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QF 18-pounder gun - QF 18-pounder gun

Ordinance QF 18-pounder
Australian arms teams in action in the Ypres sector, September 28, 1917
Type Field gun
place of origin United Kingdom
Maintenance history
In operation 1904–1945
Used by
Wars First World War
Third war in Afghanistan
Russian civil war
Irish Civil War
Waziristan 1936-37
Continuation War
Second World War
Production history
Designer Armstrong Whitworth
Royal Arsenal
Designed 1901
Manufacturer Armstrong Whitworth

Woolwich Arsenal
Royal Ordnance Factory

Bethlehem Steel
Produced 1903–1940
No built approx.10,469
(Mk I & II)
Technical specifications
Dimensions 1,282 tons
2,825 lb (1,281 kg)
Barrel length 7 2.34 m (8 in.)
width 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
crew 6

Shell 84 x 295 mm rows
Shell weight 8.4 kg (18.5 lb) projectile

10 kg (23 lb) including case.
Armor penetration
Fragmentation envelope

Highly explosive caliber
caliber 83.8 mm (3.3 in)
Recoil 41 inches (1.0 m) (Mk I-II);
26 in (0.66 m) to 48 in (1.2 m) (Mk III - V)
dare Pole Trail (Mk I & II)
Box Trail (Mk III & IV)
split path (Mk V)
height -5 ° to + 16 ° (Mk I & II)
+ 30 ° (Mk III)
+ 37 ° (Mk IV & V)
traverse 4.5 ° left and right
(Mk I - IV)
25 ° left and right (Mk V)
fire rate 20 RPM (max.);
4 rpm (sustained)
Muzzle velocity 1,615 ft / s (492 m / s)
(Mk I & II)
492 m / s (1,615 ft / s)
(Mk IV)
Effective burning r ange 6,525 yd (5,966 m)
Mk I & II
7,800 yd (7,100 m)
with in
9,300 yd (8,500 m)
(Mk III, IV & V)

The Ordnance QF 18-pounder or simply 18 pounder cannon was the standard British Empire field cannon of the First World War -era. It formed the backbone of the Royal Field Artillery during the war and was manufactured in large numbers. It was used by the British Forces in all main theaters and by British forces in Russia in 1919. Its caliber (84 mm) and its shell weight were greater than that of the corresponding field guns in French (75 mm) and German (77 mm) operation. It was typically drawn by horses until mechanization in the 1930s.

The first versions were introduced in 1904. Later versions remained in service with the British armed forces until early 1942. During the interwar period, the 18-pounder evolved into the early versions of the same famous Ordinance QF 25-pounder that would form the basis of British artillery forces during and after World War II, much like the 18-pounder during the First.


During the Second Boer War, the British government realized that it was field artillery being superseded by the more modern "rapid fire" cannons of other great powers and investigated the replacement of its existing field cannon, the BL 15-pounder 7 cwt. In 1900, General Sir Henry Brackenbury, then General Director of Ordnance, sent officers to visit European arms manufacturers. At the Rheinische Metallwaren und Maschinenfabrik in Düsseldorf they found an automatic fire weapon designed by Heinrich Ehrhardt with a recoil system that completely absorbed everything.The recoil of the fire, 108 cannons plus spare parts, was secretly bought and put into service in June 1901 as the Ordnance QF 15-pounder .

At the same time, the British Cabinet ordered Field Marshal Lord Roberts, the Commander-in-Chief in South Africa, to send home artillery brigade and battery commanders "selected for their outstanding position and experience" to form an equipment committee. The committee was chaired by General Sir George Marshall, who had been artillery commander in South Africa. It was founded in January 1901 with a broad study area ranging from horse-drawn mobile cannons and the larger, more static field cannons to crockery design and binoculars. They quickly established the "conditions to be met by the proposed new equipment"; Most important were the "weight behind the team", then the ballistics, the speed of fire, the weight of the grenade, the deployment of the shield and the number of cartridges carried.

