Ordnance QF 3-inch howitzer

Ordnance QF 3 inch howitzer was a howitzer fitted to British cruiser and infantry type tanks of the Second World War so they could fire a smoke shell in "close support" of other tanks or infantry. HE shells were also available. Earlier British tanks were fitted with a 3.7 in howitzer.

Ordnance QF 3-inch howitzer
Mk I Churchill tank with hull-mounted 3-inch howitzer on exercises on Salisbury Plain, January 1942
Place of originUK
Service history
Used byBritish tanks
WarsSecond World War
Mass226 lb (103 kg)
Length78.2 in (1.99 m)
Barrel length75 in (1.9 m)

Calibre3 inches (76.2mm)
Muzzle velocity600 feet per second (180 m/s)
Effective firing range2,000 yards (1,800 m)


  • Matilda II Mark III CS, equipped at the HQ level[1]
  • Churchill tank Mk I - mounted low in the front hull - with associated narrowed arc of fire - as supplement to its turret mounted 2-pdr gun. A few Churchill Mk IICS were produced with the howitzer in the turret and the 2pdr in hull.
  • Valentine tank Mk IIICS - a few produced in New Zealand by taking the howitzer from Matilda II Mk IVCS tanks
  • Covenanter tanks - a few of various marks were fitted with the howitzer.[2]
  • Crusader Mk I CS and Mk II CS versions were equipped[3] (65 rounds)

A few Close Support versions of the Tetrarch light tank.

A field artillery version seems to have been developed or under development in 1941[4]

Later in the war a larger QF 95 mm howitzer was employed for the same purpose.


  • Calibre: 3 inches (76 mm)
  • Length of barrel: 75 inches (1,900 mm) (25 calibres)
  • Overall length: 78.2 inches (1,990 mm)
  • Weight: 256 pounds (116 kg)
  • Muzzle velocity: 600 to 700 feet per second (180 to 210 m/s)
  • Ammunition
    • Cartridge: 76.2x134R
    • Smoke: 13.4 pounds (6.1 kg)
    • HE: 13.9 pounds (6.3 kg)
  • Range 2,000 to 2,500 yards (1,800 to 2,300 m)

Notes and references

  1. Fletcher, p. 12.
  2. Chamberlain & Ellis p36
  3. Chamberlain & Ellis p38
  4. Its ammunition codes are listed in Field Service Pocket Book, Pamphlet No. 9a, dated 29 October 1941. The ammunition is listed in both the anti-tank and field artillery sections.
  • Chamberlain, Peter; Ellis, Chris (1981), British And American Tanks Of World War II (Second US ed.), Arco, ISBN 0-668-04304-0
  • Fletcher, David; (1994). Matilda Infantry Tank 1938–45 (New Vanguard 8). Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-457-1.

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