RML 2.5 inch Mountain Gun

RML 2.5 inch Mountain Gun

Infobox Weapon
name= Ordnance RML 2.5 inch Mountain Gun

caption=Indian Army gunners assembling the gun, circa. 1895
origin= UK
type=mountain gun
service=1879 - 1916
used_by=British Empire
wars=Second Boer War
World War I
designer=Colonel le Mesurier, RA
manufacturer=Royal Gun Factory
weight=convert|800|lb|kg|sigfig=3 total
cartridge=convert|7|lb|6|oz|kg|sigfig=3 (shrapnel)
convert|8|lb|2|oz|kg|sigfig=3 (ring)
caliber= convert|2.5|in|mm|sigfig=3|single=on
(ring)Hall, June 1971 : "Ring (or segment) : A thin cast iron shell, made up of rings welded together, with a hollow space in the centre for the bursting charge. The rings broke up into segments on explosion. It could be employed as shrapnel, case or common shell".]
The Ordnance RML 2.5 inch mountain gun was primarily used by the Indian Army.


It was intended as a more powerful successor to the RML 7 pounder Mountain Gun.Hall, June 1971] Some writers incorrectly refer to the 2.5 inch gun as a "7 pounder" because it also fired a shell of approximately 7 pounds, but its official nomenclature was 2.5 inch RML.

In 1877 Colonel le Mesurier of the Royal Artillery proposed a gun in 2 parts which would be screwed together. The Elswick Ordnance Company made 12 Mk I guns based on his design and they were trialled in Afghanistan in 1879. Trials were successful and Mk II with some internal differences made by the Royal Gun Factory entered service. [Ruffell] The gun was a rifled muzzle-loader. Gun and carriage were designed to be broken down into their basic parts so they could be transported by pack animals (4 mules) or men. The barrel and breech were carried separately, and screwed together for action, hence the name "screw gun".

econd Boer War

The gun was used in the Second Boer War (1899 - 1902) on its standard mountain gun carriage, and also with the Natal Field Battery at Elandslaagte and Diamond Fields Artillery at Kimberley on field carriages which had larger wheels and gave greater mobility.

A major defect in the war was that the gun's cartridges still used gunpowder as a propellant, despite the fact that smokeless cordite had been introduced in 1892. The gunpowder generated a white cloud on firing, and as the gun could only be aimed using direct line of sight, this made the gunners easy targets for Boer marksmen as the gun lacked a shield.

It proved to be ineffectual and outclassed by Boer ordnance and was replaced by the BL 10 pounder Mountain Gun from 1901.

World War I

Either 4 or 6 guns (sources appear imprecise) were returned to service from Southern African garrisons in 1916 and were employed by the Nyasaland-Rhodesian Field Force in the campaign in German East Africa. [Farndale 1988, page 331-332] Writers who refer to "7 pounders" in WWI are in fact referring to this convert|2.5|in|mm|sing=on gun.

urviving examples

*Restored gun is displayed at [http://www.firepower.org.uk Firepower, the Royal Artillery Museum. Woolwich London]
*Two convert|2.5|in|mm|sing=on RMLs on Field carriages and one on a Mountain carriage, at Fort Klapperkop Military Museum, Pretoria, South Africa.

In Literature

* It was romanticised in Rudyard Kipling's poem "".

See also

*List of artillery#Infantry and mountain guns



*General Sir Martin Farndale, [http://www.amazon.co.uk/History-Royal-Regiment-Artillery-M-Farndale/dp/1870114051 "History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. The Forgotten Fronts and the Home Base, 1914-18". London : The Royal Artillery Institution, 1988] .
*Major Darrell D Hall, [http://rapidttp.com/milhist/vol021dh.html "Guns in South Africa 1899-1902" in The South African Military History Society Military History Journal - Vol 2 No 1, June 1971]
*W. L. Ruffell, [http://riv.co.nz/rnza/hist/gun/rifled10.htm The Screw Gun]

External links

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