Romanian guns

 

 

In 1913 during the war against Bulgaria, the Romanian Army mobilised 5 Army Corps with 10 Infantry Divisions and 5 Reserve Divisions, 3 reserve brigades, 2 cavalry divisions, and 1 Calarashi brigade with 247 infantry battalions, 93 cavalry squadrons, 180 artillery batteries. As a whole it deployed 10 600 officers and 460 000 NCOs and privates.

The artillery mobilised :

-     6 horse artillery batteries with 24 75mm Krupp QF guns with 1100 rounds each;

-     135 field artillery batteries with 540 75mm Krupp QF guns with 1100 rounds each;

-     7 field artillery batteries with 42 87mm Krupp guns;

-     4 mountain artillery batteries with 16 75mm Schneider QF guns with 560 rounds each;

-     3 mountain artillery batteries with 12 63.5mm Armstrong guns with 360 rounds each;

-     15 field howitzers batteries with 60 105mm Krupp QF howitzers with 800 rounds each;

-     8 field howitzers batteries with 32 120mm Krupp howitzers with 500 rounds each;

-     2 heavy field howitzers batteries with 8 150mm Schneider QF howitzers with 260 rounds each.

On 15 August 1916 entering the World War I, the Romanian Army had :

-     1 horse artillery regiment with 24 - 75mm Krupp M. 1908;

-     25 field artillery regiments with 600 - 75mm Krupp M. 1904 and M 1907 QF guns (360 - 75mm Krupp M. 1904 and 240 - 75mm Krupp M. 1908 QF guns) with 1430 rounds each;

-     3 field artillery batteries with 12 - Schneider M. 1904 QF guns assigned to Tutrakan strongpoint

-     39 field artillery batteries with 234 87mm Krupp M. 1880 slow firing field guns with 570 rounds each;

-     6 mountain artillery batteries with 24 - Schneider M. 1912 QF guns with 560 rounds each;

-     4 mountain artillery batteries with 16 - 63.5mm Armstrong M. 1883 slow firing guns with 980 rounds each;

-     3 mountain artillery batteries with 18 - 57mm Krupp QF guns with 300 rounds each (3 more batteries were organised in October 1916);

-     5 field howitzers regiments with 120 105mm Krupp M. 1912 QF howitzers with 900 rounds each;

-     4 field howitzers division with 32 - 120mm Krupp M. 1901 field howitzers with 830 rounds each;

-     2 field howitzers batteries with 8 - 150mm Schneider-Creusot M. 1912 howitzers;

-     1 Siege Artillery Brigade with three regiment (26 batteries) armed with:

60 105mm Krupp,

30 150mm Krupp and 155mm De Bange heavy guns,

10 152.4mm M. 1884 Armstrong heavy guns

4 210mm Krupp M. 1885 mortars,

-     20 position batteries;

-     26 fixed batteries in the fortresses of Tutrakan, Silistria and Cernavoda.

 

The main problem was the creation of a heavy field artillery. In November 1915 3 siege artillery regiments with 26 batteries were raised and armed with old guns taken from the fortresses and mounted on improvised field carriages. In July 1916 a 4th siege artillery regiment was raised and armed with French guns. It was composed by 3 batteries with 120mm De Bange Long guns and 3 batteries with 120mm Bacquet short guns with 800 rounds each. The guns arrived in August, and at the beginning of September the regiment was fully operative. In September 13 more batteries were raised, 5 armed with 120mm howitzers M. 1888/1916, and 8 with 120mm De Bange Long guns. Finally in October 1916 two more regiments were raised, 5th regiment with 6 210mm howitzers and 6th regiment with 6 150mm heavy guns batteries.

On 15 August 1916 the Military Arsenal was still working to convert 104 fortress guns into heavy fields pieces : 29 120mm howitzers M. 1888, 12 120mm mortars M. 1887, 31 150mm guns in armoured cupolas, and 32 120mm howitzers M. 1888. As fortress artillery remained only 192 guns in the Bukarest strongpoint (111 57mm, 24 87mm M.1880, 57 150mm in armoured cupolas), and 249 pieces in the fortified line of the Sereth (211 37mm guns M. 1887, 7 120mm guns M. 1885, 7 120mm howitzers M.1888, 24 120mm mortars M. 1887). In the Dobrudja fortifications (the fortresses of Tutrakan and Silistria, and the Cernavoda bridgehead) were armed with 21 fixed batteries, 52 guns in armoured cupolas, 8 heavy guns, 10 howitzers, and 6 mortars.

 

On the whole the Romanian Army could field 379 batteries, of which 233 were armed with quick firing guns. In order to increase the strength of quick firing field artillery most of the 53mm and 57mm fortification guns were removed from their positions, fitted with improvised carriages manufactured in the Army arsenal, and issued to newly-raised six-guns batteries (5 armed with 57mm and 50 with 53mm Gruson QF guns) assigned to the Infantry Brigades. The Air Defense Corps was established in 1916 and comprised 60 57mm and 53mm guns (40 on mobile carriage Model Lt.Col. Gabriel Negrei and 20 on pivot Model Lt.Col. Stefan Burileanu), and 45 75mm M. 1880 guns mounted on special platforms. As antiaircraft guns there were also 4 Deport 75mm M. 1911, purchased in December 1914 in Italy, and 4 Puteaux 75mm M. 1897 quick-firing field guns put on Berliet trucks, purchased in 1915 in France.

 

During the 1916 campaign Romanian Army lost at least 450 guns and howitzers, of them almost 150 were captured by the Bulgarian Army in Tutrakan. Some more were captured in Silistria and during the pursuit to Bukarest. Since artillery materiel used by Romanians was generally the same used by Bulgarian army, it is very likely that some of the captured guns were used by the Bulgarian troops. There are also some evidences : for instance Nikola Nedev in his book about Doiran affirmed that in 1918 1st Makedonska Brigade used two 105mm heavy guns captured in Tutrakan (p. 243 of the French edition), while 12th Infantry Division had at least one battery armed with 75mm Romanian field guns.

 

 

 

Captured Romanian fortress guns

Captured Romanian mortars