Ordnance QF 95-mm Infantry Howitzer History

During World War 2 (1939-1945), there was a growing need to arm British tanks with an effective 95mm howitzer for defeating fortified infantry positions at range. This led to the development of the 'Ordnance QF 95mm Howitzer' - the weapon formed from the existing 3. 7" Anti-Aircraft (AA) gun barrel mated to the breech mechanism of the Ordnance 25-pounder field gun / howitzer. Recoil was provided for by the system already in use with the Ordnance QF 6-pounder anti-tank gun. As a tank gun, the QF 95mm was fitted to Centaur, Churchill and Cromwell series vehicles. A counterweight was added to help balance the weapon when firing.

After years of combat exposure against German troops, the British Army in 1942 began delving into the concept of a new infantry-level support weapon modeled after the enemy's sIG 33 - a heavy infantry gun from Rheinmetall introduced during the mid-1930s. Again the purpose of the weapon was to defeat fortified troop positions and the existing 95mm tank gun proved the right candidate for the project. The counterweight was removed for the infantry role and a gunshield added to protect the gunnery crew. A box-trail carriage was added for towing the weapon by mover vehicle.

Evaluations of the weapon occurred in 1943 and issues with the gun, namely in stressing of the major components when firing, arose. This led to inevitable delays in the program which did not right themselves until 1944 - at which time the weapon was formally introduced. Despite modifications to the gun carriage and recoil system, the QF 95mm howitzer was never well-received and only about 800 were manufactured before the end of the war. Couple this with the emergence of suitable fortification-busting weapons readily available and the QF 95mm stood little chance to succeed.

At war's end, this infantry gun was altogether dropped from service.

As finalized, the QF 95mm featured a barrel measuring 85. 5" long. It was chambered for 95mm projectiles and could fire at 7 rounds-per-minute. Range was out to 7,315 meters. Available munitions included a standard HE (High-Explosive) round, a smoke round and a HEAT (High-Explosive, Anti-Tank) round. The mounting hardware allowed for an elevation span of -5 to +30 degrees Traversal was limited to 8-degrees from centerline. Overall weight of the weapon system was 2,085lb. A crew of six was typically needed for efficient function of the weapon.

Ordnance QF 95-mm Infantry Howitzer Specification

BASICS

Service Year

1944

Origin

United Kingdom

Crew

6

Production

800

MANUFACTURER(S)

State Arsenals - 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

6. 9 ft

2. 1 m

Weight

2,083 lb

945 kg

Tonnage

1. 0 tons

POWER & PERFORMANCE

Powerplant:

None. This is a towed artillery piece.

Range

4. 5 mi

(7. 3 km)

ARMAMENT

1 x 95mm main gun tube

AMMUNITION

Dependent upon ammunition carrier. HE, HEAT, HESH and Smoke rounds available.

VARIANTS

Ordnance QF 95mm Howitzer Mk II - Base Series Designation.

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