Infantry Guns & Mountain Guns

 

 

37 K/14 Obuhov

(37 mm gun model 1914 Obuhov)

37 K/15 Rosenberg

(37 mm gun model 1915 Rosenberg)

 

PICTURE: 37 mm Obuhov M/14 infantry gun. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (32 KB).

37 mm K/14 Obuhov

Calibre:

37 mm x 94 R

Length:

?

Barrel length:

L/20, bore part 62 cm

Weight in action:

300 kg

Fire-rate:

?

Muzzle velocity:

?

Magazine:

None

Traverse:

?

Elevation:

?

Max. range:

?

Width:

?

Height:

?

Country of origin:

Russia

Ammunition types

HE (no longer used 1939)

APHE + APHE-T (not early on)

AP, AP-T (not early on)

Grape shot (no longer used 1939)

Finnish use: Small number captured in 1918. Dedicated as emergency antitank-weapons and used as such during early Winter War, but soon found unsuccessful and removed from use.

PICTURE: Closer look behind gun shield of 37 mm Obuhov M/14 infantry gun. The artillery sighting scope is missing, only hole of bolt used to attach it is visible in foreground right. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (39 KB).

37-mm Obuhov (also written Obuhof or Obuhoff sometimes) infantry gun can be considered quite eccentric design. Sliding wedge breech and box-trail are not anything special, but recoil system based on spring around the barrel is not what one sees everyday in artillery weapons. Combined with very large disc wheels and very high gun shield this gives the gun sort of a "toy gun" look. Short barrel had 12-groove rifling and offered reasonable muzzle velocity with ammunition used. Artillery sighting scope was used as main sighting system. However the actual aiming system seems quite an archaic ad-hoc system compared to later designs. Sights were adjustable to ranges 0 - 23 cables (cable = about 185 meters) and also to 0 - 575 points (1 point being 1/1000 of the distance). Gun shield is two-part structure and its upper & lower parts are attached to each other with hinges and a latch. Like guns of its time typically, this gun was also designed to be horse-towed and had small caisson/limber for that.

PICTURE: 37 mm Rosenberg M/15 infantry gun. Front sight is the upwards pointing spike right next to barrel. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (49 KB).

37 mm K/15 Rosenberg

Calibre:

37 mm x 94 R

Length:

160 cm

Barrel length:

L/19, bore part 62 cm

Weight in action:

180,1 kg

Fire-rate:

?

Muzzle velocity:

442,1 m/sec

Magazine:

None

Traverse:

?

Elevation:

+ 5 degrees, + 15 degrees

Max. range:

3200 m

Width:

100 cm

Height:

100 cm

Country of origin:

Russia

Ammunition types

HE (no longer used 1939)

APHE + APHE-T (not early on)

AP, AP-T (not early on)

Grape shot (no longer used 1939)

Finnish use: Small number captured in 1918. Dedicated as emergency antitank-weapons and used as such during early Winter War, but soon removed from use after being found unsuccessful.

PICTURE: 37 mm Rosenberg M/15 infantry gun seen from the left side. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (25 KB).

37-mm Rosenberg uses same ammunition as the Obuhov one, but is the extent of similar qualities. Rosenberg M/15 could be described as 37 mm no-nonsense basic infantry gun simplified to (maybe too) extreme. Compared to Obuhov-gun this gun has slightly shorter barrel with bore of similar length and rifling of 12 grooves. It also have very simple iron sights adjustable to 0 - 5400 arschen (old measurument used in Imperial Russia, known as "arsina" in Finland, one arschen = 0.71 meters) and screw breech with 90-degree turn. Small box trail is partly made from wood and recoil system uses rubber rings to soften up the recoil. Gun shield is two-part structure with upper & lower part. Like typical horse-towed guns of its time this gun also has small caisson/limber.

PICTURE: Closer look behind gun shield of 37 mm Rosenberg M/15 infantry gun. The circular things in middle of photo are rubber rings in a guiding bolt used as recoil dampening system. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (32 KB).

