July 03, 2015 г.

New exhibits enriched collections of the National Museum of Military History (NMMH) in June 2015. Thanks to its contributors, NMMH constantly fills its funds and adds new colors to the exciting story about the native and European military history.

Remarkably interesting is the machine for looking at glass plates, which shows development of the photographic art at the beginning of the 20th century. It is a very rare and through it, and using a candle, was possible pictures viewing.

The only collection in Bulgaria of military seals from 1878 until today is expanded with three valuable ones – one of an usher from the Tsaribrod rail station (today Dimitrovgrad in Serbia), the one of Nevrokopska district gendarmerie (from the first decades of the 20th century), and the third one of the 3rd Company of the 39th Solun (today Thessaloniki in Greece) Infantry Regiment (from 1930s).

The picture of military history is complemented by newly arrived documents of Colonel Stanyu Piperkov, who is involved in World War I as an officer candidate and during World War II commands 7th Rila Infantry Division.

The collection “Flags” of NMMH is enriched with Bulgarian combat flag, medium in size, model 1937, of an unknown military unit. Delivery of new combat flags in this period is a symbol of rebirth and organizational development of the Bulgarian army during the second half of 1930s.

The letters of Junior non-commissioned officer (NCO) Ivan Georgiev Banchev, who is killed in Tsarevo village in July 1913, addressed to his family, donated by Ivanka Bancheva, carry additional information about the lives of soldiers and their families during the First Balkan War (1912-1913) and on the eve of the Second Balkan War. The manufactured by Banchev, during the war, wooden spoons show an element of soldiers’ creativity, typical especially to the wars for national unification of Bulgaria (1912-1918).

March 27, 2015

At the beginning of 2015 NMMH enriched its collections with new exhibits - with a certificate issued by the Shumen garrison in 1901, documents of Lieutenant General Radko Dimitriev, postcards and copies of the newspaper “Zemedelsko Zname” (Eng - agrarian flag) from the First World War period, books on military subjects, a photo of Bulgarian military unit, welcomed by the residents of Dobrich city in 1940, a commemorative medal “Tsar Boris’ III Death 70th Anniversary (1943-2013)” and Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) - 1PK.

The Certificate of Malcho Malchev, issued on August 4, 1901 by Shumen Garrison’s Command, stating that he served as a shoemaker, provides additional information about one of the biggest garrisons in Bulgaria in the end of XIX - early XX century.

The Invitation Cards and Menus for festive diners, hosted by members of the Russian imperial court, and a gala concert programme addressed to Colonel Radko Dimitriev, reveal little-known details of his stay in Moscow and St. Petersburg in May - June 1902. Ten years later Lieutenant General Dimitriev commands 3rd Army, which defeats Turkish Eastern Army in Lozengrad (today - Kırklareli in Turkey) and Lyuleburgaz-Bunarhisar (today – Luleburgaz and Pinarhisar in Turkey) during the Balkan War.

The postcards from World War One contribute to the disclosure of moments of personal stories of Bulgarian officers, non-commissioned officers (NCO), soldiers and their families. Copies of the newspaper “Zemedelsko Zname” of 1915 (Eng. - agrarian flag) reflect aspects of the BZNS (BANU in Engl.) - Bulgarian Agrarian National Union’s position on Bulgarian foreign policy in the Great War.

The books “General Tactics” and “The Infantry in the Battle”, issued in 1928, are part of military training literature, published to meet the needs of Ministry of War. The commemorative collection of 1932 “Epos of Bulgarian Soldier” Volume III, traces the various battles of the Bulgarian army, heroic deeds and biographies of Bulgarian military leaders.

The photo from October 11, 1940 shows a moment of the highest success of Bulgarian state policy for peaceful revision of Neuilly Treaty – the reversion of Southern Dobrudzha and triumphant welcoming of Bulgarian troops by the local residents.

Extremely valuable new exhibit is the silver commemorative medal “Tsar Boris’ III Death 70th Anniversary (1943-2013)”, because of its issuance in very small circulation.

The collection of armored vehicles in NMMH external exposure is enriched with BMP-1PK as well, which is a commander modification of BMP-1 and shows the arrival of new armaments models into the Motorized Rifle Forces of the Bulgarian People's Army in the early 1980s.

