The Info List - QF 4.5-inch Howitzer

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The Ordnance QF 4.5-inch howitzer
QF 4.5-inch howitzer
was the standard British Empire field (or ‘light’) howitzer of the First World War
First World War
era. It replaced the BL 5-inch howitzer
BL 5-inch howitzer
and equipped some 25% of the field artillery. It entered service in 1910 and remained in service through the interwar period and was last used in the field by British forces in early 1942. It was generally horse drawn until mechanisation in the 1930s. The QF 4.5-inch howitzer
QF 4.5-inch howitzer
was used by British and Commonwealth forces in most theatres, by Russia and by British troops in Russia in 1919. Its calibre (114 mm) and hence shell weight were greater than those of the equivalent German field howitzer (105 mm); France did not have an equivalent. In the Second World War
Second World War
it equipped some units of the BEF and British, Australian, New Zealand and South African batteries in East Africa and the Middle and Far East.


1 History

1.1 Origin and use

2 Description

2.1 Features 2.2 Production

3 Combat service

3.1 British Empire
British Empire

3.1.1 First World War 3.1.2 Between the wars 3.1.3 Second World War

3.2 Irish service 3.3 Finnish service 3.4 Portuguese service

4 Notable actions 5 Extended specification 6 Ammunition 7 Surviving examples 8 See also

8.1 Weapons of comparable role, performance and era

9 Notes and references 10 Bibliography 11 External links

History[edit] Origin and use[edit] During the Second Boer War
Second Boer War
(1899–1902) the British government realised its field artillery was being overtaken by the more modern "quick firing" guns and howitzers of other major powers. The Krupp field howitzers used by the Boers had particularly impressed the British. The usefulness of field howitzers and the need for them to form part of an infantry division’s artillery were reinforced by reports from the Russo-Japanese War in 1904. In 1900, the British Cabinet ordered Field Marshal
Field Marshal
Lord Roberts, the commander-in-chief in South Africa, to send home artillery brigade and battery commanders "selected for their eminence and experience" to form an equipment committee. The committee was chaired by General Sir George Marshall, who had been artillery commander in South Africa.[1] It formed in January 1901 with wide-ranging terms of reference concerning artillery equipment from guns and howitzers to harness design and instruments.[2] The committee swiftly established requirements and invited proposals from British gun makers. None were satisfactory, and all compared poorly with a captured Krupp
12 cm howitzer. A purchase of Krupp howitzers was discussed, including visits to Essen. However, by 1905, the committee was sufficiently satisfied to recommend the production of trial equipments from ordnance factories, Armstrong, Vickers
and the Coventry Ordnance Works
Coventry Ordnance Works
(a joint venture by several Coventry engineering companies). Testing in 1906 showed the Coventry design was by far the most satisfactory and a battery’s worth were ordered for trials. In 1908, after trials, the 4.5-inch howitzer was recommended for service, albeit with a shortened barrel.[3] The 4.5-inch howitzer was used on most fronts during the First World War. On the Western Front its normal scale was one battery to every three batteries of 18-pounders. Initially 4.5-inch howitzers equipped a howitzer brigade of the Royal Field Artillery
Royal Field Artillery
in each infantry division. In the original British Expeditionary Force in 1914 this brigade had three batteries each with six howitzers. Subsequent batteries had only four howitzers. In 1916 all batteries on the Western Front began to be increased to six howitzers and later that year the howitzer brigades were disbanded and a howitzer battery added to each field brigade of the RFA as the fourth battery. This organisation continued between the wars. The weapon remained in service during the inter-war period and was used in various campaigns. Apart from changes to ammunition the howitzer itself remained unchanged except for carriage modifications to enable mechanisation. During the Second World War
Second World War
they served with the British Expeditionary Force in France and although many were lost they were the most widely available artillery piece until 25-pounder production developed. They were used in the Middle and Far East theatres as well as for training and were gradually replaced by the 25-pounder. Description[edit] Features[edit] QF stands for "quick firing", a British term for ordnance that fires ammunition with a metal (usually brass) cartridge case containing the propellant charge. The cartridge case also provides obturation, or sealing of the chamber. This howitzer was the largest calibre of British QF field artillery ordnance. Apart from extensive experimentation with shell and rifling designs, two problems slowed development; both were howitzer-specific issues. The first was the need for an adjustable quick firing recoil