The Finns captured these quite primitive infantry guns from Russians in Finnish Civil War of 1918. Presumably Russians had introduced them to use of their Army during WW1. After War of 1918 the guns remained in use of Finnish Army and were mistakenly considered suitable as antitank weapons in 1930's and even included in amount of antitank guns (along with 37 mm K/36 Bofors at-guns) before Winter War. Once fighting started their ineffectiveness as antitank-guns become soon apparent and the ones issued to battle-units were swiftly removed from frontline service. That was the last time the Finns used these guns.

Number of 37-mm infantry guns in Finnish use just after Winter War:

15

M/14 Obuhov

8

M/15 Rosenberg

23

Total

Armour penetration:

Information about ammunition of these guns suggests, that while the Finns early on had to rely captured Russian ammunition for these guns later on the ammunition inventory became much more versatile. This can only have resulted buying and/or manufacturing new ammunition for them. The late 1930's ammunition listing is very heavily focused in armour piercing ammunition, for which the same ammunition also being used in FT-17 light tanks might be a factor. The manual from 1926 still lists only ammunition types as high-exposive (HE) with shells with concussion and delay fuses, armour piercing (AP) ammunition and grape shot. The ammunition manual from 1939 (Lyhennetty tykistö ampumatarvikenomenklatuuri) on the other hand contains only armour piercing (AP), armour piercing tracer (AP-T), armour piercing high explosive (APHE) and armour piercing high explosive tracer (APHE-T) ammunition.

Details from ammunition for 37-mm infantry guns listed in "Jalkaväkitykit 1926" manual:

  • Weight of HE-projectile: 512 grams
  • Explosive charge contained by HE-projectile: 17 grams
  • Weight of cartridge case: 210 grams
  • Gunpowder charge of cartridge: 38 grams
  • Total weight of grape shot cartridge: 1.125 g
  • Structure of grape shot projectile was brass jacket filled with pellets moulded to paraffin. Time delay fuse had maximum setting of 8 seconds, which was divided evenly to 32 settings (one setting every quarter of a second). Ammunition listed in here was same as used with 37 Psv K/18 (Puteaux) guns of FT-17 tanks and 37 ItK/Maxim AA-guns (also known as 37/30-M by Coastal Artillery) mainly used by Coastal Artillery.

     

    76 LK/10

    (76 mm shortened gun model 1910)

    (3" protivotshturmovaja pushka, sistemy Schneidera)

    PICTURE: Finnish soldiers practicing with 76 LK/10 guns. Photo probably from early 1920's. (Photo owned by Jaeger Platoon Website). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (82 KB).

    Calibre:

    76,2 mm x 191 R

    Barrel length:

    137,2 cm aka L/16.5

    Weight in action:

    528 kg

    Muzzle velocity:

    371 - 380 m/sec

    Traverse:

    ?

    Elevation:

    ? (for direct fire only)

    Max. range:

    2500 m

    Ammunition weight:

    6,35 - 6,78kg

    Ammunition types:

    HE, shrapnel

    Country of origin:

    Russia

    Finnish use: 49 captured in 1918 and modified as 76 LK/10/13 in early 1920's.

    So called Counter-attack gun of Imperial Russia based to French Schneider design. Basically the gun was light gun designed to shoot direct fire towards attacking enemy infantry and cavalry. This gun had cartridge-shot kind ammunition type of its own. Basic structure of the gun was the usual one of that era with pole trail, screw breech and wood wheels with steel hoops. Gun was also based to Schneider designed 76 mm infantry gun 1913, presumably Russians had wanted a lighter version for direct fire use, so this version had been developed. The gun was quite light indeed, but its usefulness was also quite limited. According Finnish experience the guns could be used for indirect fire also, but using them that way was very inconvenient.

    Finnish Red Guard used these guns in relatively large numbers during Finnish Civil War of 1918. The Finns (Finnish White Army that is) captured 49 of these guns during that war. In early 1920's their carriages were replaced with Finnish made carriages of 76 LK/13, thus making them 76 LK/10/13, which was comparable to 76 LK/13.

    PICTURE: Carriage of 76 LK/10 equipped with wooden "barrel". This combination commonly known as "Pastori" (= reverend) was used to practice towing gun with horses. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (42 KB).

    The remaining 76 LK/10 carriages were equipped with dud wooden barrels and used for towing training equipment, in this use they earned nickname "pastori" (reverend). When Winter War started only three 76 LK/10 remained and they didn't see any use in WW2.