March 11, 2015

New exhibits enriched collections of the National Museum of Military History at the end of 2014. Outstanding among the newly arrived exhibits is the flag of the Bulgarian rebels from Enidzhe Vardar in Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising of 1903 (today Giannitsa in Greece), donated by Mrs. Anka Hekimova-Kolakova and safeguarded for more than a century by her kin. Before this relic, sewn by Mariya Kapitanova, have sworn cheta units of Apostol Petkov – the Sun of Enidzhe-Vardar, of Ivancho Karasuliyata and others, operating in that area during the uprising.

The drawing with China ink and white tempera “Veles city, “St. Pantaleon” by the great Bulgarian artist Dimitar Gyudzhenov with information on the back about the fallen warriors, complements the rich collection of the National Museum of Military History.

Officer’s chest of Lieutenant General Radko Dimitriev, Commander of the 3rd Army during the Balkan War, donated by Ivan Velchev, godson of the general's granddaughter, adds another touch to his plethoric image.

More extensive information about the course of hostilities and the situation in Bulgaria and abroad is given to us by the copies of ”Fatherland” magazine, issued in the years, when Bulgaria participates World War One (1915-1918). Again related to this period are donated by prof. Todor Petrov fragments of Bulgarian army fighting at Dobro Pole in 1918 – a physical evidence of the destructive power of enemy’s artillery at the Macedonian front.

The museum funds are also enriched with books that became bibliographic rarity and which served our officers in the first decades after the Third Bulgarian State is formed. Impressing are ”Tactics” of Captain Hristofor Hesapchiev, issued in 1890 and four books bound in one from the early 1890s; ”Notes on strategy” of Lieutenant Colonel Nikola Ivanov, and translated by him “Tactical Tasks and Decisions with Enclosure of 8 plans”, “Tactical Study and Research on the Effects of Adopting Small Rapid-Fire Guns and Smokeless Gunpowder” of General Loose, translated by Captain Fichev, and “Practical Study of War” by General Lamiro.

External exhibition of the museum, located on area of 40 decares is enriched with howitzer cannon D-20, M1955, cal. 152 mm, in service in Bulgarian Army from 1973

October 02, 2014

Much of the recent additions to the National Museum of Military History funds are tied to the history of the 1st and 6th Infantry Regiment - units that are perpetuated in the Bulgarian military annals as one of the most heroic regiments in the arreys of the Bulgarian army during the Serbo-Bulgarian War (1885), Balkan wars (1912-1913) and the participation of Bulgaria in the First World War (1915-1918).

Among the exhibits coming from the Museum of the 1st Infantry Division at the Military Club - Slivnitsa, stand out commemorative medal “For the Liberation 1877 – 1878”; Diploma for awarding military Order of Bravery, III grade to Captain Hristo Popov; revolver “Smith & Wesson”, model 3, First Russian model M1869, cal. 11,43 mm; military coat type ”Balgarka”, model from 1890s of a sergeant major with an arm-band sign for years in service. Gives us an impression the Order book of the 1st Sofia Infantry Regiment of H.M. Knyaz Aleksandar I; Luger pistol, model M1908, cal. 9 mm; stamps of the 6th Tarnovo Infantry Battalion and of the 1st Separated Army; photo album “Views of the battle road of the 1st Sofia Infantry Regiment of H.M. Knyaz Aleksandar I during the war against the Romanians in Dobrudzha and Wallachia in 1916 – 1917”, and the original flag of the 6th Infantry Turnovo Regiment, model 1937.

Captain Hristo Popov – Commander of the 1st Infantry Regiment, according to the certificate for awarding a military Order of Bravery III grade, is honored for the battles, he participated in during the Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1885. Later on he leaves the army, becomes a member of the Liberal Party (Radoslavists) and is a Minister of Interior and Public Health (1915 – 1916).

Revolver “Smith & Wesson” is a rare specimen, special production for the Russian army, and the “Luger” pistol has a device for attaching a stock to it.

Curious exhibit among the new movable cultural valuables in the NMMH is the ink-pot of infantry general Nikola Ivanov, Commander of the 2nd Army in the Balkan Wars (1912 – 1913) and Minister of Defence (1896 – 1899), which is donated by the wife of his grandson - Lilia Dimitrova. According to the inscription of the cartridge, it was presented to him in the period of 1885 – 1887, when he is captain.