British arms manufacturers were asked to propose designs. Of the many submissions, five were selected for the horse artillery cannon and three for the field cannon, and their manufacturers were asked to submit a "copy". These were tested in 1902 but none were found suitable for service, although they all had good properties. The creators were invited to a conference and agreed to work together on creating a composite design. The Armstrong pistol, the Vickers recoil system, and the Royal Ordnance Factory sight and hoist, as well as the carrying of ammunition, were used. A reduction in wheel size from 1.5 m to 1.42 m (4 feet 8 inches) was also accepted (this was a matter to be investigated by the Equipment Committee), which saved weight. Four artillery batteries of the composite design participated in trials in 1903, and the new 18 pounder design was accepted.

The 18 pounder was made during the First World War


The 18-pounder was a fast-firing, horse-drawn field cannon that hung behind a limber

The conditions of the equipment committee required tangential sights (i.e. direct fire) with the option of a telescope. However, the 18-pounder was put into service with rocking bars (also known as "bar and drum" visors) - open sights with the option of a telescope to the left and a distance scale (in yards) to the right of the cradle. These arrangements also included an independent line of sight, meaning that the sights could stay on the target while the barrel was raised or lowered. For indirect fire, a clinometer was provided when the sight was aligned with a cannon bow (a refined version of the functional equipment used in South Africa) and posts that were horizontally aligned with the target.

However, in 1906, indirect fire goniometric sights were introduced. These consisted of an alidade mounted on a circular scale in degrees and mounted on the sign. In 1910, the number 3 visor, a sophisticated version with a telescope and compass, replaced the goniometer. The rocking bar and telescope were kept for direct fire, as was the distance scale on the right, although a clinometer was part of the dial sight bracket.

In 1910, after three years of trial, the number 7 visor was introduced. This was a very heavily modified version (especially with external instead of internal scales) of the German Goertz panorama visor. This replaced the # 3 with its visor mount, which in turn contained a sighting clinometer. However, solving various problems, particularly with the visor and mount case mounted on the shield, resulted in the number 7 visor not being put into service until early 1914.

What was unusual for a 20th century British weapon was that the 18-pounder was two men for its entire life. The height (in yards) was determined on a distance scale on the right side of the cradle. The equipment committee had also insisted on better methods of setting the detonator, which was important as there was only time for ammunition until late 1914. A mechanical hand detonator was developed, and in early 1914 a "detonator indicator" was introduced which converted the range to a fuse setting.

Mk I cannon on Mk I wagon

The original short recuperator of the Mk I car over the barrel. The recuperator was wrapped with a thick rope for protection

The 18 pounder Mark I pistol barrel from Ordnance Quick Firing was wire wound for a third. Its length was chosen because it was lighter, stronger, and cheaper to make than a fully erected barrel. A jacket was shrunk over the wire and the "A" tube. The Mk I cannon and Mk I wagon entered service on June 30, 1904.

The narrow one-pole path of the wagons Mk I and II was suitable for towing by teams of horses, but limited the downward movement of the breech, and thus limited the range of the weapon in normal use to 6525 meters. Range could be increased to 7,800 yards by "digging in" the end of the pole path to increase elevation. Its distinguishing feature was the barrel, which was significantly longer than the 13-pounder, and in contrast to the 13-pounder, the barrel was significantly longer than the recuperator housing above it.

Mk II pistol on Mk I car

The original weapon design was quickly "rationalized" in production from 1906 onwards. Mark II - Pistol replaced to make relining easier: the exterior of the inner "A" tube was slightly tapered and inserted into a matching conical jacket by hydraulic pressure.

Mark I and II cannons were still in service after WWI, and some even saw fighting in the Far East during WWII.

Mk II cannon on high-angle anti-aircraft mount

In early 1915 a number of 18 pounders were mounted on the guns, with a second recuperator added and the latch for the cartridge case held at a high angle to develop a functional anti-aircraft gun. The gun's relatively low muzzle velocity and the unsatisfactory ballistic properties of its shrapnel casing at large angles made it a marginal achievement in such a role. However, by lowering the barrel to 3 in. (76 mm) and connecting the 18 pounder cartridge to the 13 pounder shell, the successful QF 13 pounder 9 cwt aircraft pistol was made with the high muzzle velocity necessary.

The early versions of 18 pounder anti-aircraft guns remained in service, apparently only in the UK's central defense. 35 were in service in Britain in June 1916 and 56 at the end of World War I. After the war, they were converted back to field guns by removing the cartridge holder.

Mk II cannon on Mk I wagons with armored oil reservoir on the recuperator

Australian 18 pounder with armored oil reservoir at the end of the recuperator.

