QF 4 inch Mk V naval gun

Ordnance QF 4 inch gun Mk V

High-angle gun aboard sloop HMS Weston on convoy escort during World War II
Type Naval gun
Anti-aircraft gun
Coastal defence gun
Place of origin  United Kingdom
Service history
In service 1914 - 1940s
Used by British Empire
Wars World War I
World War II
Production history
Number built 944[1]
Weight Barrel & breech: 4,890 lb (2,220 kg)[2]
Barrel length Bore: 15 ft (4.6 m)
(45 cal)
Total: 15 ft 8 in (4.8 m)[2]

Shell 31 lb (14.1 kg) fixed QF or Separate-loading QF
Calibre 4-inch (101.6 mm)
Breech horizontal sliding block
Recoil hydro-pneumatic or hydro-spring 15 inches (380 mm)
Elevation mounting dependent
Traverse mounting dependent
Muzzle velocity 2,350 ft/s (716 m/s)[2]
Maximum firing range Surface: 16,300 yd (15,000 m)[3]
AA: 28,750 ft (8,800 m)[2]
Filling Lyddite, Amatol
Filling weight 5 pounds (2.27 kg)

The QF 4 inch Mk V gun[note 1] was a Royal Navy gun of World War I which was adapted on HA (i.e. high-angle) mountings to the heavy anti-aircraft role both at sea and on land, and was also used as a coast defence gun.


LA gun and crew on HMS Galatea, February 1917
LA gun on HMS Vampire firing circa 1938

This QF gun was introduced to provide a higher rate of fire than the BL 4 inch Mk VII. It first appeared in 1914 as secondary armament on Arethusa class cruisers, was soon adapted to a high-angle anti-aircraft role. It was typically used on cruisers and heavier ships, although V and W class destroyers of 1917 also mounted the gun.

Mk V was superseded by the QF 4 inch Mk XVI as the HA (i.e. anti-aircraft) gun on new warships in the 1930s, but it continued to serve on many ships such as destroyers, light and heavy cruisers in World War II.[4]

Army anti-aircraft gun

Early in World War I several guns were supplied by the Navy for evaluation as anti-aircraft guns for the home defence of key installations in Britain. They were mounted on static platforms and proved fairly successful after a fixed round was developed to replace the original separate round, and more followed. The AA mounting allowed elevation to 80° but loading was not possible above 62°, which slowed the maximum rate of fire.[5] At the Armistice a total of 24 guns were employed in AA defences in Britain and 2 in France.[6] After World War I the guns were returned to the Navy.

Coast Defence gun

From 1915 to 1928 several guns were mounted in forts to guard the estuary of the River Humber.[7]

Anti-aircraft performance

The following table[8] compares the gun's performance with the other British World War I anti-aircraft guns:-

Gun m/v ft/s Shell (lb) Time to 5,000 ft (1,500 m) at 25° (seconds) Time to 10,000 ft (3,000 m) at 40° (seconds) Time to 15,000 ft (4,600 m) at 55° (seconds) Max. height (ft)[9]
QF 13 pdr 9 cwt 1990 12.5 10.1 15.5 22.1 19,000
QF 12 pdr 12 cwt 2200 12.5 9.1 14.1 19.1 20,000
QF 3 inch 20 cwt 1914 2500 12.5 8.3 12.6 16.3 23,500
QF 3 inch 20 cwt 1916 2000 16 9.2 13.7 18.8 22,000[10]
QF 4 inch Mk V World War I 2350 31 (3 c.r.h.) 4.4?? 9.6 12.3 28,750
QF 4 inch Mk V World War II [11] 2350 31 (4.38/6 c.r.h.) ? ? ? 31,000


Ammunition for the original low-angle guns introduced in World War I was Separate QF i.e. the shell and cartridge were separate items, but in World War II most guns used Fixed QF ammunition i.e. a single unit.

See also

Weapons of comparable role, performance and era

Surviving examples


  1. Mk V = Mark 5. Britain used Roman numerals to denote Marks (models) of ordnance until after World War II. Mark V indicates this was the fifth model of QF 4-inch gun.


  1. Tony DiGiulian quotes 283 Mk VC built for the navy during WWII; 554 earlier types built for the navy; about 107 earlier types built for the Army in WWI.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Hogg & Thurston 1972, Page 101
  3. WWI 3 c.r.h. HE shell. Tony DiGiulian, "British 4"/45 (10.2 cm) QF Mark V and Mark XV"
  4. Tony DiGiulian's webpage provides comprehensive information on this gun's Naval service. Tony DiGiulian (January 13, 2008). "British 4"/45 (10.2 cm) QF Mark V and Mark XV". Retrieved 2008-03-29.
  5. Hogg & Thurston 1972, Page 100
  6. Routledge 1994, Page 27
  7. Hogg & Thurston 1972, Page 98
  8. Routledge 1994, Page 9
  9. Hogg & Thurston 1972, Page 234-235
  10. Routledge 1994, Page 13
  11. WWII details from Tony DiGiulian's website


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