BL 12-inch howitzer
|BL 12-inch howitzer|
12-inch howitzer Mk IV manned by Newfoundland troops training in the UK, 1942
|Type||Heavy siege howitzer|
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|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|
160 inch (Mk II)|
207.6 inch (Mk IV)
|Shell||HE 750 lb (340 kg)|
|Calibre||12 inches (304.8 mm)|
|Maximum firing range||
11,340 yd (10.37 km) (Mk II)|
14,350 yd (13.12 km) (Mk IV)
The Ordnance BL 12-inch howitzer was a scaled-up version of the successful BL 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. Eight complete equipments are reported as arriving in August 1916 and being in action in France shortly afterwards.
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 six loads mounted on traction engine wheels. It was then reassembled on its static siege mounting on top of a steel "holdfast", with 22 tons of earth in a box sitting on the front of the holdfast in front of the gun, to counteract the kick of firing.
Mk V HE shell, World War I
12 inch shell being loaded
Weapons of comparable role, performance and era
- 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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