     

    76 LK/13 and 76 LK/10/13

    (76 mm shortened gun model 1913 and 76 mm shortened gun model 1910/1913)

    (76 mm gornaja pushka obr. 1913 g.)

    PICTURE: 76 LK/13 infantry gun. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (43 KB).

    Calibre:

    76,2 mm x 191 R

    Barrel length:

    125,7 cm aka L/16.5

    Weight in action:

    627 kg

    Muzzle velocity:

    371 - 380 m/sec

    Traverse:

    4,5 degrees

    Elevation:

    - 6 degrees, + 28 degrees

    Max. range:

    6500 - 7000 m

    Ammunition weight:

    6,35 - 6,78kg

    Ammunition types:

    HE, HEAT + HEAT-T (1944), AP-T (1942), shrapnel

    Country of origin:

    Russia

    Finnish use: Year 1918 5 guns 76 LK/13 captured and 45 more bought later that year. Two more of them bought in 1931. About 40 guns 76 LK/10 were also modified to 76 LK/10/13 in early 1920's. Combined these two very similar gun types composed the second most numerous gun-type used in Winter War by Finnish troops. Also used (mostly for direct-fire use) during Continuation War.

    - Counted from "Panssarintorjuntayksiköiden ohjesääntö, II2 osa" (HEAT, projectile weight 4,80 kg, 320 m/sec)(**):

    War:

    Shots fired:

    Winter War (1939 - 1940)

    85,774

    Continuation War (1941 - 1944)

    107,123

    Total

    192,897

    76 LK/13 was further development, which French Schneider factory developed from their earlier mountain gun design 76 VK/09 also made for Russia. Barrel was similar as in 76 LK/10, but the more robust carriage was a clear improvement. The large difference between this gun and earlier 76 LK/10 was that it was capable to indirect fire also. Russians used these guns in mountain gun like manner. Aiming system included artillery-sighting telescope. Breech was screw breech and wheels were wood wheels with steel hoops. Soviets developed their 76 mm regimental gun model 1927 from this gun.

    PICTURE: Closer look behind gun shield of 76 LK/13 infantry gun. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (44 KB).

    Finns captured only 5 of 76 LK/13 guns in Civil War of 1918, but as 45 more bought from Germany still in that same year their number become substantial. Two more guns were bought with Transbaltic Oy deals in year 1931. When also all 76 LK/10 guns were modified as 76 LK/10/13 in early 1920's by replacing original carriage with 76 LK/13 type carriage of Finnish manufacture the amount become even larger. Gun carriages used in modification were made by firms "Crichton-Vulcan" and "Siltarakennus Oy" in city of Turku. Finnish artillery used 76 LK/13 and 76 LK/10/13 as mixed combinations in same units. The guns were so similar that even units using them sometimes were not certain which type the guns were. These guns were in use of Suojeluskunta units, Jaeger artillery and Riding Battery before WW2.

    During Winter War these guns represented substantial part of Finnish artillery weaponry both because of their amount and the (relatively) large amount of ammunition reserved for them, basically:

    During Winter War some 85,774 shells were fired with these guns, which were used by 3 artillery regiments, Riding Battery and 3 Separate Artillery Batteries. In Winter War the guns also sometimes saw use as antitank weapons. In fact Finnish soldiers considered these guns to be excellent direct-fire guns, but their gun carriages proved little bit too fragile in hard use. During early Continuation War the guns were issued again and used mainly for direct fire missions. First they were used by two Light Artillery Battalions and later they were issued to Fortification artillery units, which also used them mainly as direct-fire guns. In Continuation War some 192,897 shots were fired with them. Summer of 1944 Syväri Fortification Artillery Battalions belonging to Finnish troops located to River Svir (Syväri) lost 23 of these guns during the retreat. About 40 guns survived the WW2.

     

    76 RK/27 and 76 RK/27-39

    (76 mm regimental gun model 1927 and 76 mm regimental gun model 1927-1939)

    (76-mm polkovaja pushka obr.1927 and 76-mm polkovaja pushka obr. 1927,1939)

    PICTURE: 76 RK/27 infantry gun also known as regimental gun. (Photo taken in Maneesi of Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (34 KB).

