Arming The Forts



Arming the Land Front Forts

The Victorian land front forts were armed with a variety of weapons designed mainly to be used against attacking troops. The heaviest weapon employed on the main ramparts of the land front forts was the 64pr R.M.L. gun of 71 cwt. This was often supplemented by the 7-inch R.B.L. gun of 82 or 71 cwt on the flanks. The caponiers were originally to be armed with smooth borecarronades but, following trials at Tregantle Fort Plymouth, most forts received the 32pr S.B.L. gun, or no armament at all. All of these guns were designated as Medium guns to differentiate them from the heavier RMLs employed on coast deefnces.



For high angled plunging fire the 13-inch smooth bore mortar was employed, sometimes firing from hiddden purpose-built mortar batteries. However this weapon rapidly became obsolete and although some forts had mortar batteries they were never armed and this weapon was replaced by the high angle rifled howitzer of 6.3 or 6.6inch calibre.


Often the weapons on the main raparts of the fort were to be supplemented, in time of need, by movable armament, and in some cases large concrete pits for guns operating on Moncrieff's disappearing principle were added in the 1880s.


Although some sources state that the forts were never fully armed, this is not substantiated by the armament lists. By 1888 all but a very small few of the U.K.'s land front forts (such as Fort Scoveston at Milford Haven which was superflous to the defence) were fully armed, the weapons being supplied under the Imperial Defence Loan of 1888.



The 13-inch mortar in use in the mortar battery at Fort Nelson, Portsdown, Portsmouth.

The 13-inch Mortar

A replica 7-inch R.B.L. gun on a Moncrieff mounting at Crownhill Fort, Plymouth

A Moncrieff Mounting.

A 7-inch R.B.L. in the Haxo Casemate on the west rampart at Fort nelson, Portsdown, Portsmouth.

The 7-inch R.B.L.

Some of the Portsdown Artillery Volunteers in April 2008

The 32pr S.B.B.L


16pr RML
32pr SBBL
64pr RML
7-inch RBL
16pr RML
2.95QF Mountain Gun
Sieg Platform

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Arming The Forts bt David Moore

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