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: Two 37 mm Obuhov M/14 infantry guns photographed in collection point of captured heavy weapons in Tolvajärvi during Winter War. It is more than likely that their gun crews have traded these guns to recently captured Soviet 45-mm antitank-guns. The guns behind these two 37 K/14 are captured Soviet 76 RK/27 infantry guns. (SA-kuva photo archive, photo number 2470). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (176 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 sometimes written as Obuhof or Obuhoff) infantry gun can be considered quite eccentric design. What is known suggests that it was a Russian developed infantry gun design built from old 37/20 O naval guns. The gun was both developed and built during World War 1. Due to Finnish model marking it seems likely that the guns were converted to this sort of infantry guns by Obohov factory in Petrograd (modern day St. Petersburg). Sliding wedge breech and box-trail are not particularly unusual, but recoil system based on spring around the barrel is not something that one normally sees 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, that it 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. Gun sights were adjustable to ranges 0 - 23 cables (one cable = about 185 meters) and also to 0 - 575 points (1 point being 1/1000 of the distance). Gun shield has 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 (142 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 removed from use after being found unsuccessful.

PICTURE: Another 37 mm Rosenberg M/15 infantry gun. This gun has also lower section of gun shield, which would have made moving the gun on soft ground or snow practically impossible. It is also painted with Finnish Continuation War era three colour camo, even if these guns no longer saw use in that war. (Photo taken in Jalkaväkimuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (159 KB).

As the name suggests this gun was developed by Russian Colonel (later: General) M.F. Rosenberg and named after him. 37-mm Rosenberg gun uses same ammunition as the Obuhov one, but is the whole extent of features that they share. 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 gun barrel with bore of similar length and rifling of 12 grooves. It also have very simple iron sights adjustable to 0 - 5400 arschen (old measurement 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. Steel wheels seem to be similar as the ones used in Sokolov-mount of Russian Maxim machineguns. Like typical horse-towed guns of its era this gun also has small caisson / gun 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. Notice also breech system, peep-sight type rear sight, 37-mm shell and wooden structure of the gun carriage. (Photo taken in Jalkaväkimuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (154 KB).

The Finns captured these quite primitive 37-mm infantry guns from Russians during Finnish Civil War of 1918. The Russians had introduced the guns to use of their Army during World War 1. After Finnish Civil in year 1918 the guns remained in use of Finnish Army. Finnish Army also considered suitable as antitank weapons in 1920's and 1930's, officially including them to inventory of antitank guns (along with 37 mm K/36 Bofors antitank-guns) before Winter War. Finnish Army seem to have considered these guns already quite obsolete at that point, since they appear in year 1936 list of mixed and obsolete materials, that Finnish Army intended to be sold off in the future. But when Winter War started in November 1939, Finnish Army suffered from serious shortage of antitank-guns, which probably mainly explains why the old Russian 37-mm infantry guns were still issued to antitank-gun units. Once the war started their ineffectivity as antitank-guns become soon apparent and the ones issued to combat units were swiftly removed from frontline service. That was the last time Finnish Army used these guns. Most of the guns were scrapped before year 1945, with only few guns of each model surviving for museum use.

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 armor piercing ammunition, for which the same ammunition also being used in FT-17 light tanks may have been a factor. The manual from year 1926 still lists only ammunition types as high-explosive (HE) with shells with concussion and delay fuses, armor piercing (AP) ammunition and grape shot. The ammunition manual from 1939 (Lyhennetty tykistö ampumatarvikenomenklatuuri) on the other hand contains only armor piercing (AP), armor piercing tracer (AP-T), armor piercing high explosive (APHE) and armor 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: Unknown number of these guns saw use in Finnish Civil War with Red Gurds. During that war of 1918 total 49 guns were captured. Grand majority was converted as 76 LK/10/13 guns 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 fixed shot type ammunition type of its own, which was not compatible with other Russian field artillery guns of the era. Basic design and structure of the gun were typical to the era with pole trail, screw breech and wood wheels with steel hoops. This gun was also based to Schneider designed 76 mm infantry gun 1913, from which the Russians seem to had wanted a lighter version for direct fire use, causing development of this gun model. The gun was quite light indeed, but also of quite limited use. According Finnish experience the guns could be used for indirect fire as well, but it was very poorly suited for such use.

    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 gun carriages were replaced with Finnish made gun carriages of 76 LK/13 gun, thus converting these guns gun model referred as 76 LK/10/13 guns. These 76 LK/10/13 were comparable to already existing 76 LK/13, which had proved much more useful.

