Version française

Great Britain

Livens Projector

Trench artillery

Contributor :
Bernard Plumier      http://www.passioncompassion1418.com
Lien vers post du blog
Location :
Hill 62 (Sanctuary Wood) Museum
Coordinates : Lat : 50.83700 / Long : 2.94590
General comments on this surviving gun :

Identical items in the same location : 14
Items covered by this file : 14

Several projectors seemingly of different lengths but in a quite bad condition are stored outside this museum.

Historic and technical information
Denomination :     Livens Projector Origin :       ( Improvisation sur le front)          

Historic context :

Several hypothesis are existing to explain the motivations that pushed the Captain Livens to develop high lethality incendiary weapons with such creativity and enthusiasm from 1915, but the most succesful of them certainly has been the 'Livens Projector'.

It was a simple steel tube 5 mm thick and 215 mm inner diameter, and closed at its base by a hemispheric bottom. It had to be half buried in the ground with a 45 degrees angle, and was made to throw big cylindric tanks (11 litres / 14 kg capacity) filled with flammable liquid (oil) or chemical agent (chlorine or phosgen) and equipped with a simple fuze on the enemy. The range was set by the use of tubes of different lengths (from 71 cm to 126 cm). The firing of the propulsive charge was obtained by an electric starter.

This weapon was vso simple it was built in huge numbers (more than 140.000) and some hundreds sold to the French Army. Used in batteries since the Battle of the Somme in 1916, it was able to saturate a limited sector with a hell of flames or gas. It was still in dotation at the beginning of WW2. Germans copied the design and improved it to create their 18 cm GasWerfer 17 and 18.

The prolific imagination of Captaine Livens is at the origin of many other letal inventions, including the famous and huge Livens flame projector ('The Somme Dragon') of which one device has been discovered in the Somme in 2010, or incendiary mines used for the British coasts defence in 1940, but also some more peaceful creations such as a dish washer prototype in 1924... !

Technical data :

  • Complete description : Livens Projector
  • Design year : 1915
  • Calibre : 215.00 mm
  • Weight in firing position :
  • Weight for transportation :
  • Tube length in calibres : 0.00 710, 840, 950 or 1260 mm
  • Grooves : 0 (smooth bore)
  • Projectile weight : 26.5 kg dont 14 kg d'agent chimique ou inflammable
  • Initial speed :
  • Fire rate :
  • Range : 1500 m
  • Elevation range : fixed 45 degrees
  • Direction range : none

  • Allied Artillery of World War One           Ian V. Hogg                   Crowood   1998  
  • Weapons of the Trench War 1914-1918       Anthony Saunders                   Sutton   1999