BL 18 inch railway howitzer

The Breach Loading 18-inch Howitzer Rail, also known as L1 howitzer is a howitzer with a caliber of 18 inches (46 centimeters) with a course of no less than seventeen feet long. The 195-ton rail guns of the British army was in the Netherlands for the temporary exhibition Traces to the front of the Railway.


The train made ​​its introduction as a weapon during the American Civil War (1861-1865). First, on flat cars guns placed so could be this fast moving, but soon the guns were fired from the cars. In the course of the time, the railway guns are becoming more sophisticated, more efficient and is also larger.

In the First World War arms race was underway. Were given an increasing caliber guns. The British government ordered to make five 18 inch howitzers numbered L1 to L5. These howitzers were smaller versions of 14 inch replacement and were on train cars of the type Boche Buster and Scene Shifter placed. The contract went to the Elswick Ordnance Company. This huge machine was never used in war. Only in 1920 the pieces were delivered. In 1921 with the L1 some test shots fired at Shoeburyness, on the coast of Essex.

In World War II was a piece activated. It was brought to the Kent coast to save. A possible invasion of the Germans off Soldiers took over the management of the Elham Valley Railway on. The howitzer was parked in Bourne Park tunnel. The invasion failed to materialize and the gun never fired. In 1943 the piece was withdrawn from Kent.

In the 60s, the guns Verschoot, except L1. The L1 is still used in the testing of a 1,000 pound heavy bunkerbom. It was transferred to the Royal Artillery Historical Trust in Britain. It is exhibited in Camp Larkhill in Wiltshire.


The caliber of the howitzer was 18 inches (46 centimeters). The barrel had a length of about 17 meters, or 34.7 calibers. The weight of a high explosive grenade was over 1 tonne and this could hit targets at 20 kilometers away. Over in train formation was 2 degrees to the left or right and had a maximum elevation of 40 degrees. Due to their large weight and static loop was a track with a long curve desired so that the gun was still firing. Grenades in all directions

L1 in Netherlands

In 2013 transported the howitzer and a chassis suitable for testing the piece to the Netherlands. In the Railway Museum in Utrecht, the part made ​​of a special exhibition Traces to the front. The L1 is the biggest piece of the exhibition. It has a total weight of 195 tons.


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