|Ordnance BL 12 inch Howitzer Mk I, III, V on truck, railway|
Mk. I "Hilda" in action, Ypres, 7 November 1917
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|In service||1916 - 1940|
|Used by||United Kingdom|
|Wars||First World War|
|Designer||Elswick Ordnance Company|
|Manufacturer||Elswick Ordnance Company|
|Variants||Mk I, III, V|
|Barrel length||Mk I: 12 ft (3.7 m)|
Mk III & V: 17 ft 3 in (5.26 m)
|Shell||HE; 750 lb (340 kg)|
|Calibre||12 inch (305 mm)|
|Elevation||Mk I & III: 40° - 65°|
Mk V: 20° - 65°
|Traverse||Mk I & III: 20° L & R|
Mk V: 120° L & R
|Muzzle velocity||Mk I: 1,175 ft/s (358 m/s)|
Mk III & V: 1,468 ft/s (447 m/s)
|Effective range||Mk I: 11,132 yd (10,179 m)|
Mk III: 15,000 yd (14,000 m)
Mk V: 14,350 yd (13,120 m)
|Filling weight||83lb 3oz (37.96 kg) Amatol|
Design and development
Mk I was introduced from March 1916. It is identified by its short barrel and recuperator above the barrel.
The longer-barrelled Mk III soon followed, with a heavier breech to balance the gun. It retained the recuperator above the barrel.
Mk V, dating from July 1917, moved the recoil buffer and recuperator into a single housing below the barrel, which was common for all new British artillery developed during World War I. It also had a lighter breech with the gun balanced by the redesigned recoil system and altered gun positioning on the cradle. Mk V also relocated the loading platform from the railway wagon to the revolving gun mounting, which now allowed 120° of traverse, and by overhanging the opposite side provided crew access when the gun fired to the side (90° traverse) and also helped to balance it.
Mk III and MK V were deployed for the home defence of Great Britain in World War II.
- Mk I = Mark 1, Mk III = Mark 3, Mk V = Mark 5. Britain used Roman numerals to denote Marks (i.e. models) of ordnance until after World War II. This article covers the first, third and fifth models of British 12-inch howitzers.
- Hogg & Thurston 1972, page 179, 183, 187
- Hogg & Thurston 1972, page 186
- Dale Clarke, British Artillery 1914-1919. Heavy Artillery. Osprey Publishing, Oxford UK, 2005 ISBN 1-84176-788-3
- I.V. Hogg & L.F. Thurston, British Artillery Weapons & Ammunition 1914-1918. London: Ian Allan, 1972.
- Harry W Miller, United States Army Ordnance Department, Railway Artillery: A Report on the Characteristics, Scope of Utility, Etc., of Railway Artillery, Volume II, Pages 136-145. Washington : Government Print Office, 1921
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