    Calibre:

    76,2 mm x 385 R (*)

    Barrel length:

    125 cm aka L/16.5

    Weight in action:

    780 kg

    Muzzle velocity:

    387 m/sec

    Traverse:

    3 degrees

    Elevation:

    - 6 degrees, + 35 degrees

    Max. range:

    3000 - 8100 m

    Ammunition weight:

    4,82 - 6,61 kg (HE)

    Ammunition types:

    HE, AP, HEAT + HEAT-T (1944), shrapnel, incendiary

    Country of origin:

    Soviet Union

    (*) Only reduced propellant charge ammunition. Field gun ammunition with full propellant charge could not be used.

    Finnish use: 54 captured during Winter War. Some 200 or so captured during Continuation War. Used by Finnish artillery units in both wars, favoured for direct-fire use. Used unsuccessfully as antitank weapons during year 1944.

    - "Guns vs Armour website" (Soviet BR-350A APBC):

    - "Punaiset panssarit", page 168 (data from Finnish wartime tests, ammunition used unknown)(*):

    - Finnish live fire testing year 1943 ("76 psa - Vj4", Finnish AP-T, 400 m/sec):

    - Counted from "Panssarintorjuntayksiköiden ohjesääntö, II2 osa" (HEAT, 335 m/sec, projectile weight 4,80 kg)(**):

    PICTURE: 76 RK/27 infantry gun seen from the front. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (40 KB).

    PICTURE: 76 RK/27-39 infantry gun seen from the front. Lower part of gun shield has been turned upwards. Notice the diffences in wheels. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (40 KB).

    War:

    Shots fired:

    Winter War (1939 - 1940)

    4,075

    Continuation War (1941 - 1944)

    196,229

    Total

    200,304

    Year 1926 Soviets had started looking suitable gun as support weapon for their infantry regiments. They decided in favour of improved version of 76 LK 13 and design work was started still that same year. That design work resulted in creating this gun and accepting it to weaponry of Soviet Red Army in 1927. The original regimental gun model 1927 had wooden tires covered with sponge rubber, while improved version introduced in 1939 had disc wheels covered with sponge rubber. Both guns had box trail, aiming sight had artillery sighting telescope and three-part gun shield. Cartridge shots used in these guns was basically 76 K/02 field gun ammunition with clearly weaker propellant charge.These guns remained in Soviet use at least until end of WW2 and Germans also used captured guns of this type in large numbers. The Soviets also developed improved regimental gun called model 1943 during WW2, it was basically amalgamation of 76 mm regimental gun barrel and cradle with gun carriage of 45 mm model 1942 antitank gun. The Finns tested arrangement similar to model 1943, but as the gun cradle proved too fragile and when supply of special steel needed for the project ended, so did also the project.

    PICTURE: Closer look behind gun shield of 76 RK/27 infantry gun. "Käytetään ainoastaan puolipanos patruunoita" (= Use only cartridges with half-charge propellant charge) text in gun shield has interesting story behind it: Originally 76 K/02 field guns had only cartridge shots of with one standard charge, but Finns developed a "half-charge" cartridge for them already in year 1918 and this "half-charge" proved to be pretty close to perfect for captured 76 mm regimental guns. (Photo taken in Maneesi of Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (55 KB).

    PICTURE: Closer look behind gun shield of 76 RK/27-39 infantry gun. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (56 KB).

    Finns captured 54 of these guns during Winter War. Captured guns were often pressed immediately to use by Finns and used mostly as direct fire weapons. During early Continuation War much large amount of these guns were captured and the actual amount of these guns in Finnish use peaked to 235 guns early 1944. Lightness made them popular for direct-fire use and made transporting them also easy, so they were issued to many artillery units and also used as training weapons. However, Finnish artillery units didn't exactly enjoy these guns. Soldiers of Finnish artillery found out that low-quality steel used in barrels made them wear down fast and poor work quality of recoil system often made it unreliable.

