9-inch R.M.L. H.A.

9-inch R.M.L. H.A. Mark I

9-inch R.M.L. H.A. Mark I

9-inch R.M.L. H.A. Mark I

9-inch R.M.L. H.A. Mark II

9-inch R.M.L. H.A. Mark II

9-inch R.M.L. H.A. Mark III

9-inch R.M.L. H.A. Mark III

9-inch R.M.L. H.A. Mark III

9-inch R.M.L. H.A. Mark IV

9-inch R.M.L. H.A. Mark IV

10-inch R.M.L. H.A.

10-inch R.M.L. H.A.

10-inch R.M.L. H.A.
Mark III

11-inch B.L. H.A.

11-inch B.L. H.A. conversion

11-inch B.L. H.A. conversion

11-inch B.L. H.A. conversion

 

Jubilee Shot: 1888

The Jubilee Shot of 1888 (9.2-inch BL)

9.2-inch B.L. at Shoeburyness

 

High Angle Fire Mountings and Batteries

 

By the 1880s heavily clad battleships were thought to be virtually impenetrable using the heavy armament of the channel fleet. If the ships of the Royal Navy could not hope to destroy such leviathans with their 18inches of armour then what hope did the forts have? The decision was taken to try high angle fire to bring plunging shot down on the lightly armoured decks of the ships rather than to try punching through their protective belt or box armour.

 

The attempts to rifle mortars proved useless and so the Artillerists turned to existing armaments, adapting them for high angled fire. They could then be mounted in batteries shielded behind earthworks and set back from the coast line of the harbours they were intended to protect. The R.M.L. 9-inch was chosen. It was conveted by being relined, the existing vent hole being plugged and relocated so that it entered the chamber at 2.5 inches from its end. The rifling was now 27 grooves of plain polygroove section. It was now designated 9-inch Mk 6. Some 9 inch R.M.L.s were relined to bring them up to 10-inch calibre and were designated 10-inch MkIII. A trial took place at Shoeburyness in 1884 which gave accurate results at 10,000 yards. The results were considered satisfactory and in 1886 plans were drawn up to install a gun at Warden Point of the Isle of Wight for further trials. This first mounting was the 10-inch R.M.L. 'Long Range' mounting. it proved satisfactory for high angle fire up to 35 degrees.

 

In 1885 a mounting for high angle fire from 35 degrees to 75 degrees of elevation was tested at Shoeburyness . 108 rounds were fired from it and it was declared a succcess. More trials on different mountings were ordered. Designs were submitted by the Royal Carriage Department, Easton and Andersons and Armstrong and Mitchell Company. More trials took place with the 9-inch R.M.L. Mk IV for Long Range at Warden Point in 1890. A range of 8,000 yards was obtained.

 

The High angle batteries were placed such that the crew could not directly see their target (except the ranging and observation officers who were in a range finding position) but it could not be hit by an enemy laying their guns with a flat trajectory. This proved popular with the gun crews. Unlike the H.P. disappearing guns the battery did not have to wait to come into action while boilers were brought up to steam. Construction of the H.A. Batteries began in 1893. This type of gun was the last of the R.M.L.s to remain in service; they were scrapped in 1922, a service life of thirty years.

 

9-inch H.A.F. MkIII with the Duke of Connaught's Own Sligo Artillery: May 10th. 1900

A 9-inch R.M.L. Mark III on High Angle Mounting at The Verne Battery

 

The Mark I mounting, the Elswick Ordnance Company design, is built up of steel and was designed to fire at high angles of elevation from 30 degrees to 70 degrees. One only was mounted at Eastney, Portsmouth.

 

The Mark II, of Royal Carriage Department design, iis of steel and is similar in principle to the Mark III but this was the first one manufactured of this type, and was an ordinary dwarf C pivot slide with side brackets built on it to support the cradle and gun. One only was mounted at Eastney, Portsmouth.

 

The Mark III, is built up of steel and is constructed to allow firing at high angles of elevation from 20 degrees to 70 degrees. it is capable of 5 degrees of depression when not in action but is not fired below 20 degrees of elevation. Each carriage is issued with a loading trolley consisting of a light steel framework on four trucks. The trolley has an angle of 20 degrees to suit the loading position of the gun. The shells were fitted with automatic gas checks, a copper plate on the base which expanded to fit the rifling under he force of the cartridge igniting. The Mark III mounting became the service issue in September 1892.

