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The 25 Pounder
Projectile          25Lbs (11.4Kg)
Range                11,500 Yards (10,515 Metres)
Calibre               3.45 Inch (87.5mm)
Rate of Fire       10 Rounds per minute
Ammunition      HE, AP, Smoke, Illuminating

The 25 pounder was introduced into service just before World War II and was the British Army's primary
artillery system into The Ordnance QF 25 pounder (or just 25-pounder or 25-pdr) was the major British field
gun/howitzer that the 1950s. Smaller numbers served until 1967 in the training role in England, while many
Commonwealth of Nations countries used theirs until about the same time. It was considered by many to
be the best field artillery piece of the war, combining high rates of fire with a particularly lethal shell in a
highly mobile system. While of smaller calibre than contemporary post-war designs, it was only replaced
due to NATO standardization, and its users were not particularly enthusiastic about its replacement. The 25
pounder was used in combat during the Battle of Mirbat in 1972 in Oman. One of the last uses of the
25-pounder in combat was by the Cypriot National Guard during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
Ammunition for the weapon is currently produced by Pakistan Ordnance Factories.

Design
The design was the result of extended studies looking to replace both the 18 pounder (84 mm) field gun
and the 4.5 inch (114 mm) howitzer, which had been important weapons during the First World War. The
basic idea was to build a single weapon with the direct-fire capability of the 18 pounder with the high-angle
fire of the howitzer, firing a shell about half way between the two in size, around 3.5 to 4 in (90 to 100 mm) of
about 30 pounds (14 kg).
Development during the inter-war period was severely hampered by a lack of money, and it was eventually
decided to build a "new" design from existing 18 pounders converted using new liners and pneumatic road
wheels to allow towing. The result was a 3.45 in (88 mm) weapon firing a 25 pound (11 kg) HE shell. It was
mounted on the original 18 pdr's single-trail design, which included a circular track under the trail. When
used in the direct fire role, the track was dropped to the ground under the wheels, providing a flat surface
that allowed the gunners to quickly turn the weapon in any direction.
Whereas earlier designs had used fixed ammunition with the shell and propellant in a single round, the
new design looked to increase flexibility by providing a variety of different propellant loads. The result was
three different "charges", Charge 1, 2 and 3. This variety allowed the gun to fire either high-angle or direct at
various ranges, without overstressing the system. To these were added two sub-charges to cover the
ranges between the 3 main charges and a super-charge that gave a maximum range of 13,400 yards
(12,250 m). The introduction of the supercharge necessitated the addition of the muzzle-brake to later
models. Rounds would be fitted with the proper charge prior to firing, at which point the gun could be loaded
just as quickly as with older single-charge designs, allowing it to be called a "QF" design even though that
normally excluded separate-charge systems.
The gun was fitted with a telescopic sight for engaging armoured vehicles and other targets in the direct fire
role as well as the standard sight for indirect fire. The large gunshield gave cover for the gunners and could
take a periscope.
An important part of the gun was the ammunition limber (trailer). The gun was hitched to it and the trailer
hitched to the tractor when on tow. The limber carried the ammunition (thirty-two rounds) and a selection of
stores and the gun tools.

Ammunition
The 25 pounder's main ammunition was the High Explosive (HE) shell, but it could fire smoke shells, star
shells, chemical shells, and special projectiles containing propaganda leaflets. In the direct fire role, the 25
pdr was also supplied with a limited amount of 20 pound (9 kg) solid armour piercing (AP) rounds, later
replaced with a more potent version with a ballistic cap. A shaped charge version was under development
in Canada, but the introduction of the 17 Pounder dedicated anti-tank gun ended its development.

Service
The 25 pounder was the main field artillery gun used by British Commonwealth infantry divisions during the
Second World War. Throughout the war each British-pattern infantry division was authorised seventy two 25
pounders, with each of the division's three field Regiments being issued with 24 guns organised into three
8 gun batteries.
After seeing the utility of the M7 Priest, the British introduced the similar Canadian-built Sexton, mounting
the 25 pdr on a Ram tank chassis (based on the M3 Lee). The British also developed the Bishop, a similar
conversion using the Valentine tank chassis. Normally the gun was towed, with its limber, usually behind a
Morris C8 4x4 Field Artillery Tractor called a "Quad". The early 18/25 pdrs had been towed in the field by the
Dragon a tracked vehicle.
Even by WWII standards, the 25 pdr was at the smaller-end of the scale. Most forces had entered the war
with even smaller 75 mm designs, but had quickly moved to 105 mm and larger weapons. However the 25
pdr was nevertheless considered by all to be one of the best artillery pieces in use, and in particular its HE
round was particularly deadly due to excellent embrittlement of the metal casing. The devastation caused by
the gun (and the speed at which the British artillery command system could respond) in Normandy and the
rest of North-West Europe made many German soldiers believe that the British had secretly deployed an
automatic 25 pounder.
The introduction of NATO standardization led to the replacement of the gun with the 105 mm, but many of
these proved to be less reliable in combat as a result of trying to make a larger gun of the same weight as
the 25 pdr. This kept the 25 pdr in operation with mountain and airborne units for many years, its
replacement generally being mortars as opposed to newer artillery units.
The gun known as the G1 was extensively used in the early stages of the South African Border War by the
South African Defence Force, including Operation Savannah. The G1 is still used in the ceremonial role.
The Rhodesian Army used the weapon during the Bush War, but by this stage the round couldn't pentrate
enemy bunkers. The last British military unit to fire the gun in its field role (as opposed to in a ceremonial
role) was the Gun Troop of the Honourable Artillery Company on Salisbury Plain in 1992.
The MkIII is still in service in the Irish Reserve Defence Forces (RDF)and a significant number are held in
active reserve by the Cypriot National Guard.  
Above: A 25 pounder Mark II at the Imperial War
Museum, London.



Below: British troops in action with 25 pounder during
WW2.
Right:
25lbs shell
as found at
Moreton/
Above: A Short 25 Pounder in New Guinea in
1944.


Left: British troops with the 25 pounder in
Normandy.
News Paper Quote :

"Army bomb disposal experts have successfully detonated the world war bomb that was discovered in
Moreton this morning.  The bomb had been moved to Moreton Common and was detonated at 1.05pm.
Workmen discovered the 14" shell this morning while carrying out roadworks in Maryland Lane.
Dozens of buildings were evacuated as police cordoned off main access routes for over three hours,
including Pasture Road, Pasture Avenue, Moreton Cross and Maryland Lane.
"

One eye-witness said: "This is the most exciting thing that has happened in Moreton for a long time."
And a shop owner said: "This has caused a disruption to businesses, we have had no customers for hours."
The shell found was from a 25 pounder, most likely
from a field gun or possibly a small tank.