COASTAL ARTILLERY 2:

 

Heavy Coastal Guns

 

As noted in 1913 - 1917 Russia had built powerful coastal artillery to Finnish coasts as part of Peter the Great's Naval Fortress System. When Russian military was forces to leave Finland in 1918, newborn Finnish Armed Forces inherited the coastal artillery weapons and installations, which the Russians had left behind. Since very little new equipment was acquired for Finnish coastal artillery in 1920's and 1930's, it entered World War 2 with very much the same guns, which it had taken over in 1918. Even if the coastal artillery did not receive new guns, luckily for Finland it did not just sit on its laurels. In fact it in 1920's and 1930's it did considerable effort in improving its existing guns by increasing range and accuracy of already existing guns. Besides introduction of new and improved gun mounts, when it comes to heavy coastal guns likely the most important single improvement was inverting of guns extensively done to many of these gun models. It was quite typical for heavy coastal guns to have their recoil mechanism below barrel and it to limit the maximum elevation, which in result limited maximum range. By simply inverting the gun in such manner that the recoil mechanism got turned on top of the gun, the maximum range could be often improved. Other notably effective improvement done with heavy and super-heavy coastal guns was improving ammunition, with both new ammunition having better ballistics being introduced and old artillery shells being equipped with ballistic tips, which improved their range. Although admitted ballistic tips also proved to also cause some issues with reliability of shells on target. When combined with better and more powerful propellant charges, these developments considerably improved maximum range of heavy coastal guns, while keeping costs minimal. Much of the this achievement can be credited to Colonel Johannes Lambert Rikama, who played key role in developing, introducing and implementing the much needed improvements, which allowed Finnish coastal artillery keep its edge for World War 2, even if the guns in its use were typically from World War 1 or older. Besides technical development of equipment between world wars Finnish coastal artillery did remarkable work in developing better shooting methods and practices, while also building observation towers, which allowed the long range of heavy and super-heavy guns to be used in effective manner.

PICTURE: CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (142 KB).

There was also considerable development when it came to coastal artillery installations. The battery-front type of coastal artillery installations built by the Russians were far from ideal due to very limited (usually about 120 degree) sector of fire, while being easy to spot especially from the air and rather vulnerable. Hence Finnish coastal artillery started building dispersed coastal artillery batteries, which had 360 degree firing sector. Also locations of the coastal forts existing in 1918 did not fit to the changed geopolitical situation - for example Lake Laatokka / Ladoga which now had border in between Soviet Union and Finland, had no existing coastal artillery. So while some old coastal forts were retired, also new ones needed to be built. Since fixed heavy coastal guns were usually bolted on large concrete slab, building of heavy coastal artillery batteries was complicated and time-demanding work and due to nature of these installations also evacuating the guns in a hurry equally difficult. It might be worth noting that while Finnish military nomenclature often referred coastal artillery installations as forts (linnake), they rarely had properly built 360-degree defensive perimeter or other capacities often associated for use of this term.

PICTURE: 152 K/04-200p gun in costal artillery use. Notice how the gun has been attached to turntable under it. Photo taken in Vitele at November of 1941. (SA-kuva photo archive, photo number 144795). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (142 KB).

As with light coastal guns, not all heavy guns used by coastal artillery were actual coastal guns. With the shortage of artillery in Finnish field artillery, pre World War 2 coastal artillery had old Russian guns lacking recoil system like 107 K/77-piirk and 152 K/04-200p in their training use as auxiliary guns already in 1920's and 1930's. During Finnish - Soviet Winter War (1939 - 1940) in addition of these guns also 107 K/77 ptrik of the same era was issued to coastal artillery in large numbers. From these guns 107 K/77-piirk and equally old-fashioned French 120 K/78 and 155 K/77 served with coastal artillery also during Continuation War (1941 - 1944). But these obsolete guns were not the only heavy field guns to be used by coastal artillery. Among the best equipped of coastal artillery units were few motorised heavy artillery batteries equipped with modern captured Soviet 122 K/31 field guns and 152 H/37 howitzers during Continuation War.

PICTURE: Map showing locations of coastal artillery batteries supporting Mannerheim-line and coastal artillery batteries in Viipurinlahti Gulf during Winter War. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (200 KB).

It is worth noting that during World War 2 Finnish heavy coastal guns shot far larger number of shells against ground targets than against enemy warships. In addition coastal artillery battery batteries equipped with 152/45 C guns, whose gun mounts allowed high enough elevation, were rather routinely used against formations of enemy aircraft. However, as noted the biggest contribution that the heavy coastal guns did for Finnish military during World War 2 was against tanks and infantry. During Winter War (November 1939 - March 1940) coastal artillery batteries equipped with heavy and super-heavy coastal guns defended both ends of Finnish main defence line (Mannerheim-line) and when needed provided artillery support for ground troops defending it. Once Mannerheim-line had been breached 11th of February 1940 and Finnish troops retreated from its southern part the frontline moved with-in range of coastal artillery batteries built to defend Viipurinlahti Gulf - sea entrance to Viipuri (Viborg, Wiburg), 2nd largest city in Finland at that time. In battles fought during the last weeks of Winter War, these coastal artillery batteries in Viipurinlahti Gulf provided decisive artillery support for Finnish infantry, which was trying to halt Soviet attack across the ice-covered gulf to the western bank of Viipurilahti Gulf, where they threatened flank and rear of Finnish troops in whole Carelian Isthmus. March of 1940 coastal artillery batteries also provided the artillery support for stopping Soviet attack attempt across ice-covered Gulf of Finland from islands of Suursaari and Lavansaari to Kotka Coastal Defence Sector. During Continuation War (June 1941 - September 1944) coastal artillery batteries played important role in siege of Soviet military base in Hanko, but once Finnish Army advanced followed its advance and later provided fire support in numerous battles, many of which took part in summer of 1944.

 

 

120/41 A

(120 mm coastal gun with 41 caliber barrel, model Armstrong)

(4.7 inch QF Coast Defence Gun Mk IV and Mk IVJ)

(12 cm/40 (4.7") 41st Year Type (Model 1908))

PICTURE: 120/41 A coastal gun with its gun crew. Photo taken in Granholm Coastal Fort in Hanko / Hango / Gangut Peninsula August of 1941. (SA-kuva photo archive, photo number 72853). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (179 KB).

Calibre:

120 mm x 403 R (separately loaded ammunition)

Barrel length:

494 cm aka L/41.1

Weight in action:

about 9000 kg (whole gun with gun carriage and shield)

Rate of fire:

10 shots/min (max), 5 - 6 shots/min (practical)

Muzzle velocity:

625 - 635 m/sec

Traverse:

360 degrees

Elevation:

- 3 degrees, + 45 degrees

Max. range:

12.7 - 13.5 km

Ammunition weight:

20.5 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE, APHE, shrapnel

Country of origin:

Great Britain / Japan

Finnish use: Year 1918 Finnish military took over eight of these guns, which saw active use with coastal artillery until end of World War 2.

This was 120-mm (4.7 inch) naval cannon manufactured by Elswick Ordnance Company (EOC), which was armaments manufacturing branch of W.G. Armstrong & Company. While these guns had originally been intended for war ships, in Russia (and Finland) they were mostly used by coastal artillery. EOC manufactured several models of this gun, the first of which was introduced already in 1880's. British Royal Navy was using them still during World War 1 and they remained in use of British coastal artillery until late 1950's. Japan acquired first these guns from EOC for Imperial Navy and later also a manufacturing license for them. Around year 1900 Italian warship manufacturer Gio. Ansaldo & C. also bought number of guns from EOC for its cruisers. Besides Britain and Japan a small number of guns were also manufactured in Australia. Some guns also saw use with Republican Army in Spanish Civil War (1936 - 1939), while the British used some as field artillery pieces during 2nd Boer War (1899 - 1902). During World War 1 British and Australians were again using them as field artillery and some were even used as anti-aircraft guns for defending London. Also during World War 1 Russia was building Peter the Great's Naval Fortress in Finland and due to shortage of suitable coastal guns, bought large number of these guns from Japan. Majority of the guns acquired to Russia were Japanese manufactured, but they included also at least some manufactured by EOC. While later version of this had longer gun barrels, all the Russian-acquired and subsequently Finnish-used guns were with L/40 gun barrels.

As normal, these guns were on pedestal mounts. They had a recoil system under the gun and were equipped with gun shields, which provided forward and side protection for the gun crew. The gun has screw breech During 1930's the Finns modified remaining guns by increasing height of their gun mounts to allow them have higher maximum elevation, which increased maximum range. During World War 2 further improvements were introduced for example to gun laying equipment.

