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Great Britain

Ordnance QF 6-pounder 6 cwt Hotchkiss Mk I and Mk II

Tanks artillery

Contributor :
Guy Capdevilla     
Alain Bohée     
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Location :
Monument aux Morts
Coordinates : Lat : 50.45539 / Long : 1.61523
General comments on this surviving gun :

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

The gun comes from a tank that the British Army offered to the town to thank for letting it train on its grounds

Historic and technical information
Denomination :     QF 6-Pdr 6cwt Origin :       ( Hotchkiss)             ( Elswick's Ordnance Company (Armstrong) )          

Historic context :

The experience gained on the battlefield from September 1916 by the Mark I tanks and the enthusiasm of the General Haig who requested the same month the production of 1000 additional tanks allowed the birth of the project of a new model whose design was achieved in October 1916, and whose manufacturing started in March 1917.

Awaiting for the arrival of the Mark IV tanks, two successive interim versions, the Mark II and the Mark III were quickly produced (50 units of each type) with mild steel not quenched (the quenched plates were more rare and their production time longer) in order to begin the training of the new crews and test some modifications as soon as possible :

  • the Mark II male and female with little larger tracks, a box for the roof manhole, the abandon of the useless steering wheels trail (the tanks was pretty easily driven in any direction only by acting on the tracks brakes separately). However designed only for the crews training, 26 Mark II tanks were called in emergency in France to participate to the Arras battle in April 1917 with impressive losses, the German machine guns being able to pierce through the mild steel 8 mm plates...
  • the Mark III male and female with 12 mm plates instead of 8 mm, the use of Lewis machine guns to replace the Vickers machine guns, a front machine gun and a smaller female sponson.
The Mark IV came into production in May 1917, adopting the modifications tested with the Mark II and the Mark III. Moreover, the smaller sponsons could now be retracted inside the tank to facilitate the railway transportation, the armor plates thickness was increased to 14 mm, the fuel tank was placed outside at the rear of the tank (the place having been freed by the abandon of the rear steering whhels trail) qnd two quiding rails on the roof allowed to carry a de-ditching wooden beam.

But the Mark IV was also introducing a change in the main weapon : the long length of the original 6-Pdr gun of 40 calibres was a big issue on the battlefields since it was often hitting obstacles or even dug in the mud when moving on devastated grounds or crossing trenches or shell holes. So a modified version with a shortened barrel (about half length) was designed on pn that exclusive purpose. This new '6-Pdr 6 cwt' gun now had a 23 calibers length only. The diminution of the shell initial speed had no consequence given the short ranges needed by the missions devoted to the tanks on WW1 battlefields.

The Mark IV had their first battle experience during the Messines battle in June 1917. The same 6-Pdr 6 cwt gun equipped the next successive British heavy battle tanks Mark V, Mark V*, Mark V**, Mark VI, Mark VII and Mark VIII. It was also adapted as an armored train weapon, operating during WW2 on the grounds of the British Islands.

Technical data :

  • Complete description : Quick Fire 6-pounder 6 hundredweight Hotchkiss Mk I and Mk II
  • Design year : 1917
  • Calibre : 57.00 mm
  • Weight in firing position :
  • Weight for transportation :
  • Tube length in calibres : 23.00
  • Grooves : 24
  • Projectile weight :
  • Initial speed : 411 m/s
  • Fire rate : 25 rounds per minute
  • Range : 6675 m (7300 yards)
  • Elevation range : unknown
  • Direction range : inconnu

  • Wikipedia     http://fr.wikipedia.org/                           
  • British Mark I Tank 1916       David Fletcher                   Osprey Publishing   2004  
  • En suivant les tanks - Cambrai, 20 novembre - 7 décembre 1917       Jean-Luc Gibot       Philippe Gorczynski             Imprimerie Doise - Escaudoeuvres   1997  
  • Landships II http://www.landships.info/