RBL 20 Pounder Armstrong Gun
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RBL 20 Pounder Armstrong Gun

RBL 20-pounder gun
RBL 20 pounder Armstrong field gun.jpg
16 cwt field gun with limber
TypeNaval gun
Field gun
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Service history
In service1859 - 19
Used byBritish Empire
Production history
DesignerW.G. Armstrong Co.
No. built412[1]
Variants13, 15 and 16 cwt[note 1]
MassNaval : 13 long hundredweight (660 kg) or 15 long hundredweight (760 kg)
Field : 16 long hundredweight (810 kg)[2]
Barrel lengthNaval : 54 inches (1.372 m)
Field : 84 inches (2.134 m) bore & chamber[2]

Shell21 pounds 13 ounces (9.894 kg)[2]
Calibre3.75-inch (95.2 mm)
BreechArmstrong screw with vertical sliding vent-piece (block)
Muzzle velocityNaval : 1,000 feet per second (300 m/s)
Field : 1,130 feet per second (340 m/s)[3]
Effective firing range3,400 yards (3,100 m)

The Armstrong Breech Loading 20-pounder gun, later known as RBL 20-pounder, was an early modern 3.75-inch rifled breech-loading light gun of 1859.


The gun was effectively a larger version of the successful RBL 12 pounder 8 cwt Armstrong gun. There were different versions for land and sea service.[4]

Sea service

The RBL 20 pounder of 13 cwt and 15 cwt for sea service was introduced in 1859. It is 2½ feet shorter than the land version giving it a bore of only 54 inches (14.43 calibres), and hence a short stubby appearance. Its short barrel only allowed it to attain a muzzle velocity of 1,000 ft/second.

The 15 cwt gun, identifiable by the raised coil in front of the vent slot, was intended for broadside use in sloops. The more lightly constructed 13 cwt gun was known as a pinnace gun and was intended for boat use.[5]

Land service

The RBL 20 pounder of 16 cwt for land service was introduced in 1860. It has a bore of 84 inches (22.36 calibres) and hence has the appearance of a typical field gun. After it became obsolete for regular Royal Artillery use, a small number were re-issued to Volunteer Artillery Batteries of Position from 1889, alongside 16-pounder RML guns and 40 Pounder RBL guns.[6] The 1893 the War Office Mobilisation Scheme shows the allocation of twelve Artillery Volunteer position batteries equipped with 20 Pounder guns which would be concentrated in Epping, Essex in the event of mobilisation.[7]

Surviving examples

See also


  1. ^ cwt = long hundredweight = 112 pounds = 51 kg. Hence the 3 models weighed 1456 pounds (660 kg), 1680 pounds (762 kg) and 1792 pounds (813 kg)


  1. ^ 412 were in service in 1877 : 89 16cwt (land service), 31 15cwt & 292 13cwt (sea service). Quoted in Treatise on Manufacture of Ordnance 1877, page 150. Holley 1865, page 13 quotes 257 as at 1863 : 9 land service & 1 sea service manufactured by Elswick Ordnance, 16 land service and 231 sea service by the Royal Gun Factory. From the Report of the Select Committee on Ordnance, 1863.
  2. ^ a b c Text Book of Gunnery, 1887
  3. ^ 1130 ft/second firing a 21 lb 13 oz projectile, using 2 lb 8 oz R.L.G.2 (gunpowder) propellant. Text Book of Gunnery, 1887
  4. ^ Treatise on Manufacture of Service Ordnance, 1877
  5. ^ Owen 1873, page 53
  6. ^ Report on the Account of Army Expenditure from 1888-1889, The National archives, WO33/50
  7. ^ Mobilization Tables for Home Defence, List of Militia, Yeomanry and Volunteer Units, HMSO, London, 1893


External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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