World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

QF 3-pounder Hotchkiss

QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss
Typical Royal Navy deck mounting, 1915
Type Naval gun
Coast-defence gun
Place of origin  France
Service history
In service 1886 - 1950s
Used by  French Navy
 Royal Navy
 Regia Marina
 United States Navy
 Imperial Russian Navy
Wars WWI
Production history
Designed 1885
Manufacturer Hotchkiss et Cie
Number built 2,950 (UK)
Barrel length 74.06 inch (1.88 m) bore (40 cal)

Shell Fixed QF. Shell 3.3 lb (1.5 kg), steel shell, common lyddite
Calibre 47-millimetre (1.850 in)
Breech vertical sliding wedge
Rate of fire 30 / minute[1]
Muzzle velocity 1,873 ft/s (571 m/s)
Maximum firing range 4,000 yards (3,657 m)

The QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss or in French use Canon Hotchkiss à tir rapide de 47 mm (47mm / L40) was a light 47-mm naval gun introduced in 1886 to defend against new small fast vessels such as torpedo boats, and later submarines. It was also used ashore as a coast defence gun and later occasionally as an anti-aircraft gun.


  • French service 1
  • United Kingdom service 2
    • United Kingdom History 2.1
    • United Kingdom ammunition 2.2
  • Australian service 3
  • Russian service 4
  • US service 5
  • Polish service 6
  • Surviving examples 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10
  • See also 11

French service

Model of gun in French service on "elastic frame" mounting (affût-crinoline), at the Musée national de la Marine Paris

United Kingdom service

United Kingdom History

HMS Majestic showing 7 guns mounted in crow's nests circa. 1897

In 1886 this gun was the first of the modern QF artillery to be adopted by the Royal Navy as the "Ordnance QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss",[2] built under licence by Elswick Ordnance Company.

By the middle of World War I the Hotchkiss gun had become obsolescent, and was gradually replaced in its class by the more powerful Ordnance QF 3 pounder Vickers gun. The gun's availability, simplicity and light weight resulted in its continued use in small vessels, and many were later brought back into service on merchant vessels used for auxiliary duties in World War II, or as subcalibre guns for gunnery practice until the 1950s. Early in WWII it was also pressed into service in ports around the British Empire, to defend against possible incursions by motor torpedo boats until the modern QF 6 pounder 10 cwt gun became available in numbers for that purpose.

United Kingdom ammunition

Steel Shell round circa. 1898
Mk IV base percussion fuze
Mk V N.T. lyddite shell, 1914

Australian service

A 3-pounder Hotchkiss was used on an improvised mounting in a battle that resulted in Australia's first prisoners of World War 2 being captured in 1940 near Berbera.[3]

The guns are now used in a Three Pound Saluting Gun Battery at the Garden Island Naval Base.[4]

Russian service

Russia adopted the Hotchkiss 5-barrel Gatling-type 3-pounder revolver cannon in the 1880s, and later adopted the less complicated single-barrel quick-firing weapon. The 5-barrel guns were equipped on the Ekaterina II-class battleships commissioned in 1889, but by 1892 the battleship Dvenadsat Apostolov and her successors had single-barrel weapons. 47 mm Hotchkiss guns were used during the Russo-Japanese war and were ineffective against Japanese torpedo boats, so they were removed from first-line warships following that war. New Russian battleships ceased carrying the weapon with the Evstafi class, commissioned in 1910. However, they were subsequently fitted to patrol vessels and river craft during World War I, and at least 62 weapons were converted to anti-aircraft guns by 1917.[5]

US service

The US Navy used several types of 3-pounder guns, and it is difficult to determine from references which type a particular ship had. Hotchkiss 5-barrel Gatling-type 3-pounder revolver cannon were used, along with single-barrel quick-firing Hotchkiss 3-pounders. Other manufacturers included Driggs-Schroeder, Maxim-Nordenfeldt, and Vickers-Maxim. In battleships, the weapon first appeared on the Maine-class battleships, commissioned 1902-04. However, by the end of that decade the US was building the dreadnought-type South Carolina class, with a secondary armament composed entirely of 3 inch (76 mm) guns. Although removed from first-line warships by World War I, some 3-pounders were fitted on patrol vessels of that war, with a few weapons serving on those ships through World War II.[6]

Polish service

47 mm Hotchkiss guns, designated as wz.1885 gun, were used on first ships of the Polish Navy, received after World War I, like ex-German torpedo boats and minesweepers. By the time of World War II they were mostly phased out of service on naval ships, but several stored guns were used in combat on improvised stationary mounts by Land Coastal Defence units in Battle of Kępa Oksywska in September 1939.[7]

Surviving examples

  • The Jardines Noonday gun at Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.
  • A gun at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, Manly, Queensland, Australia[8]
  • Two guns on "elastic frame" mounting in the Casemate de l'Aschenbach, Uffheim, Haut-Alsace, France[9]
  • A Saluting Battery of mutipule guns at Fort Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia


  1. ^ 30 rounds per minute is the figure given by Elswick Ordnance for their 40-calibres model. Quoted in Brassey's Naval Annual 1901
  2. ^ British forces traditionally denoted smaller ordnance by the weight of its standard projectile, in this case approximately 3 pounds (1.4 kg).
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ DiGiulian, Tony, Russian Hotchkiss 3-pounders
  6. ^ DiGiulian, Tony, US 3-pounders
  7. ^ Tym, Wacław; Rzepniewski, Andrzej (editors) (1985). Kępa Oksywska 1939. Wydawnictwo Morskie, Gdańsk. p.285 (in Polish)
  8. ^ AMMS Brisbane
  9. ^ Mémorial Maginot de Haute-Alsace
  10. ^ Jane's Fighting Ships 2005-2006


  • I.V. Hogg & L.F. Thurston, British Artillery Weapons & Ammunition 1914-1918. London: Ian Allan, 1972.

External links

  • Tony DiGiulian, British Hotchkiss 3-pdr (1.4 kg) (1.85"/40 (47 mm)) QF Marks I and II
  • DiGiulian, Tony, US 3-pounders
  • DiGiulian, Tony, Russian Hotchkiss 3-pounders

See also

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.