The battlefield experience in 1914 and 1915 showed the weakness of the original recuperator springs (which returned the barrel to the firing position after the recuperator) and the loss of oil in the recuperator under intense fire. The poor quality of the war-making of the springs was also a factor. Lack of spring due to breaks meant that the guns remained in the line of fire and had to be "raised" by hand - the barrel was brought into its firing position - which slowed the rate of fire. A temporary preventive measure was the addition of a distinctive armored box-shaped oil reservoir to the front end of the recuperator to maintain oil supply and extend the life of the spring. This change can be seen in many photos of 18-pounders in service on the Western Front until the end of the war.

Mk I * and II Carriage

Mk II Carriage with the well-known hydropneumatic recuperator over the barrel, Imperial War Museum London

The problem of the recuperator spring was resolved with the new Mk II wagon, which was officially introduced in November 1916 with a hydropneumatic recuperator design in which the recuperator springs were replaced by an air compression powered system and that was inserted into the existing spring housing by battery officials on site could be installed. It can be recognized by the torpedo-shaped extension of 10 inches (250 mm) on the recuperator, which made the recuperator arrangement almost as long as the barrel and thus changed the device profile. Converted existing cars were designated Mk I *. The Mk II car also included a longer bracket.

By 1917, all 18 pounders were fitted with a new calibration range scale. This allowed the muzzle velocity of the weapon to be set and the range for the difference between the actual muzzle velocity and the standard velocity to be corrected automatically.

Mk III cannon on high-angle car

An experimental Mk III cannon was developed in 1916. It had a semi-automatic horizontal sliding block breech, with the recoil mechanism below rather than above the gun barrel. The high angle attachment may have been an experimental double defense and field wagon. The design was not put into operation.

Mk IV pistol on Mk IV wagon (right), with original wooden spoke wheels, training, 1940. Munitionslimber (a converted wagon limber) is in the traditional position to the left of the pistol

Mk IV cannon on Mk III and Mk IV wagons

Media related to QF 18-pounder Mk IV on Wikimedia Commons The main variant was the Mark IV Pistol on Mk IV car. The Mk IV cannon was tested on a new Mk III wagon with box trail in 1916. This eliminated the original center pole path, which had a restricted elevation, allowing an increased elevation to 37.5 degrees and thus an increased maximum range from 6525 to 9300 yards with the 2-cargo tray.

The Mk III car was quickly replaced by the Mk IV car as the standard field car.

Mk III and IV wagons incorporated a new hydropneumatic system with variable recoil and moved from top to bottom under the gun barrel. The new "Asbury Lock" with one movement enabled higher rates of fire and a conical Welin screw used for the lock. A single battery of the Mk IV cannon from the early Mk III car was in service with the 4th Army when World War I ended. The new gun and cart were practically a new gun, but because the caliber and ammunition stayed the same, it was labeled part of the 18-pr development cycle until the caliber ran out.

Until 1919, the British standard field weapon was the 18 pounder Mk-IV cannon on the Mk-IV wagon, but Britain still owned many of the older brands.

An 18 pounder on a resilient mount for on-board use (DAMS).

Naval use

In addition to its land role, 184 guns became armed defensively armed merchant ships

Wagons and Limbers

was used. carried 24 rounds of ammunition. Each weapon was escorted by a second team of horses hauling an ammunition wagon and limber wagon that carried the weapons division (none were carried on the weapon limber) and 38 rounds each. In action, the car was placed close to the weapon; Its steel body provided an extended shield to protect the departments from small arms fire.

The draw weight of the weapon and the loaded limber was 40 cwt (2,000 kg), the car and its limber about 37 cwt. Each battery also contained a second wagon and limber wagon per weapon, resulting in first-tier ammunition supplies of 176 rounds per weapon.

Interwar period

On June 28, 1922, Michael Collins effectively started the Irish Civil War with two 18 pounder field guns "borrowed" from the British Army to serve the four courts

The split-way Mk V car entered service in 1923. It allowed 25 degrees left and right without moving your way, and up to 37.5 degrees in altitude. That same year, the Army began extensive mechanization of artillery: Vickers Medium Dragon tracked artillery tractors were used to tow the gun, and the horse teams began to return to the Army Remount service.

