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The fighting casemates

The fighting casemates

The big part of the pillbox was divided into two casemates - the big and the small ones.

Three 7,62 mm Maksim guns M1910 were the main ammunition of the pillbox (two machine guns were placed in the big casemate and one in the small one). The firing rate was 250 rounds per minute, the ammunition load for each machine gun was 30 000 rounds. The projectiles were stored in ammunition belt and in boxes. The machine guns were mounted on wooden Gornostalev carriages M1931. The carriages enabled the stability of the weapon while shooting, its horizontal aiming, the ejection of empty cases and quite comfortable position of the gunner. Empty cases were collected into a special rubber tarpaulin bag which was hung under the carriage stand. There was also a backed pulldown seat the gunner would sit on while shooting.

In the big casemate there was a commandant’s compartment with a periscope. The casing pipe was closed from the outside with a special armoured shield. In the commander’s compartment there was also a short range high-frequency radio station 6PK with a power supply unit, a spike antenna and a telephone set UNA- I.

The cooling water system was one of the most important elements of any machine gun casemate, because both the sustained fire and the destiny of the pillbox and its crew depended on its uninterrupted functioning. Flat metal cisterns were used for water storage and were placed on the casemate’s floor under the machine gun carriages. Water was delivered to the radiator casing through a ridged rubber tube with the help of a semi-rotary pump, then it cooled the barrel and moved back to the cisterns.  It is quite interesting that the cistern was also used as a footing for the gunman while turning the carriage.

The system of the explosive gases removal consists of the exhaust fan KP-4B, the tubes connected to the receiver and empty cases collecting bags of each machine gun (on the left), a connector pipe attached to the ventilator, and an extractor duct which led from the ventilator to the outside of the pillbox. The semi-rotary pump and filter installation unit are placed in the small casemate of the pillbox.

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