which harnessed one horse. Khmelnitsky identified the best Zaporozhye shooters as a servant to these guns. As the chronicle reads: “These newly appointed gunners fired armatics as skillfully as they did from muskets.”
16 May Khmelnitsky army and Tatars Tugay Bey came together at Corsun with the crown army. Lyahi were utterly broken. Both hetmans, Nikolai Pototsky, the captain, and Kalinovsky, a full-field officer, lost 127 officers, 8520 privates and 41 cannon.
And here is an example of an unsuccessful for the Cossacks 18 battle of June 1651 near the town of Berestechko on the River Styr. On the scale of that time, the forces of the opponents were very large: 150 thousands of Poles, including 20 thousands of German mercenaries, and almost 100 thousands of Cossacks with 50 thousands of Tatars. The battle began on 18 June 1651 and lasted several days. The Tatars, encountering strong resistance from well-trained German mercenaries, fled. The Cossacks entrenched themselves, built a wagenburg, in which they successfully placed the guns. The Cossacks for several days repelled the attacks of the Poles, but were forced to withdraw. According to various sources, on the battlefield remains from 7 to 30 thousands of dead Cossacks and Tatars. It should be noted that only 28 from 115 Cossack guns became the trophies of the Poles, which is evidence of the large mobility of the Cossack artillery.
The situation with artillery was somewhat different in the regiments of the Little Russian Cossacks. These regiments began to form at the end of the 16th century and formally submitted to the Polish crown. In fact, these were semi-independent units. Starting with 1648, the Little Russian regiments periodically took the oath either to the Poles, then to the Russians and even to the Turkish sultan.
Since the time of the Russian-Polish “eternal peace” 1686, the Left-Bank Ukraine (Little Russia) has finally been assigned to the Russian state. But Little Russian Cossack regiments retain their autonomy until the final abolition of Hetman Catherine the Great.
It is curious that for each regiment an order for the manufacture of artillery was given by his colonel. He also determined the caliber, weight and dimensions of the gun. And in most cases, on the breech, the coats of arms and the names of these colonels were minted. I note that the centuries-old pedigrees and coats of arms of the sons of the swineherd dogs were acquired with the help of several Jewish offices, the main one of which was in Berdichev.
Indicator of the power of the Little Russian artillery was the assault on Baturin. Taking the fortress, Menshikov brought out 70 (!) Cannons, and several dozen heavy cannons and mortars blew up or riveted, fearing the Swedes approaching Baturin. With such artillery Baturin could stay for several months. Another question is that the Little Russian Cossacks for the most part did not want to fight with the Russian tsar.
From the middle of the 18th century, artillery for the Zaporizhia and Little Russian Cossacks was manufactured in the cities of Nezhin, Seversk and Glukhov. Thus, in Glukhov, a large cannon courtyard with an area of about 6 hectares was built, enclosed by an earthen rampart. From the end of the 17th century and until 1735, famous masters Iosif Balashevich and then his son Karp poured cannons in Glukhov.
In Chernihiv Museum there are two Glukhov guns cast by Karp Balashevich. The first of them was cast in 1713 on the order of the Hadian Colonel Ivan Chernysh. The gun had its own name "Nightingale". Its caliber is 48 mm, body length 95 cm, weight 3 pounds (49,2 kg).
The second gun was made by order of the next gadiyatsky colonel Mikhail Miloradovich in 1717. Its caliber is 88 mm, the length without wine is 127, see Weight 16 pounds (264 kg).
On the breech of both cannons - the coats of arms and the names of both gadiat colonels.
The oldest of the remaining Glukhov guns is considered to be pishchal, cast in 1692, the mother of Joseph Balashevich. Its caliber is 83 mm, length is 239 cm, that is, 28,8 caliber. Weight 360 kg.
In 1871, the pishchal was transferred from the Nicholas Fortress to the Artillery Museum. Now she is in the Naval Museum in St. Petersburg.
The Artillery Museum exhibits a barrel of an 3-grivna copper cannon, cast in 1697 in Glukhov by master Karp Iosifovich. Its caliber is 70 mm, barrel length is 271 cm, that is, 38,7 caliber. Weight 389 kg.
At the muzzle, the barrel has a molded bulge on which the front sight is located. Behind the muzzle thickening is a belt made of floral ornament. The characteristic difference is food - on both sides of the muzzle part there are ring-shaped brackets used when installing the gun on the carriage. The entire muzzle of the gun is decorated with an ornament in the form of fish scales.
In the middle of the gun there are trunnions and dolphins, made in the form of dragons, as well as several cast belts.
Below the dolphins we read the inscription: “For the happy regency of the cleverness of his grace, Pan Ionn Mazepa, the hetman, the troops of his royal majesty Majesty Zaporozhye cast this armata in Glukhov to the city of Konotop on 1697 rock”. Under the inscription "23 pu 30 fu fu".
The barrel is mounted on a sham cast iron two-sided gun carriage manufactured in 1850 – 1851. by architect Gemiliana.
Of particular interest is the gun "Lion", cast in Glukhov in 1705, by Karp Balashevich. Now she is in the Moscow Kremlin near the Arsenal building.
Caliber 125 guns mm, barrel length full 3890 mm, weight 3 tons. The surface of the gun barrel is divided into three parts with friezes and the whole - from the muzzle to the torus - is decorated with images of various exotic flowers and fruits.
On the right side of the channel there is a cast image of a lion with a core. On the breech - the inscription in Latin and the cast coat of arms of the hetman Little Russia Ivan
Mazepa, surrounded by the letters "A. HER. THEM. V.TS. B.Z, which means the initial letters of the words of his full title.
Dolphins are massive, made in the form of fantastic two-headed fish. The ends of the trunnions are decorated with floral patterns.
Tortel is flat, with cast floral ornament. At the top of the torus there is a small tide, which served as a sight.
Vingrad has a domed shape and is covered with peas.
The cannon is located on a decorative cast iron carriage, cast in 1835.
The Lion did not attract the particular attention of historians, until in 1980, during the repair of the Kremlin guns, members of the Academy. Dzerzhinsky did not find out that she was ... charged, and this was done at the very beginning of the XVIII century. The gun protected some kind of Ukrainian fortress, either from the troops of Charles XII, or from the troops of Peter I, and it was charged with a special charge to repel the assault.
As already mentioned, the caliber of the Lion cannon is about 125 mm. Charging chamber, as expected, the gun does not. The bottom of the channel is rounded. Initially, a powder charge was filled into the channel, then a wooden wad, 163 mm long, was hammered, then a cast-iron core with a diameter of 91 mm was inserted, then it was closed again with a wooden wad 166 mm long. And then the charge of the big grapeshot was delivered, and the bullets were spherical cast-iron with a diameter of 23 mm and 30 mm. The bullets were obviously not enough, and they added several stones ranging in size from 70 to 40 mm. To prevent stones and bullets from flying out, the third wooden wad, 183 mm in length, was the last to score in the barrel.
After the end of hostilities, they forgot to defuse the cannon, and she still stood the charged 271 year. Almost all the old guns stored in the open air are filled with cigarette butts. Imagine a funny picture - in the 1930 – 1940-s, some kind of “toppler” would have thrust an unbrowned charcoal into the “Lion” firing hole. I would have shot a shot ...
That would add to the concerns of the NKVD! .