Description

This was an AA mounting designed by Vickers for the Tiger class cruisers and later used on Canadian destroyer escorts. It had been intended to arm British frigates of the 1950s with this weapon, but it was not ready in time and the 4.5" (11.4 cm) Mark 6 was used in its place.

The development of the ammunition and the gun barrel was a joint British-American project, but each navy chose to design a completely different gun mount. The British mounting was less ambitious in concept and slightly more successful in practice than its American counterpart, the 3"/70 (7.62 cm) Mark 37 mounting.

The British mounting was prone to ammunition feed breakdowns and required much maintenance to keep in service. During refits for ships based on the West Coast, components of the mounting would be removed from the ship and then shipped by rail from Esquimalt, British Columbia, to the Naval Armament Depot in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, where they would be rebuilt and then shipped back to the West Coast. Later, Esquimalt became the primary center for maintaining these weapons.

The gun barrel was a water cooled monobloc type and used a vertically sliding breech mechanism. There is a three caliber smoothbore section near the muzzle (Probertised) to reduce loss of velocity and to act as a flash suppressor. The barrel is attached to the breech ring by interrupted threads (bayonet joint) and can be removed without dismounting the gun, similar to earlier USN designs.

The gun is designed such that the empty cartridge is ejected and the next round rammed while the gun is running out. The mounting has a local control cab on the right side of the mounting, visible in the photographs and sketch below.

Nomenclature note: Per the post-war designation system, "Mark 6" is actually the mounting designation. The gun itself was designated by the British as Ordnance QF 3in Mark N1. It is believed to have been identical to the US 3"/70 (7.62 cm) Mark 26.

Gun Characteristics

Designation Weapon: 3"/70 (7.62 cm) QF Mark N1
Mounting: Mark 6
Ship Class Used On Britain: Tiger class
Canada: Restigouche and Mackenzie classes
Date Of Design 1950
Date In Service 1958
Gun Weight about 2,650 lbs. (1,202 kg)
Gun Length oa N/A
Bore Length 1 210 in (5.334 m)
Rifling Length N/A
Grooves N/A
Lands N/A
Twist N/A
Chamber Volume N/A
Rate Of Fire 90 rounds per minute 2
  1. ^The bore is chrome plated.
  2. ^Many references for this weapon show a Rate of Fire of 95 - 113 rounds per minute, but HMS Lion (Tiger class cruiser) generally fired no faster than 90 rounds per minute in order to increase reliability. The Canadian Drill publication for this mount also notes a 90 RPM figure, although a lower figure of 70 RPM is also noted. The original requirement called for a ROF of 120 RPM and this was achieved during the prototype stage.

Ammunition

Type Fixed
Weight of Complete Round 36 lbs. (16.4 kg) 3
Projectile Types and Weights 4 HE Fuze NC101 5 : 15 lbs. (6.8 kg)
Bursting Charge N/A
Projectile Length N/A
Propellant Charge 11.2 lbs. (5.1 kg)
Cartridge weight (empty): 9.8 lbs. (4.4 kg)
Cartridge 76.2 mm x 662R
Muzzle Velocity 3,400 fps (1,036 mps)
Working Pressure 22.5 tons/in2 (3,547 kg/cm2)
Approximate Barrel Life N/A
Ammunition stowage per gun 1 Tiger: 851 rounds
Restigouche and Mackenzie: 1,000 rounds

Although munitions were a joint development, the USN and British cartridges were slightly different.

  1. ^These weapons had 161 ready rounds per gun in two hoppers (100 and 38 rounds) and in the transfer system. The figure listed above is the quantity per gun stored in the magazine.

Range

Range with 15 lbs. (6.8 kg) HE
Elevation Distance
45 degrees 19,500 yards (17,830 m)
90 degrees about 38,000 feet (11,580 m)

Mount/Turret Data

Designation
  • Twin Mount
    • Tiger (3) 1 , Restigouche (1) and Mackenzie (1): Mark 6
Weight 83,150 lbs. (37,716 kg) including 68 ready rounds
Elevation -15 / +90 degrees 2
Elevation Rate 30 degrees per second 3
Train 360 degrees 4
Train Rate 60 degrees per second 3
Gun recoil about 15.62 in (40 cm)
Loading Angle Any

There are two endless chain hoists on the non-rotating structure which each supply 25 rounds per minute. Each hoist feeds two ready-ammunition hoppers that rotate with the guns. The ammunition is loaded by hand into four hoppers and from these are passed automatically to continuously rotating feed rings, hoists and conveyors up to the loading tray where it is pushed into the breech by means of a spring rammer.

This mounting used about 40 shear pins throughout the mount and the ammunition feed system. Two types were provided, pre-scored aluminum pins for peacetime use and un-scored steel pins for wartime use. The aluminum pins were a source of many problems during routine firing missions as the failure of a single pin would cause the mounting to cease fire and shut down. One eyewitness has told me that the only time he ever saw one of the Canadian mountings fire more than a few rounds before jamming was when steel pins were used on a ship emptying her magazines shortly before decommissioning.

The feed system uses two 440 Vac 3 phase 60 Hz electric motors. The first motor is off-mount and drives the outer feed ring, the hopper conveyors and the hoppers. These are all geared together so as to synchronize their actions. The second motor is on-mount and drives the inner feed ring, the two hoists, the intermediate conveyors and the radial conveyors. These are also geared together to synchronize their actions.

Normal manning was 12 crewmembers including two in the gunhouse itself.

  1. ^HMS Tiger and Blake had two of their mountings removed when converted to Helicopter (ASW) cruisers.
  2. ^An electric cutoff operates 7.5 degrees before the elevation limits.
  3. ^3.13.2Two 440 Vac 3 phase 60 Hz electric motors are used for training and a single electric motor is used for elevation.
  4. ^The mounting uses slip rings and can be continuously rotated throughout 360 degrees.

Additional Pictures

External Pictures

The Vickers Photographic Archive
See model anti-aircraft gun, photograph numbers 4341, 4342, 4580 and the series between 4573 and 4582. From photograph No. 4150, it is easy to see why this mounting was nicknamed "The Bottling Plant"

Sources

Data from:

  • "Twilight of the St Laurents" article by Thomas G. Lynch in "Warship 1990"
  • "The Postwar Naval Revolution," "The Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapon Systems 1991/92" and "US Naval Weapons" all by Norman Friedman

Other:

  • "Drill for 3 Inch Twin Mark 6 A.A. Mounting" produced by Weapons Division in Fleet School C.F.B. Halifax (1970)

Special help from Leo Fischer, Peter Parkinson, Paul Whitworth and Anthony G. Williams

Page History

22 November 2006
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12 February 2012
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