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FNG Fortified Line - Cover

EDIT: In October, 2015, this drawing was STOLEN and published without permission or attribution by the Czech magazine "I. světová" belonging to the publishing house Extra Publishing s.r.o. from Brno, the Czech Republic. Shame on them, the assholes. 

This is the first of nine drawings made for the non-fiction book "The Fortified Region Focsani-Namoloasa-Galati" published by the Romanian Military Museum about the eponymous Fortified Line (also known in English as the "Sereth Line" and by it's abbreviation "FNG") built by Romania for defence against a presumptive Russian invasion during 1888-90.

Making full use of the natural barriers of the Carpathian Mountains to the west and the River Danube to the east in order to protect its flanks, the line was constructed along the bank of the Siret (Sereth) River in southern Moldova and consisted of three distinct fortified areas, each protecting the main river crossings. Around the town of Focsani in the west, in the foothills of  the Carpathian Mountains; in the middle around the village of Namoloasa and finally around the port town of Galati, on the bank of the Danube.

This was originally meant to be the cover of the book, but a photograph was used instead.

The drawing shows a cutaway of 5.3cm Schumann-Gruson Fahrpanzer (a shortening of "fahrbaren Panzerlafette", "mobile armour"), a type of late 19th century mobile gun turret whose role was to combat enemy infantry attacks.

They were the brainchild of Prussian tactician and fortification engineer Maximilian Schumann who, critical of the "mainstream" school of fortification of the time which favoured large, heavily armed forts set far apart, instead envisaged a style of fortification made out of small forts set close together in successive lines to give a fortified position "defence in depth" and better control the intervals.
Since this was before the advent of the machine gun, he decided small calibre quick firing guns were the the best way to combat infantry, and he designed a system of small turrets that could be deployed quickly to the needed position either by narrow gauge railway or horse drawn cart and installed into prepared concrete positions or hastily dug pits according to what the tactical situation requires.

The turrets themselves were manufactured by the weapons factory belonging to German industrialist Hermann August Jacques Gruson and exist in four successive types, the first three of which were used on the Focsani-Namoloasa-Galati line. 
Since plenty of examples of the third (who was also used at the FNG, designated Md.1890) and fourth types (who was largely identical to the third, but mounted a slightly larger 5.7cm gun instead of a 5.3cm) still exist, I instead decided to focus on the earlier, seldom photographed and even more seldom drawn second type, the 5.3cm Md.1888 turret as well as the runt of the litter, the 3.7cm Md.1887 turret.

EDIT-  it appears a Md.1888 turret survived and is currently being restored in Bulgaria - this can only be a Romanian turret captured at Tutrakan/Turtucaia, since although the Bulgarians also purchased the Fahrpanzer, they did so only in 1892 so all the turrets they had were of the third type, not the second.

The gunner in the cupola is a Romanian artillery sergeant, dressed in the Md.1891 field uniform - grey trousers and chestnut brown uniform coat with black piping collar and cuffs and the new dark-blue-and-red-piping peaked field cap ("capela") that was identical for all branches of the army.
The rank is the gold band on the sleeve just behind the cuff, and the collar is adorned with the red "flaming bomb" insignia of the Artillery Arm.
The gold flaming bomb on the left sleeve also shows that this soldier is not only an excellent shot (marked by a red flaming bomb insignia), but also came first in an army-wide gunnery contest.

From 1868 onwards an until the army reform of 1912 all Romanian artillery equipment, including support ones like limbers and carriages was painted a deep reddish brown. This also applied to the FNG cupolas and guns. There are also a few pictures showing the interior of the 5.7cm turrets, so I based the internal colouring of my turret on those.

The gun emplacement consisted of a horseshoe shaped casemate made out of unreinforced concrete and further protected by a glacis of packed earth in the direction of the enemy.
Unfortunately, since in the 19th century the use of concrete was still pretty much hit and miss, the concrete (with a mix ratio of 1:2:4 per volume, or 1 mark of cement, 2 of sand and 4 of aggregate) used during the construction of the FNG fortifications proved to be of very poor quality and would probably have fared badly in combat, due partly to improper pouring techniques as well as an inconsistent mix ratio of aggregates between batches which created highly distinct layers into the concrete mass instead of a single monolithic block, something I sought to show in the drawing.

The other drawing in this series can be found here:

Cover, showing cutaway through 5.3cm mobile gun turret

Plate I, the 3.7cm mobile gun turret and transport carriage.

