12 cm/45 3rd Year Type naval gun

12 cm/45 3rd Year Type naval gun was a Japanese naval gun and coast defense gun used on destroyers, and torpedo boats of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War I and World War II.

Type 3 120 mm 45 caliber naval gun
Bow gun on Yunagi, September 1936
TypeNaval gun
Coast defense gun
Place of originJapan
Service history
In service1918-1945
Used by Imperial Japanese Navy
WarsWorld War I
World War II
Production history
VariantsType 11
Mass3,240 kg (7,140 lb)
Barrel length5.4 m (18 ft) bore

ShellSeparate loading cased charges and projectile
Shell weight20.3 kg (45 lb)
Caliber120 mm (4.72 in)
BreechSingle motion interrupted screw Welin breech block
Elevation-7° - +33°
Traverse+120°- 120°
Rate of fire5-6 rpm
Muzzle velocity825 m/s (2,710 ft/s)
Effective firing range16 km (10 mi) at 33°

Design and development

The 12 cm/45 gun designed in 1895 was an indigenous variant of an Elswick Ordnance Company export design known as the Pattern Y. The Japanese designation was the "Type 41". Later in 1921 the 12 cm/45 gun was used as the basis for a high-angle anti-aircraft gun, designated the 12 cm/45 10th Year Type[1] The "Third Year Type" refers to the Welin breech block used and this should not be confused with the later Type 3 12 cm AA Gun developed by the Imperial Japanese Army in 1943. In the Japanese Army artillery naming system, "Type 3" refers to the year of introduction, rather than the type of breech block used.

A re-design in 1922 called the 12 cm 11th Year Type naval gun (Model 1922) with a shorter gun barrel and a horizontal sliding breech-block was used on submarines and torpedo boats. The 12 cm/45 was manually loaded and fired a 20.3 kg (45 lb) high-explosive, a illumination shell or after 1943 an anti-submarine shell.

In addition to its shipboard role it was widely deployed as a coastal defense gun for Japanese bases in the Pacific and was one of the more common types found by Allied forces.[2]

See also

Weapons of comparable role, performance and era


  1. http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNJAP_47-45_10ns.php
  2. Japanese Artillery Weapons. United States Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas. 1945-07-01. p. 46. OCLC 51837610.
  • Bishop, Chris (eds) The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II. Barnes & Nobel. 1998. ISBN 0-7607-1022-8
  • Campbell. John. Naval Weapons of World War Two", Naval Institute Press (1986). ISBN 0-87021-459-4
  • Chant, Chris. Artillery of World War II, Zenith Press, 2001, ISBN 0-7603-1172-2
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