5.5 inch MK III 1942


Standard equipment of British medium artillery regiments from 1942 until the mid-1970s

The 5.5-inch gun was designed in the late 1930s to replace the British Army’s First World War 6-inch guns and howizers. At first it suffered from problems with its carriage and breech mechanisms and did not reach British units in the Western Desert until May 1942. It soon became a popular weapon and saw action with the Army in every major theatre of war from 1942 onwards. Between June 1944 and May 1945 the 5.5-inch guns of 21st Army Group in North West Europe alone fired as many as 2,610,747 rounds.

The gun remained in service until the mid-1970s.

This example served with 201 Field Battery RA(V),

Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Yeomanry, being withdrawn in 1977 after the barrel had fired over 1.500 rounds. It was transferred to the Museum by the Ministry of Defence in 1983.

Technical specifications:

CREW: 10
CALIBRE: 5,5-inch (14 cm)
WEIGHT IN ACTION: 13,646lb (6,202kg)
MAXIMUM RANGE: 16,200 yards (14,813m) with 100 lb (45 kg) shell; 18,100 yards (16,551 m) with 80 lb (36 kg) shell

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