The first test of the reorganized Serbian Army and weapons that were manufactured in Kragujevac were wars for the liberation of Serbia (1876-1878). At that time, the staff of the Artillery Directorate in Kragujevac grew stronger, and a lot was invested in equipping of the workshops and the purchase of new machinery.
In terms of armament and military training, Turkey had a huge advantage over Serbia. The first class of the Serbian Army was armed with rifles of “Peabody” system, and the second class had “Green” system and a few muzzle-loaded rifles (panel 11). Artillery consisted off four-pound bronze rifled guns manufactured in Kragujevac. Muzzle-loaded cannons of La Hittite system were outdated (panel 8), and in Serbian ranks, there was only one battery of Krupp’s modern breach-loaded cannons. The Turkish Army had better weapons – modern rifles “Henry-Martini” and modern Krupp’s breech-loaded cannons.
Kragujevac factory had to take loans to increase production, but also to bring skilled craftsmen capable of making cannon ammunition. The war, however, showed the weakness of our arms and Serbia failed. Russia sent an ultimatum to Turkey and an armistice was concluded. Serbia used it purchase guns from Austria and to remodel “Green” system rifles to “Peabody” system.
During the war, 1877-1878, all production capacities of the military factory were engaged to produce more military equipment. Kragujevac military factory played a significant role, and the experience gained in these wars served as a basis for future factory concept. Renowned experts were hired – major Pavle Safarik (panel 9) and captain Kosta Kostic –to propose new solutions for field guns for Serbian artillery. In accordance with its capabilities, Serbia could only produce bronze cannons, although steel cannons were produced in Europe at that time. Our officers were sent to Austria and Russia to specialize.
From 1886, the military factory stopped the production of cannons and up to 1939 it functioned as an arsenal. The guns will be mostly imported mostly from France (panel 24). Gun powder plant from Stragari supplied the factory with gun powder, but due to the need for quality gunpowder, a new powder plant in Obilicevo near Krusevac was built.
By the order of 1883, Artillery Administration
(panel 12) was renamed to VTZ Administration, and import of rifles and cannons would be basic orientation until the First World War.
In 1973, Social printing house was established and the decision was made to launch newspaper “Javnost” (panel 14). Therefore, Svetozar Markovic moves to Kragujevac and he lives and works there from 1873 to 1875. This paper criticized the government and the People’s representatives. It teaches workers how to fight for their rights.
Municipal elections were won by supporters of ideas of Svetozar Markovic and old, liberal government was trying to topple the new government. In this regard, in February 1876, first labor demonstrations began, known as the “Red Flag”. For taking a part, workers were arrested and fired from their jobs. The ruling regime did everything to prevent the participation of employees in the economic and political struggle. A work of Mica Popovic, oil on canvas, “Red Flag”, vividly depicts this event.