Among the exhibits is the newly donated by Nikolay Dimitrov diploma for awarding a soldier Cross of the Order of Bravery, IV grade to Nikola Manev, who fought in the First Balkan War in with the 14th Macedonian Infantry Regiment of the 7th Rila Infantry Division, and pictures, depicting the lifestyle of the Bulgarian army in the early twentieth century and at the end of the First World War.

Sentimental value stirring an interest is the last letter of Colonel Panayot Minkov, Commander of the 8th Primorski Infantry Regiment during World War I (1915 –1918) to his wife Elena Minkova, donated by his granddaughter Bistra Minkova. It is written by him after he is wounded in the battle near Dobrich on September 7, 1916. The regimental Commander dies from wounds on September 30, 1916 in Sofia.

Among the recent acquisitions, related to the history of Bulgarian army during the second half of the twentieth century, is the parade military uniform from 1970s with decorations of Major General Marin Staykov (Secretary of the Committee on Defence Industry at the Council of Ministers), donated by his wife Elena Lagadinova.

August 14, 2014

Among the recent additions to the National Museum of Military History funds could be outlined the ring for attaching a rigid airship “Zeppelin”, discovered by soldiers in the area of the existing facilities of the former Zeppelins base enar Yambol city at the end of XX century. The ring is donated by the military unit 22130, Yambol. In the years of the First World War near the city is built a base of German Zeppelins, and among used ones at the base is the L-59 model, which carries 95 hour flight to Africa - 6757 km. From Yambol are completed flights against enemy facilities in Russia, Romania and Greece.

Among the donations coming from the military unit 22130 are also: a device for calculating the losses suffered from nuclear attacks model B-1326; a bugle used from the very establishment of the 2nd separate missile division; a streamline steering control of 9K714 “Oka” (P-400, SS-23); a small parachute for cassette from a cassette warhead missile complex 9K714 “Oka” (in service in Bulgarian Army only at the 76th Missile Brigade); a gyroscope device for guiding 8K14, a panel for launching missile 2812 H from the missile complex 9K72, as well as the flags of the 66th missile brigade – “An Outfit - leader in the socialist emulation” and “Transferable banner of the Ministry of People’s Defence ATC Leader of the Bulgarian People’s Army in the socialist emulation”.

These exhibits are related to the history of Rocket Troops in Bulgaria, which from the 1960s begin their organizational development, forming several missile brigades armed with operational-tactical missile coplexes and multiple separate rocket divisions with tactical missile complexes.

Among the accessions to the funds of the NMMH is a painting of the artist Dimitar Gyudzhenov on which with oil paints and in a parade uniform is portrayed General Danail Nikolaev. The painting is donated by Ivan Vasilev, a relative to the great Bulgarian military artist.

Bessarabian Bulgarian Danail Nikolaev participates in the Serbian-Turkish War (1876) and in the Russo-Turkish War (1877 to 1878). In Serbo-Bulgarian War (1885) he is a Commander of the Eastern Corps, and after the battles - of the West Corps near Slivnitsa. Danail Nikolaev is a Defense Minister from 1886 to 1887 and from 1907 to 1911. He reaches the highest rank in the Army - Infantry General (1909) and is the first Bulgarian officer who is awarded this rank. During the Balkan War (1912-1913) he is a Commander of the Yambol fortified post.

Interesting are also the peaked cap and tunic (M 1968) of Army General Yordan Mutafchiev donated personaly by him.

Yordan Zhekov Mutafchiev is born in Byala Voda village (Eng. - white water) at Malko Tarnovo region. He graduates from ths National Military University “Vasil Levski” in 1961 and serves as an officer in a tank brigade in Aytos (1962-1973). In the period of 1973-1975 he is enrolled inthe Military Academy “M.V.Frunze” in Moscow. In 1984 he graduates from the Miltary Academy of General Staff of the Soviet Army. In 1990-1991 he is a Minister of Defense. In 1991 he is promoted to the rank of Army General.

June 20, 2014

Among the new additions to the National Museum of Military History fund it hould be noted about a horseman statue from the XVII century, found at Yahinovo village near city of Dupnica, and about bronze ring – buckle, found in archaeological surveys and drillings in the courtyard of the National Art Gallery.

