BL 18 inch railway howitzer

The BL 18 inch railway howitzer (formally Ordnance BL 18 inch Mk I howitzer on truck, railway) was a British railway gun developed during World War I. Part of the progression of ever-larger howitzers on the Western Front, it did not enter service until 1920.

BL 18 inch railway howitzer
Class Vehicle
Type Towed Artillery
Manufacturer Elswick Ordnance Company
Origin United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain)
Country Name Origin Year
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1920
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1920 1945 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Elswick Ordnance Company 5 View

Five guns and two complete equipments on railway wagons were produced. After World War I there was no use for such large but relatively short-ranged weapons and they were placed in storage. In World War II the two wagons were used to mount 13.5 inch guns, which were capable of engaging targets on the German-occupied Channel coast of France. In late 1940 one 18-inch howitzer was mounted on the railway mounting nicknamed "Boche Buster" which had been used in World War I to carry a 14-inch gun. It was deployed at Bishopsbourne in Kent on the Elham to Canterbury Line as a coast defence gun as a precaution against possible German invasion. The gun's range was insufficient for cross-Channel firing and hence it was never fired in action.

Type Railway howitzer
Place of origin  United Kingdom
Service history
In service 1920 - 1945
Used by  United Kingdom
Wars World War II
Production history
Manufacturer Elswick Ordnance Company
Number built 5
Specifications
Weight 85.7 tons (barrel & breech)
Barrel length Bore: 52 ft (16 m) (34.7 calibres)
Shell HE; 2,500 lb (1,134 kg)
Calibre 18-inch (457.2 mm)
Elevation 0° - 40°
Traverse 2° L & R
Muzzle velocity 1,880 ft/s (570 m/s)
Effective firing range 22,300 yd (20,400 m)

End notes