The Info List - BL 5-inch Howitzer

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The Ordnance BL 5-inch howitzer was initially introduced to provide the Royal Field Artillery with continuing explosive shell capability following the decision to concentrate on shrapnel for field guns in the 1890s.


1 Combat service

1.1 Sudan Campaign 1.2 Second Boer War 1.3 World War I

2 Ammunition 3 See also 4 Notes and references 5 Bibliography 6 Surviving examples 7 External links

Combat service[edit] Sudan Campaign[edit] The weapon was used by the Royal Field Artillery and served successfully at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898. During that campaign they gained the distinction of being the first British guns to fire the new Lyddite shells in action. Second Boer War[edit]

Approaching Maddox Hill, Northern Cape, January 1900

Major D Hall states that in the Second Boer War the Lyddite shells often failed to detonate; the gun was too heavy to be used as a field howitzer, and for siege use its range was too short and shell too light. However, it achieved some success in Natal when able to get close enough to bombard Boers in trenches.[6]

World War I[edit]

In action on Gallipoli, 1915

By 1908 it was obsolete and replaced in British Regular Army brigades by the modern QF 4.5-inch howitzer. Territorial Force brigades, however, continued to use the howitzer in World War I into 1916, including notably in the East African campaign. A lighter 40-pound (18.14 kg) shell with Amatol filling replaced the original 50-pound (22.68 kg) Lyddite shell early in World War I Together with an increase in cordite propellant from 11 oz 7 drams to 14 oz 5 drams, this increased the maximum range from 4,800 to 6,500 yards (5,900 m). Administrative error led to the new 40-pound shells being sent to Gallipoli without range tables or fuze keys for the new pattern fuzes, rendering them useless.[7] Ammunition[edit]

Cordite cartridge 11 oz 7 dram Mk V, for 50 lb projectile

50 lb Common shell Mk III

50 lb Common lyddite shell Mk IV

T Friction tube Mk IV

See also[edit]

Howitzer List of howitzers

Notes and references[edit]

^ Hogg, Ian. Twentieth-Century Artillery. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2000. ISBN 0-7607-1994-2 Pg.46 ^ Text Book of Gunnery 1902, Table XII page 336 ^ Treatise on Ammunition 1915, accurate as at 1 August 1914, mentions that there are both "Heavy" 50 lb (23 kg) and "Light" 40 pounds (18.1 kg) shells and mentions a 14 oz 13 dram cartridge for a 40 pounds (18.1 kg) shell (page 142). But only 50 pounds (22.7 kg) shells are listed in tables. It is possible the 40 pounds (18.1 kg) shell was in process of being introduced in 1914. ^ a b c Hogg & Thurston 1972, page 113 ^ Hogg & Thurston 1972 page113. Text Book of Gunnery 1902 gives 782 ft/s (238 m/s), firing a 50 pounds (22.7 kg) projectile, with 11oz 7dram Cordite size 3¾ propellant. ^ Hall June 1971 ^ Simpson-Baikie 1920


Text Book of Gunnery, 1902. LONDON : PRINTED FOR HIS MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE, BY HARRISON AND SONS, ST. MARTIN'S LANE Dale Clarke, British Artillery 1914-1919. Field Army Artillery. Osprey Publishing, Oxford UK, 2004 ISBN 1-84176-688-7 Major Darrell D. Hall, "Guns in South Africa 1899-1902" in The South African Military History Society. Military History Journal - Vol 2 No 1, June 1971 I.V. Hogg & L.F. Thurston, British Artillery Weapons & Ammunition 1914-1918. London: Ian Allan, 1972 Brigadier-General Sir Hugh Simpson-Baikie, Ex-Commander of the British artillery at Cape Helles. Appendix I STATEMENT ON ARTILLERY in General Sir Ian Hamilton, G.C.B. Gallipoli Diary Vol. II. New York: George H. Doran Company, 1920 Hogg, Ian. Twentieth-Century Artillery. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2000. ISBN 0-7607-1994-2 Pg.46

Surviving examples[edit]

At Karak Castle, Jordan

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to BL 5 inch Howitzer.

Handbook for the 5-inch B.L. howitzer 1905 Hosted online by State Library of Victoria, Australia Field service manual Field artillery howitzer brigade 5-inch B.L. 1908 Hosted online by State Library of Victoria, Australia Handbook for the 5-inch B.L. howitzer, 1909 Hosted online by State Library of Victoria, Australia Handbook and equipment details for the 5-inch B.L. howitzer Mark I field batteries 1896,1901 Hosted online by State Library of Victoria, Australia 5 inch B.L. howitzer gun drill 1915 Hosted online by State Library of Victoria, Australia Great War Diary - German East Africa 1916 - of Sergeant Joseph Daniel Fewster, 1st. (Hull) Heavy Battery R.G.A. Bennet Burleigh, Khartoum Campaign, 1898 Describes 5-inch howitzer use in the campaign

v t e

British Empire Small Arms & Ordnance of the Victorian era

Side arms

Infantry swords 1897 Infantry sword Beaumont–Adams revolver Enfield revolver Webley .455" Revolver Mk I - IV

Muskets and Rifles

Brown Bess musket Baker rifle Brunswick rifle Pattern 1851 Minié rifle Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle-musket Snider-Enfield rifle Martini-Henry rifle Lee-Metford rifle Magazine Lee-Enfield (MLE) rifle


Field Artillery

SBML 9 pounder 13 cwt RBL 9 pounder RBL 12 pounder RBL 20 pounder RML 9 pounder 8 cwt RML 13 pounder 8 cwt RML 16 pounder 12 cwt BL 12 pounder 7 cwt BL 12 pounder 6 cwt QF 12 pounder 8 cwt BL 15 pounder QF 1 pounder pom-pom

