Ordnance QF 18-pounder

The Ordnance QF 18-pounder gun was the standard gun of the Royal Field Artillery and with over 10,000 pieces the most-produced gun.

During the Second Boer War from 1899 to 1902, the British troops came to the realization that their own guns were clearly inferior to those of the Boers, who came from French and German production. For this reason, in 1900 General Sir Henry Brackenbury, the then director of the Royal Ordnance Factory, was sent to the European arms manufacturers to look for suitable guns for the British Army. Especially the field guns of the German company Rheinische Metallwaren und Maschinenfabrik were very modern and so secretly 108 guns were bought and placed as Ordnance QF 15-pounders 1901 in the service of the British army.

At the behest of the British High Command, British manufacturers were also to work on modern guns and develop concepts. For this purpose, an equipment committee was formed, which sat down under the direction of General Sir George Marshall with the artillery commanders of the Boer War and made demands on new guns. Some concepts were presented by the manufacturers, of which five artillery and three field guns were to be built as prototypes. In 1902 these prototypes were tested and despite the good results, none of the guns was sufficient. The committee decided therefore to search out of the presented guns each the best feature and finally to unite these properties in a gun.

In 1903, the prototype was presented and met the expectations of the committee, so that from 1904 the first guns could be delivered to the British army.

During the First World War, the Ordnance QF 18-pounder gun was added to the Royal Field Artillery as a standard gun. Also, the Royal Horse Artillery received some guns, after the movement war became a position war and the cavalry also needed heavy artillery.

After the First World War began in 1923 to modernize the guns and adapt them to the advancing motorization of the British army. First of all, the wooden tires were replaced by rubber tires, new axles and new brakes were installed. The ammunition has also been adjusted and by new procedure, the range could be increased. Some of the guns were also converted to 25-pounders.

During the Second World War, the guns were mainly used by the British Expeditionary Force and were used in northern France and North Africa. After escaping across the English Channel from Dunkirk, the British Expeditionary Force had to leave behind 216, which were taken over by the German Wehrmacht. At that time, 126 of the formerly over 10,000 guns of the British Army were still available in Britain and 130 in other theaters of war.



Ordnance QF 18-pounder


Ordnance QF 18-pounder


Ordnance QF 18-pounder




Data sheet:

Designation: Ordnance QF 18-pounder gun
Country of Origin: Great Britain
Year: 1904
Number of pieces: 10.469 pieces
Caliber: 83,8 mm
Tube length: 2,34 meters
Reach: Max. 10.100 meters
Mass: 1,28 tons



Ordnance QF 18-pounder 1940 in the UK


Ordnance QF 18-pounder pulled from a Morris CDSW truck


Ordnance QF 18-pounder in April 1940 in Orchies






You can find the right literature here:


British Artillery 1914–19: Field Army Artillery (New Vanguard)

British Artillery 1914–19: Field Army Artillery (New Vanguard) Paperback – March 25, 2004

In 1914 the artillery of Britain's 'Field Army' encompassed those weapons judged to have sufficient mobility to keep up with troops in the field. This book describes all major variants, from the 60-pdr guns of the heavy field batteries, perched somewhat uncomfortably on the cusp between field artillery and siege artillery, to the 2.75in. guns of the mountain batteries, almost toy-like in comparison. Between these two extremes lay the bulk of the artillery of the Field Army: the 13-pdr guns of the Royal Horse Artillery, and the 18-pdr guns and 4.5in. howitzers of the Royal Field Artillery batteries.

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British Artillery 1914–19: Heavy Artillery (New Vanguard)

British Artillery 1914–19: Heavy Artillery (New Vanguard) Paperback – August 10, 2005

World War I is often deemed to have been 'a war of artillery', and British heavy artillery played a vital part in destroying the German trenches and providing invaluable cover for advancing troops on the Western Front. This book details the huge guns of the Royal Garrison Artillery, including the 6-in. siege gun and howitzer, the 8-in. howitzer, the 12-in. railway and siege howitzer and the infamous 9.2-in breech-loading siege howitzer. Camouflage and enemy battery locations and transport are covered, as well as tactics used and how the guns were developed and manned.

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Artillery in the Great War

Artillery in the Great War Hardcover – May 18, 2011

Artillery was the decisive weapon of the Great War - it dominated the battlefields. Yet the history of artillery during the conflict has been neglected, and its impact on the fighting is inadequately understood. Paul Strong and Sanders Marble, in this important and highly readable study, seek to balance the account.Their work shows that artillery was central to the tactics of the belligerent nations throughout the long course of the conflict, in attack and in defense. They describe, in vivid detail, how in theory and practice the use of artillery developed in different ways among the opposing armies, and they reveal how artillery men on all sides coped with the extraordinary challenges that confronted them on the battlefield. They also give graphic accounts of the role played by artillery in specific operations, including the battles of Le Cateau, the Somme and Valenciennes.Their work will be fascinating reading for anyone who is keen to understand the impact of artillery

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World War I Battlefield Artillery Tactics (Elite)

World War I Battlefield Artillery Tactics (Elite) Paperback – December 9, 2014


From the beginning of 'trench warfare' in winter 1914/15, artillery became the absolutely dominant arm in all the major armies for the rest of World War I, to a degree never seen before or since. The numbers and capabilities of the guns and ammunition available governed all the generals' battle plans; and the ways in which they were employed, and either succeeded or failed, decided the outcome of battles. The majority of the millions of casualties suffered during the war fell victim to artillery fire.

The artillery war fell into three distinct phases along a four-year learning curve (with the necessary equipment and training for the second and third phases always lagging behind the tactical needs). The war began with mostly light, mobile artillery equipped and trained to support fast-moving infantry and cavalry by direct fire, mostly with air-bursting shrapnel shells.

The entirely unexpected end of the first campaigns of manoeuvre as the armies bogged down in static trench warfare found both sides ill equipped and ill trained for what was in essence siege warfare on an industrial scale. This demanded more and heavier guns and high-explosive shells, and more complex skills for indirect fire - observation on the ground and in the air, locating targets (including enemy artillery), dropping the right kind of shells on them, the communications needed for co-ordinating the work of hugely increased numbers of guns, and getting many millions of shells up to them for week-long bombardments. These seldom worked as anticipated (classically, by failing to 'cut the wire' or to penetrate deep bunkers); so innovative officers on both sides worked to devise new tactics, with more versatile mixes of ammunition (e.g. gas shells, smoke shells, star shells and so on) and more imaginative ways of using them, such as box barrages and creeping barrages.

Finally, in early 1918, the static slogging broke down into a renewed phase of manoeuvre warfare, made possible by sophisticated co-operation between artillery and infantry, plus the newly important air and mechanised forces. The lessons that were finally learned shaped the use of artillery worldwide for the rest of the 20th century.

Fully illustrated with period photographs and specially drawn colour artwork and drawing upon the latest research, this engaging study explains the rapid development of artillery tactics and techniques during the conflict in which artillery played a pre-eminent role - World War I.

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