system to prevent the breech striking the ground when fired at high elevation angles. The second was the suitable design for a range scale in yards able to accommodate a choice of propelling charges. The first was solved by use of a "cut-off gear" that allowed 40 in (1,000 mm) of recoil when the barrel was horizontal but only 20 in (510 mm) when it was at 45 degrees of elevation. The second led to the range scale being designed for charge four and a "range rule" provided to convert the actual range for other charges to a false range set on the charge four scale. The gun carriage was designed to be towed behind a limber and six horses; the lower carriage comprised a box trail. The QF 4.5 fired a separate round (i.e. shell and cartridge were loaded separately). The barrel was of built-up type, with a horizontal sliding block breech. A limited traverse saddle supported the elevating mass and a shield. It was designed for one-man laying with both traverse and elevation controls and sights on the left. The recoil system was below the barrel and used a hydraulic buffer with a hydro-pneumatic recuperator to return the barrel to its firing position. Originally fitted with rocking bar open sights including a deflection scale and a strip elevation, by 1914 the number seven dial sight in carrier number seven dial sight number one had been introduced. This carrier was reciprocating (i.e. it could be cross-levelled), it had an integral elevation scale drum and a mounting for the sight clinometer (used for the angle of sight).[4] The number seven dial sight was a modified version of the German Goertz panoramic sight. The only changes to the ordnance, creating the Mark II in 1917, had a reduced twist in the rifling (from 1:15 to 1:20) and changes to correct design defects in the breech to reduce the effect of firing stresses. From the 1920s the carriage was upgraded; first to Mk 1R (solid rubber tyres) then to Mks 1P or 1PA (new wheels, axles, brakes and pneumatic tyres) for vehicle towing. The Mk 1P was a British conversion which involved cutting off the ends of the axle and fitting a new axle beneath the carriage which utilized 9.00 X 16 tyres. The Mk 1PA was the American Martin-Parry (Buquor) conversion in which "drop down" stub axles were fitted, secured by means of sleeves fitted over the ends of the original axles. These had larger 7.50 X 24 tyres. The No. 26 artillery trailer was similarly converted. Unlike most other guns and howitzers in British service, calibrating Probert sights were not fitted to the 4.5-inch howitzer. Production[edit] By the outbreak of war in 1914, 192 guns had been produced, 39 being for imperial forces, which was less than ordered.[5] Coventry Ordnance Works was the main supplier, with Ordnance Factory Woolwich producing substantial numbers. Other suppliers of complete equipments were Bethlehem Steel
Bethlehem Steel
and, before the outbreak of war, a small number from Vickers. The Austin Motor Company produced some carriages. Total wartime production was 3384 guns (i.e. barrels) and 3437 carriages. Four-hundred 4.5-inch howitzers were supplied to Russia from 1916–17.[6] Combat service[edit] British Empire
British Empire
service[edit] First World War[edit]

Gun with sand tyres around wheels, towed by camels, Egypt circa. 1915–1916

The QF 4.5 served throughout the Great War, principally with the Royal Field Artillery, beginning with 182 guns in 1914, with 3,177 more produced during the war. At the beginning of the First World War
First World War
a brigade of three six-gun howitzer batteries was part of each British infantry division. In February 1917, divisional artilleries were consolidated into two field brigades each with three batteries (A, B, C) of 18-pounder guns and one battery (D) of 4.5-inch howitzers. The balance were formed into army field brigades with the same organisation. Following experience gained in the Battle of the Somme
Battle of the Somme
in the summer of 1916, its role on the Western Front was defined in January 1917 as "neutralising guns with gas shell, for bombarding weaker defences, enfilading communications trenches, for barrage work, especially at night, and for wire cutting in such places which the field guns could not reach".[7] During advances such as at Messines in June 1917, the gun was typically employed in "standing barrages" of HE on the enemy forward positions ahead of the 18-pounders' creeping barrage, and gas shelling following bombardments.[8] There were 984 guns in service on the Western Front at the armistice and 25,326,276 rounds had been fired.[9] The 4.5-inch howitzers were also used by British batteries in the campaigns in Gallipoli, the Balkans, Palestine, Italy and Mesopotamia. Between the wars[edit] Several batteries of 4.5-inch howitzers arrived in North Russia shortly before the armistice on the Western Front and remained there through much of 1919.[10] In 1919, small numbers were used in the Third Anglo-Afghan War,[11] the Waziristan Campaign,[12] and in Mesopotamia from 1920–21 to suppress the Iraqi revolt against the British.[10] Second World War[edit]

