Talk:Glossary of British ordnance terms

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I have also heard the QF (quick firing) term refer to a gun where the breech stays open after run back. Especially in tank guns such as the 17 and 20 pounder QFs used in Sherman Fireflies and early Centurions. Although all tank guns do this now, in some older weapons this was not the case, so the gunner had to open the breech before loading, and avoiding this extra act saved time, hence "quick firing"

John Begg


I can't find a British naval DP gun, as far as I know this is an American term. Regardless, it would have been the mounting that recieved this designation (guns were either BL or QF), and as far as I know, HA/LA was used instead of DP, and only in the Mounting Mark XIX for the 4 inch gun Mark XVI. Emoscopes Talk 13:45, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Mea culpa. Although: I'm looking at a description of the Dido class cruiser in "Jane's Warships of World War II", a pocket volume published 1996 by Harper Collins, Glasgow, UK. It says on p 138: "the Didos were given ... twin 5.25-in dual-purpose (DP) weapons." This isn't a technical description but it does refer to an RN ship class. There's my problem: is this useful list restricted only to technically accurate British expressions or to expressions used commonly to describe British weaponry (I assume this would include Bofors and Oerlikon kit used on RN ships).
FYI: Whitley's "Cruisers of World War II", p112, also describes the Dido guns as "dual-purpose" and "The 5.25 gun was the QF Mk I version ... carried in twin turrets Mk II instead of the ... Mk I (as in the King George V class) ...". In "The World Encyclopedia of Battleships", published 2005 by Hermes House, London, the KGV secondary armament is described as "... a new 130mm/5.25 in dual-purpose gun mounted in eight power-operated turrets ..."
A thought: is there an equivalent US list of terms and should we have a single comprehensive list? Folks at 137 19:46, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
These are both author's terms, rather than official terminology, the term DP / dual purpose is widely used in the literature but is an Americanism. On this page, and the page Dual purpose gun, it is mentioned that HA/LA is the distinctive British version of this term. It is my understanding (well, let it be said, I took it for granted :-) ) that this list is for official terms, and perhaps unofficial one's exclusive to British service. If you agree with this, perhaps we could reword the title of the page to make this more clear. Also, I think it should be moved to List of British ordnance terms Emoscopes Talk 20:33, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
If that's the scope, then fair enough. My only quibble would be that an article/ list as useful as this should be as inclusive as possible. The usage of "DP", for example, may well be an American expression used incorrectly by authors - but it is used. My suggestion would be to include such "out of scope" expressions and explain the situation - or create a comprehensive list. If "Jane's" or Whitley (both authoritative and used as reference sources) use an expression then it's likely to be widely borrowed - correct or not. Query - are all the terms in the list in current use or do they come from particular periods? Folks at 137 21:26, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
There is nothing incorrect in the term, these are dual-purpose guns by definition and I think nearly every authoratative author refers to them as such, however it is my opinion that this is a retrospective or non-British application of a term that has come universally into use. My feeling is that on a page called British ordnance terms I think we should limit ourselves to exclusively British terminology, otherwise we might as well just relocate it to Ordnance terms. That's not to say we shouldn't mention it, I just think we should do so under the HA/LA entry, as this was the official version. In answer to your question, all these terms are now defunct as far as I know. I think the utility of this list is to link to such abbreviations from ship articles, i.e. when we mention a weapon (e.g BL 15 inch Mark 1), it's nice to be able to pipe in a link from BL so we don't have to explain it every time. Emoscopes Talk 13:06, 11 October 2006 (UTC)


I read that "quick firing" always meant gun fitted with on carriage recoil buffer and springs, so that the gun didn't need to be re-aimed after firing ? But the definition on the page would suggest that it refers just to the use of semi-fixed and fixed ammunition. The source that I am reading is not very definitive (Osprey British Artillery 1914-19). Does someone have a better source that says more "officially" what the exact definition is? Megapixie (talk) 06:13, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

The original, and "general" meaning of the Term "Quick Firing" indeed served to identify modern artillery with proper recoil systems, which removed the need to relay the gun between rounds and hence increased the rate of fire. This page, as the title suggests, refers to official British usage of ordnance terms. In British use, most modern Quick Firing guns used brass cartridge cases to load the charge, and because the cartridge case sealed the breech, removing this duty from the breech, new faster-operating breech mechanisms became possible. British ordnance terminology then took on the term QF to describe any breech which used the cartridge case to seal it : to provide obturation. Breeches which used bag charges rather than cartridge cases still needed to provide the obturation themselves, usually via a "mushroom" and interrupted screw. These breeches continued to be labelled BL. Hence in British use, QF does not really mean Quick Firing, it is just a term - some BL guns are operated at high rates of fire by trained crews.

Source : Ian Hogg, Britain Artillery Weapons & Ammunition 1914-1918. (& any other serious author). Rcbutcher (talk) 08:41, 26 December 2007 (UTC)


The article is wrongly titled. In UK terminology Ordnance means the barrel assembly (ie barrel, jacket etc, breech (complete), muzzlebrake, fume extractor). It does not include ammunition. Look at any UK Gun Handbook or Range/Firing Table, they always name the gun in terms of its ordnance and carriage or mounting.