Year 1918 when Russian military left Finland, they left behind eight 120/41 A guns which went to Finnish inventory, but half of them were removed from inventory by late 1920's. When Finland gained independence, it inherited a powerful and relatively up to date coastal artillery, but appearance of new eastern border demanded new coastal forts to be built. One of these early new coastal forts was Järisevä coastal artillery battery, which in 1920 - 1921 was equipped with two 120/41 A coastal guns. Järisevä coastal battery was located in Taipale on shore of Lake Laatokka / Ladoga in Carelian Isthmus. Due to its geographic location during Winter War (1939 - 1940) this coastal artillery battery played vital role in defending north-east end of Mannerheim-line and was seriously damaged in the heavy fighting. Another pre-war coastal battery equipped with 120/41 A guns was Reposaari Coastal Fort outside town of Pori, which had battery of two guns from year 1936 to year 1941, when the guns were transferred to Tellholm coastal artillery battery in Ahvenanmaa / Åland Islands. One could say that for Continuation War the remaining 120/41 A guns were concentrated Ahvenanmaa / Åland Islands and nearby areas, since also Island of Utö was equipped with them. Considering locations of just these coastal forts one might come to conclusion, that this gun did not see real combat use during Continuation War, but this would be a mistake. Year 1941 42nd Heavy Artillery Battery (42. Raskas Patteri) equipped with 120/41 A guns took part in battles of Hanko / Hango / Gangut Peninsula serving in sectors of Hiittinen and Bromarv.

PICTURE: Heavily damaged 120/41 A coastal gun of Järisevä coastal artillery battery. (Photo taken outside now long gone Coastal Artillery Museum). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (168 KB).

Nowadays only gun of this type still remaining in Finland is a heavily damaged one, which was evacuated from Järisevä in end of Winter War and never repaired. This only remaining gun is in Maneesi exhibition of Finnish Military Museum in Suomenlinna. Other guns were apparently did not see any real post-war use and according what is known were likely scrapped in 1950's.

120/41 A gun used separately loaded separately loaded ammunition, in other words projectile and cartridge case containing propellant and primer were loaded separately as two separate items. Ammunition types available in Finland included high explosive (HE), armor piercing high explosive (APHE) and shrapnel. Three version of APHE-projectiles varying in length existed in Finnish use:

Some of the HE-projectiles used with 120/41 A coastal guns were equipped with ballistic tips, which increased maximum range which could be achieved when using them.

 

120/45 C

(120 mm coastal gun with 45 caliber barrel, model Canet)

(120 mm (4.7") / 45 naval gun model 1892)

PICTURE: 120/45 C coastal gun outside former Coastal Artillery School in Santahamina military base. This gun has been painted with post-war camo. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (191 KB).

Calibre:

120 mm x 935 R / 120 mm x 885 R / 120 mm x 895 R (*)

Barrel length:

543 cm aka L/45

Weight in action:

7093 kg / ~8000 kg (whole gun with gun carriage) (**)

Rate of fire:

10 shots/min (max), 7 shots/min (practical)

Muzzle velocity:

620 - 824 m/sec

Rate of fire:

10 shots/min (max), 7 shots/min (practical)

Traverse:

360 degrees

Elevation:

Canet mount: - 5 or - 7 degrees, + 41 degrees

Lokomo mount: - 2 or - 5 degrees, + 60 degrees

Max. range:

18.8 km (***)

Ammunition weight:

20.5 kg / 23.0 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE, APHE, shrapnel, star shell

Country of origin:

Russia

(*) Both fixed and semi-fixed separately loaded ammunition were used with different cartridge case versions. Three cartridge case lengths existed with 120 mm x 935 R being the most commonly used.

(**) With Canet gun mount / with Lokomo gun mount.

(***) Maximum range with both gun mount versions.

Finnish use: Five of the guns left behind by Russian military were taken to Finnish use, repaired in 1930's and used by coastal artillery until 1950's.

This was middle size one of the three Canet naval guns, for which Russia acquired blueprints in year 1891. Just like 75/50 C and 152/45 it entered production in Obuhov steel works in year 1892. But in this case the early production numbers were relatively low, with only 76 guns manufactured by year 1901. During World War 1 also Perm artillery factory started manufacturing them and produced them in 1914 - 1916. Originally these guns were used in variety of Russian warships, but during Russian Civil War (1917 – 1922) they also saw use as coastal guns and railway artillery. Two versions of the gun exist, with the late version introduced to manufacturing after Russian - Japanese War (1904 - 1905) having reinforced gun barrel. Several versions of the pedestal gun mounts used with them existed, with the oldest version being Canet gun mount, which could only be used with earlier gun version. Newer improved gun mount developed by Sankt Petersburg metal factory was used with the later gun version. This Sankt Petersburg metal factory gun mount had notable differences in recoil mechanism and elevation when compared to the earlier Canet gun mount. In usual manner both of these gun mounts left recoil system under the gun in such manner, that it limited the possible maximum elevation. Although, it might be worth noting that apparently from these gun mounts, apparently only Canet gun mount saw Finnish use.

Year 1918 Russian military apparently left behind only five of these guns, even those five guns were in need of repairs before Finnish military could start using them. Helsinki Naval Station (Helsingin Laivastoasema) apparently did not repair them until 1930’s while it was at, also inverted the guns to increase maximum elevation and therefore also maximum range. As part of the repair new parts were manufactured for the guns and some of the guns were equipped with new gun mounts manufactured by Finnish manufacturer Oy Lokomo Ab. Due to being higher the new Lokomo-manufactured gun mounts allowed the guns equipped with to achieve notably higher maximum elevation and further increased maximum range. Additional increase of maximum range came also with Finnish development of improved ammunition, which resulted also much of the existing shells being equipped with new ballistic tips, which notably improved ballistics of the existing ammunition.

During World War 2 Finnish coastal artillery used all existing five 120-mm Canet coastal guns. Two of the guns were equipped with Canet gun mounts, while three had been equipped with Lokomo gun mounts. The guns with Canet gun mounts were usually referred with abbreviation 120/45 C, while those with Lokomo gun mounts were referred as 120/45 CLo. The guns saw enough wartime use, that by end of Continuation War their gun barrels were basically in end of their service life, which resulted plans of possibly modifying them to 122-mm caliber during the repairs. One of the guns was modified to this caliber and tested, but even if the plans remained active even in year 1950, they never resulted to further modifications. Still, even with their extremely worn gun barrels, due to change of political situation these old guns saw post-war active use – due to Soviet-led Allied Control Commission banning Finnish coastal artillery having larger caliber guns than 120-mm in coastal forts east of Soviet naval base in Porkkala, these guns were suddenly among the most powerful artillery weapons that could be used on most of Finnish south coast. As part of reorganizing of coastal artillery resulting from this decision of Allied Control Commission Pirttisaari coastal fort was equipped with these guns. After World War 2 Finnish military planned and tested with one prototype relining the guns to 122-mm caliber, but ultimately they remained in original caliber. Two of the guns had a considerably long post-war career – Turku Coastal Artillery Regiment used one for training until year 1981 and another gun remained in inventory of Coastal Artillery School (Rannikkotykistökoulu) until year 1993.

PICTURE: Another surviving 120/45 C coastal gun. This gun is part of the coastal artillery exhibition on Kuivasaari Island. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (223 KB).

Most ammunition used with these guns was fixed ammunition, but semi armor piercing high explosive (SAPHE) shell and reduced propellant charges were separately loaded ammunition with propellant and cartridge cases being loaded separately. Finnish used ammunition included two kinds of high explosive (HE) shells, from which 20.45 kg HE-shell had maximum muzzle velocity of 824 meters/second, while 23.0 kg HE-shell was intended to be used with reduced propellant charge giving it muzzle velocity of 620 meters/second. Other ammunition included already mentioned 24.0-kg SAPHE-shell with muzzle velocity of 790 meters/second with full propellant charge and 620 meters/second with reduced propellant charge, 20.45-kg APHE shell with muzzle velocity of 824 meters/second and star shell.

 

120/50 V

(120 mm coastal gun with 50 caliber barrel, model Vickers)

(120 mm (4.7") / 50 naval gun model 1905)

PICTURE: Gun crew is enjoying warm summer weather while cleaning their 120/50 V coastal gun. Russian markings visible in this photo indicate that this gun had gun barrel number 60 manufactured by Obuhov in year 1909. Photo taken on Ristisaari Island in Lake Laatokka / Ladoga July of 1942. (SA-kuva photo archive, photo number 97979). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (202 KB).