A New Zealand battery in the UK 6 July 1940. The gun carriage (Mk1PA) has the Martin-Parry conversion. The limber is unconverted

The 4.5-inch howitzers equipped some batteries of the British Expeditionary Force in France in 1940. Ninety-six were lost, leaving 403 in worldwide service (only 82 outside UK) with the British Army, plus those held by Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. The British holdings were expected to increase to 561 by August 1940 due to the completion of reconditioning and repairs. The Germans designated captured British guns as 11.4 cm leFH 361(e) and Russian guns as 11.5 cm leFH 362(r).[13] The 4.5-inch howitzers equipped British and Australian batteries in the Western Desert in 1940 and 1941, and Australian units in Syria.[14] The batteries with the 4th and 5th Indian divisions went with them to East Africa and South African batteries with 4.5-inch howitzers also fought in this campaign.[15] In the Far East in 1941, 4.5-inch howitzers equipped some British and Australian batteries in Malaya, and a troop in each mountain battery in Hong Kong. The 4.5s of the 155th (Lanarkshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment were instrumental in holding back Japanese attacks at the Battle of Kampar, in late December 1941. The last operational use of 4.5 by the British Army was in early 1942 in Malaya.[16] They were withdrawn from field formations in 1943 and declared obsolete in 1944 when ammunition stocks ran out.[17] Irish service[edit] The 4.5-inch howitzer entered Irish service in 1925 to equip the newly formed 3rd Field Battery. Additional equipment received by the Irish Army in 1941 included four 4.5-inch howitzers. In 1943-44, 20 additional 4.5-inch howitzers were received. Thirty-eight 4.5-inch howitzers, all on carriage Mk1PA, were used by the reserve FCA. The QF 4.5 survived in use with the Irish Army
Irish Army
until the 1960s. They were fired by the FCA ( An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil
An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil
– local defence force) on the Glen of Imaal firing range, County Wicklow circa 1976. Some retired examples exist today, such as those preserved at Collins Barracks, Cork and two in Aiken Barracks, Dundalk. Finnish service[edit]

1916 model used by Finland, at the Hämeenlinna Artillery

Finnish BT-42
self-propelled gun at Parola Tank Museum, armed with a QF 4.5 inch

Britain supplied 24 howitzers to Finland for use in the Winter War
Winter War
of 1939–1940. Finland obtained 30 more from Spain in July 1940 and all guns were used in the Continuation War
Continuation War
of 1941–1944. It was designated 114 H/18 in Finnish service. The Finns fitted a perforated cylindrical muzzle brake. Some of the guns were used in the BT-42 self-propelled artillery piece.[18]

Portuguese service[edit] The Portuguese Army
Portuguese Army
used the QF 4.5 in combat in the Western Front, during the First World War. The howitzer was received in 1917, to equip the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps
Portuguese Expeditionary Corps
(CEP) sent to the Western Front, as part of the Portuguese effort in support to the Allies. In the CEP, the howitzer was designed to equip the fourth batteries of each of the field artillery battalions, the other three batteries in each battalion being equipped with 75 mm quick firing guns. In Portugal, the QF 4.5 was officially designated Obus 11,4 cm TR m/1917 and received the nickname "bonifácio". It remained in service until the 1940s. Notable actions[edit] A section (two guns) of D Battery, 276 Brigade
RFA held off a German counter-attack at Little Priel Farm, southeast of Epéhy, during the Battle of Cambrai on 30 November 1917. Sergeant Cyril Gourley was awarded the Victoria Cross
Victoria Cross
for leading this action.[19] Extended specification[edit]

Diagram of 4.5-inch howitzer

Australian gun seen in recoil position after firing, 1935


Overall length: 1.78 metres (5 ft 10 in) Bore length: 1,500 millimetres (60 in) Weight: 441 kilograms (972 lb) (Mk1), 463 kilograms (1,021 lb) (Mk2) including breech Rifling: PPS 32 grooves Twist: 1 in 510–380 millimetres (20–15 in) increasing twist (Mk I) 1 in 510 millimetres (20 in) uniform twist (Mk II) Breech: horizontal sliding block


