QF 12lber
Ordnance QF 12lber 8 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 (5.7kg) Shell

Barrel Length

84in (2.1m)

Bore length

78in (1.9m)


896lb (408kg)

Muzzle velocity

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

Maximum effective range

5,100 yards (4,660m)



Years of Service

1894 - 1917

Used by

Great Britain

The Ordnance QF (Quick Fire) 12lber 8 cwt was a Field Artillery piece used by the Royal Navy at the time of the Second Boer War. The 12lber 8 cwt was intended to be deployed on land by Navy forces and was therefore less powerful than the equivalent 12lbers in use at the time by the Royal Navy.

Design DetailsEdit

The Ordnance QF 12lber 8 cwt was less powerful than the heavier Field Guns in use by the Royal Navy at that time. However the 12lber 8 cwt was intended to be deployed by the navy on land rather than be mounted on a ship and was therefore put on an easy to manouevre carriage. This allowed the 12lber 8 cwt to be moved around quicker than the standard artillery in use by the Royal Navy.

The term QF was applied to the "Quick Fire" mechanism that was intended to speed up the breech loading mechanism of typical Field Guns. Instead of a screw open breech, the QF breech mechanism used a sliding block which would be used to set off the charge and launch the shell. This method was quicker than the conventional design, but was never as popular and was soon overtaken by other innovations.


The Ordnance QF 12lber 8 cwt fired the same 12.5lb shell that all other Royal Navy guns used. This shell, however, was not the norm for the rest of the Military, being specifically designed for the "QF" group of Field Guns. This shell was designed to use a brass case which would form an air tight seal in the barrel/breech.


The Ordnance QF 12lber 8 cwt was deployed by the Royal Navy during two major conflicts. The first use, during the Second Boer War (1899-1902), was not particularly well documented (bar their use at Natal). However their use in the First World War was widespread across the Africa Campaigns in both the East and West of Africa. 

The 12lber 8 cwt was also deployed during the Battle of Gallipoli, as the Navy (which had begun to be outfitted with newer equipment) had spare shells for the 12lbers. The guns were dropped, along with the remaining stocks of ammunition for them, on the beach and used by Allied forces in the trenches.


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