QF 12-pounder 12 cwt naval gun
|Type 41 3-inch (7.62 cm) 40 calibre gun|
Type 41 3-inch (7.62 cm) 40 calibre gun on the Japanese battleship Mikasa
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
Kingdom of Italy
Empire of Japan
Second Boer War|
British colonial conflicts
Irish 1916 Easter Rising
World War I
World War II
Elswick Ordnance Company,|
Japan Steel Works
Canadian Pacific Railway
Gio. Ansaldo & C.
|Weight||0.6 tons (510 kg)|
|Length||10 ft 3 in (3.12 m)|
|Barrel length||10 ft (3 m)|
UK & Japan : Separate-loading QF|
Italy : Fixed QF
|Calibre||3-inch (7.62 cm)|
|Rate of fire||15 rounds per minute|
|Muzzle velocity||2,210 ft/s (670 m/s)|
|Effective firing range||11,750 yd (10,740 m) at 40° elevation|
The QF 12 pounder 12 cwt gun was a common, versatile 3-inch (76 mm) calibre naval gun introduced in 1894 and used until the middle of the 20th century. It was produced by Armstrong Whitworth, Elswick and used on Royal Navy warships, and exported to allied countries. In British service, "12 pounder" was a rounded reference to the projectile weight and "12 cwt" referred to the weight of the barrel and breech : 12 hundredweight = 12 x 112 pounds = 1344 pounds, to differentiate it from other "12 pounder" guns.
United Kingdom service
United Kingdom naval service
Mk I and II guns, of "built up" construction of multiple steel layers, served on many Royal Navy destroyers up to and after World War I originally as primary and later as secondary armament against submarines and torpedo boats. They were also fitted as deck guns on D and E-class submarines.
In World War II many Mk V guns, which had a "monobloc" barrel made of a single casting, served on smaller escort ships such as destroyers and on armed merchant ships, on dual-purpose high-low angle mountings which also allowed it to be used as an anti-aircraft gun.
Second Boer War (1899 - 1902) land service
The gun was primarily a high-velocity naval gun, with its heavy recoil suiting it to static mountings, hence it was generally considered unsuitable for use as a mobile field gun. An exception was made when the British Army were outgunned by the Boer artillery in South Africa and the Royal Navy was called on for help. Among other guns, 16 QF 12 pounder 12 cwt were landed from warships and were mounted on improvised field carriages designed by Captain Percy Scott RN, with solid wooden trails and utilizing small-diameter Cape wagon wheels. Their 10,000-yard (9,100 m) range provided valuable long-range fire support for the army throughout the war. They were known as "long twelves" to distinguish them from the BL 12-pounder 6 cwt and QF 12-pounder 8 cwt which had much shorter barrels and ranges.
Lieutenant Burne reported that the original electric firing system, while working well under ideal conditions, required support of an armourer and the maintenance and transport of charged batteries in the field, which was generally not possible. He reported switching to percussion tubes for firing and recommended percussion for future field operations.
Another 6 guns were diverted from a Japanese battleship being built at Newcastle in January 1900, bought by Lady Meux and were equipped with proper field carriages by the Elswick Ordnance Company in Newcastle and sent to South Africa. Perhaps uniquely, the guns were donated directly to Lord Roberts, the British commander in South Africa and became his personal property. They were known as the "Elswick Battery" and were manned by men from Elswick, recruited by 1st Northumberland Royal Garrison Artillery (Volunteers). The Elswick guns served throughout the war.
Coast defence gun
Many guns were mounted on "pedestals" secured to the ground to defend harbours around the UK, and at many ports around the Empire, against possible attack by small fast vessels such as torpedo boats, until the 1950s. There were 103 of these guns (of a total 383 of all types) employed in coast defence around the UK as at April 1918. Many of these were still in service in World War II although they had by then been superseded by more modern types such as twin QF 6 pounder 10 cwt mounts.
Guns were traversed (moved from side to side) manually by the gunlayer as he stood on the left side with his arm hooked over a shoulder piece as he aimed, while he operated the elevating handwheel with his left hand and grasped the pistol grip with trigger in his right hand.
Army anti-aircraft gun
In World War I a number of coast defence guns were modified and mounted on special wheeled traveling carriages to create a marginally effective mobile anti-aircraft gun.
