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 BRITISH ARTILLERY IN WORLD WAR 2

 THE GUNS

The Regiments' Colours

Updated 19 September 2010

 

 

 

CONTENTS

 

INTRODUCTION

 

DATA SHEETS

 

OTHER GUNS

 

       UK Guns

 

       US Guns in UK Service

 

QUANTITIES IN UK SERVICE

 

INTRODUCTION

This page provides links to gun data sheets and associated pictures, the various elements of a gun are explained in gun characteristics for those unfamiliar with them.  It also summarises the other guns used by British Artillery and gives information about quantities. This page does not deal with anti-tank, anti-aircraft or coast guns.

DATA SHEETS

The data sheets provide details about the main British guns used by British artillery in World War 2.  Details are also provided for significant variants of these guns.  British guns are divided into ordnance and carriage assemblies and the official designations reflected this.  Data sheets are provided for the following guns and include some details about their variants.  Other guns are listed below.

Some of the items in the data sheets need explanation.  British artillery nomenclature is explained on the Gun Characteristics page.  Other useful points to note are:

The data in the sheets is mostly taken from the official WW2 period Handbook for the gun and the Range Tables for the same period.  However, data has been rounded off, for example official weights went to ounces or drams. The official publications are listed on each sheet.  

OTHER GUNS

In addition to the guns listed in the Data Sheets there were a few other British guns of World War 1 vintage used in very small numbers and US guns provided under Lend Lease arrangements.  

UK Guns

The older British guns used in small quantities by field artillery included:

US Guns in UK Service

US guns fell into two categories: those provided early in the war as 'stop-gap' equipment until UK guns became available in sufficient quantity and those provided to meet specific requirements later in the war.  

QUANTITIES IN UK SERVICE

Full details of UK artillery production quantities are  unclear.  The starting point is the stocks available at the start of the war and the losses by the BEF in France in 1940.

In May 1940 UK undertook a stocktake of available artillery, including the losses in France and estimated increases in the following 3 months.  The increases included new production, repairs to unserviceable equipment, conversions, and modernisation particularly from horse to vehicle towing, from 'R' (solid rubber tyres) to 'P' (pneumatic tyres) and fitting modern calibrating sights.  The quantities seem to exclude stocks held outside UK by Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and possibly the new Indian artillery field regiments and the Hong Kong - Singapore regiments. The following table gives these figures.

Gun

BEF Losses

Held in UK

Held Overseas

Expected Increases

 

18-pdr

216

126

130

63

 

18/25-pdr

704

269

146

299

25-pdr Mk 1

25-pdr

0

90

0

276

25-pdr Mk 2, production figures (below) suggest the increase may have been considerably greater (unless barrel production lagged).

3.7-inch How

0

?

?

?

114 existed in British units in UK and the Middle East and colonial units in Hong Kong, Singapore and Ceylon.  The number held by the Indian Army is unclear.   

4.5-inch How

96

321

82

158

 

60-pdr

19

14

0

120

 

4.5-inch/60-pdr

32

5

0

26

4.5-inch Gun Mk 1

6-inch How

221

94

40

254

 

6-inch Gun

13

20

0

51

 

8-inch How

13

14

?

0

 

9.2-inch How

27

39

0

39

 Siege mounting

9.2-inch Gun

2

?

?

?

 Railway mounting

12-inch How

4

29 ?

?

?

 Railway and siege mountings

The statistical volume of the UK Official History gives UK production figures for Sep 1939 - Aug 1945 for 'mountings', presumably carriages for towed guns including recoil systems, which were not part of the ordnance.  This probably represents complete equipments, a few extra barrels may have been produced but most barrels had loose liners and it was these that were replaced when 'barrels' wore out.  These total:

 

1939

1940

1941

1942

1943

1944

1945

Total

Field

0

1359

3173

3389

2021

1995

422

12339

Medium & Heavy

0

35

218

730

952

813

205

2953

Field means 25-pdr, although it's possible that there were a few 3.7-inch How in the earliest years before production facilities were moved to India.  It's unlikely to have been more than a few hundred.  However, around 900 25-pdr barrels and mountings systems were exported from UK to Canada in 1943-4 for inclusion in the 25-pdr Sexton SPs guns manufactured in Montreal.  

Medium means 4.5-inch and 5.5-inch, which used the same carriage.  It's unlikely that any carriages were produced for WW1 guns.  No new-build heavy guns were manufactured.  It's possible that about 75 new carriages for 7.2-inch How were produced instead of old 8-inch carriages being acquired from the US under Lend Lease.

The other source of guns in UK were conversions from older equipments.  These included:

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