Maldon's No.1 attraction

BL 5.5-inch Howitzer arrives at the CMSM

Yesterday (27th July 2021) saw the arrival and placement of our new artillery piece, the BL 5.5-inch medium Howitzer which saw service in World War Two.  This piece was kindly given to the museum by the IWM Duxford.

The piece looks like it has been sat outside some military barracks. It has some regimental insignia painted on the barrel, but we are not sure yet which regiment or unit it belonged to.  A photo of the insignia is shown below, so please feel free to email us if you know anything about this gun, so we can add more to this post.

Sadly, this gun has been welded to within an inch of its life and therefore has very few moving parts.

We want to thank the IWM for the piece and the lorry driver who managed – after some struggle – to get the gun off the lorry and into place.

History of the BL 5.5-inch Howitzer

Wikipedia says: The first units were equipped with the BL 5.5-inch Medium Gun in the summer of 1941 and in North Africa a year later.  In the Second World War, the normal organization was a regiment of 16 guns organized into two batteries. The 5.5-inch was retained in service after the war. It was used by the Royal Artillery on operations in Korea, South Arabia and Borneo.

In use, the 5.5-inch was generally towed by the AEC Matador artillery tractor. The UK replacement for the 5.5-inch was the FH-70 155 mm towed Howitzer, in service as the L121. The last 5.5-inch rounds were fired in the UK in 1995. All 5.5-inch guns were manufactured in the UK.

Initially, the 5.5-inch gun fired a 100-pound (45 kg) shell, using four charges in two cartridges to give a maximum range table muzzle velocity of 1,675 feet per second (511 m/s) and a maximum range of 16,200 yards (14,800 m).

In 1944 an 82-pound (37 kg) shell was introduced along with Charge Super giving a maximum muzzle velocity of 1,950 feet per second (590 m/s) and a range of 18,100 yards (16,600 m) yards. The new lighter shell contained 1.5 pounds (0.68 kg) more explosive and gradually replaced the older, heavier shell.

Please note: Some information on this post was provided by Wikipedia