Between two wars 1913-1915
Balkan Wars a lot of artillery stuffs were consumed, wasted or damaged. In
order to improve their state the
Bulgarian Artillery Inspection intended to supply the Army with weapons and
ammunition through imports from foreign countries, and through the repairing
and manufacturing capacities of the
In order to rearm the Army the Artillery Inspection prepared a plan that provided :
1. to replace not quick firing guns with quick firing ones;
2. to buy an adequate number of mountain guns and field howitzers;
3. to assure to every gun 700 – 1000 shells according to the model and the calibre;
4. to arm the infantry only with modern Mannlicher magazine rifles and carbines;
5. to increase until to 700 the number of the heavy machine-guns.
To achieve this goal 329,756,550 leva were needed,
but in 1914 only 102,000,000 leva were granted. On the basis of this sum,
orders were made in
As a result of the reduced possibility to receive supplies from
foreign countries, became inevitable to rely on the repair of the out of
order weapons, a task assigned to the technical service of the artillery.
Owing to the load of the work to carry out, the Artillery Inspector asked to
the War Ministry that the military budget allowed changes in its structure
and organization. In August 1914 at the artillery arsenal in
Thanks of this great effort and in spite of the impossibility of purchasing weapons abroad, the Bulgarian artillery was able not only to replace the losses suffered during the Interallied War (at least 138 pieces), but also to increase the number of its guns, especially the quick firing ones. After the war gradually one division in every not-quick-firing artillery regiment received modern Krupp guns, captured from the Turks. However the lack of guns did not allowed replacing also the second division, and in September 1915 each divisional artillery brigade had two quick-firing regiments and only one not-quick-firing artillery division. Nevertheless the authorized establishments were not reached, and at the beginning of the war some Infantry Divisions had only 9 quick-firing field batteries, instead of the planned 12, and some batteries had only 3 guns, instead of 4.
The situation of mountain artillery and field howitzers was even worse. Although during the war mountain batteries proved to be very useful not only in broken terrain, but also as accompanying batteries, thanks to their great mobility, only 11 guns could be added to the Army. As for field howitzers, in 1913 general Savov had concluded that one division (3 batteries) per Army was insufficient, and should be proper to have two divisions attached to every Army. Consequently 11 batteries of 120mm Schneider field howitzers were ordered, but at the outbreak of World War 1, the French Army cancelled the contract, and in 1915 seized the howitzers that were assigned to the Armée d’Orient and to the Serbian Army.
Thanks to the modern 150mm heavy howitzers and 105mm long guns captured at Odrin the situation of siege artillery was greatly improved : not only the number of the heavy artillery pieces increased from 70 to 91, but also 26 of them were quick-firing Krupp pieces. Unfortunately out of the 18 howitzers and 18 guns captured, only 14 and 12 respectively could be repaired. Since the long range gun with a curved trajectory and high explosive shell proved to be very useful during the previous wars, they were assigned to the fortress artillery regiments deployed along the Serbian border. The 12 long guns were shared among six two-pieces batteries, assigned two to every fortress artillery regiment.
of ammunition was more critical. At the beginning of the mobilisation, the
Bulgarian field artillery had approximately
1064 rounds per gun. During the war against
Already in October and November
In March 1913, the Bulgarian Army decided to order shrapnel (25,000 for 75mm field guns, 15,000 for 75mm mountain guns, 14,000 for 120mm field howitzers and 2,800 for 150mm heavy howitzers) and H.E. shells (20,000 for 120mm field howitzers and 4,320 for 150mm heavy howitzers). As usually three firms were contacted : Schneider, Krupp and Ehrhardt. Schneider offered the lower price (7,315,000 leva, against 7,550,000 leva for Krupp and 7,390,000 leva for Ehrhardt), but the contract was not signed, since the Artillery Inspector preferred to break up the order, and give to each firm an order for the ammunition for which it asked the lowest price.
During the Balkan Wars and after their end,
1. in an eventual war how long could last the ammunition available at that time?
2. how many ammunition could be at disposal at the beginning of the military operations?
3. what would be the monthly needs of ammunition in wartime?
General Naydenov answered that, on the basis of the experience of the Balkan War, the ammunition available could be enough only for two months, but he specified that, since at that time the war had a world-wide proportion, without doubt the waste of ammunition would have been heavier. This meant that Bulgarian artillery was not ready for a new war. In the event of a war the Bulgarian General Staff considered that should be required 1500 round per gun. Recalling the difficulties to purchase weapons and ammunition since the main powers were involved in a great war, general Naydenov stressed that by any means the government should regularly assure enough supplies to the Army, otherwise it would be able even to defend the border.
The Minister of War reassured the Artillery Inspector, saying that if
In September 1915 at the declaration of the general mobilization, the
ammunition available were greatly decreased compared to the beginning of the