Plate II, the 3.7cm gun and ammunition.

Plate III, the 5.3cm mobile gun turret in its concrete emplacement.

Plate IV, the 5.3cm mobile gun turret in transport configuration.

Plate V, the 5.3cm disappearing cupola.

Plate VI, the 5.3cm gun and ammunition.

Plate VII, the 12cm gun and mortar armoured battery.

Plate VIII, the 12cm gun and mortar and their ammunition.
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© 2015 - 2021 wingsofwrath
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cullyferg2010's avatar
Yeah, that small hatch on top would be the 'fart vent'.
wingsofwrath's avatar
Especially since one of the staple foods of the Romanian Army is "iahnie de fasole", or baked beans with either sausages or smoked ham...
cullyferg2010's avatar
When I was in the National Guard, and we ate C-rations (the canned stuff) - one of the entre's was called 'beanie weenies'.  Basically it was a baked bean with little pieces of hot dogs mixed in.
wingsofwrath's avatar
Well, in the Romanian Army, the beans are always made in a field kitchen and served hot, so they are quite tasty. In an amusing coincidence, I actually had some to eat today, courtesy of my girlfirend's father who knows exactly how to make them to "military specifications" because he is a former helicopter mechanic in the Romanian Air Force.

As for C-rations, I'm afraid they were a little bit before my time - all I've had to eat on field ops were MREs, which I absolutely loathed and a few French Ration de Combat Individuelle RechauffableI've traded for. The going rate was 3-5 MREs for one RCIR but it was well worth it, because the French certainly know their food... 
Not to mention one amusing incident where as we were settling down to eat we got a radio message from command ordering us to move out, which meant that everybody with one-use chemical warmers had to throw theirs away and eat their ration cold later, whereas I had the little foldable solid alcohol stove that came with the RCIR, so our platoon ate our rations warm.
cullyferg2010's avatar
When I was with the U.S. Air Force in the early 1970's, I was stationed in Germany on a microwave site within 17 miles of East Germany at the time.  C-rations (or C-rats) were mostly canned foods that could be easily heated over a fire or dropped into boiling water.  When I was over there, we had two other unmanned microwave sites that we took care of the equipment as well.  As being a generator operator and mechanic, my supervisor would check on the generators once a week.  When we got to the site, we would climb into the back of our truck and fish out what we wanted to ear from our individual cases.  Then we would punch a couple of holes in the tops of the cans and set them on the engine block of the truck.  By the time it was lunch, the food would be nicely warm for eating.

The MRE's (Meals Rejected by Ethiopians, was the joke in the National Guard) were issued to us at the time we had breakfast in the field.  Then a hot meal for dinner.  Those large cargo pockets on the trousers of our new uniforms made it easier to carry them around in.  Had gotten my hands on a couple of those water-activated heaters a couple of times and they worked great for warm those things. 
zxczxczbfg's avatar
I presume the tiny hatch on top is for charging the ammo racks with shells? I'm mostly speaking from experience with tanks, where the loader's hatch was generally the tiniest. Though I suppose it could also be for venting fumes from the gun firing.
wingsofwrath's avatar
Actually, that hatch is for ventilation only, because it's much easier to just bring ammunition in through the back door - you're closer to the racks anyway!

Also, interestingly, the ammunition racks themselves are removable, because during the design phase they thought of the idea of having people bring in filled ammunition boxes from a central magazine and return with an empty box, leave that box to be filled and grab a filled one to go to the gun again, etc.  rather than trying to carry each shell individually.
Of course, I've never heard of this system actually being used in action in real life, because a shell, or even a bag of shells is much lighter than a whole box of them.
Hi. Did you give permission to publish the plan in Czech magazine "I. světová válka"? I presume they did not ask you. They have published my photo of Switzerland Fahrpanzer withour permisson.
wingsofwrath's avatar
No I did not give them permission for to publish my drawing. Can you tell me more about this magazine so that I can take appropriate action?
Please give me your e-mail adress. I will send you scan of the article an more information.
wingsofwrath's avatar
Thank you! I'll send it to you in a PM.
I like how detailed your work is. Very, very cool!
wingsofwrath's avatar
Thanks, glad you like my drawings!
Transportphotos's avatar
I love this whole series of 3. 
wingsofwrath's avatar
Thanks! The whole series has 9 pictures, only I don't currently have the time to edit and add all of them to DA all at once, so I'm adding them a few at a time. Be sure to check back in the next few days for more!
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