120/50 V2

(120 mm coastal gun with 50 caliber barrel, model Vickers on double gun mount)

Calibre:

120 mm (bagged ammunition, no cartridge case)

Barrel length:

600 cm aka L/50

Weight in action:

5700 kg (single gun) / 17382 kg (double gun) (*)

Rate of fire:

8 shots/min (max), 5 shots/min (practical) (**)

Muzzle velocity:

790 - 915 m/sec

Traverse:

360 degrees

Elevation:

Old single mount: - 10 degrees, + 20 degrees

New single mount: - 10 degrees, + 30 degrees

Double gun mount: - 10 degrees, + 30 degrees

Max. range:

18.5 km / 16.5 km (***)

Ammunition weight:

23.0 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE, APHE, star shell

Country of origin:

Great Britain / Russia

(*) Weight for the whole gun with gun mount and gun shield.

(**) Rate of fire per gun barrel.

(***) 18.5 km with new single gun mount, while 16.5 km with double-gun mount.

Finnish use: About 10 guns taken to Finnish use. Early on they were used on ships, but after Winter War they were transferred to coastal artillery, which used them until 1950's.

During Japanese – Russian War of 1904 – 1905 Russia had ordered new artillery pieces intended as heavy artillery from Vickers, Sons and Maxim. Since the particular guns were delivered too late to see action in that war, instead of originally intended purpose they ended up being used as naval guns and coastal guns. Among other things, they were used as secondary armament of Gangut class battleships and armored cruiser Rurik. Manufacturing license was acquired and Obuhov steel works manufactured structurally strengthened version of this gun in 1912 – 1915. Once Obuhov had started their production the earlier Vickers-manufactured guns got named as "model 1", while guns manufactured by Obuhov got named as "model 2". The most notable practical difference between these two versions was maximum elevation, with "model 1" having maximum elevation of 20 degrees and "model 2" having maximum elevation of 30 degrees. Later the Soviets introduced modifications, which increased maximum elevation of those guns remaining in their use to 45 degrees to increase maximum range.

In many ways these guns were rather similar to other heavy coastal guns of the era – they were installed on pedestal mount, had screw breech and recoil system under the gun barrel. What was somewhat unusual was that the gun still used bagged ammunition, hence had separate projectile, bags containing propellant (gunpowder) and primer. Another unusual feature was that the gun was issued both with single-gun mount and double-gun mount, which had two guns installed side by side on the same gun mount.

Year 1918 Russian military left behind about ten guns, which were taken to use of Finnish Armed Forces. Early on they saw quite a bit of use on ships of Finnish Navy, but proved less than ideal and after Winter War remaining guns were transferred to coastal artillery. Finnish military referred the two versions of this gun as 120/50 V (vanha) and 120/50 V (uusi) with vanha translating simply as old and uusi translating as new. During Finnish – Soviet Winter War (1939 – 1940) they were issued to ice breakers Tarmo, Sampo and Voima, but with little success. 120/50 V proved too heavy, slow to lay and probably at least partly due to bagged ammunition at least equally slow to re-load. At the same time their maximum range was found to be relatively short and recoil energy transferring to ship too strong. The double-gun mount proved to have additional problem, which made shooting with the both guns at the same time impossible, since the recoil of first gun going off shook the gun to such extent, that it ruined accuracy of the second gun going off right after it. Due to all these issues, 120/50 V was found to be unsuitable for naval use. Hence after Winter War they were transferred to coastal artillery, which issued them to Salpa-line in area of Lake Saimaa and later during Continuation War (1941 – 1944) to coastal forts on Lake Laatokka / Ladoga.

PICTURE: Gun crew is removing tarpaulin of 120/50 V2 coastal gun and getting it ready for action. Photo taken in Rautaveräjä coastal artillery battery on Island of Valamo / Valaam in Lake Laatokka / Ladoga May of 1942. (SA-kuva photo archive, photo number 92440). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (179 KB).

As with 120/45 C, without decision of Soviet led Allied Control Commission to ban Finnish coastal artillery having any coastal batteries east of Porkkala base, these guns would have probably seen very little post-war use. But once the decision was made Finnish coastal artillery had to try living with it – which resulted old 120/50 V guns being re-issued to coastal forts in Finnish south coast to replace better guns, which were now too large caliber to be allowed. Once the Allied Control Commission had left and its decisions outdated, in 1950’s 120-mm Vickers guns were transferred back to storage. In post-war era all guns were modified to have 30 degree maximum elevation and in 1950’s there were plans of possibly modifying them to 130-mm caliber and adding muzzle brake, but ultimately only one prototype went through these changes. What is known the remaining guns were scrapped in early 1960’s. None of these guns have survived to this day.

Ammunition that Finnish military used with 120/50 V guns included high explosive (HE) projectile which weight 23.0 kg and with maximum propellant charge muzzle velocity of 790 meters per second. In addition available ammunition included armor piercing high explosive (APHE) projectile weighting 20.8 kg and having maximum muzzle velocity of 915 meters per second plus a star shell. Ammunition used with 120/50 V guns included at least one HE-projectile design (120-V tmkrv 4,4), which had been equipped with ballistic tip to increase its maximum range.

 

122 K/31

(122 mm cannon 1931 and 122 mm cannon model 1931 modified in 1940)

(122 mm Pushka obr. 1931)

(122 mm Pushka obr. 1931/37)

(122 mm M-1931 and 122 M-1931/37, A-19)

PICTURE: 120 K/31 field gun (Soviet A-19). Notice very long barrel, no muzzle brake and equilibrators both side of the barrel. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (141 KB).

Calibre:

121,92 mm x 785 R (separately loaded ammunition)

Barrel length:

L/46,3

Weight in action:

7100 kg

Muzzle velocity:

560 - 800 m/sec

Rate of fire:

? shots/min

Traverse:

+/- 28 degrees

Elevation:

- 4 degrees, + 45 degrees

Max. range:

14,3 - 20,0 km

Ammunition weight:

21,7 - 25,0 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE, APHE

Country of origin:

Soviet Union

Finnish use: 29 guns captured in 1941. Presumably 25 out of 29 guns were intact or in reparable condition. They were issued to motorized coastal artillery units for rest of the Continuation War (1941 - 1944).

Armour Penetration:

- "Artillery of the World" (BR-471 AP):

distance

hitting angle

penetration

1000 m

90 degrees?

190 mm

- "Guns vs Armour" website by D.M. Honner (BR-471 AP 780 - 800 m/sec):

distance

hitting angle

penetration

500 m

90 degrees

150 mm

1000 m

90 degrees

138 mm

2000 m

90 degrees

118 mm

500 m

60 degrees

122 mm

1000m

60 degrees

113 mm

2000 m

60 degrees

96 mm

Main designer of this cannon was S. Shukalov and the gun entered production in 1931. The cannon had been designed as long range artillery piece suitable for counter-artillery use and motorised towing. "122 mm Pushka obr. 1931" manufactured early on used same gun carriage as 152-mm howitzer m 1934, but already 1937 improved "122 mm Pushka obr. 1931/37" used same mount as 152-mm howitzer m 1937 (ML-20). The gun saw large-scale use with Soviet Red Army during World War 2. The Soviets also developed A-19S, D-25S and D-25M tank guns from Pushka obr. 1931/37 and used these to arm SU-122 and ISU-122 heavy tanks destroyers and IS-2 heavy tank. The Germans called the field cannons they had captured 12,2 cm Kanone 390/1(r) (122 mm Pushka obr. 1931) and 12,2 cm Kanone 390/2(r) (122 mm Pushka obr. 1931/37). Large number of German captured cannons saw use as part of Atlantic Wall defences.

Typically to their time these cannons had split trail, steel wheels covered by solid rubber tires, screw breech and highly visible equilibrators (the thingies pointing up from both sides of the barrel). The guns trail also had detachable picket spades. Pushka obr. 1931/37 cannon had considerable visual resemblance with 152-mm howitzer model 1937, but there are also some notable differences - the cannon barrel is considerably longer and it has no muzzle brake. As usual recoil system was below barrel. Ammunition was cartridge seated type with 3 propellant charge sizes (however from these only 2 charge sizes could be used with certain type of projectiles). Depending source their maximum rate of fire was either 4 shots/minute or varied around 5 - 6 shots/minute.

PICTURE: 120 K/31 field gun from another viewpoint. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (207 KB).

