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 BRITISH ARTILLERY IN WORLD WAR 2

 6-INCH HOWITZER

Updated  14 June 2014

Conversion factors to metric measurement

 Ordnance B.L. 6-inch 26-cwt Howitzer Mk 1 on Carriage Mk 1P

 Picture List

 The 6-inch howitzer was one of the most successful guns of WW1, entering service in late 1914.  In the early 1930s it was upgraded with calibrating sights and made suitable for vehicle towing with improved brakes and pneumatic tyred wheels (Mk 1P), or solid rubber tyres (Mk 1R).  The ammunition was also upgraded by the introduction of new 86 lb streamlined shells that provided increased range and subsequently a 100 lb streamlined shell.  It was the standard medium howitzer used in most theatres until progressively replaced by 5.5-inch in operational units although it remained in some training units until the end of the war when it was taken out of service.  It was also reintroduced to operational service in early 1945 in Burma after a spate of bore prematures in 5.5-inch.

Calibre

 6 inches

Barrel length
Bore length

 87.55 inches
 13.3 calibres

Rifling

 36 grooves, 1 in  15 uniform twist

Chamber capacity

  390 cubic inches

Barrel

 Wire bound A  tube

Breech

Welin screw & Asbury mech

Recuperator

 Hydro-pneumatic

Sights

  Calibrating &  reciprocating

Carriage configuration

 Box trail

Elevation

  0 to 45

Top traverse

 4 Left & Right

Loading Angle

 7.5

Basic Weight

 4.4 tons

Length (muzzle to towing eye)

 21.6 feet

Trunnion height

 4 feet

Width at wheel hubs

 6.8 feet

86 lb HE Shell Mk 2D with B series cartridges

Length (less fuze)

21.52 inches

Calibre radius head

 5/10

 Body Diameter

 5.985 inches

Driving Band Diameter

 6.15 inches

Weight (incl fuze)

 86.2 lbs

Explosive Weight

 10.8 lbs

Charge

New Gun MV

RT MV

RT Max Range

Time of Flight @ Max Range

Probable Error @ Max Range

Approx  Propellant Weight

 

 1

 751 f/s

750 f/s

4,900 yds

28 secs

 30 yds

2 lbs

 

 2

 954 f/s

950 f/s

7,400 yds

35 secs

 55 yds

3 lbs

 

 3

 1094 f/s

1100 f/s

9,100 yds

40 secs

 55 yds

4 lbs

 

4

 1352 f/s

1340 f/s

10,900 yds

45 secs

 45 yds

 6 lbs

 

Super

1409 f/s

1400 f/s

11,400 yds

46 secs

50 yds

6 lbs

 Charge 4 + augmenting charge

Rates of fire

Gunfire

Intense

Rapid

Normal

Slow

Very slow

Rounds/Minute

 

 2

1

 1

1/3

 

Normal Detachment

 10 men

Gun Tractor

Medium Artillery Tractor 4  4

Artillery Trailer

None

1st Line Ammo (per gun)

 100 HE

VARIANTS

A simplified conversion Mk 1PA was also produced for mechanical towing.  This retained the old sight mount and range dial instead of a calibrating sight.  It also had simpler brakes and a short fixed position 'draft connector' for towing.

.At the beginning of the war ammunition stocks included HE Mks III - XV (2 crh) left over from WW1 and well as smoke, star and bursting chemical shells.  By 1942 the old marks of HE and smoke shells were no longer available, and the 100 lb shell Mk 1D (23.86 inches long) was being introduced, although this was limited to charge 4 and used the A series cartridges.

The South African Artillery developed their own twin-axle carriage with pneumatic tyres.

A project for a 6-inch SP using Mk 4 (Churchill) carriages had stopped by late 1941.

Picture List

 B.L. 6-inch 26-cwt Howitzer Mk 1 on Carriage Mk 1 - a studio picture

Gun Detachment duties in action:

No 1

Detachment Commander

No 2

Operate breech, load lock, fire gun

No 3

Layer

No 4

Ram, traverse trail

No 5

Ram, traverse trail

No 6

Prepare & load cartridge

No 7

Prepare & load shell

No 8

Prepare & load shell

No 9

Prepare & load shell

No 10

Coverer

Equipment Publications:
(Post WW1)
Range Tables Part 1:
26/Manuals/1336    Standard projectiles 2 CRH 99 lbs and 5/10 CRH 85 lbs, 1934.
26/Manuals/2249    100 lbs, Streamlined, Charge Super, 1939.

26/Manuals/2528    Standard projectiles 2 CRH 99 lbs and 5/10 CRH 85 lbs, 1940.

26/Manuals/2660    100 lbs, Streamlined, Charge Super, 1940.

26/Manuals/2987    Chemical, 100 lbs, 1942. 

Gun Drill:
26/Manuals/419     BL 6-inch 26-cwt Howitzer Mk 1 on Carriage Mk 1 and 60-pdr Gun Mk 2 on Carriage Mk 4, 1926. 
26/Manuals/1429   BL 6-inch 26-cwt Mk 1 Howitzer on Mks 1 & 1* Travelling Carriages, 1934.
                            BL 6-inch 26-cwt Mk 1 Howitzer on Mk 1, 1P & 1PA Travelling Carriage, 1939.

26/GS Pubs/686    BL 6-inch 26-cwt Mk 1 Howitzer on Mk 1, 1P & 1PA Travelling Carriage, 1942.

Handbook:
26/Manuals/854      Mk 1 BL 6-inch 26-cwt Howitzer on Mks 1 & 1P Travelling Carriage,
                             Mk 1 BL 6-inch 26-cwt Howitzer on Carriage 6-inch Howitzer Mk 1P(LP), 1939 .
26/Manuals/2938    Ordnance BL 6-inch 26-cwt Mk 1 Howitzer on Carriage 6-inch Howitzer Mks 1, 1P, 1PA, 1R, 1942 .

Identification List:
26/Pubs/1560       BL 6-inch 26-cwt Mk 1 Howitzer on Mks 1 & 1R Traveling Carriages, Limber BL 6-inch 26-cwt Howitzer on Mks 1 & 1*, 1929 .
                           BL 6-inch 26-cwt Mk 1 Howitzer on Mks 1 & 1R Traveling Carriage, & Trailers No 20 & 21, 1937.

 

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