Weight: 1,400 kilograms (27 cwt) total weight Width: 2.06 metres (6 ft 9 in) Recoil: 1,000 millimetres (40 in) (0° elevation) 510 millimetres (20 in) (45° elevation) Elevation: -5° to +45° Traverse: 3° right and left


"Shell HE" Mk 12 to 16 – 2.0 kilograms (4.3 lb) Amatol or TNT filled. Minor differences between marks "Shell smoke bursting" Mk 3 to 11 – white phosphorus filled "Shell smoke base ejection" Mk 1 – hexachloroethane-zinc filled "Shell star" Mk 3 – star unit and parachute with fuze time and percussion No. 221 Shell weight: 16 kilograms (35 lb) Propellant charge: five parts, from 0.18 to 0.45 kilograms (0.4 to 1 lb) loaded into a 86-millimetre (3.4 in)l ong brass case

Ammunition[edit] The 4.5-inch (110 mm) ammunition was separate loading, the shell and cartridge were loaded separately, with charge bags being removed from the cartridge as necessary. The full charge was charge five, i.e. the cartridge case had an irremovable charge (one) and four incremental bags. Shells were delivered fuzed. In 1914 the ammunition scale for 4.5-inch howitzers was 70% shrapnel and 30% HE. New types of shell were introduced during the First World War. These were chemical at the end of 1915, incendiary shells in 1916 and smoke shells in 1917. Smoke shells were phosphorus filled with both steel and cast iron bodies. A new streamlined shell (HE Mk 1D) was also introduced to increase maximum range from 6,000 metres (6,600 yd) of the older three CRH (calibres radius head) models to 6,700 metres (7,300 yd).

Mk I cartridge case showing arrangement of cordite rings around central core. One or more rings were removed for shorter ranges. No. 82 fuze for shrapnel shell, World War I No. 101 E fuze for HE shell, World War I Smoke round, 1915 Chemical shell, 1943

Surviving examples[edit]

At Firepower – The Royal Artillery
Museum, London.

Firepower – The Royal Artillery
Museum, Woolwich, London Imperial War Museum, Duxford, UK.[20] Artillery
Museum, Hämeenlinna, Finland Collins Barracks, Cork, Ireland Ballincollig
Barracks Square, Ireland Army Memorial Museum & School of Artillery, Waiouru, New Zealand Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand Royal Australian Artillery
National Museum, North Head, Sydney, Australia The Central Museum of The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, Shilo Manitoba Aiken Barracks, Dundalk, Ireland 2–15 FAR BN HQ, FT. Drum, NY, USA Polish Army Museum Warsaw Poland Donated by Canadians to Mons Memorial Museum, Belgium. [1]

See also[edit]

Howitzer List of howitzers

Weapons of comparable role, performance and era[edit]

10.5 cm Feldhaubitze 98/09
10.5 cm Feldhaubitze 98/09
Early German equivalent 10.5 cm leFH 16
10.5 cm leFH 16
Later German equivalent

Notes and references[edit]

^ Headlam, Major-General Sir John, The History of the Royal Artillery – from the Indian Mutiny to the Great War, Volume II 1899–1914, p. 73 ^ Headlam, Major-General Sir John, The History of the Royal Artillery – from the Indian Mutiny to the Great War, Volume II 1899–1914, Appendix B ^ Headlam, Major-General Sir John, The History of the Royal Artillery – from the Indian Mutiny to the Great War, Volume II 1899–1914, pp. 81–82 ^ Handbook of the 4.5-in QF Howitzer, Land Service, 1914 ^ Hogg, Ian V, Allied Artillery
of World War One,1998 ^ The Official History of the Ministry of Munitions, Volume X The Supply of Munitions, Part 1 Guns ^ Farndale 1986, page 158, quoting from Artillery
Notes No. 4 – Artillery
in Offensive Operations issued by the War Office in January 1917 ^ Farndale 1986, page 188, 190 ^ Farndale 1988, page 342 ^ a b History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery
– Between the Wars 1919–39, Hughes, Major General BP, 1992 ^ The Third Afghan War 1919 Official Account, General Staff Branch, Army HQ India, 1926 ^ Operations in Waziristan 1919–20, General Staff, Army HQ India, 1923 ^ Chamberlain, Peter (1975). Heavy artillery. Gander, Terry,. New York: Arco. ISBN 0668038985. OCLC 2143869.  ^ Horner, David The Gunners – A History of Australian Artillery, , 1995[page needed] ^ History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery
– The Years of Defeat 1939–41, Farndale, General Sir Martin, 1996 ^ Farndale, General Sir Martin History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery
– The Far east Theatre 1941–46, , 2002[page needed] ^ Hogg, I Allied Artillery
of World War Two, 1998[page needed] ^ Jaeger Platoon: Finnish Army 1918 – 1945. Artillery
Part 5: Light Howitzers ^ Farndale 1986, page 250 ^ Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum
(2013). "4.5 in QF Field Howitzer
Mk I (The Lone Howitzer) (ORD 106)". IWM Collections Search. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 