During first months of Continuation War Finnish troops captured 29 of these cannons, the first of them from island of Pukkio. However many of the captured guns were in too poor shape to be repaired. Presumably 25 of them saw use with Finnish Armed Forces. Finnish military did not bother to separate the two cannon models and named the both cannon models simply as 122 K/31. They were otherwise very good cannons, but their heavy weight was problematic to Finnish military, who had shortage of powerful towing vehicles. This shortage of suitable towing vehicles led them being issued to coastal artillery units (which presumably were not expected have need of changing positions as often as field artillery units). Apparently at least International heavy trucks and captured Stalinets tractors were used for towing them. During Continuation War they were issued to Separate Motorised Heavy Artillery Batteries 4, 5 and 6 belonging to coastal artillery. The units of this type were the most modern Finnish coastal artillery units of that time and during Continuation War they served coastal areas closest to frontline - such as Suursaari Island, southern shore of Carelian Isthmus, Lake Laatokka / Ladoga and Lake Ääninen / Onega. The other artillery weapon used by separate heavy artillery batteries was 152-mm howitzer m 1937 (ML-20). Four of the guns were lost in sector of 4th Army Corps in summer of 1944. Ammunition used by Finnish military with these guns included high explosive projectiles of various sizes and armour piercing projectile (122 pstkr 52/65-ps KTD, which was captured Soviet BR-471).

War:

Shots fired:

Winter War (1939-1940)

0

Continuation War (1941-1944)

6755

Total

6755

Notice: Depending source the number of shots fired might have also been 6,425.

After 2nd World War 122 K/31 field cannons continued their career with Finnish Armed Forces and remained in in active use. They were used as training equipment until 1970’s. In late 1980’s some of the 122 K/31 gun were modified to use barrels of 152 H/37 (Soviet ML-20) howitzers modifying these guns to 152 H 37-31. However, this new version proved short-lived, since both remaining 122 K/31 and new 152 H 37-31 were soon equipped with new Vammas made L/32 long 152 H 88 barrel. This new version was named 152 H 88-31 and total 21 guns were converted in such manner. Finnish Defence Forces kept 152 H 88-31 howitzers warehoused for possible wartime use until year 2007, after which they were apparently scrapped.

 

152/35 Mk

(152 mm coastal gun with 35 caliber barrel, model Mk)

(6" 35 caliber naval gun model 1877)

PICTURE: 152/35 Mk coastal gun. This photo shows quite clearly how these guns got 360 degree sector of fire. The gun mount has been heavily modified (by Finnish military?). Photo taken in Kaarnajoki coastal artillery battery on shore of Lake Laatokka / Ladoga March of 1944. (SA-kuva photo archive, photo number 147490). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (175 KB).

Calibre:

152.4 mm (bagged ammunition, no cartridge case)

Barrel length:

535 cm aka L/35.2

Weight in action:

~8500 kg (whole gun with gun carriage)

Rate of fire:

4 - 5 shots/min (max), 1 shot/min (practical)

Muzzle velocity:

606 - 700 m/sec

Traverse:

360 degrees

Elevation:

Vassaseur mount: - 7 degrees, + 20 degrees

Vassaseur-Dubrov mount: - 5 degrees, + 13-15 degrees

Krel mount: - 4 degrees, + 12 degrees

Max. range:

About 15 km

Ammunition weight:

33.0 kg / 40.0 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE, shrapnel

Country of origin:

Russia

Finnish use: The oldest heavy coastal gun model used by Finnish coastal artillery in fixed positions to see combat use during World War 2. Total 14 guns taken to Finnish use were still use during Winter War (1939 - 1940) and seven of them remained use even during late Continuation War (1941 - 1944).

When originally introduced in 1880’s these guns represented cutting edge technology, but during World War 2 it was oldest 152-mm (6") gun used as fixed coastal gun by Finnish coastal artillery. In this case the year 1877 used in Russian model name had nothing to do with year of year when introduced to Russian use and was apparently based to rifling type used with it. Development of this Russian gun started in year 1882 with first prototype being tested three years later in 1885 and mass-production starting year 1887. It was designed by Staff Captain A.F. Brink, it had been originally intended as naval artillery piece and combined recent developments acquired from France and Great Britain. Screw breech design, which utilized de Bange seal was design of French de Beaulieu. Prototype gun used still old structural design, but the mass-produced version was first wire-wound gun in Russian use, with this structural design based to technology which Russia had bought from Great Britain in year 1885. At the same time improvements made in Obuhov steel works also allowed manufacturing of higher quality steel, which made possible the use of much more powerful propellant charges, than with earlier guns. Without the doubt, in late 1880’s the resulting gun belonged to the cutting edge in development of artillery.

The gun was issued with three gun mount designs:

None of these three gun mounts had any modern recoil system. Instead they were what one could call ascending gun mounts. The gun mount had its recoil dampening based on gravity and friction – during recoil gun worked against its own weight because when it moved backwards on lower part of gun mount it simultaneously was forced to climb upwards. Location of the axle bolt around which the gun mount rotated varied from one gun mount design to another. Vassaseur-Dubrov gun mount the axle bolt in middle of the gun mount, due to which the gun mount could be rotated 360 degrees, while Krel gun mount had the axle bolt in front part of the gun mount and rear part of the gun mount moved on wheels which were on top of an iron plate. Russian Navy used these guns on its ships in 1880’s and 1890’s, but due to swift development of artillery weapons and metallurgy, their design become out-dated in just a few years, with notably more modern 152 mm naval gun model 1892 (152/45 C) replacing them in production at Obuhov already in year 1892. Year 1913 Russian military transferred 14 of these guns from naval use to coastal artillery units of Viapori (Suomenlinna).

Year 1918 all 14 guns fall into Finnish hands. When captured they were on three coastal batteries:

All 14 guns remained in Finnish use until Winter War, but at that time from these three coastal artillery batteries only Humaljoki still had 152/35 Mk artillery battery. During Winter War Humaljoki coastal artillery battery played important role defending southern flank of Mannerheim-line by stopping Soviet attempts of marching their troops around it via frozen Gulf of Finland and repeatedly provided effective artillery support to land front in southern parts of Mannerheim-line. When the Soviets succeeded achieving breakthrough in Summa in February of 1940, Finnish troops were forces to pull back from southern part of Mannerheim-line. Due to this also Humaljoki coastal battery had to be abandoned and its 152/35 Mk guns blown up before retreat in 19th - 20th of February 1940. The guns of Härkölä coastal artillery battery got transferred twice to new coastal fort already before Winter War, first to Lake Laatokka / Ladoga and then to western part of Finnish south coast and presumably did not see any action during Winter War. Also the 152/35 Mk battery of Tuppura coastal fort was relocated elsewhere in year 1936.

During late Continuation War there were only seven guns remaining in Finnish use, which were serving in three coastal artillery batteries:

In addition three spare barrels for these coastal guns remained storage in Helsinki Naval Station. Two (Lypertö and Bökulla) of these three coastal batteries had been armed with 152/35 Mk guns already in 1941, while the third battery equipped with these guns had at that time been near them in Lökulla.

PICTURE: The only 152/35 Mk gun known to have survived to this day. This gun was manufactured by Obuhov in year 1889 and seems to have what is likely Krel gun mount. There are quite a few parts missing and the gun shows some signs of modifications probably made in Finland. Photo taken in Suomenlinna. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (165 KB).

However the probably the most traveled guns were two 152/35 Mk, which besides being fixed coastal guns still served in no less than five artillery positions during a single year. These guns had started serving as 30th Heavy Coastal Battery on Saunaniemi Cape on Lake Laatokka / Ladoga early 1943. They got moved to new nearby positions (Kaarnajoki II) in May of 1943 and renamed as 43rd Heavy Coastal Artillery Battery in July of 1943. May of 1944 their travels really started when they were sent to Limosaari Island on Lake Ääninen / Onega with the unit being renamed back as 30th Heavy Coastal Artillery Battery. But due to Soviet offensive already next month it remains uncertain if the guns even got installed to their new positions in Limosaari Island, before being sent back to Lake Laatokka / Ladoga. where the particular unit was first sent to Mursula on northern tip of the lake and then to Sortavala, where they were their first positions were in Riekkala and later ones in Hakala. When Continuation War ended in September of 1944, the two guns were evacuated to Finnish side of border and the next month still got transferred to 39th Heavy Coastal Artillery Battery, which starting building them gun positions to Salpa-line in Huhmarisvaara hill of Polvijärvi municipality.

The official abbreviation that Finnish military used this gun was 152/35 Mk, with Mk originating from term merikanuuna (naval cannon). The only remaining gun of this type that has survived to this day is in Kustaanmiekka of Suomenlinna. As far as known this gun is the only surviving sample of its kind anywhere in the world.

Ammunition used with 152/35 Mk coastal gun was bagged ammunition – in other words projectile, propellant charge and primer were loaded separately and there was no cartridge case of any kind. Ammunition available for this gun in Finnish use included two high explosive (HE) projectiles, with heavier HE-projectile weighting 40.0 kg and with maximum propellant charge had muzzle velocity of 606 meters per second, while the lighter HE-projectile weight 33.0 kg and with maximum propellant charge had muzzle velocity of 700 m/sec. In addition Finnish coastal artillery had also shrapnel ammunition for this gun, although it is uncertain to what extent it was used anymore during World War 2.