Mountain artillery

RML 7 pounder Mountain Gun RML 2.5 inch Mountain Gun

Howitzers, medium, and heavy artillery

RML 6.3-inch howitzer RML 6.6-inch howitzer BL 5-inch howitzer BL 5.4-inch howitzer

Siege & garrison artillery

SBBL 32 pounder SBML 24 pounder SBML 8 inch 65 cwt RBL 40 pounder RBL 7 inch RML 25 pounder 18 cwt RML 40 pounder gun RML 64 pounder 64 cwt gun RML 64 pounder 58 cwt RML 64 pounder 71 cwt gun RML 80 pounder RML 6.6 inch gun RML 8 inch howitzer BL 5 inch gun Mk I - V BL 6 inch 30 cwt howitzer BL 9.45-inch howitzer

Coastal artillery

QF 3 pounder Nordenfelt QF 4.7 inch BL 6 inch Mk III, IV, VI BL 6 inch Mk V RBL 7 inch RML 7 inch RML 8 inch BL 8 inch Mk VII RML 9 inch BL 9.2 inch Mk IV & VI BL 10 inch Mk I BL 12 inch Mk I, VI, VII RML 12.5 inch RML 16 inch RML 17.72 inch


13 inch 36 cwt mortar 10 inch 18 cwt mortar 8 inch 9 cwt mortar

War rockets

Congreve 6-pounder Congreve 12-pounder Congreve 24-pounder Boxer Hales 9-pounder Hales 24-pounder

Machine guns

Nordenfelt gun 0.45" Gatling gun Gardner gun Maxim gun

v t e

British Empire small arms and ordnance of the First World War


Lee-Metford Magazine Lee-Enfield (MLE) rifle Short Magazine Lee–Enfield (SMLE) rifle Pattern 1914 Enfield rifle Ross Rifle (Canada)

Machine guns

Maxim gun Vickers machine gun Hotchkiss Mark I Lewis Gun

Side arms

Webley .455" Revolver Mk. IV–VI Webley .455" Pistol Mk. I Colt New Service Smith & Wesson Triple Lock

Hand grenades

No. 1 No. 2 Hales Pattern Nos. 3, 20, 24, 35 Hales rifle grenades Nos. 5, 23, 36 Mills No. 6 Nos. 8, 9 Jam Tin No. 13 Battye No. 14 Pitcher No. 15 Ball No. 16 Oval No. 17 Opera hat No. 18 No. 19 No. 21 "Spherical" No. 22 Newton-Pippin No. 25 Sangster No. 27 No. 28 Chemical No. 29 Gas No. 31 Day Signal No. 32 Night Signal No. 32 "Spherical E" No. 34 Egg No. 37 No. 39 Steuart Pattern


Tank guns

QF 6 pounder Hotchkiss QF 6 pounder 6 cwt

Infantry guns

1.59-inch Breech-Loading Vickers Q.F. Gun, Mk II ("Vickers-Crayford rocket gun")

Field Artillery

BL 12 pounder 6 cwt QF 12 pounder 8 cwt QF 12 pounder 18 cwt QF 13 pounder BL 15 pounder BLC 15 pounder QF 15 pounder QF 18 pounder QF 4 inch gun Mk III BL 4 inch gun Mk VII QF 4.5 inch Howitzer

Mountain artillery

RML 2.5 inch Mountain Gun BL 10 pounder Mountain Gun BL 2.75-inch Mountain Gun QF 2.95 inch Mountain Gun QF 3.7-inch mountain howitzer

Howitzers, medium, and heavy artillery

QF 4.7 inch Gun BL 5 inch Howitzer BL 5.4 inch Howitzer BL 60 pounder gun BLC 6 inch siege gun BL 6 inch Gun Mk VII BL 6 inch Gun Mk XIX BL 6-inch 26 cwt howitzer BL 6-inch 30 cwt howitzer BL 8 inch Howitzer Mk I - V BL 8 inch Howitzer Mk VI - VIII

Siege artillery

BL 7.5 inch Mk III naval gun BL 9.2-inch howitzer BL 9.2 inch Mk X naval gun BL 12 inch Howitzer BL 12 inch Mk X naval gun BL 15 inch Howitzer

Coastal artillery

QF 12 pounder 12 cwt QF 4 inch naval gun Mk I – III BL 6 inch Mk VII naval gun BL 9.2 inch gun Mk IX–X RML 9 inch


Garland Trench Mortar 3 inch Stokes Mortar Light Mortar (IJA Artillery) 3.7 inch mortar 4 inch mortar Vickers 1.57 inch mortar 2 inch Medium Mortar Newton 6 inch Mortar 9.45 inch Heavy Mortar

Grenade launchers

Leach Trench Catapult West Spring Gun Sauterelle

Smoke and chemical weapons

4 inch Stokes Mortar Livens Projector Livens Large Gallery Flame Projector

Railway guns

BL 9.2 inch Railway Gun BL 12 inch Railway Gun BL 12 inch railway howitzer BL 14 inch Railway Gun

Anti-aircraft guns

QF 1 pounder pom-pom QF 2 pounder "pom-pom" Mk II 75 mm AA gun QF 12 pounder 12 cwt QF 3 inch 5 cwt QF 13 pounder 6 cwt QF 13 pounder Mk IV QF 13 pounder 9 cwt QF 3 inch 20 cwt QF 18 pounder QF 4 inch Mk V

Foreign weapon designs in British Empire Armies use

Hotchkiss Mark I Lewis Gun Light Mortar (IJA Artillery) 75 mm AA gun QF 15 pounder 9.45 inch Heavy