BL 6 inch Mk XII naval gun
|BL 6 inch gun Mk XII|
Forward gun on cruiser HMS Galatea, February 1917
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|In service||1914 - 1945|
|Used by||British Empire|
|Wars||World War I World War II|
|Weight||15,512 pounds (7,036 kg) barrel & breech|
|Barrel length||270 inches (6.858 m) bore (45 cal)|
|Shell||100 pounds (45.36 kg) Lyddite, Armour-piercing, Shrapnel|
|Calibre||6 inches (152.4 mm)|
|Breech||Welin interrupted screw|
|Recoil||Hydro-spring, 16.5 inches (420 mm)|
|Elevation||-7° - 30°|
|Muzzle velocity||2,825 feet per second (861 m/s)|
|Maximum firing range||19,660 metres (21,500 yd)|
The BL 6 inch Gun Mark XII was a British 45 calibres naval gun which was mounted as primary armament on light cruisers and secondary armament on dreadnought battleships commissioned in the period 1914 - 1926, and remained in service on many warships until the end of World War II.
It superseded the 45-calibres Mk VII gun and the longer 50-calibres Mk XI gun which had proved unwieldy in light cruisers due to its length, and was Britain's most modern 6-inch naval gun when World War I began.
Guns were mounted in the following ships :
- Birmingham-class light cruisers laid down 1912, commissioned 1914
- Arethusa-class light cruisers laid down 1912, commissioned 1914
- C-class light cruisers of 1914
- M29-class monitors of 1915
- Queen Elizabeth-class battleships laid down 1912, commissioned 1915
- Revenge-class battleships laid down 1913, commissioned 1916
- Destroyer leader HMS Swift as re-gunned in 1917
- Danae-class (or D-class) light cruisers completed 1918 - 1919
- Monitors HMS Raglan and HMS Abercrombie from 1918
- Emerald-class (or E-class) light cruisers laid down 1918, commissioned 1926
Coast defence gun
During WWII some Mk XII guns were used in emergency coast defense batteries.
- Ordinary Seaman John Henry Carless was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for heroism in serving his gun on HMS Caledon during the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight on 17 November 1917.
This gun generated a higher pressure in the chamber on firing compared to preceding 6-inch guns such as Mk VII and Mk XI. This necessitated use of special shells capable of withstanding a pressure of 20 tons per square inch on firing, which had "Q" suffixed to the name. World War I shells were marked "A.Q." denoting special 4 C.R.H. shells for this gun.
Mk XII A.Q.N.T. Common lyddite shell with night tracer, 1914
Weapons of comparable role, performance and era
- 15 cm SK L/45 German equivalent
- On monitor HMS M33 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, UK
- A gun from HMAS Adelaide at HMAS Cerberus naval base, Victoria, Australia
Notes and references
- Handbook, 1917, Page 5
- Handbook, 1917, Page 7
- 100 lb shells : Treatise on Ammunition, 1915
- Handbook, 1917, Page 6, 23-26
- 30° elevation was possible with P.XIII mountings used on light cruisers; 20° elevation was possible on some P.VII* mountings used on light cruisers; 14° elevation was possible with P.IX mountings used on battleships; 15° was possible with P.VII mountings used on light cruisers. Handbook, 1917, Pages 5, 31, 41, Plates 6, 24, 35
- 2,825 feet per second using 27 lb 2 oz cordite MD size 19 propellant was the figure used in range tables. New guns were quoted with a muzzle velocity of 2,845 feet per second. Handbook, 1917, Page 5
- Mark XII = Mark 12 : Britain denoted Marks (models) of guns with Roman numerals until after World War II. This was the twelfth model of British BL 6-inch gun.
- Handbook, 1917, page 5, 6
- Campbell, John (January 1984). "British Naval Guns, 1880–1945, No. 12". In Gray, Randal. Warship (29): 30–32.
- "Handbook For The 6-inch Breech Loading Mark XII. Gun" G.21117/17. Admiralty, Gunnery Branch, 1917.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to BL 6 inch naval gun Mk XII.|
- Tony DiGiulian, British 6"/45 (15.2 cm) BL Mark XII and Mark XX