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Object Title

Gun - 18-pounder British Quick-Firing Field gun Mark II & Field Carriage

Gun - 18-pounder British Quick-Firing Field gun Mark II & Field Carriage

Date

1918

Object Number

XIX.529

Provenance

Its service history, if any, is unknown.

Physical Description

The gun barrel is made of steel and consists of an 'A' tube, a series of layers of steel wire, a jacket and a breech. The 'A' tube extends from the rear end of the chamber to the muzzle. Over a portion of the 'A' tube are wound successive layers of steel wire. The jacket is fitted over the exterior of the wire and 'A' tube, and is secured longitudinally by corresponding shoulders and the breech ring, which is secured over the jacket at the rear and secured by a set screw. The breech ring is prepared for the reception of the breech mechanism, and is provided on the upper side with a lug for the attachment of the hydraulic buffer. Longitudinal projections on each side of the jacket for guides for the gun when in the cradle of the carriage. The guns are fitted with 'Single Motion Breech Mechanism.' The mechanism is so arranged that by one pull on a lever the breech is unlocked and the screw and carrier are swung into the loading position. After loading, one thrust on the same lever inserts the breech screw into the breech opening and turns it into the locked position. The carriage is the narrow single-pole trail design suited to its towing by teams of horses. It consists of many parts but is constructed to allow of 16 degrees elevation and 5 degrees compression being given to the gun, which recoils axially in a cradle, the latter being fitted with a hydraulic buffer to limit the recoil to about 41 inches and running out springs to return the gun to the firing position. The carriage is also constructed so that the gun's elevation can be altered without interfering with the line of sight. It is provided with a seat on each side of the trail for two of the gun detachment, and with a shield for the protection of the numbers serving the gun. The carriage is fitted to carry various stores. The wheels are 2nd class, 'C', No.45, 4 feet 8 inches in diameter, with a steel nave, removable pipe box, and a 3 inch steel tire with rounded edges. The carriage is fitted on the left side with a rocking bar sight with sight clinometer, and No.4 sighting telescope. It is provided with a No.1 or No. 7 Dial Sight, introduced in 1910 and based on the German Goertz panoramic sight, and No. 2 carrier. The rifling comprises 18 grooves and is Polygroove, modified plain section with a uniform 1 turn in 30 calibres. The firing mechanism is percussion.

Techniques

Wire wound

Materials

Dimensions

BarrelBore3.3 in
BarrelBore83.8 mm
BarrelLength2340 mm
BarrelWeight457 kg
Barrellength92 in

Component parts

Firearms/Artillery

Serial Number None visible

Calibre

83.8 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

Number
6668 L CO 8M
Recuperator
Inscribed
Manufacturer's mark
8 - 2 - 25 [Crown over P] Q.F. 18PR MKII V.S.M. [Broad Arrow] 1918 No.7743 7743 B.E. 40821 V82507
Breech
Inscribed
Inscription
Crown over IC over 164
Muzzle face, barrel
Inscribed
Inscription
Crown over IC over 166
Muzzle face, A-tube
Inscribed
Inscription
VSM STE 81940 Mark I
Muzzle face
Inscribed

Associations

Notes

During the Boer War the British, realising the shortcomings of their artillery, decided on a true quick-firing (QF) gun. No existing model was considered suitable. So the new gun combined the designs of the great firm Vickers, Sons & Maxim and the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. Introduced in 1904, later versions gave improved durability and range. Originally intended for mobile warfare firing shrapnel shell against troops in the open, once the armies became entrenched on the Western Front, the 18 pounder had to be modified to enable it to fire heavy barrages of high exposive shell. Steel barrel sliding on recoil through bronze cradle, by means of a long rib on each side of the barrel, forged in one with the barrel and machined to engage in matching slots in the cradle. Above the barrel is the cylinder containing the hydraulic recoil and run-out control mechanism, part of which was wound with rope in the field, which, if kept wet during prolonged firing provided a cooling effect.The 18 pounder is one of the most famous British artillery weapons of WWI. After the Boer War the British decided to equip the army with a true quick-firing gun since it had fallen behind other European countries in the arms race. The new gun combined the designs of the major arms firm Vickers Sons & Maxim, the Elswick Ordnance Company and the Royal Gun Factory at Woolwich. It was introduced in 1904 and four different Marks of gun were produced during the war with the Mark 2 used on a high-angle mounting in an anti-aircraft role. Field Gun elevation was limited until the Mark V carriage was introduced which had some modern-looking improvements such as a split trail. The 18-pounder continued in service after WWI as the basis for developing a combined field gun and howitzer but with the need for firing a heavier projectile. To this end 18-pounder barrels were removed from their carriages and the new 25-pounder barrels (87 mm/3.45 in) substituted. It became known as the 18/25-pounder and thereafter the 25-pounder Gun/Howitzer. A lighter version, the 13 pounder was built for the Royal Horse Artillery in 1904 and is still used today by the King's Troop for firing salutes.This gun was the British Army's standard field gun of the First World War forming the backbone of the Royal Field Artillery. It was introduced in 1904 and remained in service until the end of the Second World War serving alongside, in some instances, its successor the 25-pounder Gun/Howitzer. It was designed to towed behind a limber and six horses. in essence a joint design between the Royal Arsenal, Armstrong Whitworth and Vickers. Approximately 10,500 Mark I and Mark II's were constructed and it was used by British forces in all the main theatres and by British troops in Russia in 1919. 18-pounders made up the most number of artillery pieces during the mass fire plan or barrage and in all fired nearly 100 million rounds. The 18-pounder was generally horse drawn until mechanisation in the 1930s. The detachment was 6 men. A 75mm calibre version was built by the Americans using the same ammunition as the famous French 'Soixante-Quinze'. This example has been used by re-enactment groups to demonstrate the gun-firing drill at FWW commemorative events, for example, on Remembrance Sunday at Fort Nelson and at other events at other venues.

Image of 18 pounder QF (quick-firing) field, by Vickers, Sons and Maxim, 1918, Britain. (XIX.529) © Jonty Wilde
Image of Limber for 18 pounder field gun XIX.529
Image of 18 pounder QF gun. British, dated 1918 (XIX.529)
Image of 18 pounder QF gun. British, dated 1918 (XIX.529)
Image of 18 pounder QF gun. British, dated 1918 (XIX.529)
Image of 18 pounder QF gun. British, dated 1918 (XIX.529)