Ordnance BL 12-pounder 6 cwt
|Ordnance BL 12 pounder 6 cwt|
On the parade ground circa. 1897
|Type||Light field gun|
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|Used by||British Empire|
|Wars||Second Boer War
World War I
|Weight||Mk IV : 656 pounds (298 kg) (barrel & breech),
2,008 pounds (911 kg) (total)
|Barrel length||Mk I : Bore 59 inches (1,499 mm);
Mk IV : Bore 66 inches (1,676 mm), total 71.05 inches (1,805 mm)
|Shell||Separate loading BL, 12.5 pounds (5.67 kg) Shrapnel|
|Calibre||3-inch (76.2 mm)|
|Elevation||-8° - 16°|
|Rate of fire||7-8 rounds/minute|
|Muzzle velocity||1,585 feet per second (483 m/s)|
|Maximum firing range||3700 yds (No. 56 Fuze, Time setting)
5800 yds (No. 57 Fuze, Time setting)
5400 yds (No. 56 Fuze, Percussion setting)
Problems arose when the standard BL 12 pounder 7 cwt gun was used 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. It also proved too heavy for horse artillery, which was intended to support cavalry in battle, to manoeuvre.
The 12 pounder 6 cwt gun was therefore developed in 1892, when the new more powerful cordite replaced gunpowder, as a lighter version of the BL 12 pounder 7 cwt gun. It had a barrel 18 inches (460 mm) shorter, on a lighter and simpler carriage, and it entered service in 1894. In 1899 a primitive recoil-absorbing system was added. The weapon was made obsolete in British service by the acquisition of the modern quick-firing Ehrhardt QF 15 pounder in 1901, and was replaced by that and later by the QF 13 pounder from 1905.
The early No. 56 Fuze burned too fast, a maximum of only 13 seconds, and hence could only be time set for a maximum range of 3700 yards. The No. 57 "Blue" Fuze was introduced during the Boer war. It had a slower burning powder train and hence could be time set for ranges up to 5800 yards. A maximum range of 6000 yards was quoted in use in the First World War.
Second Boer War
The gun was used by the Royal Horse Artillery, and together with the BL 15 pounder, it provided the main British firepower. Eighteen guns were also used by the Royal Canadian Artillery in this war. A total of 78 guns fired 36,161 shells.
World War I
One piece made in 1901 and marked "RCD 1907" on gun-metal sight mount, with King Edward VII cypher and crown inletted in top of barrel, parked in front of Stethem Hall, the HQ building of CFB Kingston.
Notes and references
- Hogg & Thurston 1972, page 52
- Text Book of Gunnery 1902, Table XII, Page 336
- Hall, June 1971
- Hall, June 1971.
- British military traditionally denoted smaller ordnance by the weight of its standard projectile, in this case approximately 12 pounds (5.4 kg). "6 cwt" referred to the weight of the gun and barrel to differentiate it from other "12 pounder" guns. One hundredweight (cwt) is 112 pounds (51 kg), so the total weight was 672 pounds (305 kg)
- Hall, December 1972
- Hogg & Thurston 1972
- Canada & The South African War, 1899-1902. Units. Brigade Division, Royal Canadian Field Artillery
- Appendices 28 and 29 of the Royal Commission on the War in South Africa
- Farndale 1988, page 316
- Text Book of Gunnery, 1902. LONDON : PRINTED FOR HIS MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE, BY HARRISON AND SONS, ST. MARTIN'S LANE
- Dale Clarke, British Artillery 1914-1919. Field Army Artillery. Osprey Publishing, Oxford UK, 2004 ISBN 1-84176-688-7
- General Sir Martin Farndale, History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery: Forgotten Fronts and the Home Base 1914-18 ISBN 1-870114-05-1
- Major Darrell D. Hall, "Guns in South Africa 1899-1902" in The South African Military History Society. Military History Journal - Vol 2 No 1, June 1971
- Major Darrell D. Hall, "Field Artillery of the British Army 1860-1960. Part I, 1860 - 1900" in The South African Military History Society. Military History Journal - Vol 2 No 4, December 1972 (web page is incorrectly titled 1900-1914)
- I.V. Hogg & L.F. Thurston, British Artillery Weapons & Ammunition 1914-1918. London: Ian Allan, 1972
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to BL 12 pounder 6 cwt Gun.|
- Diagram of 12pr B.L. 6cwt Field Mark I & II from Victorian Forts and Artillery website