76 ItK/34 OK (Modified Obuhov gun)
The Obuhov guns and their story
The Russian 76mm artillery guns from the Obuhov factory were originally introduced in 1902. They were originally designed as a fixed coastal defense gun of the Canet type. In the 1930s the type was selected for an upgrade program by the Finnish defense forces. They were modified for Anti-Aircraft usage starting from 1934. Originally, scores of these guns were left to Finland by the Russian army returning back home or escaping the turmoils of Russian revolution between 1917-1918. The abandoned guns in various coastal fortresses were immediately seized by the Finnish defense forces and Civil guard.
The general quality of equipment and ammunition in the Defense Forces was very dire in the 1920s, so a crash modernization program was started in the early 1930s. This included acquiring new AA-weaponry, rifles, trucks, helmets and so on. During this modernization wave the old coastal artillery guns were decided to be modernized for Anti-Aircraft use in 1934. A new mounting system were developed for the gun and the guns were machined for the 1mm bigger 76mm artillery shell from the original 75mm. In addition to this, a new anti-aircraft sight was developed and installed to the guns.
The gun that resulted from the experimental upgrade program was not the best possible. The complicated and cumbersome lock in the gun made firing the gun very slow and heavy process, and the rate of fire was reduced to only few shots per minute. The experimental AA sights were also found impractical for anti-aircraft warfare. Despite these shortcomings, the guns served in second and third line of AA defense batteries during the winter war, covering the skies of Helsinki and Jyväskylä from enemy bombers and reconnaissance planes. When the continuation war began, the Helsinki guns were seconded to the coastal artillery units, while the Jyväskylä battery covered the city and the important weapons factory all the way to the end of the war in September 1944. After the Lapland war, most of the guns were given to the coastal artillery units and fortifications, where they originally came from. Most of the 76mm and 75mm artillery guns in anti-aircraft artillery were removed from war time mobilization storage in 1966. Some Obuhovs might have served as coastal artillery training guns until the late 1970s, when the remaining ammunition storages were destroyed at depots and artillery exercises.
The Anti-Aircraft Museum has three Obuhov guns in its collections. One is next to the entrance on the right side of the museum gates. Second one is located under the trees at the central square and the third Obuhov gun is at the walking path, next to other winter war era AA-guns like Bofors, Breda and Vickers. The more detailed technical information about the gun can be read at the information sheet of the last gun.
Sources: Vehviläinen Raimo et. al. Itsenäisen Suomen Ilmatorjuntatykit 1917-2000, Sotamuseon julkaisuja I Helsinki 2005, Palmu Pentti Yön yli päivään – Suomen Ilmatorjunnan vaiheita 1925-1990 Imatorjuntaupseeriyhdistys Ry Helsinki 1989