    At early spring of 1944 somebody in Weapons-HQ of Finnish Army General-Staff got the really bad idea of arming some of the Gun Companies with these captured infantry guns. The idea might have been to use these Gun Companies as specialised units for direct-fire tasks, but the outcome was them being used as replacements of antitank guns - a role in which they were far from ideal. Admittedly there was shortage of effective antitank-guns in Finnish Army in that time, but these guns hardly were the reasonable solution to that. Regimental guns too clumsy and high making spotting them easy for Soviet armour and pushing the gun to another place before return fire difficult to its crew. Armour penetration with AP-ammunition was barely comparable to 37 mm antitank-guns, but HEAT-ammunition was more potent. So, 37 of these guns were lost in summer of 1944, many of them while trying to use them as antitank-guns. 24 of the guns were lost by IV Army Corps in Carelian Istmus and 12 were lost by Aunus Group retreating from River Svir. Only small minority of the captured regimental guns were newer RK/27-39 model. After WW2 Finnish Army kept using remaining regimental guns in training until year 1960.

    The Soviets had also developed bunker version of this gun, which the Finns called 76 K/27-k. Finnish Army captured 13 bunker-version guns and reinstalled them to Finnish bunkers. 8 of these guns were lost in summer of 1944.

    Ammunition for 76-mm "regimental guns" used by Finnish military came in large variety. HE-ammunition usually used with it had been especially made for it, but also reduced propellant charge version of ammunition made for 76,2 x 385R calibre field guns could be used. Armour-piercing (AP) ammunition had several varieties. Captured Soviet BR-350A ammunition seems to have been available in small numbers, but Finnish "76 psa - Vj4" was probably more usual in this category. "76 psa Vj4" was added to Finnish manuals 1st of December 1942 (but probably acquired month or two earlier). "76 psa Vj4" was AP-T round with 4-second tracer, which was available with two propellant charge sizes for these guns:

  • Field gun version with reduced propellant charge: 397 m/sec muzzle velocity.
  • 76 RK/27 / 76 RK/27-39 version with reduced propellant charge: 332 m/sec.
  • AP-shell "psa - Vj4" had projectile weighting 6,325 kg. HEAT-ammunition was probably introduced in summer of 1944. Two HEAT-ammunition types "76 hkr 42-18/24-38" (HEAT) and "76 hrk Vj 42/C-18/24-38" (HEAT-T) were almost certainly the typical antitank ammunition used with these guns in summer of 1944. Additional page for these HEAT-shells was added to Finnish Army manuals 1st of July 1944 and usual practice seems to have been first introduce the new ammunition and issue updates to manuals later. Presumably "76 hrk 42-18/24-38" had HEAT-warhead of German Gr. 38 Hl/B, while "76 hrk Vj 42/C-18/24.38" had warhead of German Gr. 38 Hl/C. Two captured Soviet artillery incendiary shell models were used: "76 sya 35/64" (Soviet Z-350) and "76 p syav 35/64" (Soviet 53-Z-354). Both incendiary shells contained pieces of thermite with black powder charge.

     

    75 VK/98

    (75 mm mountain gun model 1898)

    (75 mm Meiji 31)

    PICTURE: 75 VK/98 mountain gun. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (51 KB).

    Calibre:

    75 mm x 104 R

    Barrel length:

    99,8 cm aka L/13.3

    Weight in action:

    327 kg

    Muzzle velocity:

    263 m/sec

    Traverse:

    None

    Elevation:

    -10 degrees, + 30 degrees

    Max. range:

    4300 m

    Ammunition weight:

    6,5 kg

    Ammunition types:

    HE

    Country of origin:

    Japan

    Finnish use: 44 captured in Civil War at 1918, 42 of those sold abroad year 1936. The ship transporting them was sunk near Spanish coast.

    Designers of this gun were Colonel Arisaka (main designer), Colonel Akimoto and Captain Kourijama and it replaced earlier Japanese bronze guns. Gun was heavily based to larger, but otherwise very similar Japanese 75 mm Meiji 31 field gun and was with remarkably narrow and low structure. Ammunition was cartridge shot type. Recoil system was semi-rigid using chains and cables connected to set of springs. These guns were first used in Russo-Japanese war (1904 - 1905) and later in WW2 by Japanese military. Breech was screw breech with four segments.

    PICTURE: 75 VK/98 mountain gun seen from the side. Notice chains locking the wheels as part of the recoil system. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (44 KB).