 

152/45 C

(152 mm coastal gun with 45 caliber barrel, model Canet)

(152 mm (6") / 45 naval gun model 1892)

PICTURE: 152/44 C coastal gun on CR gun mount. In rather unusual manner this gun has not been inverted, since recoil mechanism is still under the gun. Yet the gun has a Finnish-redesigned gun bridge design, that was introduced to facilitate faster and simplier loading process. Photo taken on Kuivasaari Island. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (173 KB).

Calibre:

152.4 mm x 1090 R (*)

152.4 mm x 1115 R (*)

152.4 mm x 965 R (*)

Barrel length:

686 cm aka L/45

Weight in action:

~19400 kg / 17548 kg (**)

Rate of fire:

- Canet gun mount:

6 shots/min (theoretical) / 4 - 5 shots/min (practical)

- Lokomo gun mount:

5 shots/min (theoretical) / 4 shots/min (practical)

- Canet naval mount:

8 shots/min (theoretical) / 6 shots/min (practical)

Muzzle velocity:

607 - 830 m/sec

Traverse:

360 degrees

Elevation:

Canet mount: - 0.5 degrees, + 38 degrees

Lokomo mount: - 0 degrees, + 49 degrees

Canet naval mount: - 2 degrees, + 39 degrees

Max. range:

About 20 km (**)

Ammunition weight:

41.5 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE, APHE, shrapnel, star shell

Country of origin:

France / Russia

(*) Depending ammunition chamber each gun fired either fixed ammunition or separately loaded ammunition. Guns originally acquired for Russian Army had been using fixed ammunition, while guns acquired for Russian Navy had used separately loaded ammunition. Three cartridge case lengths existed in use.

(**) Weight of the whole gun with its gun mount and shield. With Canet or Lokomo gun mount / with Canet naval gun mount.

(***) Varied depending gun mount and ammunition used. Before Finnish-made improvements 152/45 C gun equipped with CL gun mount (lowest mount used) had maximum range of only about 13 km.

Finnish use: The most common heavy coastal gun in Finnish use with about 100 taken to Finnish use in year 1918. De facto unofficial standard heavy coastal gun for Finnish military. Used in large numbers during World War 2 against ships, ground targets and aircraft.

As noted year 1891 Russia acquired blueprints for artillery system developed by French artillery engineer Gustave Canet. The next year three guns belonging to Canet artillery system entered to Russian military use and this was the largest caliber of those three guns. Both Russian Navy and Army were took it to their use with both guns and their gun mounts being manufactured in Obuhov steel works and Perm artillery factory. From these two Obuhov was apparently the main manufacturer, with Perm manufacturing them in much smaller scale. Obuhov starting manufacturing them to coastal artillery in year 1896. Also Putilov Plant and St.Petersburg metal factory manufactured gun mounts for these guns. In late 1890’s Russia had bought from France small number of guns manufactured by Sociéte des Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterranée (bought by Schneider et Cie. in year 1897) – possibly due to problems related in starting production in Russia.

As normal these guns had gun shields and recoil system consisting hydraulic buffer and spring recuperator. Originally they had spring recuperator under the gun, which limited its maximum elevation and therefore also maximum range. While Russian Navy and Army both were using these guns, the versions used by them did not share the same type of ammunition chamber, nor did they even use the same type of ammunition – Army guns used fixed ammunition, while Navy guns used separately loaded ammunition. To further mix up the situation, quite a few Navy guns ended up to coastal fortifications, which resulted numerous ammunition chambers and cartridge case versions varying in length being used. During Russian – Japanese War (1904 – 1905) gun barrels used this gun proved to have structural weaknesses, with muzzle parts of gun barrels breaking, hence after this war new structurally strengthened gun barrel was introduced along several other improvements. These improvements included strengthening the attachment of gun barrel, improvements made to gun mounts, introduction of new improved gun laying systems and equipping all guns with optical sights. At the same time also the type of barrel rifling was changed from universal to progressive. During the First World War 152-mm Canet guns saw plenty of use with Russian military on warships, coastal artillery and also as field artillery. During Russia Civil War (1917 – 1922) they were commonly used also as railway artillery and after it the Soviets continued using them in large scale. During the Soviet era those guns remaining in Soviet use were also improved by for example increasing their maximum range by increasing their maximum elevation – not unlike Finnish coastal artillery.

Year 1918 Finnish military took into its possession about 100 of these guns, which made 152/45 C obviously the most common heavy coastal gun in Finnish use. As noted due to relatively low gun mounts and the spring recuperator under the gun maximum elevation was relatively small, which limited maximum range of the gun. The Finnish solution first implemented with 152/45 C and then used in numerous other coastal guns was to invert the gun on its gun mount in such manner that after the modification the spring recuperator was on top of the gun. In 1920’s Finnish military had acquired a railway gun (152/52 CRaut), which was basically 152/45 C coastal gun installed on purpose built flatcar and had been issued to Coastal Artillery Regiment (Rannikkotykistörykmentti). The whole process started from wishes of increasing range of this sole railway gun. The idea for inverting the gun on its gun mount originated from Colonel Hedlund, which knew that this sort of solution had been previously used with smaller guns in Russia. Hedlund’s proposition met resistance from his fellow officers and might have made little impact, if not supported by Lieutenant-Colonel Johannes Albert Rikama, who was the driving force of modernization in Finnish Coastal Artillery and made sure that similar improvement was not extended only to 152/45 C guns in Finnish inventory, but to multitude of other coastal guns.

PICTURE: 120/45 C coastal artillery battery on Isosaari Island outside Helsinki is shooting. This photograph gives an idea what the Russian battery front type coastal artillery batteries looked like. Photo taken in July of 1942. (SA-kuva photo archive, photo number 29302). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (205 KB).

However simply inverting the gun on its gun carriage proved to be not as easy as expected early on. When spring recuperator was on top of the gun, it proved to be too weak to work reliably without further changes. In addition this modification required changes to be made in gun carriage and elevation system plus equipping gun with equilibrator. Only with these changes inverting the gun proved to be success, but once they were included the resulting gun proved highly successful. But it must be noted, that inverting the guns was only one part in the long list of improvements, which Finnish coastal artillery before World War 2 implemented to its "work-horse" – 152/45 C heavy coastal gun. Second at least equally important set of improvements was changing method of loading the gun by replacing them with more practical and faster method, which notably increased rate of fire. The original Russian loading method had been based in moving the shell into ammunition tray and loading it to the breech from there. In the new Finnish loading method the loaders carried the shell to the gun and pushed it straight inside the breech. While this was physically more demanding for the gun crew, it no longer required the gun to be lowered into zero degree elevation for reloading, which not only made the loading much faster but also proved highly useful, when these guns were later used also against aircraft. Third improvement implemented by Finnish coastal artillery for 152/45 C was development work made for its ammunition, although the level of success achieved with this proved somewhat debatable – new ballistics tips added to existing projectiles further increased the maximum range, but did not come without some reliability issues. While apparently rare, it was not unknown for the ballistic tip to break off or otherwise cause drastic unexpected changes into trajectory of a shell equipped with it.

Finnish coastal artillery used four kinds of gun mounts with 152/45 C coastal gun:

As noted in early 1920’s one of these guns had been built as railway artillery, which had its own gun mount design, three additional railway guns were built from 152/45 C guns in year 1940. While 152/45 C guns were usually bolted on concrete, when there was no properly built concrete slab gun platform available, they could be bolted on top of timber frame.

In late 1920’s and early 1930’s Finnish coastal artillery had about 100 of these guns, with about 70% of them equipped with high gun mounts and some 30% equipped with low gun mounts. While apparently this was never official, de facto 152/45 C was the standard heavy-caliber coastal artillery gun for Finnish military until long after World War 2. 1st of January 1939 there were still 95 guns in Finnish inventory. Due to their nature as heavy coastal guns installed to fixed fortified positions and the issues it caused for evacuating the guns quickly when needed, the wartime losses of these guns proved heavy. 18 guns and one gun barrel were lost already during Winter War (1939 – 1940) or had to be left behind in end of the war, hence only 76 guns remaining in use after that. March of 1943 inventory contained 78 guns - few guns being re-captured in 1941 but also four guns either being broken when shell had detonated before existing barrel or simply due to wearing out.