    PICTURE: Carriage of 76 LK/10 equipped with wooden "gun barrel". This combination commonly known as "Pastori" (= "e;reverend"e;) in Finnish Army was created as a training tool and used to practice towing gun with horses. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (136 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 in Finnish inventory and they did not see any use in World War 2.

     

     

    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 (146 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 year 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.

    - Calculated from military manual 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. Gun 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 well suited also for indirect fire. 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 (127 KB).

    Finns captured only five of 76 LK/13 guns in Civil War of 1918, but due to 45 additional guns bought from Germany still that same year their total number become substantial. Two more guns were bought via Transbaltic Oy in year 1931. When also all 76 LK/10 guns were modified as 76 LK/10/13 in early 1920's by replacing original carriages with Finnish-manufactured 76 LK/13 type gun carriages, their total number increased further. Gun carriages used for modification process were manufactured 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 their guns were. These guns were in use of Civil Guard units, Jaeger artillery and Riding Artillery Battery (Ratsastava Patteri) of Cavalry Brigade (Ratsuväkiprikaati) before World War 2.

    During Winter War these guns represented substantial part of Finnish artillery weaponry both because of their large number and the (relatively) large amount of ammunition reserved for them. Finnish military had 72 of these guns when Winter War started in November of 1939, making it the second most numerous field artillery weapon in Finnish use at that time. At the same time these were also the guns with most ammunition existing per gun, so they suffered less from ammunition shortage than other artillery pieces in Finnish inventory.

    PICTURE: 76 LK/13 or 76 LK/10-13 guns in use of artillery training course of Finnish Civil Guard in year 1934. (Photo part of Jaeger Platoon Website photo collection). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (113 KB).

    During Winter War some 85,774 artillery shells were fired with these guns, which were used by three field artillery regiments, Riding Artillery Battery and three Separate Artillery Batteries. In Winter War the guns also sometimes saw use as antitank weapons. In fact Finnish soldiers considered 76 LK/13 to be excellent direct-fire gun, but their gun carriages proved little bit too fragile in hard use. During early Continuation War the guns were issued again and now mainly used 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. They fired some 192,897 artillery shells during Continuation War. Summer of 1944 Syväri Fortification Artillery Battalions belonging to Finnish troops located to River Svir (Syväri) lost 23 of these guns during the retreat - this was the total number of 76 LK/13 guns issued to Syväri Fortification Artillery Battalions 1 and 2. The reasons behind such a total loss were likely related to the manner in which these two battalions used the 76 LK/13 guns - they were utalized as artillery sections of two guns in immediate frontline as direct-fire fire-support for infantry. Hence once troops were ordered to retreat, evacuating the guns would have been more than difficult. However another major reason seems to have been that the limited transport capability was reserved for heavier but older 120 K/78 and 155 K/77 guns. About 40 of 76 LK/13 guns survived World War 2. The guns that survived the war were declared obsolte and mostly scrapped in late 1950's, with only few guns saved for museum purposes.

     

     

    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 (99 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, APC-T (1942), 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, favored 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 presumably from Finnish wartime ammunition tests, ammunition used unknown)(*):

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

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

    PICTURE: 76 RK/27 infantry gun seen from the front. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (165 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 (149 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 gun and design work was started still that same year. That design work resulted in creating this gun and officially approved it to weaponry of Soviet Red Army in year 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. Fixed shot type ammunition used in these guns was basically 76.2 mm x 385 R field gun ammunition (used in Soviet field guns and tank guns) with notably less powerful propellant charge. These guns remained in Soviet use at least until end of World War 2 and the Germans also used captured guns of this type in large numbers. The Soviets also developed improved regimental gun called model 1943 during World War 2, 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 gun 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: 76 RK/27 infantry gun ready in fire position built for direct fire "somewhere out there" during Continuation War. (Jaeger Platoon Website photo collection). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (91 KB).

    The 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 number of these guns were captured and the actual total number of these guns in Finnish use peaked to 235 guns early 1944. Their light weight 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 did not exactly enjoy these guns. Soldiers of Finnish artillery found out that low-quality steel used in barrels made them wear down fast and that poor manufacturing quality of recoil system often made it unreliable.

    PICTURE: Closer look behind gun shield of 76 RK/27-39 infantry gun. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (196 KB).

