30-pounder short gun

The 30-pounder short gun was a piece of artillery mounted on French warships of the Age of sail. They were the middle-sized component of the unified system standardised on the 30-pounder calibre, replacing both the 24-pounders and 12-pounders in many usages.

30-pounder short gun
Typenaval gun
Place of originFrance
Service history
In service19th century
Used byFrench Navy
WarsInvasion of Algiers, Battle of the Tagus, Battle of Veracruz
Production history
Unit cost1243.5 Francs
Mass2,487 kilograms (5,483 lb)
Length291.9 centimetres (114.9 in)
Barrel length235.0 centimetres (92.5 in)

Calibre164.7 mm[1]


The 30-pounder short gun was installed on the lower deck on frigates and on the middle deck of three-deckers, the main battery being armed with 30-pounder long guns and the upper deck, with 30-pounder carronades.


In the wake of the Napoleonic Wars, the Navy undertook a number of reforms, most notably a reform in the artillery system. In contrast with the 1788 system, where large warships armed their main batteries with large 36-pounder long guns and upper deck with smaller long guns using smaller shots, it was decided to standardise on the 30-pound calibre, and deploy a variety of guns of different weights, as not to overload the tops. The differences in weight were obtained by fielding a large 30-pounder long gun, a shorter 30-pounder with a thinner barrel, and a 30-pounder carronade.

This allowed a much simplified handling of ammunition, and significantly increased the broadsides of warships. A first-rank 60-gun frigate of the 1840s thus armed had a heavier broadside than a 74-gun ship of the line of the 1780s.

Sources and references


  1. Aide-mémoire de l'artillerie navale, p. 14


  • Lafay, Jules Joseph (1850). Aide-mémoire d'artillerie navale. J. Corréard.
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