United Kingdom ammunition
UK shells weighed 12.5 lb (5.67 kg) filled and fuzed.
The cordite propellant charge was normally ignited by an electrically-activated primer (in the base of the cartridge case), with power provided by a battery. The electric primer in the cartridge could be replaced by an adaptor which allowed the use of electric or percussion tube to be inserted to provide ignition.
The Japanese Type 41 3-inch (76 mm) naval gun was a direct copy of the QF 12 pounder. The first guns were bought from the UK firms as "Elswick Pattern N" and "Vickers Mark Z" guns. Thereafter production was in Japan under licence. It was the standard secondary or tertiary armament on most Japanese warships built between 1890 and 1920, and was still in service as late as the Pacific War.
The gun was officially designated as “Type 41” from the 41st year of the reign of Emperor Meiji on 25 December 1908. It was further re-designated in centimeters on 5 October 1917 as part of the standardization process for the Imperial Japanese Navy to the metric system. Although finally classified as an "8cm" gun the bore was unchanged at 7.62 cm.
The Type 41 3-inch naval gun fired a 12.5-pound (5.7 kg) high-explosive shell.
- A gun of the Elswick Battery that served in the Second Boer War is displayed in the Royal Artillery Museum, London
- Another Elswick gun is with 203 (Elswick) Battery RA (V)
- Mk V naval gun at Royal Artillery Museum, London
- Early coast defence gun at Newhaven Fort, UK
- Coast defence gun at Army Memorial Museum, Waiouru, New Zealand
- On the battleship Mikasa, Yokosuka, Japan
- 2210 ft/s in British service in 1902, using 1 lb 15 oz (0.88 kg) cordite Mk I size 15 propellant (Text Book of Gunnery 1902); 2,258 ft/s (688 m/s) in British service in World War I using 2 lb (0.91 kg) cordite MD size 11 propellant (Hogg & Thurston 1972, page 55).
- Hogg and Thurston 1972, Page 54
- Hall June 1978
- Burne 1902, Chapter IX
- Crook June 1969
- Farndale 1988, Page 404
- DiGiulian, Tony. "3"/40 (7.62 cm) 41st Year Type". NavWeaps.com.
- Text Book of Gunnery, 1902. LONDON : PRINTED FOR HIS MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE, BY HARRISON AND SONS, ST. MARTIN'S LANE
- Brown, D. K. (2003). Warrior to Dreadnought: Warship Development 1860-1905. Book Sales. ISBN 1-84067-529-2.
- Brown, D. K. (2003). The Grand Fleet: Warship Design and Development 1906-1922. Caxton Editions. ISBN 978-1-84067-531-3.
- Lieutenant C. R. N. Burne R.N., With the Naval Brigade in Natal (1899-1900). London: Edward Arnold, 1902
- Farndale, General Sir Martin (1988). History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. The Forgotton Fronts and the Home Base, 1914-18. Royal Artillery Institution, London. ISBN 1-870114-05-1.
- Gardiner, Robert; Lambert, Andrew (eds.). Steam, Steel and Shellfire: The Steam Warship, 1815-1905. Conway's History of the Ship. Book Sales. ISBN 978-0-78581-413-9.
- Hodges, Peter (1981). The Big Gun: Battleship Main Armament, 1860-1945. United States Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-917-0.
- Hogg, I.V. and Thurston, L.F. (1972). British Artillery Weapons & Ammunition 1914-1918. Ian Allan, London. ISBN 0-7110-0381-5.
- Parkes, Oscar (1990) . British Battleships. United States Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-075-4.
- Admiral Percy Scott, "Fifty Years in the Royal Navy" published 1919
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to QF 12 pounder 12 cwt naval gun.|
- Gun drill for Q.F. 12-pounder (12-cwt) gun (land service) 1925 at State Library of Victoria
- DiGiulian, Tony. "3"/40 (7.62 cm) 41st Year Type". NavWeaps.com.
- Major D Hall, The South African Military History Society. Military History Journal - Vol 4 No 3 June 1978. THE NAVAL GUNS IN NATAL 1899-1902
- Major L.A. Crook,The South African Military History Society. Military History Journal - Vol 1 No 4 June 1969. "The Elswick Guns"
- 203 (Elswick) Battery History