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.303 Mk VII
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High Explosive, Squash Head


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Proximity Fuze

18-pounder Gun

The 18-Pounder Gun was an artillery piece used by the Royal Canadian Artillery in the First World War and into the first years of the Second.

From the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery Standing Orders:

The 13- and 18-pounders themselves were a composite of an Armstrong wire-wound gun (barrel and breech) mated to a Vickers recoil system, and sighting and elevation gear made in the Royal Ordnance factories. Both guns fired shrapnel and high explosive rounds. The lack of a wire cutting capability was a concern, as the fuzes in use at the time lacked an instantaneous action, resulting in the round burying itself in the earth before exploding. The blast and fragments would be projected into the air, with minimal damage to objects along the surface. The problem was solved with the introduction of the No. 106 instantaneous fuze at Vimy Ridge in 1917.

The 18-pounder entered service on the coat tails of political controversy. Trials of the first four batteries of guns to be completed were carried out in 1903, and these showed both the new pieces to be satisfactory. But before the British Equipment Committee made its final recommendation to adopt the 13-pounder for the Royal Horse Artillery (RHA) and the heavier gun for field artillery, problems arose in the House. One member suggested that the 18-pounder was not sufficiently superior in performance to the lighter weapon to justify the expense of producing two different equipments where one might do. The indecision that resulted, ended only when the Prime Minister, Mr. Balfour, cast the deciding vote in favour of retaining the 18-pounder. His choice would be amply vindicated in the First World War when almost 100 million rounds of 18-pounder ammunition were fired in comparison with 1.5 million 13-pounder rounds. Both types of gun would be used by Canada’s artillery in the First World War.1

An 18-pounder in use during the start of the Second World War in training
in Canada during the Second World War.

Image courtesy Ed Storey


  1. Standing Orders for The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, (2001, accessed online at http://www.artillery.net/beta/files/RCA SOs 2001.pdf)p.10-8

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