|BL 12-inch howitzer|
12-inch howitzer Mk IV manned by Newfoundlanders, UK, 1942
|Type||Heavy siege howitzer|
|Place of origin||UK|
|In service||1916 - 1945|
|Used by||UK and Commonwealth|
|Wars||World War I, World War II|
|Number built||14 (Mk II); 43 (Mk IV)|
|Variants||Mk II, Mk IV|
|Barrel length||160 inch (Mk II)|
207.6 inch (Mk IV)
|Shell||HE 750 lb (340 kg)|
|Calibre||12 inches (304.8 mm)|
|Maximum range||11,340 yd (10,370 m) (Mk II)|
14,350 yd (13,120 m) (Mk IV)
The Ordnance BL 12-inch howitzer was a scaled-up version of the successful 9.2-inch siege howitzer.
Following the success of their BL 9.2-inch howitzer, Vickers designed an almost identical version scaled up to a calibre of 12 inches, the Mk II entering service on the Western Front in August 1916.
It was similar but unrelated to the 12 inch railway howitzers Mk I, III and V produced by the Elswick Ordnance Company at the same time.
The Mk IV was a more powerful version with longer barrel produced from 1917.
Later models were used for British home defence in World War II.
The 12-inch was dismantled and transported in 6 loads mounted on traction engine wheels. It was then reassembled on its static siege mounting on top of a steel "holdfast", with 22 long ton of earth in a box sitting on the front of the holdfast in front of the gun, to counteract the kick of firing.
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Weapons of comparable role, performance and era
Notes and references
- Mk II = Mark 2, Mk IV = Mark 4. Britain used Roman numerals to denote Marks (i.e. models) of ordnance until after World War II. This article covers the second and fourth models of British 12-inch howitzer.
- Hogg & Thurston 1972, page 181, 184
- Hogg & Thurston 1972, Page 180. 8 complete equipments are reported as arriving in August 1916 and being in action in France shortly afterwards.
- Dale Clarke, British Artillery 1914-1919. Heavy Artillery. Osprey Publishing, Oxford UK, 2005 ISBN 978-1-84176-788-8
- I.V. Hogg & L.F. Thurston, British Artillery Weapons & Ammunition 1914-1918. London: Ian Allan, 1972. ISBN 978-0-7110-0381-1
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