Ordnance BL 12-inch (Towed) History

The gun was initially adopted by both the Royal Field Artillery and Royal Horse Artillery, and was in full service by 1885. It marked a return to breech-loading guns, after the British Army had reverted to muzzle-loaders in the late 1860s following the failure of the Armstrong screw breech guns.

Problems arose when it was used by the Horse Artillery in the great Indian cavalry manoeuvres of 1891. The carriage was found to be too complicated and dust caused the metal surfaces of the axle traversing device to seize. [3] It also proved too heavy to manoeuvre for horse artillery, which was intended to support cavalry in battle.

The 12-pounder 6 cwt gun was thus developed in 1892, when the new more powerful cordite replaced gunpowder, as a lighter alternative. It had a barrel 18 inches (460 mm) shorter, on a lighter and simpler carriage, and it entered service with the Royal Horse Artillery in 1894.

The introduction of Cordite also led to the decision that the 12-pounder was capable of firing a heavier shell up to 15 lb (6. 8 kg). A 14-pound shell was adopted and the gun became a "15-pounder" from 1895. [4] At that point the 12-pounder 7 cwt became redundant.

Ordnance BL 12-inch (Towed) Specification

BASICS

Service Year

1916

Origin

United Kingdom

Crew

6

Production

57

MANUFACTURER(S)

Vickers - UK

OPERATORS

United Kingdom

ROLES

Fire Support / Assault / Breaching

Support allied forces through direct / in-direct fire, assault forward positions, and / or breach fortified areas of the battlefield.

DIMENSIONS & WEIGHTS

Length

17. 3 ft

5. 28 m

POWER & PERFORMANCE

Powerplant:

None. This is a towed artillery system.

Range

6. 4 mi

(10. 4 km)

ARMAMENT

1 x 305mm (12") gun barrel

AMMUNITION

Dependent upon ammunition carrier.

VARIANTS

Ordnance BL 12-inch Howitzer - Base Series NameMk II - 14 examples producedMk IV - 43 examples produced

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