In 1925, some cannons were experimentally mounted on a medium tank chassis as self-propelled artillery (the "Birkenpistole"), the Birch The weapon was used for the acts of Experimental Mechanized Force in 1927–1928.

The Mk IV weapon has been modified. In the Mk IVA, the A-tube and A-wire were changed by an autofretted loosened liner. The Mk IVB was the same with qualifying modifications, consists of 3 rights rights of 2. A Mk V weapon was seen not seen to have been in service.

In the 1930s, as the human army began to mechanize, all guns began to be mechanized. At the beginning of all heavy wooden wheels fitted with solid rubber tires, the wagons were licensed to Mks IIITR, IVR and VR. Tried and tested, the wooden wheels are part of new axles, steel wheels, pneumatic tires and modern brakes. The Mk IV and V cars had an initial conversion to accommodate the Mk IVP and VP on 9.00 x 16 "wheels. The Mk IIs with their pole tracks had the value" Martin Parry "conversion to accommodate the Mk IIPA belongs to 7.50 x 24 "wheels. In contrast to other weapons, the 18-pounder was not converted to Probert pattern calibration sights.

The introduction of a new streamlined shell, Mk 1C, with a control of 4 / 7.5 crh increased the greater range with Mks III, IV and V cars to 11,100 yards.

From 1938 Mk IVP and VP wagons were used for the new regulation QF 25-pounder Mk 1. This was a change from the 18 pounder regulation Mk IV.The caliber was adjusted from 84 mm to 87.6 mm by changing the liner.


When war broke out in 1914, 1,225 cannons were taken, 99 of them in India. Manufactured in the UK by Armstrong Whitworth, Vickers and Woolwich Ordnance Factory. This of the first acquired came to Beardmore, the Elswick Ordnance Company and, in the US, Bethlehem Steel. In the latter part of the war, certain assemblies were made by various other companies.

The entire war production 1914–1918 determined 9,908 cannons and 6,926 wagons. The political production of arms and wagons was heard between the wars and taking wagons for use with the 25-pounder Mk 1 was at the beginning of its own conduct.

Combat use

First World War

Formal occupation positions in action, 1914

As for the first income, the 18-pounder was developed by the Royal Field Artillery as a standard field gun. Some Royal Equestrian Artillery batteries were also re-treated as their 13-pounder was deemed unsuitable for government trench warfare.

Weapons team in typical formation across the Canal du Nord, 1918

The weapon and its two-wheeled ammunition (wagon) limber were made by a team of six Vanner horses

Initially, the Right Right Army and Controlled Infantry divisions were made up of three field artillery brigades with three three by six 18 pounders and one brigade of 4.5 inch howitzers. By the end of September 1914, all reserve rifles (25% above the claims to settlement improved by the Mowat Committee in 1901) had been sent to France, and new production orders were received when the war broke out. There were no non-guns to brigades of the New Army, Territorial Force and other Dominion divisions that had their three only four cannons and Gallipoli, Australia and New Zealand divisions had fewer brigades. In 1916 it was confirmed on the Western Front that all six should have six cannons.

As of February 1917, all divisions were standardized with two artillery brigades with two three injuries (A, B, and C) of six 18-pounders and a battery (D) of six 4.5-inch howitzers (interests 12 per division). The rights 18 The armed forces in the army's field artillery brigades were made available for more flexible use.


At the beginning of the war, the field guns (13-pounder and 18-pounder) were developed using shrapnel with a certain field gun-to-field ratio of 3: 1 political right howitzers (5 inches and 4.5 inches).

The 18 pounder shrapnel case has 374 small spherical balls. A time fuse was set to release the envelope in the air in front of the target. This blew off the nose of the grenade and fired the bullets forward in a cone like a shotgun - they were up to 300 meters from the eruption. For the spherical cone to have a central effect, the angle of descent of the garnet should be flat and not immersed. At a theoretical maximum of 20 rounds per minute notice 7,480 bullets per minute can be fired in a position of confidence than machine guns. The gunners and officers of the Field Artillery Batteries of the Right Army were experts in the "fire and move" tactics of the infantry with precise fragmentation.

