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Monday, December 2nd 2013, 4:42am

Lithuania News & Events - 2Q/1936

April 7th, 1936:

The Special Committee on Military Affairs, after some debate and perliminary studies from the air, naval and army general staffs has placed a inital report before the Seimas for consideration. Several points have been released through parlimentary sources to reporters.

1) The establishment of a combined services education academy is essential to military development of Lithuania, and the smooth intergration of the various armed services into a coherent whole. Further the administative and executive powers of the Lithuanian Defense minister, who is also the military commander-in-chief should be applified to further this end. A Joint Chiefs of Staff committee must be established to assist the supreme military commander-in-chief, and cut down on both unnessary red tape, and inter service squabblings.

2) The question of small-arms, has been decided in favour of 7.92-mm Mauser, all competing cartridges of 7.62-mm, .303, etc are to be eleminated from Lithuanian military, police and security troops arsenals over the next five years. All carbines, rifles, light and medium machine-guns will chamber the 7.92-mm as well. The 12.7/13-mm cartridge is being considered for the use of heavy machine-gun equipements from now on. Additionally 9-mm Parabellum will be the offical cartridge for all service pistols and sub-machine-guns.

3) The question of artillery has been a vexing one, given the assortment of British, Russian, French and Austro-German sources that have to date supplied, the Lithuanian army in both field, heavy and anti-aircraft artillery. A final decision has been decided regarding the heavier field and heavy artillery, for Lithuanian army use: observation of the use of Russian Federation 122-mm and 152-mm gun-howitzers, gave much cause for thought during the Polish Intervention. Their high rate of fire and destructive shell weight played a critical part during the artillery battles that occured in and around Vilnius. Henceforth, the 122-mm and 152-mm type weapons will be the standard for the Lithuanian artillery units at divisional, corps and reserve level. Arguments concerning 75-mm or 76.2-mm weapons are still ongoing for light field artillery equipements. Anti-aircraft artillery units will retain their mix of Madsen 20-mm autocannons, and vickers 75-mm cannons for the immediate future, but weapons of 37-mm and 88-mm will be soon be ordered to equip new units and existing static installations. Arguments over army heavy artillery are ongoing, particularly over weather a 203-mm or 210-mm weapon could be most effective, in the interim, 220-mm heavy howitzers (also called heavy mortars) captured by Russian and Lithuanian units during the Polish Intervention, will be used to equipe, an army reserve heavy artillery battalion.


Monday, December 2nd 2013, 1:07pm

The German Government extends its good offices to Lithuania to assist in the re-equipment of its armed forces. If new equipment is desired, its provision can be arranged. There are also commercial firms in Hamburg that would happily purchase the surplus and odd-caliber weapons being disposed of by Lithuania for cash or credit towards purchase of arms chambered for the standard Mauser cartridge.


Monday, February 3rd 2014, 1:06am

Lithuanian National News Service

April 10th, 1936:

A particularly vexing question confronting the Lithuanian Armed Forces Artillery Commission, is the subject of artillery carriages. The majority of artillery pieces regardless of their caliber and shell weights are mounted on gun carriages, which are now nearly two decades old in terms of their structural design. Artillery actions during the June Insurrection and the following Wilno Crisis of 1935, revealed problems with said carriages. Much of the fighting took place in either urban environments or in heavily wooded areas of the Lithuanian countryside. While range was not generally found to be a problem, the ability to fire into the upper register i.e. above forty to forty-five degrees due to restrictions on carriage elevation gears, frequently ment, that buildings and trees often blocked or impeded necessary fire support. Further often the guns in question had to make rapid changes of aim beyond which their on mount traverse features allowed, to deal with attacks from often radically different directions. Rapidly manovering old pattern pole trail and box-trail carriages was often found to be difficult - particularly when in a dug in position. Even more modern split trail carriages found this a challenge.

The Artillery Commission has recommended a major and perhaps fundemental redesign of existing carriages to try and rectify this problem in future artillery equipments. A formal specification is expected to be offered in coming weeks by the Commission for consideration by the Army Artillery and Engineering Boards. Consideration is also being given to requesting new artillery equipements to deal with this problem from Germany and Russia, if it is found that existing Lithuanian industries cannot met the problem.


Tuesday, June 10th 2014, 3:04am

Lithuanian National News Service

April 20th, 1936:

After much debate, the question of artillery calibers to be used within the Lithuanian Army's light and field artillery units has been settled. Over the next five years, the mix of 75-mm, 76-mm and 77-mm weapons in the Army's inventory will be phased out for weapons manufactured to fire 75-mm shells of German manufacture. All older weapons still judged serviceable will be refurbished to fire the new caliber, and transferred to National Guard units. All similar 100-mm, 105-mm and 107-mm weapons will be replaced with 105-mm types. The War Ministry, plans to place orders with Krupp, Rheinmetall and Skoda for suitable replacement weapons, for new infantry gun, light field or horse artillery and heavier field artillery and field howitzer units in the coming months.

The acquisition of German weaponry is seen by the Seimas as a balance to the acquisition of Russian weaponry, and thus a way to encourage both, Russian and German investment in Lithuania's future. Some arguments were raised, by some parties within the democratic coalition, at the likely cost of the Army's artillery park, which would drain finances need for continuing reconstruction policies. However, enough support was tendered by the majority of the Seimas, to see the program passed.