    Finnish Red Guards used these guns during Civil War of 1918. Finnish White Army captured 44 of them, most in Helsinki and Viipuri. Finnish Army was not interested about them, because these guns were too weak, difficult to use and ineffective. So they were given to Suojeluskunta (Finnish Civil Guard). However, Suojeluskunta units that got them didn't like them either and used them very little. Three of the guns were also shortly used by Finnish volunteers of Aunus Carelia Expedition and were returned in very poor condition. Year 1936 42 of these guns and 27,769 shells for them were sold to Transbaltic Oy, who (officially) was exporting them to Yemen. But in reality they went to Spanish Civil War. These guns and their ammunition were loaded to S.S. Yorkbook, which was freight ship sailing under Estonian flag. 5th of March 1937 Yorkbrook was heading to Salamander, which was port controlled by Republican Spain. That day first Nationalist cruiser Canarias captured the ship, but it succeeded escaping from the cruiser during battle of Machichaco and armed fishing boats of Basque Navy (Basques fought in Republican side) escorted it to harbour of Bermeo. The cargo (including these mountain guns and their ammunition) was unloaded in there and it seems that the Republican troops used in them in the northern front. Nowadays the two guns, which remained in Finland, are part of Finnish Military Museum and Finnish Artillery Museum exhibitions.

     

    75 VK L14

    (75 mm mountain gun L14 model 1913)

    Calibre:

    75 mm x 87 R

    Barrel length:

    L/14

    Weight in action:

    275 kg

    Muzzle velocity:

    275 m/sec

    Traverse:

    8 degrees

    Elevation:

    - 10 degrees, + 15 degrees

    Max. range:

    3150 m

    Ammunition weight:

    5,0 kg

    Ammunition types:

    HE

    Country of origin:

    Germany

    Finnish use: The Finns bought 12 guns that had belonged to German Ostsee Division soon after Finnish Civil War in 1918. 2 guns were used shortly in Finnish armoured trains and 4 saw use with Finnish volunteers of Aunus Karelia expedition. The guns were sold abroad year 1931.

    This Krupp-designed mountain-gun was mainly manufactured for export starting from year 1902. Main users included China and several South-American countries, but also Germany and Austro-Hungary used the guns in very small scale during WW1. The guns that ended up to Finland were improved version that went to production in year 1913. Guns structure was typical to mountain guns of that time: It had box trail, gun shield, sliding block breech, wood wheels with steel hoops and could be divided to parts loads suitable for mules or men to carry.

    Germans participated to Finnish Civil War of 1918 with their Baltic Sea (Ostsee) Division. Part of the Ostsee Division was 2nd Bavarian Mountain Gun Battery armed with 75 mm L14 mountain guns. For some reason Germans thought (IMHO mistakenly) Finnish terrain to be specially suitable for using mountain guns as artillery weapons and recommended the Finns strong mountain artillery. As part of this effort they used all their influence and managed to sell 12 of these guns and some ammunition to the Finns.

    The guns had seen a lot of use by that time and were in bad shape. So, when Mountain Artillery Battalion armed with them in August of 1918 got possibility to replace them with 76 VK/09 mountain guns in 1919 they took it. Even if there was so few of these guns, they saw lot of interesting use in Finland. Two of the guns were used in two mountain gun wagons of Finnish armoured trains presumably armed by Germans after Finnish Civil War in summer or autumn of 1918. These mountain gun wagons of armoured trains served only until mid 1920's or so. Also 4 of these guns were loaned to Finnish volunteers that fought in Soviet Karelia in early 1920's.

    The guns had not been in good shape to begin with and especially the ones returned by Aunus Expedition came back in terrible condition. Eight of the guns (which were in bit better shape than the others) were given to Suojeluskunta units of Tampere and Viipuri presumably in 1923 and remained in their use until 1931. As the guns given to Suojeluskunta were in terrible shape their soldiers were not too interested about using them either. Year 1931 the remaining 10 guns and 7.500 shells for them were sold to Transbaltic Oy, who sold them abroad in exchange of eleven 76 K/02 field guns and two 76 LK/13 infantry guns. No guns of this type are known to have survived anywhere.

