The idea of ​​using fire artillery our ancestors borrowed from German troops in the late 14th century. Žyhimont Aŭhust founded the first cannon factory in the lands of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 16th century in Vilnia. Serpentines, falconets, and martyrs were cast from copper and bronze and transported to border castles and cities.

In the following century, guns stood out in a separate corps, and the position of "senior over the cannon" - general of the artillery - appeared. Influential magnates began to establish private cannon factories just in their residences. At the request of Mikalaj Radziwill Sirotka, a foreign master made a series of cannons of special decor in Niasvizh, each having its own name. He decorated the "Hydra" with a monster with wings and seven heads.

"Hydra" cannon in the courtyard of the Niasvizh castle. 1930s.
"Hydra" and other cannons from the Niasvizh castle. Polish Army Museum in Warsaw. Photo: vasiltiareshka.blogspot.com

In the field battle, the cannons of the Grand Duchy first distinguished themselves near Orsha - with their help Kanstancin Astrozhski managed to change the course of the battle unexpectedly for the enemy. Guns were fired not very often - loading, cleaning and cooling the barrel took time - but accurately. And far away: the nucleus usually flew about three hundred meters. In addition, the very appearance of this weapon often forced the enemy to press the head into the shoulders, waste militant passion and flee the field.

Гармата на карціне ”Бітва пад Оршай 1514”. Невядомы мастак XVI стагоддзя. Фрагмент.
Cannon at the painting ”Battle of Orsha in 1514”. Unknown artist of 16th century. Fragment.

In 1650, the Belarusian scientist Kazimir Siemianovich published the book "The Great Art of Artillery", which was translated from Latin into French, German, English and became a handbook for European artillerymen.

At the Belarusian and Litvin chessboard, one artillery general guards the vieža, the other is waiting for the hietman's order: b1, g1 are white; c9, h9 are black. The piece moves diagonally in any direction and at any distance. The real power of the harmatas is gained by acting together. The greatest benefit is brought as an auxiliary to attack other pieces.

The project is in three dimensions

"Belarusian Chess" exists in digital, noble and gift versions. Get to know them.