    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 how well suited these guns were for such remains to be disputed. Regimental guns were rather clumsy looking, they had rather high gun shield supposedly making spotting them easy for Soviet armour and pushing the gun to another place before return fire difficult to its crew. In addition period photos suggest that the gun had highly visible muzzle flash, although this seems to have been a common problem also for antitank-guns. Armour penetration with armor penetrating (AP) and armor penetrating capped tracer (APC-T) ammunition was barely comparable to 37 mm antitank-guns, but high explosive antitank (HEAT) ammunition and its tracer equipped version (HEAT-T) was far more potent. On the other hand the whole gun weight only about 780 kilograms, being notably lighter than Finnish-used 75-mm antitank-guns capable to similar or better performance. What is notable is that combat losses were quite high, with 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. Total number of 195 guns remained in Finnish inventory after the war. In post-war era Finnish Army used remaining guns for training purposes until year 1960. The guns do not seem to have been reserved for antitank-use in post-war era anymore, although HEAT and HEAT-T ammunition remains in their manuals. Most of the remaining guns were sold and exported in early 1980's, with about 20 guns left behind for museums and to be used as monuments.

    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. Eight of those guns were lost in summer of 1944.

    Ammunition for 76-mm "regimental guns" used by Finnish military came in large variety. High explosive (HE) ammunition usually used with it had been manufactured especially for it, but also reduced propellant charge version of ammunition made for 76,2 x 385R calibre field guns, that was manufactured in Finland 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 armor piercing capped (APC-T) was probably more common in this category. 76 psa Vj4 APC-T ammunition was added to Finnish manuals 1st of December 1942. 76 psa Vj4 was APC-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.
  • APC-T psa - Vj4 ammunition had projectile that weight 6,325 kg. High explosive antitank (HEAT) ammunition was apparently 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 mainly 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, so the actual ammunition may have been available already bit earlier. Apparently 76 hrk 42-18/24-38 had HEAT-warhead similar to German 75 millimeter Gr. 38 Hl/B projectile, while 76 hrk Vj 42/C-18/24.38 had warhead similar to German 75 mm 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 (176 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. According official story the transporting them was sunk near Spanish coast, but in reality they seem to have gone to Republican Army of Spanish Civil War.

    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 fixed ammunition type. Recoil system was semi-rigid using chains and cables connected to set of springs. Japanese military used these guns first in Russo-Japanese war (1904 - 1905), 2nd Sino-Japanese War (1937 - 1945) and later still in World War 2 (1939 - 1945). Breech system was screw breech with four segments. During World War 1 Russia bought 100 of these mountain guns from Japan, they were all delivered in year 1916.

    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 / Museo Militaria). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (129 KB).

    Finnish Red Guards used these guns during Civil War in year 1918. Finnish White Army captured 44 of them, most in cities of Helsinki and Viipuri. Finnish Army had very little interested towards them, because these guns proved too weak, difficult to use and ineffective. Even if Finnish Army was using field guns as old or even older, they had considerably better ballistics and proved better suited for Finnish conditions. So Army transferred them to Suojeluskunta (Finnish Civil Guard) already early on. This transfer of guns allowed large number of Civil Guard units to start artillery training with real guns - for example year 1931 there were no less than 18 Civil Guards issued with 75 VK/98 guns. However, Civil Guard units that got them apparently learned to dislike these guns as well, which resulted the guns issued to them seeing very little actual use. Three of the guns were also shortly used by Finnish volunteers of Aunus Carelia Expedition in year 1919, after which they got 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 (1936 - 1939). The guns sold to Transbaltic had gone through overhaul repair procedure in Sako factory before their export, but in general they were in quite a poor shape at that time, with many guns having problems that could be effectively repaired. These guns and their ammunition were loaded to S.S. Yorkbook, which was freight ship sailing under Estonian flag. The person behind this shipment was German arms merchant Joseph Veltjens, who was supposedly scamming either Republican Spain and/or Soviets. 5th of March 1937 Yorkbrook was heading to Salamander, which was port controlled by Republican Spain in Basque country in northern 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. Although considering quality and shape of the mountain guns plus their missing parts the reception for the cargo once inspected was presumably less than happy - and for a very good reason. It remains uncertain how much combat the guns saw in Spain. Nowadays the two guns, which were the only ones left in Finland, are part of Finnish Military Museum and Museum Militaria collections.

     

     

    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. Two guns were briefly used in Finnish armoured trains and another four guns 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 World War 1. The guns that ended up to Finland were improved version that entered to production in year 1913. Structure of the gun was typical to mountain guns of that time: It had box trail, gun shield, sliding block breech, wooden wheels with steel hoops and could be divided to parts loads suitable for mules or men to carry.