PICTURE: 152/45 C coastal gun on Mantsinsaari Island photographed in July of 1941 after Finnish recapture in first weeks of Continuation War. When Finnish troops evacuated Mantsinsaari Island on Lake Laatokka / Ladoga after ending of Winter War they tried to take the 152/45 C artillery battery of two guns with them. Due to lack of necessary transport equipment this turned out to be impossible. Hence barrel of this gun was blown up. (SA-kuva photo archive, photo number 95163). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (161 KB).

152/45 C guns remaining in Finnish inventory 1st of May 1944:

Total 60 guns, in addition there were four 152/45 CRaut railway guns.

Even after World War 2 152-mm Canet coastal gun continued its career as most common heavy coastal gun in use of Finnish military. Due to sheer number of these guns in active use during the war, it is impossible to list all the coastal artillery batteries where they were used. Not only were these guns successful against ships, but in many occasions coastal artillery batteries equipped with 152/45 C guns also contributed remarkably to important land battles in decisive manner. Unlike practically whole Finnish field artillery of that time, 152/45 C coastal gun was range-wise on par with latest Soviet field artillery pieces of the similar caliber, like 152 H/37 and 152 H/38. This proved especially important due to Winter War, when Finnish Army had extremely little heavy field artillery and no long-range field artillery to speak of. Due to this long range, good ammunition inventory, excellent shooting accuracy and high rate of fire coastal batteries equipped with these guns repeatedly proved to be hard-hitting and deadly accurate adversaries to Soviet field artillery. The most legendary coastal artillery batteries for this include Kaarnajoki coastal artillery battery behind Taipale sector in western end of Mannerheim line. In eastern end of Mannerheim line there were 152/45 C batteries of Saarenpää and Humaljoki coastal forts, which provided equally effective support to Finnish ground troops of that sector. In addition the other side of Lake Laatokka/Ladoga was Mantsinsaari Island coastal artillery battery, which proved to be a constant thorn in the side for Soviet main supply route on north-east shore of Lake Laatokka / Ladoga. The last but not least of coastal forts equipped with 152/45 C guns to see more than their fair share of action during Winter War were coastal artillery batteries on Ravansaari Island, Tuppura Island and Satamaniemi Cape in Viipurinlahti Gulf. From these coastal forts Tuppura was lost after a hard battle. During last weeks of the war Satamaniemi coastal artillery battery shot fire missions both against Soviet troops crossing frozen Viipurilahti Gulf and Soviet troops attacking to Kotka Coastal Sector across ice from Islands of Lavansaari and Suursaari. In addition of being used against enemy shipping and ground troops, Finnish coastal artillery used those 152/45 C guns which had gun mounts high enough to allow necessary elevation also against aircraft. While the guns had slow rate of fire for anti-aircraft use and due to lacking mechanical fire control computer had to rely primitive 3T-method for shooting aircraft, the massive blast range of their time-fused high explosive shells compensated these at least in some degree. Also formation of level bombers would often form a target large enough, that there at least some likelihood of hitting it close enough. Hence, while it was not common, coastal artillery batteries succeeded downing several bombers and at least one fighter aircraft with these guns.

Finnish Salpa-line defense line built to new eastern border starting year 1940 was equipped with fortification artillery, which contained mostly old French guns lacking recoil mechanism, but also three artillery batteries of 152/45 C guns. Each of these artillery batteries containing two guns in fortified in manner following the pattern of coastal forts built in late 1930's. These three fortification artillery batteries of Salpa-line were:

PICTURE: 152/45 C coastal gun on CL gun mount. This gun has been placed on elevated platform and has been inverted to increase its maximum elevation as much as possible. This type of gun position was the result of Finnish development and introduced in late 1930's - it housed the whole gun, its ammunition and gun crew under ground in a large concrete shelter with gun pit in the middle. This sort of gun position proved both very difficult to spot when hidden under camo nets and remarkably difficult to destroy with anything but a direct hit. Photo taken in Ylisenauvila in municipality of Sulkava. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (226 KB).

October - November 1944 one additional battery equipped with two 152/45 C was being built as 38th Heavy Coastal Artillery Battery to Salpa-line in Leskelänvaara of Liperi municipality, but it remains uncertain if the guns were ready in these positions before the unit was disbanded.

The heavy wartime use took its toll not only as losses suffered in combat and guns, which had to be destroyed and left to the enemy before it would over-run the particular coastal installation. When Continuation War ended there were very few good barrels left for remaining 152/45 C guns, with 15 gun barrels broken during the war and most of the remaining gun barrels being seriously worn. Research made in post-war era proved, that the main reason for broken gun barrels during the war had been ammunition, which had produced too high working pressure. This resulted post-war introduction of new reduced propellant charge, new lighter projectiles and new gunpowder. The solution for problem of worn gun barrels was introduction of new L/50 gun barrel manufactured by Finnish manufacturer Oy Tampella Ab. Almost all remaining guns were equipped with these gun barrels starting year 1959 and renamed as 152/50 T, in which T stands for Tampella. The last remaining 152/45 C guns, which still had their original gun L/45 gun barrels served until 1980’s, after which almost all of them were scrapped. The only coastal artillery battery, which did not get its 152/45 C guns equipped with new gun barrels by 1980's was Bolax coastal artillery battery near Hanko / Hango / Gangut. This coastal battery became the last step in evolution of Finnish-improved 152/45 C gun due to being the only coastal battery with these guns equipped with the same cupolas as normally used with 152/50 T guns. The last 152/50 T guns remained in active use until year 2003. Three 152/45 C museum guns have survived to this day – one on Kuivasaari Island outside Helsinki and another two in Salpaline - one in Ylisenauvila of Sulkava and another in Huhmarisvaara of Polvijärvi. In addition all guns of the Bolax coastal artillery battery became museum guns, which since year 2001 have been taken care of local society Bolax Gillet r.f.

PICTURE: 152/50 T coastal gun, these guns were equipped with thin (8-mm thick) steel cupola, which protected the gun crew against napalm and shell small shell fragments. Due to longer gun barrel and new ammunition developed for this gun, it had maximum range of about 25 kilometers. But because to weight of new ammunition (the combination of (50.5-kg) projectile, cartridge case and propellant weight total 80-kg) ammunition was separately loaded. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (159 KB).

Finnish coastal artillery used variety of separately loaded ammunition with 152/45 C coastal guns. Ammunition used with them included high explosive (HE) projectile, which weight 41.5 kg and when fired with maximum propellant charge had muzzle velocity of 830 meters per second and 607 meters per second with reduced propellant charge. In addition two types of armor piercing high explosive (APHE) shells (51.0 kg with 735 m/sec and 43.5 kg with 785 m/sec), available ammunition included shrapnel and star shell. Due to new kind of rifling used in 152/50 T gun barrel, it could not be used with ammunition intended for 152/45 C, hence new ammunition was designed and manufactured for it.

 

152/46 E "Loordi"

(152 mm coastal gun with 46 caliber barrel, model E)

(BL 6in Field Gun Mk VII)

PICTURE: The only 152/46 E coastal gun remaining in Finland. This artillery piece weight almost twice as much as the heaviest artillery weapons used by Finnish field artillery. (Photo taken in Hangon Rintamamuseo) CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (161 KB).

Calibre:

152.4 mm x 1090 R (*)

152.4 mm x 1115 R (*)

152.4 mm x 965 R (*)

Barrel length:

710 cm aka L/46

Weight in action:

16075 kg (for the whole gun)

Rate of fire:

? shots/ min

Muzzle velocity:

? m/sec

Traverse:

? degrees

Elevation:

- 2 degrees, + 35 degrees

Max. range:

About 12.5 km (**)

Ammunition weight:

45 kg (HE) (**)

Ammunition types:

HE, APHE

Country of origin:

Britain

(*) Separately loaded ammunition. Finnish coastal artillery used these guns with same cartridge cases as 152/45 C coastal gun.

(**) With British ammunition, maximum range with Finnish ammunition unknown.

Finnish use: The first mobile heavy guns acquired for coastal artillery. These guns saw combat use in Hanko / Hango / Gangut Peninsula in year 1941.

The pedigree of this 152-mm gun originates from heavy field artillery pieces locally created by the British by installing naval artillery pieces on improved field gun carriages utilizing tractor wheels during the 2nd Boer War (1899 – 1902). The concept proved successful enough that continued developing it also after the war by using 6-inch coastal gun Mk VII for the purpose. They built over 100 of these guns and used them in World War 1, during which their heavy weight and poor mobility proved so problematic, that the remaining guns were apparently removed from active use once the war ended.

PICTURE: Another view of 152/46 E coastal gun. (Photo taken in Hangon Rintamamuseo) CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (200 KB).