     

    76 VK/04

    (76 mm mountain gun model 1904)

    (3" gornaja pushka obr. 1904 g.)

    PICTURE: 76 VK/04 mountain gun on naval/coastal mount. This particular gun is in excellent shape with its sights intact. (Photo taken in Rannikkotykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (75 KB).

    Calibre:

    76,2 mm x 191 R

    Barrel length:

    101,4 cm aka L/13.3

    Weight in action:

    327 kg

    Muzzle velocity:

    290 m/sec

    Traverse:

    2,5 degrees

    Elevation:

    - 5 degrees, + 35 degrees

    Max. range:

    5500 m

    Ammunition weight:

    6,5 kg

    Ammunition types:

    HE, shrapnel

    Country of origin:

    Russia

    Finnish use: 11 guns captured in 1918, most were with naval/coastal mounts. During Winter War 4 of these guns were used as main weaponry of Finnish armoured trains.

    War:

    Shots fired:

    Winter War (1939 - 1940)

    unknown

    Continuation War (1941 - 1944)

    2,741

    Total

    unknown

    Russia invested heavily to new artillery weapons during the first years of 20th century. Usually the guns adopted at that time were foreign designs, but this was an exception to that rule. This design of Obuhov factory was adopted in 1904. The gun had screw breech with recoil system using liquid inhibitors and spring returning device activated by wire triggered by gun barrels retreat in the frame between inhibitors during recoil. The aiming system was fairly primitive specially when it came to giving right elevation for indirect fire. Russians used the gun mainly with the usual gun carriage type with box trail, wooden wheels with steel hoops and optional gun shield, but most of the ones Finns captured were exceptional in this regard. Russians had created inland water navy units and armed their ships with version of this gun equipped with naval/coastal-mount. Naval/coastal-mount was basically column mount specifically designed for this gun. During Russo-Japanese war of 1904 - 1905 Russians had found that range of these guns less than satisfactory, so Russians started searching better mountain gun for their use and ended up deciding in favour of 76 VK/09.

    Finns captured 11 of these guns in Civil War of 1918, most of them were with naval/coastal mounts. Six of those guns were captured from Russian Arsenal of Vuoksenniska by Karelian Army of Whites in early in the war 24th of January 1918. Troops of Finnish White Army in Carelia (Carelian Army) had dire shortage of heavy weapons at that time, so these captured guns came very handy and were pressed into use. These six guns were missing some parts, but were repaired and installed to suitable sledges. Most of the time the sledge-installed guns were used in combat as single guns. The guns got also known as "Karimo's guns" after Aarno Karimo, who first commanded commanded one of the guns and later in March took command of 4th Artillery Battery, which was armed with two of them. At the same time 1st Artillery Battery of Carelian Army got the other four guns. One of the captured guns was installed to somewhat improvised White Army armoured train "Saviour of Karelia". This proved as kind of a foresight as in 1930's four of these guns were installed as main weaponry of Finnish armoured trains. During Winter War Finnish Army had two armoured trains, each of which had two of these mountain guns as their main guns in rotating steel turrets. That was the last time that these guns were used in Finnish armoured trains, since the armoured trains proved to be too poorly equipped against aircraft. After they Winter War 40-mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns became new main armament for armoured trains and their function changed. During Continuation War some 76 VK/04 guns were used as close range coastal guns. In this use five guns used by Lake Laatokka (Lake Ladoga) Coastal Defence were lost in summer of 1944.

     

    76 VK/09

    (76 mm mountain gun model 1909)

    (3-dm gornaja skorostrelnaja pushka obr. 1909 g.)

    PICTURE: 76 mm mountain gun M/09. Notice gun shield shape quite typical to Schneider designs of that time. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (51 KB).

    Calibre:

    76,2 mm x 191 R

    Barrel length:

    125,7 cm aka L/16.5

    Weight in action:

    626 kg

    Muzzle velocity:

    379 m/sec

    Traverse:

    2,25 degrees

    Elevation:

    - 10 degrees, + 35 degrees

    Max. range:

    7100 - 8400 m

    Ammunition weight:

    6,35 kg (HE)

    Ammunition types:

    HE, shrapnel, incendiary

    Country of origin:

    Russia

    Finnish use: 11 captured in 1918, only 5 remained during Winter War so they were not issued during it. After 13 more were captured from Soviets in 1941 they were issued to Finnish fortification artillery battalions and used until 1944.

