- 100-pound breech-loaded naval cannon
The 100-pound breech-loader was a large calibre naval
gunthe was developed through a prolonged trial process undertaken by and on behalf of the armament company run by Sir William Armstrong.
Prior to 1859, all naval ordnance had been of the smoothbore muzzle-loading variety. In January 1859 the first breech-loading rifled gun produced by the Armstrong company was tested. It fired a shell weighing 40 pounds, and it was tested against armour plate of 4-inch thickness, which it was confidently expected to penetrate. The disturbing result was that
wrought-iron, cast-ironand steelshot, fired with 6-pound charges and at ranges from 450 yards down to 50 yards had no serious penetrative effect on the armour.
In September 1869 the second Armstrong breech loader, designated the "special gun of large calibre" and designed as an armour-piercing weapon, was tested against the same target of 4-inch armour. This gun was of 6-inch calibre, weighed 65
hundredweight, and fired a shell which was always called a "100-pounder" but which weighed 110 pounds with a charge of 12 pounds of gunpowder. Twenty-two rounds were fired at ranges between 400 yards and 50 yards, without achieving a penetration of the armour.
Notwithstanding the results of these tests, it was selected as the main armament for the first british
ironclads HMS "Warrior" and HMS "Black Prince". Re-evaluation of these test results led, however, to a revision of the armament of these ironclads to a preponderance of 68-pounder smoothbore cannon, which had been shown to have a better armour-piercing ability than had the Armstrongs. In the early 1860s, all Armstrong 100-pounder breech-loaders on British warships were replaced with muzzle-loading rifles of various calibres.
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