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Ordnance RML 12 inch 35 ton gun
HMS Devastation (1871) 12-inch gun turret interior.jpg
An interior view of one the two main battery turrets aboard the British battleship HMS Devastation, showing a rear view of the turret's two 12-inch (305 mm) 35-ton muzzle-loading rifles. These guns were replaced in 1891 by 10-inch (254 mm) breech-loading rifles.
Type Naval gun
Service history
Used by Royal Navy
Production history
Designed 1871
Manufacturer Royal Arsenal
Unit cost £2,154[2]
Number built 15[1]
Weight 35 long tons (36,000 kg)
Barrel length 162.5 inches (4.13 m) (bore + chamber)[3]

Shell 706 pounds 12 ounces (320.6 kg) (Palliser)
613 pounds (278.1 kg) (Common & Shrapnel)
Calibre 12-inch (304.8 mm)
Muzzle velocity 1,390 feet per second (420 m/s)[4]

RML 12 inch 35 ton guns were large rifled muzzle-loading guns used as primary armament on British battleships. They were the longer and more powerful of the two 12-inch British RML guns, the other being the 25-ton gun.


Barrel construction

This gun design originated in 1871 as an 11.6 inch gun firing a 700-pound shell. Results were unsatisfactory, leading to the gun being bored out to 12 inches and firing a 706-pound 12-oz shell. [1]

Naval service

Guns were mounted on :

Note : The two 12-inch guns installed in HMS Thunderer's forward turret were 12.5 inch 38-ton guns bored instead to 12 inches, and designated "12-inch 38-ton", as the necessary 12-inch 35-ton guns were not available. These 2 guns used the same charges and projectiles as the standard 12-inch 35-ton guns installed in Thunderer's aft turret which simplified the supply of ammunition.[5] It was one of these "12-inch 38-ton" guns that was accidentally double-loaded and exploded on 2 January 1879.


The gun's primary projectile was 706-pound "Palliser" armour-piercing shot, which were fired with a "battering charge" of 110 pounds of "P" (gunpowder) for maximum velocity and hence penetrating power. Shrapnel and common (exploding) shells weighed 613 pounds and were fired with a "full charge" of 85 pounds "P" or 67 pounds "R.L.G.".[6]

See also

Surviving examples


  1. 1.0 1.1 Treatise on Construction of Service Ordnance, 1879, page 284
  2. Unit cost of £2,153 13 shillings 9 pence is quoted in "The British Navy" Volume II, 1882, by Sir Thomas Brassey. Page 38
  3. Treatise on Construction of Service Ordnance 1877, page 292
  4. MV of 1,390 feet/second firing 706-pound 12-oz projectile with "Battering charge" of 110 pounds "P2" (gunpowder) is quoted in "Text Book of Gunnery 1887" Table XVI. 110 pounds "P" "Battering charge" is quoted in Treatise on Ammunition 1877, page 220
  5. Brassey 1882, page 81-85
  6. Treatise on Ammunition 1877, pages 191,194, 220


External links

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