 

The Mark IV carriage was approved in August 1895. It is the same pattern as the Mark III but the lower carriage is built up from castings instead of the numerous wrought iron plates as in the Mark III.

 

Elevating was achieved using two handwheels, one each end of a cross shaft. Traversing also had two handwheels on a vertical shaft. Running around the edge of the emplacement was a circular track on which the loading trolley ran so that the gun could be loaded at any degree of traverse. The loading angle was 20 degrees.

 

High angle batteries were not common. At Portsmouth the Mark I and II test mountings saw service, after trials, at Cumberland High Angle Battery, Eastney. Clearance work by English Heriatge in 2014 showed that the two emplacements are intact with the mounting plates still surviving underneath later building foundations. Another high angle battery was built at Steynewood on the Isle of Wight between 1889 and 1893 from where it could command the eastern approaches to Portsmouth Harbour. On the Thames a battery of four guns was mounted at Cliffe Fort. At Portland a High Angle battery was built adjacent to The verne Citadel from where the approaches to Weymouth and Portland Harbour could be protected. At Gibraltar a high angle battery of six 10-inch R.M.L. H.A. Mk Ii guns on Mark IV carriages was built on the summit of the Rock, Spy Glass Battery. Malta had a high angle battery for six 10-inch R.M.L. H.A.guns at Gharghur. At Plymouth four high angle guns were placed at Tregantle Down Battery and four at Rame Church Battery. Nearby Hawkins Battery was fitted with four 9-inch H.A. guns in 1892. It was later converted for high angle 9.2-inch B.L. guns. Milford Haven and Cork received no H.A. guns. At Dover several were proposed but never fitted.

 

Steynewood high angle battery Isle of Wight

Steynewood High Angle Battery: Isle of Wight

 

 

 

The Verne High Angle Battery, Portland: The Verne High Angle Battery, Portland: The Verne High Angle Battery, Portland: The Verne High Angle Battery, Portland:

The Verne, Portland:
High Angle Battery

The Verne, Portland:
High Angle Battery

The Verne, Portland:
High Angle Battery

The Verne, Portland:
High Angle Battery

Ghargur High Angle Battery: Malta Gibraltar High Angle Battery Tregantle Down High Angle Battery: Now demolished  

Ghargur High Angle Battery: Malta

Gibraltar High Angle Battery

Tregantle Down High Angle Battery

 

 

Fort Cumberland High Angle Battery

 

Fort Cumberland High Angle Fire Battery: Mark I Emplacement Fort Cumberland High Angle Fire Battery: Mark I Emplacement Fort Cumberland High Angle Fire Battery: Mark I Emplacement Fort Cumberland High Angle Fire Battery: Mark II Emplacement

Fort Cumberland
High Angle Battery:

Mk I Emplacement

Fort Cumberland
High Angle Battery:

Mk I Emplacement

Fort Cumberland
High Angle Battery:

Mk I Emplacement

Fort Cumberland
High Angle Battery:

Mk II Emplacement

Fort Cumberland High Angle Fire Battery: Shell Store Fort Cumberland High Angle Fire Battery: Shifting Lobby Fort Cumberland High Angle Fire Battery: Cartridge Store Fort Cumberland High Angle Fire Battery: Shell Store

Fort Cumberland
High Angle Battery:

Shell Store

Fort Cumberland
High Angle Battery:

Shifting Lobby

Fort Cumberland
High Angle Battery:

Cartridge Store

Fort Cumberland
High Angle Battery:

Shell Store

Shoeburyness High Angle Fire emplacement: Remains of. Shoeburyness High Angle Fire emplacement: Remains of. Shoeburyness High Angle Fire emplacement: Remains of. Shoeburyness High Angle Fire emplacement: Remains of.

Shoeburyness High Angle Fire emplacement

Shoeburyness High Angle Fire emplacement

Shoeburyness High Angle Fire emplacement

Shoeburyness High Angle Fire emplacement