What makes these guns highly usual is that they were the first mobile heavy guns specially acquired for Finnish coastal artillery. During Finnish – Soviet Winter War (1939 – 1940) one of the items in shopping list of Finnish military was 12 heavy mobile coastal guns. While Finnish military would have preferred to acquire newly manufactured guns for this purpose, in the end this resulted acquiring of British BL 6in Field Gun Mk VII, only seven of which were ultimately delivered. Finnish military named the gun as 152/46 E, in which the E is for englantilainen (English). Finnish soldiers on the other hand gave the gun nickname Loordi (Lord). All seven guns were delivered in 1940 and once they arrived were issued to coastal artillery, which organized them as two mobile coastal artillery batteries – one with four guns and another with three guns. Poor mobility proved to be a serious issue with these guns also in Finnish use. Due to their weight these guns could not be towed with single tractor and towing them even with two tractors was not easy. In addition crossing bridges or even towing the guns on a normal road required often required the bridges and roads to be reinforced beforehand – and even then even now and then guns sunk into road. Year 1941 both mobile coastal batteries equipped with these guns took part in battles of Hanko / Hango / Gangut peninsula and during these battles their barrels worn-off to such degree that the guns had to be removed from active combat use. After this they saw very little use for rest of the Continuation War.

Finnish military did not really have motorized coastal artillery units until they were created during Continuation War. The two mobile coastal batteries equipped with these guns were among the first attempts for creating units of that type. While 152/46 E guns proved too heavy for the use, during that war motorized coastal artillery batteries equipped with most suitable captured artillery pieces (such as 122 K/31 and 152 H/37) proved notably more successful.

PICTURE: 152/46 VLo coastal gun. These guns were equipped with gun shields originating from captured Soviet 130/50 N coastal guns. (Photo taken on Kuivasaari Island) CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (106 KB).

Plans for manufacturing similar pedestal type gun mounts for as used in 152/45 C had existed already in 1940, but none were ever made. The structural design used in the gun barrels of these guns made repairing them high problematic, so ultimately their old worn out gun barrels were not replaced until year 1949. Besides plans of making them fixed coastal guns, also plans of possibly using them for building railway artillery had also surfaces already during World War 2. In post-war these plans re-appeared and resulted three of the guns being reserved to be used as railway guns. But once building of the three railway guns was completed year 1960, the first live fire tests revealed that the new inner barrels installed by Tampella were too tight. The resulting railway gun was named as 152/46 ELoRaut. While Tampella fixed too tight 152/46 gun barrels by honing them, Finnish military decided to use 130/50 N coastal guns for the purpose instead of them, therefore ending career of 152/46 E guns as railway artillery before it had really even started. Ultimately they were equipped with gun mounts manufactured by Oy Lokomo Ab and became coastal guns installed to fixed positions. Year 1963 three 152/46 VLo guns, as they were now called, were installed as fixed coastal battery to Sommarö Coastal Fort on Raippaluoto Island. After their use in Raippaluoto had started a new problem appeared – the recoil system which contained two recuperators proved too weak to return the barrel forward when fired with the high elevations allowed by Lokomo gun mount. This problem was solved by adding a third recuperator on top of the gun. During this last part of their service career 152/46 VLo coastal battery of Sommarö Fort was also equipped with gun shields originating from captured 130/50 N coastal guns. Year 1987 the 152/46 VLo coastal battery was transferred to Military Museum, but remained in its original positions until year 2000 or so. Only one original 152/46 E have survided to this day in Finland and is now in Museum of Hango Front (Hangon Rintamamuseo). Kuivasaari Island (outside Helsinki) coastal artillery exhibition contains 152/46 VLo coastal gun.

These guns used separately loaded ammunition. When delivered from Great Britain in year 1940, 152/46 E guns arrived with plenty of ammunition, which included at least high explosive (HE) projectiles. Later on Finnish military used them with artillery shells, which had been originally manufactured for 152/45 C coastal guns.

 

OTHER HEAVY COASTAL GUNS:

102/60 O (102 mm coastal gun with 60 caliber barrel, model Obuhov) (102 mm (4") naval gun model 1911): Like most heavy artillery pieces used by Finnish coastal artillery during World War, these Russian 102-mm guns had ended to Finnish hands in year 1918. It was one of the most modern gun designs, if not the most modern coastal artillery piece captured by Finnish military in 1918. The development of the gun had started year 1908 with it being approved to military use in year 1911. Its manufacturers included Ohuhov steel works, Perm artillery factory and St. Petersburg metal factory. The gun had exceptionally high rate of fire for a heavy coastal gun, largely due to fixed ammunition and breech system equipped with semiautomatic mechanism, which after each system removed cartridge case, armed itself and kept breech open for the next round. It fired 101.6 x 790 R ammunition and had modern recoil mechanism containing the usual combination of hydraulic buffer and spring recuperator. The gun had semi-automatic breech system with horizontal sliding wedge breech. The gun was normally equipped with small gun shield, which protected the guns most vulnerable parts, but did not provide any real protection for the gun crew. Original Obuhov-designed gun mount did not allow maximum positive elevation larger than + 15 degrees, but year 1914 additional part that raised height of the gun mount by 20 centimeters was added under its pedestal-type gun mount, this change resulted to +20 degree maximum elevation. This improvement proved to be too modest and little by little size of this additional part added under the gun mount was gradually increased until it reached height of 50 centimeters. Another Russian solution the problem was year 1916 introduction of new gun mount designed Saint Petersburg metal factory. Presumably about a dozen guns ended up to Finnish hands in year 1918. In early 1920's these guns were used as main guns of gunboats Klas Horn (former: Posadnik) and Matti Kurki (former: Vojevoda), but proved too heavy for these ships. In 1930’s Finnish Navy had them on gunboats Uusimaa (former: Golub / Beo) and Hämeenmaa (former: Pingvin), icebreakers Sisu and Jääkarhu and even shortly as secondary guns on coastal defense ship Väinämöinen. Two of the guns were also used as main guns on former German Siebel-type gunferries T-2 and T-17, which Finnish Navy operated on Lake Laatokka / Ladoga in 1942 - 1944. Around 1943 – 1944 several of the guns were modified to 105-mm caliber, making them 105/58 O, but some guns remained in original configuration. When the guns were modified to 105-mm caliber they were also equipped with "pepper-box" type muzzle brake. Year 1944 there was only six 102/60 O guns remaining in Finnish inventory and they were mostly in used on ships of Finnish Navy, with only two guns being used by coastal artillery. Early on (1920’s) Finnish military mistakenly had known 102/60 O gun as 100/60 O. 105/58 O had quite a career also in post-war era, the last coastal forts equipped with these guns were Nörrskär Coastal Fort in year 1971 and Isokari Coastal Fort in year 1975. Both of these two coastal batteries remained active use until 1980's. Maximum range of 102/60 O was about 13,600 meters and maximum rate of fire about 15 shots per minute. Ammunition available in Finland for 120/60 O included high explosive (HE) and armor piercing high explosive (APHE) ammunition, which both had 17.5 kg projectile with muzzle velocity of 825 meters per second. 105/58 O maximum elevation of +32 degrees, it used fixed ammunition and had maximum range of about 18,200 meters.

PICTURE: 105/58 O coastal/naval gun. Notice the small gun shield originating from 102/60 O. (Photo taken n Forum Marinum in city of Turku.) CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (223 KB).

130/50 N (130 mm / 50 naval gun B13 model 1936): This was modern Soviet coastal gun, which were captured during first year of Continuation War – in other words year 1941. It had been designed in Bolshevik Plant (former Ohuhov Works), officially approved to use of Soviet military year 1935 and had entered mass-production just in year 1939. Apparently the design proved successful, since it remained in production until year 1954. The production series to which the Finnish-captured guns belonged had been equipped with large gun shield with open back. The gun had screw breech and used pneumatic loader which loaded projectile and cartridge case separately to the gun. While the pneumatic loader could be used regardless elevation of the gun, when used with high elevation it was notably slower and altogether was relatively slow, resulting fairly low rate of fire. Very few guns of this type saw Finnish use. After Winter War (1939 – 1940) the Soviets had gotten themselves a base to Hanko / Hango / Gangut peninsula. Among heavy weapons that they brought to that base in 1940 – 1941 were four coastal artillery batteries equipped with 130/50 N guns. These four Soviet coastal batteries were on Uddskatan Cape, Russarö Island, Långskär Island and Island of Hästö-Busö. When the Soviets decided to evacuate the base in December of 1941, they did their best to destroy all equipment that they had to leave behind. But when it came to four coastal batteries of 130/50 N, this demolition proved to be only partially successful.

