BL 5.5 inch Mark I naval gun

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BL 5.5 inch Mark I
BL5.5inch-50cal-MkI-NavalGun-IWM-August2006.jpg
One of HMS Chester's 5.5 inch guns at the Imperial War Museum, London[1]
Type naval gun
Place of origin UK
Production history
Designer Coventry Ordnance Works
Designed 1913
Manufacturer Coventry Ordnance Works
Number built 81
Specifications
Length 6.985 metres (275.0 in) bore (50 cal)

Shell 82 pounds (37.19 kg)
Calibre 5.5-inch (140 mm)
Breech Welin breech block with Holmstrom mechanism[2]
Rate of fire 12 rounds per minute
Effective firing range 16,250 m at 30 degree elevation

The Breech Loading 5.5 inch Mk I was a naval gun used by the British Royal Navy during both World Wars.

Naval history[edit]

This weapon was developed by Coventry Ordnance Works in 1913 and offered to the Greek Navy as main armament for two new cruisers building at Cammell Laird. On the outbreak Of World War I the two ships were purchased by Britain as HMS Chester and HMS Birkenhead. The RN was happy with the performance of the gun as it was significantly lighter than the standard 6 inch gun and fired an 82 lb shell rather than the 100 lb shell of the 6 inch weapon. It therefore had a higher rate of fire with little loss in hitting power. The British ordered more guns as secondary armament for HMS Furious and HMS Hood. A total of 81 guns were made and were used on the following ships

Guns removed from Chester, Birkenhead and Furious were used to arm Armed Merchant Cruisers

Coast defence gun[edit]

In 1940, the 5.5 inch guns were removed from HMS Hood in a refit. Two were installed in Hood Battery on Ascension Island and remain there today. A pair were installed in specially built casemates on the roof of Coalhouse Fort in Essex, overlooking the Thames.[3] Guns from the Hood also went to Bognor Regis, Pevensey, North Foreland, Dover and Folkestone.[4]

Notable actions[edit]

The gun Jack Cornwell served in his Victoria Cross action on the forecastle of HMS Chester

Boy Seaman First Class Jack Cornwell was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for heroism in serving his gun on HMS Chester during the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916.

British 5.5 inch naval gun from World War II at Skansin fortress, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

Surviving examples[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Imperial War Museum (2012). "Naval BL 5.5 in Mk I Gun with Mk I pedestal mount". Imperial War Museum Collections Search. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  2. ^ Di Giulian
  3. ^ English Heritage (2008). "PastScape: Coalhouse Fort". National Monuments Record: PastScape. English Heritage. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  4. ^ HMS Hood Association (4 April 2010). "HMS Hood Technical Specifications & Armament Information: Secondary/Dual Purpose Guns". Retrieved 10 February 2012. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]