There's several ordnance specific terms missing. Nfe (talk) 10:55, 18 March 2009 (UTC)


Is this article really a list or is it an article? Cyclopaedic (talk) 05:48, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

It does appear to have evolved into an article of sorts - I kept adding more detail... I considered this necessary as so many British ordnance-related articles used technical terms, which needed a link to an accuarate explanation of the term... and accurate explanations need some detail to be useful. It has an alternative name British ordnance terms, which redirects here. Rcbutcher (talk) 09:20, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
I think it's a great article - I was really pleased when I found it. But I do think it should drop the "List" from the title. It needs inline citations to move up the quality scale, but I think it should. I guess it is largely from one or two sources?
I did notice the omission of the various kinds of anti-tank munitions (APDS etc). Cyclopaedic (talk) 09:46, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
It's not really an article in the sense of having any systematic intent to be balanced, representative or comprehensive... I just added terms as I found they needed explanations in other articles... and as my interests run from about 1860 - 1918, that's pretty much all I've contributed. My main intent was to point out what a specific term meant in British use, as opposed to general usage : e.g. cartridge, BL, QF. I think it needs a LOT more work to qualify as any sort of article claiming to cover the whole subject of "British ordnance terms". Rcbutcher (talk) 09:55, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
I think it's well worth it. I don't see any objection to a time period limitation - you already say up to the end of WW2. If someone else wants to expand it further that's up to them. The article looks pretty solid to me as it stands, if given an appropriate start and end date. We could do with more articles like this, as conflicting terminology over time or between nations makes writing comprehensive articles on military science very difficult. I've already made a change to trench warfare based on the QF definition in your article. Cyclopaedic (talk) 10:32, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
  • It's still a list of terms. It's not a "history" as it has no editorial narrative. Its name should be restored as a list. Andy Dingley (talk) 20:37, 17 October 2015 (UTC)

Rename proposal: British ordnance terminology, 1850-1950[edit]

This article is named a list, but it isn't in list format. That is, it has article sections (about each term), and while the table of contents is a list of terms, the body of the article is not a list. A list is "A series of names, words, or other items written, printed, or imagined one after the other: a shopping list; a guest list; a list of things to do."

This article does present terms, but in between them is a huge amount of prose. That's not a list—it's an article about the terminology, where each term has its own section in the article.

A specialized form of list is a glossary, which includes terms followed by their definitions. But this article has sections that cover each term more extensively than a definition.

Also, the terminology included in the article is from a specific time period, and is therefore not comprehensive (it doesn't include modern usage or present-day terms about British artillery, such as surface-to-air missile launchers, etc.).

Because of this, the article should be renamed so that it accurately describes the contents of the article.

I look forward to your thoughts. The Transhumanist 19:31, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

  • Oppose, as per past discussion and recent reversion. Of course this is a list. If it's rather better written than the average content-free PowerPoint bullet list then why is that such a problem? Andy Dingley (talk) 21:31, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
@Andy Dingley: Paragraphs are the problem. Because of paragraphs, the title is false in three ways:
  1. The title says this is a list of terms, not terms and paragraphs. Paragraphs are not terms.
  2. Item lists by definition exclude descriptive prose (sentences and paragraphs, with the exceptions of "annotated lists" and "glossaries", which have definitions of their own). A set of paragraphs is regular prose, and is not a list.
  3. List is a type of format covered by Wikipedia's Manual of Style. This article does not present its material in an acceptable stand-alone list format.
If the paragraphs were removed, then this would be a list. The problem can also be fixed by renaming the article. False titles are confusing, and come across as unprofessional. The Transhumanist 01:02, 10 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Favor. "British Ordnance Terms" sounds more accurate. I've seen people complain about "lists" and tend to agree with them. This article is superior to a mere "list" and should demonstrate that superiority by renaming itself!
Having said that, the some of the subtitles are a bit cryptic! :) Student7 (talk) 20:09, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Rename has already been reverted. This page (it is not an article) was created to provide section headings that articles can link to to to provide explanation of technical terms used in the articles. I.e. the headings for the items in the list are crucial : if section headings are changed, which will occur if well-meaning folks attempt to "improve" it as an article, the links will break and with it its reason for existence. Hence its intent and usage is very different from an article, which tells a single coherent story. This doesn't, it is just a list of military terms with no connecting narrative. If the name "list" is incorrect, call it a glossary or something else appropriate. Regarding time frame : it currently only covers a certain period because that is all anybody has so far contributed.Rcbutcher (talk) 01:11, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
    • "Glossary of British ordnance terms".  Done The Transhumanist 11:45, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Support alternative I think Glossary is a great description.Dkriegls (talk to me!) 06:50, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

Between decks?[edit]

First entry says:

  "Between decks : applies to a naval gun mounting in which part of the rotating mass is below the deck, and part of it is above the deck. This allows for a lower profile of turret, meaning that turrets need not be superfiring (i.e. they can be mounted on the same deck and not obstruct each other at high angles of elevation.)"

I'm having trouble making sense of this...most large turrets have part of their rotating mass below decks, or contained in the casemate in the case of a superfiring gun. And a turret that does have it's compartment fully above deck couldn't be lowered much without interfering with the elevation arc of the guns. Is this mostly talking about smaller caliber guns, like you'd see on an old destroyer, which have quite a bit of "turret" and not much gun? I could see in that case, "sinking" one turret a bit into the deck, so as to avoid perching the second way up on a casemate. I just can't really imagine it working for big-gun turrets (and btw, are we actually talking about turrets here, or gunhouses? Just to be specific. Most ships actually have gun-houses mounted on turrets, afaik)..45Colt 03:33, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

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