    Imperial Germany 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 the Germans thought (mistakenly) that Finnish terrain to be particularly well suitable for using mountain guns as artillery weapons and recommended the Finns creation of strong mountain artillery. As part of this effort they used their influence and managed to sell 12 of these guns and some ammunition to Finnish military. Fortunately the German preference of mountain artillery did not really catch up in Finland, since later more traditional field artillery proved far better suited for Finnish purposes.

    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 some 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 four of these guns were loaned to Finnish volunteers of Aunus Carelia Expedition that fought in Soviet Carelia in year 1919.

    These guns had not been in good shape to begin with and especially the ones returned by Aunus Carelia Expedition came back in terrible condition. Eight of the guns (which were in bit better shape than the others) were transferred to Suojeluskunta (Civil Guard) units of Tampere and Viipuri presumably in year 1923 and remained in their use until 1931. As the guns given to Suojeluskunta were in poor shape, their soldiers were not too interested about using the guns 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. Finnish White Army's Carelian Army installed six of the captured guns with their naval mounts to horse-towed sleges and used them in Carelian Isthmus during Finnish Civil War. During Winter War four of the 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 favor of 76 VK/09.

    Finnish White Army captured 11 of these guns during Civil War in year 1918, most of them were on naval/coastal mounts. Six of those guns were captured from Russian Arsenal of Vuoksenniska by Carelian Army of Finnish White Army in 24th of January 1918 and saw use in Finnish Civil War in year 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, although they were missing parts and had naval mounts. All six guns were missing some parts, but were repaired and installed with their naval mounts on presumably purpose-built horse-towed 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 artist, author and poet 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 76 VK/04 guns. Around the same time 1st Artillery Battery of Carelian Army got issued with the other four guns. One of the captured guns was installed to somewhat improvised White Army armoured train "Saviour of Karelia" (Karjalan Pelastaja). 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 Winter War 40-mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns became new main weapons for armoured trains and function of the armoured trains changed, with them becoming mobile anti-aircraft batteries used for protecting important transports made by train. During Continuation War some 76 VK/04 guns were used as short coastal guns for beach defense. In this use five guns used by Lake Laatokka (Lake Ladoga) Coastal Defence were lost in summer of 1944.

    PICTURE: 76 VK/04 mountain gun on caval gun mount being used for beach defense. Photo taken in Vitele at July of 1943. (SA-kuva photo archive, photo number 134460). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (167 KB).

     

     

    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 (165 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 total number of mountain guns in inventory at the beginning of World War 1. 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 (169 KB).

    During Finnish Civil War of 1918 eleven of these guns were captured, most (eight) of them in Tampere and some in Rautu (in Carelian Isthmus). 1st and 4th Artillery Batteries of Karelian Army (of Finnish White Army) were re-equipped with these guns in April of 1918, as weather was no longer good for sledge-installed 76 VK/04 guns, since with arrival of spring 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 of these incendiary shell designs contained thermite and black powder.


    SOURCES:

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

    Suomen Kenttätykistön historia (History of Field Artillery) parts 1 - 2 by Jyri Paulaharju.

    Tykistömuseon 87 tykkiä (87 guns of Artillery Museum) by Unto Partanen.

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

    Itsenäisen Suomen jalkav¨en raskaat aseet ja ryhmäaseet (Heavy Weapons and Team Weapons of Finnish Infantry in Independent Finland).

    Marskin Panssarintuhoojat (Tank Destroyers of Marski) by Erkki Käkelä.

    Panzerabwehrkanonen 1916 - 1977 by Franz Koser.

    Jatkosodan Historia (History of Continuation War), volume 6.

    Military manual: Jalkaväkitykit (Infantry Guns) year 1926 manual by Yleisesikunta.

    Military manual: Jalkaväkitykkien harjoitusohjesääntö (Training Regime for Infantry Guns), year 1926 manual by Yleisesikunta.

    Military manual: Panssarintorjuntayksiköiden ohjesääntö osa II2 (Regulations for Antitank Units, Part II2) (printed 1956).

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

    Military manual: Lyhennetty tykistön ampumatarvikenomenklatuuri (Shortened Artillery Ammunition Nomenclature), printed 1939.

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

    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.

    Finnish Military Archives, documents under archive number T20207.

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

    Finnish Military Archives, documents under archive number T18468.

    Special thanks to Sotamuseo (Finnish Military Museum), Helsinki

    Special thanks to Rannikkotykistömuseo (Coastal Artillery Museum), Suomenlinna

    Special thanks to Tykistömuseo (Finnish Artillery Museum) / Museo Militaria, Hämeenlinna


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