Part 4.3

Drawings: Artillery Wagon / Machinegun Wagon / Kitchen Wagon



These wagons had been flatcars ("O-wagons") until Finnish Reds build about dozen armoured artillery wagons out of them in Fredriksberg Engineering Works (located in Helsinki) during Finnish Civil War in 1918. The weaponry added at that time included 1 or 2 artillery pieces and several machineguns per wagon. The artillery pieces used for this were 47-mm, 57-mm and 75-mm naval/coastal guns, while the machineguns were likely mostly (if not all) 7.62-mm Maxim m/1905 and m/1910. Armour-plating that the Reds used for building armoured trains seems to have varied between 10 - 15 in thickness and it is pretty safe to assume that there was also quite a bit variety in quality. During the war Finnish White and German Ostsee Division captured almost all of these wagons and the best of them were included to two armoured trains which the Finns kept in use after Civil War. As mentioned these two armoured trains were first given to German troops stationed in Finland for couple of months in 1918 and then returned to use of Finnish Army when German troops left.

PICTURE: Photo showing artillery wagon build for Finnish Red Guards in Fredriksberg Engineering Works and equipped with one 75-mm Canet naval/coastal gun. Photo source Vapaussota Kuvissa 1 (published 1934). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (50 KB).

While originally artillery wagons they were modified to machinegun wagons already 1918. This seem to have happened simply by removing artillery pieces from them and adding roofs made from wood and bitumized paper. The work was likely made in Fredriksberg Works. While these first roofs didn't give any real protection even against small arms fire they still provided some shelter from the weather (not a minor matter with Finnish weather). These first roofs were replaced with armoured roofs probably in the 1920's. Machinegun-wise these wagon when through the same modifications as rest of the train. Already year 1918 the original 7.62 mm x 54R calibre Maxim machineguns were replaced with German 7.92 mm x 57 JS calibre MG-08 medium machineguns and MG-08/15 and MG-08/18 light machineguns. Early 1930's these German machineguns were again replaced with 7.62 mm Maxim as Finnish military was getting rid of 7.92 mm x 57 JS calibre weapons. During Winter War the wagons remained as part of Finnish armoured trains even if their machinegun-armament wasn't terribly useful. As it could be only used to shoot targets visible from the train.

During Continuation War Finnish armoured trains had two kinds versions of these wagons - machinegun-wagons and kitchen wagons. The obvious differences between the two versions were that kitchen-version had the basic kitchen equipment and less machineguns than the machinegun-version of this wagon. Some of these wagons had also wide but low open turrets added for their roofs - these were for anti-aircraft machineguns (presumed mainly for 7,62 ItKk/31 anti-aircraft machineguns). Once the trains became anti-aircraft artillery platforms the need for machineguns intended shooting surface targets was diminished - and so was the need for these wagons. Lacking anti-aircraft weaponry beyond rifle-calibre these wagons were rather ineffective for anti-aircraft use. 7.62-mm machineguns simply lacked the range needed for this kind of task. So at least in 1st Railway Anti-Aircraft Battery the machineguns wagon was replaced with modified (but non-armoured) Git or Gbit boxcars armed with 20-mm ItK/39 M anti-aircraft guns in June of 1943. The similar change may have happened also in 2nd Railway Anti-Aircraft Battery - lot of the documents belonging to these units are missing. Besides kitchen these wagons carried also radio - Helvar C transmitter/receiver, which was the only radio connection from the train to outside world. In its final Continuation War era form these wagon weight about 35 tons. Only one of these wagons (kitchen wagon from Armoured Train 1 / 1st Railway Anti-Aircraft battery) remains today and it is located Panssarimuseo (Finnish Armour Museum).


PICTURE: One example of the artillery wagon built in Fredriksberg Works year 1918. These wagons had open top. Notice also exactly how the armour plating has been attached with rivets. Both light coastal/naval guns and riflemen fired over sides of the wagon, while machineguns fired through loopholes in sides of the wagon. The artillery pieces of this particular wagon are two 57-mm Nordenfelt naval/coastal guns. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (37 KB).

PICTURE: Another example of artillery wagon build for the Finnish Red Guards in Fredriksberg Works year 1918. This wagon has just one artillery piece - 75-mm Canet coastal/naval gun. Notice railings in side of the door and armour plate added behind ladder leading to door in side of the wagon. These details are based to differences spotted in period photos. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (36 KB).

PICTURE: Artillery wagon modified as machinegun wagon in use of German Ostsee Division late 1918. As always: The colours are the best possible guess (including colour of the new roof). Notice the modified loopholes for machineguns. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (43 KB).

PICTURE: Machinegun wagon in use of Finnish Army in 1920's. Notice new armoured roof. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (44 KB).

PICTURE: Machinegun wagon during Winter War. Notice armoured screens added to left end of the wagon to allow safe movement from one wagon to another while the train is under fire. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (58 KB).

PICTURE: Machinegun wagon in summer of 1942. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (46 KB).

PICTURE: Kitchen wagon in summer of 1942. Notice open turrets on top of the wagon, typically at least one them contained 7,62 ItKk/31 VKT anti-aircraft machinegun CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (45 KB).

Last updated 27th of February 2010
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Copyrights (text and graphics): Jaeger Platoon Website. Copyrights of photographs vary on case to case basis and are marked along each picture.