Nigel F Evans, British Artillery
in World War 2. 4.5-Inch Howitzer General Sir Martin Farndale, History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. Western Front 1914–18. London: Royal Artillery Institution, 1986. ISBN 1-870114-05-1 Major-General Sir John Headlam, The History of the Royal Artillery from the Indian Mutiny to the Great War. Vol. II (1899–1914). Woolwich : Royal Artillery
Institution, 1937. Facsimile reprint by Naval & Military Press, 2005. ISBN 978-1-84574-043-6 I.V. Hogg & L.F. Thurston, British Artillery
Weapons & Ammunition 1914–1918. London: Ian Allan, 1972. ISBN 0-7110-0381-5 WL Ruffell, QF 4.5-in Howitzer The Third Afghan War 1919 – Official Account, 1926. General Staff Branch, Army Headquarters, India. Operations in Waziristan 1919–20, 1923. General Staff Branch, Army Headquarters, India.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to QF 4.5 inch Howitzer.

Notes on the ammunition for Q.F. 4.5-inch howitzer, 1920 at State Library of Victoria Gun drill for 4.5 inch Q.F. howitzer Marks I and II carriage mark I 1920,1923 at State Library of Victoria Douglas T Hamilton, "High-explosive shell manufacture; a comprehensive treatise". New York: Industrial Press, 1916. Ch. VII : Specifications and manufacturing method for British 4.5 inch howitzer shell. RA 1939–1945 British 4.5 inch QF Howitzer, LANDSHIPS

v t e

British Empire
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
Pattern 1914 Enfield
rifle Ross Rifle

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


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

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
British Empire
Armies use

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

v t e

British Commonwealth artillery of World War II

Tank guns

QF 2 pounder QF 3 pounder QF 6 pounder QF 75 mm QF 3 inch Howitzer QF 17 pounder 77 mm HV QF 95 mm Howitzer

Anti-tank guns

QF 2 pounder QF 6 pounder QF 17 pounder

Field guns and howitzers

75 mm Gun M1917 QF 18 pounder 25 pounder Gun-Howitzer 25 pounder Short QF 4.5-inch howitzer

Medium and heavy guns and howitzers

BL 4.5-inch Medium Field Gun BL 60-pounder gun BL 5.5-inch Medium Gun BL 6 inch Howitzer BL 6-inch Gun Mk XIX 155 mm Long Tom BL 7.2-inch howitzer BL 8 inch Howitzer BL 9.2-inch howitzer 240 mm howitzer M1

Mountain guns

75mm Pack Howitzer
M1 3.7 inch Mountain Howitzer


SBML 2inch Mortar ML 3-inch Mortar ML 4.2 inch Mortar

Anti-aircraft weapons

Z Battery 20 mm Oerlikon 20 mm Polsten QF 1½-pounder Mk III QF 2-pounder naval gun Bofors 40 mm QF 3 inch QF 3.7 inch QF 4.5 inch Mk II QF 5.25 inch Mk II

Coast defence

QF 6 pounder 10 cwt QF 12 pounder QF 4.7-inch Mk I–IV BL 6 inch Mk VII & Mk XXIV BL 7.5 inch Mk VI BL 8 inch Mk VIII BL 9.2 inch Mk X BL 14 inch Mk VII BL 15 inch Mk I

Railway artillery

BL 9.2 inch Mk XIII railway gun BL 12 inch Mk V railway howitzer BL 13.5 inch Mk V railway gun BL 18 inc