Ordnance BL 12lber 6cwt
Ordnance BL 12lber 6 cwt
Country of origin

Great Britain


Royal Arsenal

Year(s) designed


Production began


Production ended


Weapon type

Light Field Gun


3in (76.2mm) / 12.5lb (5.67kg) Shell

Barrel Length

71in (1.8m)

Bore length

Mk I: 59in (1.5m), Mk IV: 66in (1.7m)


656lb (300kg)

Muzzle velocity

1,585ft/s (483m/s)

Maximum effective range

5,800 yards (5,300m)



Years of Service

1894 - 1916

Used by

Great Britain, British Empire

The Ordnance BL 12lber 6 cwt, the successor to the Ordnance BL 12lber 7 cwt, was a British Light Field Gun, designed around the new cordite shell in 1894. The 12lber 6 cwt is named so because of its 656lb weight, "cwt" being a abbreviation for "hundredweight".

Design DetailsEdit

The Ordnance 12lber 6 cwt was designed to improve upon the former Ordnance 12lber 7 cwt, with a design that vastly improved the carriage for the 12lber 6 cwt. This design change meant that the 12lber 6 cwt was lighter than the older cannon, largely due to having 13in loped off of the end of the barrel, and mounted on a lighter weight, easy to maintain carriage.

The 12lber 6 cwt was also somewhat ahead of its time, being fitted with a primitive recoil absorber. This addition (which began to appear in 1899) consisted of a small cylinder and piston located within the frame of the carriage, preventing the carriage from rolling back (to some degree). 

The 12lber 6 cwt also caused a development in the fuze design of the time. Originally the burn time of the No. 56 Fuze was 13 seconds, meaning that the range achievable was limited to around 3,700 yards. The Fuze was essentially the trigger mechanism, that could be set to allow the cannon to be fired automatically after a certain period of time. The No. 57 Fuze, introduced a few years after the 12lber 6 cwt, had a longer burn time, allowing the time setting to be longer, ergo longer ranges could be achieved.


The Ordnance BL 12lber 6 cwt fired the same ammunition as its predecessor, the 12.5lb cordite shell, designed specifically for the Ordnance 12lbers. Furthermore, like its predecessor, the 12lber 6 cwt could fire a shrapnel shell.


The Ordnance BL 12lber 6 cwt entered service in 1894, replacing its predecessor the Ordnance BL 12lber 7 cwt in the Royal Horse Artillery. The 12lber 6 cwt benefitted from its lower weight and easy to manoeuvre frame, however by 1901 the British Army began to aquire faster firing Ehrhardt QF 15lbers, although the 12lber 6 cwt would remain in use until 1916.

Second Boer WarEdit

The Second Boer War (1899-1902) saw 78 guns from the Royal Horse Artillery (made up of Ordnance BL 12lbers and 15lbers) along with 18 guns from the Royal Canadian Artillery used against Boer positions. A total of 36,161 shells were fired in the three years of conflict.

First World WarEdit

Despite the 12lber 6 cwt having been phased out by the opening stages of the "Great War", 6 examples were used by the Calcutta Artillery Volunteers in the East Africa Campaign (in conjunction with the 8th Field Battery).


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