Description

Admiral Fisher had always objected to heavy secondary batteries on capital ships, so at his insistence, the 4" (10.2 cm) caliber was chosen for the secondary weapons on the battlecruisers of the Repulse and Courageous classes. Initially, either the 4" (10.2 cm) QF Mark V or the 4" (10.2 cm) BL Mark VIII were to have been installed, but the first weapon was difficult to arrange for director firing and the second had a low rate of fire. The best features of both, the Mark V body and the Mark VIII breech mechanism, were combined to create the Mark IX.

The Repulse class battlecruisers used both single and triple mountings, with the latter mounting having the guns individually sleeved, an unusual feature for a secondary weapon. This mounting required a very large crew of 32 and, as it lacked power assist, proved to be quite cumbersome.

During World War II, this weapon was used in single mountings on many corvettes as well as on numerous smaller ships including 1,200 on DEMS.

Mark IX was of wire wound construction with tapered inner A tube and jacket. Mark IX* differed in having no inner A tube. Mark IX** was introduced to suit older manufacturing equipment at EOC and COW and had no inner A tube, a B tube and overlapping short jacket and an old-style step wire-winding method. All had Welin breech blocks with Vickers mechanisms. Some 2,382 were built of which 2,193 were still in service as of September 1939. Actual bore length was 44.35 calibers.

The Mark X was originally built for the Norwegian Nidaros class coastal defense ships which were taken over at the start of World War I and became the HMS Glatton class. These guns were of Elswick Pattern T and were partly wire wound with coned breech block. A total of fifteen guns were built and these were used only on DAMS.

The data that follows is specifically for the Mark IX, but the ballistics for the Mark X were similar.

Gun Characteristics

Designation 4"/45 (10.2 cm) BL Mark IX and Mark X
Ship Class Used On
  • Mark IX
    • World War I
      • Renown and Courageous classes
      • Inflexible as rearmed
      • Erebus and Marshal Ney classes
      • Sir John Moore and M.27
    • World War II
      • Flower Corvettes, Bathurst Minesweepers and a variety of smaller ships
  • Mark X: DAMS
Date Of Design About 1913
Date In Service 1916
Gun Weight Without Breech Mechanism: 4,620 lbs. (2,096 kg)
With Breech Mechanism: 4,749 lbs. (2,154 kg)
Gun Length oa 184.6 in (4.689 m)
Bore Length 177.4 in (4.506 m)
Rifling Length 149.4 in (3.795 m)
Grooves (32) 0.037 in deep x 0.270 (0.94 x 6.86 mm)
Lands 0.1227 in (3.117 mm)
Twist Uniform RH 1 in 30
Chamber Volume 470.3 in3 (7.707 dm3)
Rate Of Fire 10 - 12 rounds per minute

Ammunition

Type Bag
Projectile Types and Weights HE: 31 lbs. (14.1 kg)
SAP 1: N/A [probably about 31 lbs. (14.1 kg)]
Bursting Charge N/A
Projectile Length N/A
Propellant Charge World War I: 7.7 lbs. (3.5 kg) MD16
World War II: 7.9 lbs. (3.59 kg) SC103 or 9.39 lbs. (4.3 kg) NF/S164-048
Muzzle Velocity 2,625 fps (800 mps)
Working Pressure 18.5 tons/in2 (2,910 kg/cm2)
Approximate Barrel Life 3,600 rounds
Ammunition stowage per gun 2 Inflexible: 150 rounds 3
Monitors: 400 rounds 4
Others: N/A
  • ^SAP was 3crh.
  • ^Outfits included up to 100 star shells per ship.
  • ^Inflexible outfit was 37 CP, 90 HE, 23 HE Night tracer.
  • ^Monitor outfit was 250 HE and 150 SAP per barrel plus 50 starshell per ship.

Range

Elevation Distance
30 degrees 13,500 yards (12,344 m)
Range with 31 lbs. (14.1 kg) HE
Elevation Distance
30 degrees 13,840 yards (12,660 m)

Mount/Turret Data

Designation 1a
  • Triple Mount 2a
    • Renown (5), Courageous (6) and M27 (1): T.I. Mark I
  • Single Mount
    • Renown (2): CPI
    • Inflexible (12): CPI
    • Marshal Ney (8), Erebus (8) and Sir John Moore (4): CPI
    • Smaller ships (1): CPI
Weight T.I. Mark I (less shield): 17.475 tons (17.755 mt)
T.I. Mark I (with shield): 18.5 tons (18.8 mt)
CPI: 4.721 tons (4.797 mt)
Elevation T.I. Mark I: -10 / +30 degrees
CPI: -10 / +30 degrees
Elevation Rate Manually operated, only
Train 360 degrees
Train Rate Manually operated, only
Gun recoil N/A
  • ^The Monitors had many armament changes during their careers. The quantities shown above represent the maximum number of guns carried at any time.
  • ^

    As mentioned above, the triple mount was a clumsy design. Quoting from "The Loss of Repulse and Prince of Wales" by A.E. Jacobs:

    "The triple mountings were always extremely difficult to train, and the general procedure when moving through a large arc was for the two trainers at the 'normal' and 'director' training wheels to be assisted by the remainder of the crew pushing on the breeches or muzzles."

Additional Pictures

Sources

Data from:

  • "British Battleships 1919 - 1939" (revised edition) by R.A. Burt
  • "Big Gun Monitors: The History of the Design, Construction and Operation of the Royal Navy's Monitors" by Ian Buxton
  • "Naval Weapons of World War Two" and "British Naval Guns 1880-1945 No 17" article in "Warship Volume X" both by John Campbell
  • "British Battleships of World War Two" by Alan Raven and John Roberts

Page History

19 July 2006
Benchmark
28 February 2009
Added information about monitors
03 January 2010
Added photograph of Sherbrooke
19 May 2012
Added reference. Added close-up picture of triple mount on HMS Renown
03 February 2014
Added ammunition outfit and mounting information for Inflexible
24 May 2014
Added photograph of HMCS Pictou