    War:

    Shots fired:

    Winter War (1939 - 1940)

    none

    Continuation War (1941 - 1944)

    5,849

    Total

    5,849

    This Schneider design was the replacement of unsatisfactory 76 VK/04 mountain guns for the Russians. First batch was manufactured in France, but soon also Russian factories started manufacturing them in large numbers enough to make Russia number one country in amount of mountain guns in the beginning of WW1. Largest improvement compared to earlier mountain guns was two part barrel designed by Greek Colonel Danglis not only allowing gun barrel to be transported in two parts, but also being stronger at the same time and allowing more powerful propellant charge to be used. Otherwise guns structure was along the usual lines of that time: box trail, wood wheels with steel hoops, screw breech and gun shield. Gun could be divided to seven loads each light enough to be carried by a horse.

    PICTURE: Closer look behind gun shield of 76 VK/09. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (53 KB).

    During Finnish Civil War of 1918 eleven of these guns were captured, most (eight) of them in Tampere and some in Rautu. 1st and 4th Artillery Batteries of Karelian Army (Whites) were re-equipped with these guns in April of 1918, as weather was no longer good for sledge-installed 76 VK/04 guns (snow was melting). Year 1919 they were used to replace 75 VK L14 mountain guns in use of Mountain Gun Artillery Battalion of Finnish Army, but already at that time most of the issued guns were in rather poor shape. When Winter War started only 5 of these guns remained so they were not issued during it, but after capturing 13 more guns of this type from the Soviets in 1941, they were issued to fortification artillery battalions and remained in their use until 1944. That was last time they were used.

    Ammunition used by Finnish military with 76 VK/09 contained besides the typical HE also ammunition loaded with captured Soviet incendiary shells "76 sya 35/64" (Soviet Z-350) and "76 p syav 35/64" (Soviet 53-Z-354). Both incendiary shells contained thermite and black powder.


    SOURCES:

    "Jalkaväkitykit 1926" manual by Yleisesikunta.

    "Jalkaväkitykkien harjoitusohjesääntö 1926" manual by Yleisesikunta.

    "Marskin Panssarintuhoojat" by Erkki Käkelä.

    Article "Anti-tank guns used by Finnish Army" by Markku Palokangas in Journal of Military History 17.

    Article "Suojeluskuntatykistön historia" by Jyri Paulaharju in Ase-lehti magazine 3/1996.

    Article "Vuoritykit Suomessa ja muutakin tarinaa" by Jyri Paulaharju in Ase-lehti magazine 2/1998.

    "Itsenäisen Suomen kenttätykit 1918 - 1995" by Jyri Paulaharju.

    "Suomen Kenttätykistön historia" parts 1 - 2 by Jyri Paulaharju.

    "Tykistömuseon 87 tykkiä" by Unto Partanen.

    "Itsenäisen Suomen rannikkotykit 1918 - 1998" by Ove Enqvist.

    "Panzerabwehrkanonen 1916 - 1977" by Franz Koser.

    Military manual: "Panssarintorjuntayksiköiden ohjesääntö Part II2" (printed 1956).

    Military manual: Ampumatarvikenimikkeistö by Puolustusvoimien Pääesikunta Taisteluvälineosasto (printed 1941).

    Military manual: Lyhennetty tykistön ampumatarvikenomenklatuuri (printed 1939).

    Military manual: Kenttätykistön ampumatarvikkeet by Puolustusvoimien Pääesikunta Taisteluvälineosasto (printed 1940, updates added until 1947).

    Jatkosodan Historia, volume 6.

    Finnish Military Archives, documents under archive number T20207.

    Finnish Military Archives, documents under archive number 5/T20314.

    Special thanks to Sotamuseo (Finnish Military Museum), Helsinki

    Special thanks to Rannikkotykistömuseo (Coastal Artillery Museum), Suomenlinna

    Special thanks to Tykistömuseo (Finnish Artillery Museum), Hämeenlinna


    Last updated 25th of December 2012
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