Nepean Naval and Maritime Museum

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BL 5 Inch Gun Mk I V

5 inch gun
Queens Park, Maryborough Qld.
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The BL 5 inch guns Mk I - Mk V were early British 5-inch rifled breechloading naval guns after it switched from rifled muzzle-loaders in the late 1870s.; Britain used Roman numerals, Mk I - Mk V to denote Marks (models) of ordnance until after World War II.; Hence there were five models of BL 5-inch naval guns.;

They were originally designed to use the old gunpowder propellants.; They had a muzzle velocity of 1,750 feet per second (533 m/s) and a maximum firing range of 8,700 yards (8,000 m); firing a 50 pound shell.; The 5-inch calibre was soon discontinued in favour of QF 4.7-inch.

5 inch gun
War Memorial, The Esplanade, Cairns Qld.

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These guns was usede on a wide vriety of British ships ranging from cruisers to corvettes and sloops between 1880 and 1889.; It also equipped several small gunboats of Colonial navies of Australia in the 1880's in response to the perceived threat of Russian expansionism in the Pacific (The "Russian scares").

The gun was installed as a conventional coast defence gun in Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.; Its more common use ashore in the UK was as "moveable armaments" in forts: on 2-wheeled carriages similar to field carriages but intended only for moving short distances to position guns for defence of the fort.; These used either obsolete 40-pounder RML carriages or special high-mounting carriages for firing over parapets with recoil controlled by a hydraulic buffer built into the platform to which the carriage was fastened.

A number of guns mounted on carriages from obsolete RML 40 pounder guns accompanied the British siege train (heavy artillery) to South Africa.; However, they were not required for the expected siege of Pretoria, which did not eventuate.; Its usefulness in the field was limited by lack of a recoil control system, and the QF 4.7 inch gun was the most commonly used British heavy gun in that war.;

There are two surviving examples is Australia, both in Queensland.