11inch Breech Loading Howitzer on a Naval Mounting

11inch Breech Loading Howitzer on a Naval Mounting at ExplosionVolunteers at Explosion have recently restored an 11inch breech loading Howitzer. The gun, on a Naval Mounting, had been stored in building 309 for the last few years awaiting conservation. The exhibit has now been restored and will become an integral part of the Museums Reserve Collection.

The 11inch breech loading Howitzer was introduced into RN service late in the 1914-18 war and deployed on Q-ships and cruisers as an anti-submarine weapon.  It could fire shells and stick-bombs fuzed to detonate underwater, the effects of the shock extending over a considerable area to damage a submarine of force it to the surface for subsequent sinking by gunfire.

The shell, with a nominal weight of 350lbs, had the longer extreme range – of the order of 3,000yds, whereas the 600lbs stick-bomb had a maximum range of 650yds but a larger bursting charge giving it increased lethality.  It had a bursting charge of 120lbs of TNT or Amatol and a nose-fitted delayed-action fuze so that the shell detonated approximately 2 seconds after striking the surface of the water by which time it would have sunk to a depth of about 50ft.  The shell and bagged propellant charge were loaded into the breech of the Howitzer.

The stick-bomb consisted of a spherical bomb, with a hole in the side into which a fuze and exploder were fitted, attached to a ‘stick’ with three collars whose external diameter fitted the bore of the Howitzer.  It was loaded into the muzzle of the Howitzer with the bagged propellant being loaded into the breech.  Four different hydrostatic fuzes, activated by water pressure, could be fitted to the stick-bomb, each of the four being designed to function at a different depth namely 40ft, 90ft, 140ft and 190ft, and each had a bursting charge of 290lbs of TNT or Amatol.

This example of an 11inch Breech Loading Howitzer on a naval mounting, complete with stick-bomb, is held in the Reserve Collection at Priddy’s Hard having been recently conserved by the volunteers.  The Howitzer was fitted to HMS Leviathan in 1918, the Howitzer having been manufactured by Vickers Sons and Maxim and the mounting by the Coventry Ordnance Works.

The Howitzer can be seen as part of a reserve collection tour at Explosion and as part of Heritage Open Days each year in September.



Kaiten Acquisition

kaiten1On Tuesday the 18th of October 2011, the Museum acquired the two sections of the Kaiten Torpedo from the RN Submarine Museum at Haslar. Kaiten human torpedoes entered service with Japanese Navy as a desperate weapon of last resort during 1944-45. Six distinct types were developed, of which only the Type 1 was used in combat. 100 Type 1 Kaiten were deployed operationally; only a small number of missions were successful.


The Museum has aquired the Nose Cone and Fuel Chamber from the Type 2 version. It is hoped that the remaining sections can be acquired at a later date, or that the Museum can fabicate missing pieces. It is likely that the Kaiten will be restored by Museum volunteers in 2012 and be placed on display later next year. The Museum would like to thank Marsh Plant and the National Museum of the Royal Navy for thier assistance with transportation.



The video above shows the Fuel Chamber being lifted over the Museum Curatorial Office and into our Conservation Compound.   




Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower gains National Quality Standard

MLA logo24th March 2011

Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower in Gosport, Hants, has just been officially ‘Accredited’ by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).

The Museum of Naval Firepower is a unique museum of naval warfare created within a group of listed 18th century buildings at the Royal Navy's former armaments depot of Priddy's Hard, centred around the original 1771 powder magazine. The displays trace the development of naval armaments from gunpowder to the modern missile age. There's a fascinating social history too, including the story of how 2,500 women worked on the site during its peak in World War II, and the importance of Priddy's Hard to the local Gosport community, which not only armed the Navy but also fed and watered it.

The MLA’s Museum Accreditation Scheme sets nationally agreed standards for all Museums in the UK. Explosions award proves that it measures up, meeting the guidelines on how it should be run, how it looks after its collections and the services it provides its visitors.

Nick Hewitt, Head of Attractions and Collections at the Museum said: “We are all absolutely thrilled to be awarded accreditation, which recognises the high standard and service that the Museum provides. Our staff and volunteers have worked incredibly hard to reach the required standard, and I am very proud of them all.”



New Acquisition to Museum Collection

15th June 2011

The Compartment Unloading from RNSM

The Museum of Naval Firepower is pleased to announce a new acquisition into the collection. The Museum has accessioned a 1/12 scale model of the Polaris Ballistic Missile compartment, from Resolution Class submarines. The item, from the Royal Navy Submarine Museum at Haslar, will be restored over the next year by Museum volunteers before being publicly displayed.




30 Tons of World War II Weapon Rebuilt

23rd March 2010


The LIMBO Anti Submarine Mortar (AS Mk 10) formerly sited at HMS VERNON, Portsmouth has now been rebuilt to provide a major item in the reserve collection at Explosion!

This weapon was a shipbourne surface to sub-surface medium range anti-submarine mortar system with a triple barrelled mortar firing three 175kg projectiles which were programmed to give a three dimensional explosive pattern ahead of the ship. Loading was accomplished by automatic powered horizontal rams from a magazine/handling facility located alongside the Mortar barrels. It was in service on Frigates and Destroyers in the Royal Navy from the early 1960's to the 1980's.

The Mortar section weighing over 12 tons was delivered to the Museum in one piece, but the magazine/handling facility weighing over 17 tons was stripped down for transportation, and has been completely rebuilt, including the manufacture of some missing parts. this has been achieved by the team of Ordnance Engineers at Explosion! over a long time period. Led by bill Adnitt, they are Fred Bellchambers, Frank Leach, Colin Linington, Sid petty, Harry Morgan, Ray Mumford and Mike Ryan.

This success is all the more remarkable considering that the 12 ton+ Mortar had to be moved into a suitable building to be revisited alongside the magazine/handling facility once it was completed. This was achieved under the direction of Paul Dight, the Museum's full time technician who was able to supply all the tools and materials from existing resources as well as the techniques for moving large and heavy objects. This meant that the cost of the entire operation was just £26.50 - for a new set of heavy duty door hinges. (M Hockin - October 2005).

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