QF 12-pounder 8 cwt gun

The Ordnance QF 12-pounder 8 cwt was a Royal Navy "landing gun" intended for navy use ashore. "8 cwt" refers to the weight of the gun and breech, approximately 8 cwt = 8 x 112 lb (51 kg) = 896 lb. This was how the British often differentiated between guns of the same calibre or weight of shell. This gun had a short barrel and was of relatively low power compared to the 12 pounders of 12 and 18 cwt, although it fired the same shells.

QF 12-pounder 8 cwt
Royal Navy gun and crew, late 1890s
TypeLight field gun
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Service history
Used byBritish Empire
WarsSecond Boer War
World War I
Production history
Barrel length84-inch bore (28 calibres)[1]

ShellSeparate QF, 12.5 pounds (5.67 kg) Shrapnel, Common Lyddite
Calibre3-inch (76.2 mm)
CarriageWheeled, box trail
Muzzle velocity1,585 feet per second (483 m/s)[2]
Maximum firing range5,100 yards (4,660 m)[2]


Fourteen were converted into anti-aircraft guns as Mk I*.[3]

The Royal Navy eventually replaced the gun with the 3.7-inch mountain howitzer.[4]

Combat use

Second Boer War

The gun was used in the early stages of the Second Boer War in Natal.[5]

World War I

These guns were employed on land in the West Africa campaign. They were also employed in the East Africa campaign ("Logan's Battery" 6th Field Battery, 2 guns, towed first by Hupmobile cars and then REO lorries).[6]

This gun was briefly used in the Battle of Gallipoli, as the Royal Navy had supplies of ammunition for it when the army was short of ammunition for its own guns. Several guns were landed in July 1915 and operated from frontline trenches.[4]

Surviving examples

There is a surviving example held and maintained at Devonport Field Gun Association Heritage Centre & Museum at Crownhill Fort, Plymouth. There are also three examples at the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets summer training camp at HMCS Acadia in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia. They still fired regularly, although they only fire blanks for ceremonial and training purposes.

See also

This cannon is the type used in the famous British Royal Navy Field Gun Runs.

The RN Field Gun may be seen 'in action' in the 1957 film "Yangtse Incident", when a group of these guns was used on the banks of the River Orwell to depict Chinese PLA gun batteries on the North bank of the Yangtze, which fired on HMS Amethyst as she steamed up to Nanking in April 1949.

Notes and references

  1. Text Book of Gunnery 1902, Page 337
  2. 1585 ft/s with 13¾ oz Cordite size 10. Text Book of Gunnery 1902, Page 337
  3. Friedman, p. 115
  4. Clarke 2004, page 40
  5. Hall December 1971
  6. Farndale 1988


  • Dale Clarke, British Artillery 1914–1919. Field Army Artillery. Osprey Publishing, Oxford UK, 2004 ISBN 1-84176-688-7
  • General Sir Martin Farndale, History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery : Forgotten Fronts and the Home Base 1914–18. Royal Artillery Institution, London, 1988. ISBN 1-870114-05-1
  • Friedman, Norman (2011). Naval Weapons of World War One. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK: Seaforth. ISBN 978-1-84832-100-7.
  • Major Darrell Hall, "Guns in South Africa 1899–1902 Part III and IV" The South African Military History Society Military History Journal – Vol 2 No 2, December 1971
  • Major Darrell Hall, "THE NAVAL GUNS IN NATAL 1899-1902" The South African Military History Society Military History Journal – Vol 4 No 3, June 1978
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