Another interesting exhibit is the book “Military calendar Fatherland of 1917”. Its contents of 163 leaves is dedicated to topics related to the struggle for unification, combat feats, administrative allocation of the newly liberated Moravian, Macedonian and Dobrudja lands to regions and surrounding counties. The issue has a table of holidays (royal ones, battle and non-attendance days in the army). First page is signedby I. Voroshilov, 02.12.1917, with black ink

Archival footage that museum keeps is supplied by a black-and-white photo of Colonel Geno Genov, donated by his daughter Lalka Genova, who lives in Canada. Among the acquisitions are photographs of Bulgarian officers, military men and civilians from the late 1940s.

Nearly 100-year-old British backpack, produced on the Army model in 1916, is also among the new movable cultural values resided at NMMH. The bag is made of canvas cloth with inside inscription of “1916”.

There is also interesting Honorary Lunch Invitation from Sofia Municipality to the the veteran volunteer Eftim Filipov on the occasion of 25th anniversary of Shipka defence.

May 12, 2014

With a total of 142 cultural valuables the fund of the National Museum of Military History is enriched from the beginning of this year.

Attention is attracted by the original letter from the Minister of War (1934 - 1935) Lieutenant General Pencho Zlatev to the Mayor of Shipka village, which expresses gratitude to the residents, who ceded in perpetuity 1,180 decares (around 292 acres or 0.456 sq.mile) of their land to build a monument on St. Nichola mountain top. Besides its historical and emotional value the letter provides information on public and political life in Bulgaria in 1934 and the care of the state for the monuments dedicated to the Liberation.

Some of the new exhibits are shell fragments found at Dojran, from World War I, pieces (building materials and metal twisted wire) of defence point Dyavolskoto oko (Eng. - Devil's Eye) at Kala Tepe (Dojran).

About Kala Tepe

Strengthening Doiran position (the area between the Vardar river and Dojran lake) begins on December 1915, and as of August 1916 the position has the following organization: main position - passing on heights Karakondzho, Tserbera, Bastions № 1, 2 and 3, valley position, Kala Tepe, Eleonora, Vitkini Gardi and Ezeroto; forward position and outposts.

In August 1916 the enemy makes the first attempt to break into Dojran position, with attack bloody repelled by those Bulgarian units, which defend it.

By the spring of 1917 the personnel of the 9th Pleven Infantry Division works hard to improve the defense line as the main position fortified the best, which includes two trench lines, connected with passages for contacts. There are made barbed wire entanglments 5 to 10 m wide, concrete observatories and light blindages, there are some cupolas for cannons and ammunition platforms. Behind trenches are built galleries with concrete roofs to protect warriors from the enemy’s artillery fire. Concrete fortifications are built primarily of cement and sand, and due to the lack of gravel and iron, into the concrete are put also hostile fragments, thousands of them lying around.

During the spring of 1917 three English divisions take a second attempt to break into Dojran position as the main hit is applied at height Kala Tepe direction. Despite of four days artillery preparation, in which are shot over 100,000 rounds, and multiple day and night attacks as well, Englishmen fail to reach the main position and suffer heavy losses, making them to decline any offensive until the fall of 1918.

As of early September 1918 defense line of the 9th Infantry Division consists of five positions with a total depth of over 15 km. Before each position there are barbed entanglements, ditches and pits. Tripple Entente Command concentrates directly for the attack four infantry divisions, one infantry brigade and many artillery and engineer units of English and Greek army - all 42 battalions, 231 cannons, 24 mortars and 300 machine guns, about 60 000 warriors. After two days of artillery preparation in which the enemy fires over 160,000 rounds and holds 14 gas attacks, starts an attack on September 18, 1918, which is toward the dominant heights in Bulgarian defense line Dab and Kala Tepe.

During the fierce battle, Commander of 1st Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Nerezov heads personally to the artillery and infantry observatory on Kala Tepe, and personally cheers himself soldiers in the trenches on the very battle line at Kala Tepe toward west. Seeing the high morale of the troops and British losses, the general urges the Supreme Command in Kyustendil for army to go on offensive and so to ease the situation of Bulgarian parts in Dobro pole (Eng. – Good field), but such an order is not issued.


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