Shrapnel warfare against troops in free rights, armed forces, weapons without weapon shields were used. You have said goodbye to the employment contracts like working group powers. They have heard of wire cutting and especially in the crawling barrage where they belong prevented from manning their trench parapets belonging to one of their rights. In this way they became the key element in the artillery doctrine of neutralizing the hostility of attack, of attacking the enemy, of attacking the enemy in their defense before attack. The primacy of neutralizing rights became a characteristic of religious artillery for the remainder of the 20th century.

The first high-explosive TNT test projectile was fired on October 31, 1914 by the 70th Battery, the 34th Brigade RFA and the 54th Battery, 39th Brigade RFA and the Ypres Front and were both successful and insisted that they were hostile Had arms and led troops. From then on, Great Britain supplied quality 18-pounders with high-explosive shells.

An important lesson from the 1914 war was that the early right wing doctrine of positioning field guns in open or semi-open positions fired them for enemy. This means the role of observer for 18 pounder casualties, the targets that matter as they no longer relied on line of sight. These officers face high attitudes. It is instructive to compare the photo of the 18 pounder cannon outdoors at the Battle of the Marne in 1914 with the photo of the weapon taken at the Second Battle of Bullecourt


Australian gunners in action on M'Cay's Hill, Gallipoli May 19, 1915

Great Britain is now called on the Western Front

The 18-pounder was used as a general-purpose light gun in other theaters, in Gallipoli, where it was used on steep hills such as the "400 Plateau", "Bolton's Hill" and "Russell's Top" because of the lack of a modern mountain cannon and the lack of field howitzers. The 18-pounder has slightly sheltered force, the parapets of trenches, the little ones and the barricades made up for impact dues. This is a relatively large trajectory with a higher authority to protect, to protect, to protect, to move, to move, to move, and to move about. The power to tear down fortifications was lacking. It is indifferent to neutralize otherwise with HE or splinters.

Some were included in the first 10 months of the war 3,628 18-pounders and only 530 4.5-inch howitzers. In the furthest corners of the empire the heavier guns were purchased and by June 1915 274 new heavy guns and howitzers ranging from 60 pounder to 15 inch howitzer and a new 6 inch howitzer were purchased. By June 1915, the war had also made it clear that Germany had increased the state of field guns (to 3.5 per 1000 bayonets) and increased the center of gravity of heavier guns and howitzers (to 1.7 per 1000 bayonets) to 15 cm or more. Britain had no choice but to include the amount of personal artillery to include the scope of field artillery, since later a "closely related" war. Different war de facto a controlled one of the expansion restriction of the field batteries to 4 cannons came.

British planners were of the opinion that for a disabled offensive they belong to a ratio of 2: 1, the French rights to belong 1: 1. General Farndale justified the retention of the 2: 1 field artillery as "field guns were inexperienced to play targets in their own troops and their role in the tactical plan".

The year 1915 was 18 pounder ammunition was split equally between HE and shrapnel contracts, but those in need were shrapnel, 88% in September and November.


British gunners in Romani, Sinai Desert, 1916

Field artillery (both 18 pounders and 4.5 inch howitzer) became the most successful of pre-zero fire in the Battle of the Somme in late June - early July 1916, when the heavy artillery forced German defenses to work and forces troops out into the open In order to regain her, she was successfully fired at with shrapnel. The uses of field artillery as cover fire, which neutralized the enemy in the infantry advance, were in the protective to the preservation and in the protection of belonging, to remain in protective custody, in which the infantry advanced immediately behind the bursting grenade - " It is one of the main targets that the infantry is close to field artillery fire, which is the first target when you have the infantry of the 50-year-old rights beneficial as advancing troops feel their lead. The role of the 18 pounder was set out after the Somme battles "... security in barrages, repelling attacks in the open air, raking communications stations, cutting wires and neutralizing weapons in their states, destroying breasts and barriers with HE and preventing repair work and defenses, the rights within the range of infantry weapons. "

Those in need of 18 pounder ammunition were designated as splinters in 1916, and in the second half of the year they too shifted to equating HE and splinters. In July 1916, between the standard contract prices for British-made mussels, 12 shillings and 6 pence for HE and 18 shillings and 6 pence for splinters. The prices in the US and Canada have been made clear. The worst price for 18 pounder HE shells later in 1916 was 8 shillings and 11 pence (44.8 pence) 9> March 1917