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Great Britain

BL 6-in. Mk.VII gun

Heavy artillery

Contributor :
(Wikimedia commons) Balcer      http://commons.wikimedia.org/
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Location :
Front Line Museum
Coordinates : Lat : 59.90830 / Long : 23.25720
General comments on this surviving gun :

Identical items in the same location : 1
Items covered by this file : 1

The very long 47 calibres tube is really impressive.

Profile view, note the short carriage.

Rear view, with the quick action interrupted screw breech.

Historic and technical information
Denomination :     BL 6-in. Mk.VII gun Origin :       ( Vickers)          

Historic context :

The good ballistic properties of the British BL 6-in Mk VII barrels, introduced in 1898 by Vickers as a continuation of a 6-in long tubes family born in 1880, were well konwn, both as Navy guns and as coastal guns.

During the second Boers Wars (1898-1902) in South Africa, the Captain Percy Scott, Royal Navy officer and future Admiral, mounted one of these 6 inches tubes taken from the HMS Terrible cruiser on a wooden carriage, inspired by the similar experience he made on 4.7-in Navy guns in 1898. This improvisation provided good results on the battlefield, particularly in counter-artillery and harassment fire that needed a long range, so that tests continued in England on this principle.

It was in early 1915 that tubes mounted on more robust steel carriages, named BL 6 inches Mk VII gun arrived on the front and fired theit first shells in Neuve Chapelle in March. This carriage was only an improvement of the wooden Percy Scott Carriage (and still named this way) and was only equipped with a too weak recuperating system from the Navy, needing wooden wedges under the wheels to absorb the recoil energy completely. Moreover the distance between these 'Percy Scott Carriages' frame and the tube breech strongly limited the elevation angle, thus the range. Last but not least, these cumbersome equipments also had a weight proble, with their 25 tons !

The new types of carriages that came later (beginning with the Mk II in 1916, followed by the Mk III, Mk V and the Mk VI) never completely solved these issues.

211 such guns were manufactured during WW1 using all the successive carriages types, 84 of them only being equipped with a modern tube specifically manufactured for the land use, all the other ones being Navy tubes. 54 such heavy gun were still in service in November 1918 despite the arrival of the more modern BL 6 inches Mk XIX.

Technical data :

  • Complete description : Ordnance Breech Loading 6 inches gun Mark VII
  • Design year : 1899 - 1915
  • Calibre : 152.40 mm (6 in)
  • Weight in firing position : 25200 kg
  • Weight for transportation :
  • Tube length in calibres : 46.60
  • Grooves : 0
  • Projectile weight : 45 kg
  • Initial speed : 846 m/s heavy charge
  • Fire rate :
  • Range : 12500 m (Mk II carriage)
  • Elevation range : +22 degrees (Mk II carriage)
  • Direction range : none

  • Allied Artillery of World War One           Ian V. Hogg                   Crowood   1998  
  • British Artillery 1914-19, Heavy Artillery       Dale Clarke                   Osprey Publishing   2005