76mm AA Gun Putilov M1914
The 76mm Putilov Air Defense Gun of 1914, known in Finnish service as the 76 ItK/14 PK Putilov is a Russian-made fixed-mount 76 mm heavy anti-aircraft cannon from 1914. The cannon was manufactured by the Putilov plant in Saint Petersburg. The plant was later known as the Leningrad Kirov plant.
The cannon was developed as a result of a 1909 visit in Europe of a delegation of Tsarist army officers in order to explore the latest anti-balloon and anti-airship cannons of the era. However, as the delegation did not find a satisfactory anti-aircraft cannon model, Captain V.V. Tarnovsky and engineer F.F. Lender designed the heavy anti-aircraft cannon themselves. In Lender’s view, it was not sensible to design a multi-purpose cannon, so the cannon was designed for air defence from the beginning. The cannon was built on the basis of the 76 K 02 divisional gun, with a new breech design and new sights. The new breech was semi-automatic and the sights were modified to be suitable for firing on aerial targets. The design and prototypes were completed in summer 1914. Production of the cannon began in March 1915. In Finland, these cannons were in use by Tsarist Russian troops and in two armoured trains used by the Red Guard. The train-mounted cannons were ultimately seized by Finnish troops and remained in Finland.
The cannon fires the same ammunition as the 76 K 02 divisional gun. New fuzes for the ammunition were acquired from England in the 1920s. The cannon was used to carry out the first anti-aircraft firing exercise with artillery weapons on 16 September 1927 in Länsi-Mustasaari, Suomenlinna. The cannons served our air defence in anti-aircraft and navy units throughout the Winter War and Continuation War. The cannons were handed over to the depot in spring 1945, which meant the end of their long service. Both cannons are now in possession of the Anti-Aircraft Museum. This particular specimen comes from the courtyard of the Suomenlinna Coastal Artillery Museum. The cannon inside the Tuusula Hall is a heritage cannon of the anti-aircraft branch, located on the field of the Lohtaja training area from 1957 to 1975.
References: Vehviläinen Raimo et al., Itsenäisen Suomen Ilmatorjuntatykit 1917–2000, Sotamuseon julkaisuja I, Helsinki 2005; Palmu Pentti, Yön yli päivään – Suomen Ilmatorjunnan vaiheita 1925–1990, Ilmatorjuntaupseeriyhdistys Ry, Helsinki 1989; Ilmatorjuntamiehet Lohtajalla 1952–2002, Pääesikunta 2002