The Cherry Artillery in the April Uprising

The cherry ball has become one of the most recognizable symbols of the April Uprising. The idea of ​​using artillery in the uprising is attributed to Ivan Kishelski, who in his "Manual for a successful fight with the Turks" indicates the presence of troops of all three types (infantry, cavalry and artillery) as a necessary condition for success. Due to the impossibility of importing real cannons, in the Plovdiv (Panagyur) and Tarnovo revolutionary districts, local craftsmen made a total of about 40 wooden cannons. For this purpose, they use a log made of cherry or other hard wood, encased with iron hoops and with a hollow hole, the caliber of which is 8-10 cm. The role of cannonballs is most often mace (weights) made of scales, iron scraps or round stones, which , with a correct calculation of the charge, the cannons manage to send 400-500 meters. However, cannons often burst under the pressure of gunpowder gases, rendering them unfit for further firing. 

Of course, to compare the qualities of this primitive artillery with the "Krupp" guns of the enemy is pointless, but the attempts of its combat use speak of the high level of military tactical thought among the insurgent leaders. The psychological effect is also present - the cherry balls instill in the insurgents courage and faith in their own strength.

The one preserved in the Historical Museum in Bratsigovo is considered to be the only authentic cherry ball that survived the April Uprising. Over the years, many reproductions of wooden cannons have been made, with some of which actual shooting tests have also been conducted. A reconstruction made for museum purposes can also be seen in the exposition of the National History Museum.

Scroll to Top