Quick Firing 12 Pounder Naval Gun
The 12 Pounder was a versatile weapon seeing service in every conflict from the Boer Wars to the Second World War, both at sea and on land. It has a range of up to a maximum of 10000 yards. Despite the name the rate of fire was similar to other breech loading guns of the same calibre. The use of Quickfiring in the name denotes that the shell and the propellant were loaded as part of a single cartridge rather than separately.
During the second world war they were used to defend many costal areas, including a battery on Drake’s Island in the Plymouth Sound to defend that harbour. For shore operation there were usually between one and four guns mounted to protect harbour approaches, although they were also used as Anti-Aircraft activities.
At sea 12 pounders often formed part of the secondary armament of pre-Dreadnaught battleships, and later as the main armament on smaller vessels or armed merchant ships.
For details of the drill for firing a Quick Firing 12 Pounder Naval Gun please see my scans of the Drill Course for non-Efficient R.N. Volunteers, page 11 contains details for the Quick Firing 12 Pounder Naval Gun which is a variation of the drill for the 4.7" Q.F. GUNS.. There is also an extract from the 1915 Handbook of the 12 Pounder Quickfiring Gun on its construction. There is also an extract from the 1936 handbook on the markings used on 12 Pounder ammunition packages.
I have taken detailed measurements from two existing guns in order that any replica that is constructed for reenactment is accurate. The guns where at the Brixham Battery, and Newhaven Fort. They are identical guns, however the Brixham example was dredged from the sea and therefore had considerably more corrosion damage, as well as being mounted the wrong way up. The Brixham weapon was manufactured in Japan for World War 2. From there it ended up in the sea off the South Devon coast and was trawled up at sea by the Brixham fishing fleet and was taken to Plymouth. There it was kept by Mr Tom Hitchens at Crown Hill Fort. The Brixham Battery acquired the gun from Crown Hill Fort thanks to Mrs Sharp Collett.
In order to construct a 12 pounder that produces the sound of an explosion for demonstrating firing drill something that goes bang is needed. In order to make it easier for the society to operate it would be better if it did not need to use black powder, with all of the regulations related to that, and a propane gas powered BirdScarer is one option around that.