By combining parts taken from destroyed guns and repairing them State Artillery Factory (VTT) and Gun Repair Shop of Helsinki Naval Station succeeded assembling five complete guns. From those five guns two were issued to Navy and three to coastal artillery. The two guns that went to Navy were used as main guns of auxiliary gun boats (former large fishing boats) Aunus and Viena in 1942 – 1945. The three guns that went to coastal artillery served briefly to coastal forts of Pihlajasaari Island and Miessaari Island, but otherwise spent most of the war on depot. The letter N in Finnish name of the gun (130/50 N) is probably for neuvostoliittolainen (Soviet). Year 1964 three or four of the guns were used to create railway guns, which were named as 130/50 NRaut, but their career as last Finnish railway artillery pieces ended already in year 1969. Year 1972 three of the guns were installed to Glosholma Coastal Fort, where they may still be, even if the particular coastal artillery battery was removed from active use in 1990’s. The gun had maximum range of about 24,000 meters and maximum rate of fire about five shots per minute. Very little ammunition was captured for these guns, so Finnish industry manufactured additional high explosive (HE) ammunition for them. Captured Soviet ammunition included high explosive (HE) and semi armor piercing high explosive (SAPHE) type ammunition. Soviet HE ammunition had 33.3 kg projectile with muzzle velocity of 780 m/sec, while SAPHE ammunition had 33.3 kg projectile with muzzle velocity of 850 m/sec.

PICTURE: 130/50 N coastal gun. This captured Soviet gun was one of the most modern coastal guns in Finnish use during World War 2. Notice the gun shield open from the back - this the original Soviet gun shield design, which Finnish military continued to use with the captured guns. (Photo taken on Kuivasaari Island). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (219 KB).

152/22 D "Jumbo" (152 mm naval gun with 22 caliber barrel, model Durlacher): This gun was essentially coastal gun version of Russian 152 K/77-190p siege gun. Apparently about 80 - 90 of these guns fell to Finnish hands in year 1918, but they did not see any combat with Finnish military. They had still seen extensive use with Russian coastal artillery during World War 1 and apparently some might have still seen some use with the Soviets even during World War 2. The guns used in Finland had been equipped with gun mount designed by General R.A. Durlacher, which used during recoil used weight of the gun to dampen the recoil, since when the gun slide rearwards during recoil it was forced to climb higher on the gun carriage. Horizontally laying the gun was quite slow and problematic, since the gun mount was rotated on top steel rail by attaching a chain to most suitable one of the numerous bolts and pulling the chain with wheel. In 1940’s notably faster and easier to use horizontal laying system was designed locally and installed to one of the guns of Kuuskajaskari Coastal Fort, but since the whole gun was so outdated (low rate of fire and limited maximum range), it was decided that while successful introducing the modification to larger number of guns would have been waste of resources. Finnish soldiers gave this gun nickname "Jumbo" – probably due to its large weight, which besides being so outdated gun design, effectively limited interest of Finnish military. Otherwise the gun was structurally simple and strong design, but also so loose that when fired, in addition of muzzle flash it was normal for another flash to appear from between the screw breech. In 1920's and 1930's Helsinki Civil Guard Coastal Artillery Division / Helsinki Coastal Artillery Civil Guard actively used 152/22 D artillery battery on Pikku-Mustasaari Island for its training.

Few of the Finnish coastal forts were still equipped with these old guns during World War 2, but apparently luckily none of them saw combat. The last coastal fort equipped with them was Kuuskajaskari Coastal Fort, building of which was not completed until year 1940. Other World War 2 Finnish coastal batteries equipped with 152/22 D guns included battery of four guns on Länsi-Mustasaari Island, from which two guns were transferred to Kuuskajaskari in 1940 and coastal artillery battery of three guns on Sömmarö Island during early Continuation War. The remaining guns of this type were scrapped soon after World War 2 with only one siege gun remaining in collections of Artillery Museum (Tykistömuseo) and one coastal gun remaining in Kustaanmiekka of Suomenlinna. Maximum range was about 7,700 – 7,800 meters. This gun used bagged ammunition and available ammunition contained both high explosive (HE) projectiles (weight 33.7 kg, muzzle velocity with maximum propellant charge 454 m/sec) and shrapnel.

PICTURE: The only 152/22 D coastal gun remaining in Finland. (Photo taken in Suomenlinna.) CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (205 KB).

152/50 V (152 mm coastal gun with 50 caliber barrel, model Vickers): This was a Russian 152-mm coastal gun based to 120/50 V. Obuhov metal works manufactured its prototype in year 1906 and just before World War 1 Russian Imperial Navy had considered to replacing its existing 152/45 C guns with this gun. Russian Navy had ordered 52 guns in year 1912 and in around 1914 – 1915 dozen of them were transferred to coastal artillery. But once the Soviets reorganized their Navy and coastal artillery, they discarded earlier plans. Year 1918 there was only one incomplete coastal artillery battery of four guns equipped with 152/50 V coastal guns in Finnish territory – Storklobb coastal artillery battery in Ahvenanmaa / Åland Islands. These islands became demilitarized area in 1919, so all coastal batteries were taken elsewhere and existing coastal forts were destroyed. Two of the guns, which the Russian military had blown up before abandoning the coastal battery, were probably scrapped already that same year, with the other two remaining warehoused until World War 2. Year 1940 two remaining guns were installed to Kytö Coastal Fort, where they served until being returned back to depot in year 1944. This coastal artillery battery did not see any real combat during the war. Only one museum gun has survived to this day. They had maximum range of about 16,000 meters and maximum rate of fire about 4 shots per minute. The gun used bagged ammunition and available ammunition contained two types of high explosive (HE) shells and armor piercing high explosive (APHE) shell. Heavier of the HE-projectiles weight 47.6 kg and with maximum propellant charge had muzzle velocity of 825 meters per second, while lighter HE-projectile weight 41.2 kg and with reduced propellant charge had muzzle velocity of 590 meters per second. APHE-projectile weight 43.4 kg and with maximum propellant charge had muzzle velocity of 805 meters per second.


SOURCES:

Itsenäisen Suomen rannikkotykit 1918 - 1998 (Coastal Guns of Finland 1918 - 1998) by Ove Enqvist.

Itsenäisen Suomen laivaston laivatykit 1918 - 2004 by Pekka Kiiskinen and Pasi Wahlman.

Suomen Rannikkotykit / Coastal Guns in Finland by Ove Enqvist.

Itsenäisen Suomen kenttätykit 1918 - 1995 (Field Guns of Finland 1918 - 1995) by Jyri Paulaharju.

Suomen linnoitustykistö 1940 - 1944 (Finnish Fortification Artillery 1940 - 1944) by Teuvo Rönkkönen.

Suomen linnoittamisen historia 1918 - 1944 (History of Fortifying Finland) by Reino Arimo.

Suomen rannikkotykistö 1918 - 1958.

Rannikkotykistö taistelee.

Ampumatarvikenimekkeistö by Puolustusvoimien Pääesikunta, Tst-välineosasto (1941).

Military manual: Rannikkotykistökäsikirja by Eino Virkki (1929).

Military manual: Lyhyitä tietoja 122 mm raskaasta kenttäkanuunasta vuodelta 1931 by Puolustusvoimien Pääesikunnan Taisteluvälineosasto (printed 1941).

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

Article: Reposaaren linnakkeen kunnostus by Matti Heininen in Rannikon Puolustaja magazine vol. 3/1993.

Article: RT 3:n Kaarnajoen linnakkeella by Teuvo Rönkkönen in Rannikon Puolustaja magazine vol. 2/2001.

Article: Rannikkotykistö Pohjois-Karjalassa by Kimmo Salo in Rannikon Puolustaja magazine vol. 4/2001.

Article: Ahvenanmaan Storklobbening linnake by Teuvo Rönkkönen in Rannikon Puolustaja magazine vol. 4/2001.

Article: RT 2:n Humaljoen linnakkeella by Teuvo Rönkkönen in Rannikon Puolustaja magazine vol. 2/2002.

Article: Mantsinsaari - pattereita ja kunniakasta historiaa by Ove Enqvist in Rannikon Puolustaja magazine 2/2004.

Article: Helsingin Suojeluskuntapiiri, Merelliset Suojeluskunnat in Rannikon Puolustaja 1/2010.

Ammunition Depot 4 inventory lists from year 1935, Finnish National Archives, folder number T-4360/7.

Special thanks to Suomenlinnan Rannikkotykistökilta (Suomenlinna Guild of Coastal Artillery).

Special thanks to Tykistömuseo (Finnish Artillery Museum, Hämeenlinna).

NavWeaps website Excellent Website about naval artillery and technology. Many of these guns saw use as coastal guns in Finland.


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