15 inch/42 BL Mark I (381 mm)

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Write an introduction to the article in 2-3 small paragraphs. Briefly tell us about the history of the development and combat using the weaponry and also about its features. Compile a list of air, ground, or naval vehicles that feature this weapon system in the game.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

General info

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Available ammunition

Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
1,000 m 2,500 m 5,000 m 7,500 m 10,000 m 15,000 m
4crh CPC SAPCBC 487 459 418 382 352 308
4crh Mark XIIa APC APCBC 644 597 528 470 422 357
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
mass (kg)
Fuse delay
Fuse sensitivity
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (kg)
0% 50% 100%
4crh CPC SAPCBC 752 871 0.035 26 58.6 48° 63° 71°
4crh Mark XIIa APC APCBC 752 871 0.025 26 20.68 48° 63° 71°

Comparison with analogues

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Usage in battles

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Pros and cons

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The 15-inch 42-calibre BL Mark I is not only the biggest gun ever built by Great Britain but also one of the longest-serving large-calibre weapons in any navy. Entering service in 1915 and only being retired in 1959, this cannon played a significant part in both World Wars. The story begins in January 1912 when Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, ordered the development of this type of weapon for the planned Queen Elizabeth-class dreadnoughts under the designation "14-inch Experimental". While normally the adoption of a new gun calibre would set back ship design for years, not ideal for a nation trying to remain on top during an arms race, the design for the 15-inch BL Mark 1 was based on the existing 13.5 inch/45 Mark 5 gun that previously entered service. This decision allowed for quicker development and the rush during the arms race led to it being ordered without prototypes.

In order to cement their lead in the naval arms race, the Royal Navy followed the orders of the Queen Elizabeth class with the Revenge and Renown-class dreadnoughts. When the Renown class were not ready in time when World War I began, they were canceled before being ordered again as battlecruisers finished in 1916. Seeking a need to shell targets across the English Channel after the war began, the Royal Navy ordered monitors that were with a single turret containing a twin-mount of the 15-inch BL Mark I design resulting in the Marshal Ney, Roberts and Erebus-class monitors. While the Royal Navy had a comfortable advantage in dreadnoughts against their counterparts in the Kaiserlichemarine (Imperial Germany Navy), the same could not be said about battlecruisers. In response, the Courageous-class battlecruisers and HMS Hood were ordered, though the latter did not enter service until after the war.

While the BL Mark I 15-inch guns were first used to bombard Gallipoli in 1915, they were more notable for their combat during the Battle of Jutland in 1916 where they out-ranged their contemporary German battlecruisers and set a record for long-range naval fire at 19,500 yards. By the 1930s however, the Royal Navy started to believe the guns were obsolete as the age of the ships using the guns were almost 20 years old and other nations had started catching up with more powerful guns. As the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 put a 10-year suspension on building new battleships, the Royal Navy decided to modernize the designs increasing the elevation from 20 degrees to 30 degrees and adding new streamlined ballistic caps that had a range of 32,000 yards. However, the modernization was limited to the four ships and the HMS Vanguard which wasn't completed until after the war. The non-modernized ships were instead given supercharged ammunition that was as powerful as they could get without damaging the guns or mounting. The guns notably served on HMS Warspite during the Battle of Calabria in 1940 off the coast of Italy and recorded a 26,400-yard salvo against the Italian battleship RN Giulio Cesare. Later the BL Mark I 15-inch guns on HMS Hood, HMS Valiant, and HMS Resolution were used to sink the majority of the French Navy (Marine Nationale) docked at Mers-el-Kibér, Algeria later that year to keep them out of German hands as part of Operation Catapult. The guns were also used in the coastal defense role with guns in two batteries in Singapore and two more guns near Wanstone Farm, Kent used for cross-Channel firing, which remained in service until 1959.


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See also

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  • reference to the article about the variant of the cannon/machine gun;
  • references to approximate analogues by other nations and research trees.

External links

Britain naval cannons
20 mm  20 mm/70 Oerlikon Mk.II · 20 mm/70 Oerlikon Mark V · 20 mm/70 Oerlikon Mark 24
40 mm  2pdr QF Mk.IIc · 2pdr QF Mk.VIII · 2pdr Rolls Royce · QF Mark V · QF Mark VII · QF STAAG Mark II
47 mm  3 pdr QF Hotchkiss
57 mm  6pdr 7cwt QF Mk IIA · 6pdr QF Mk.V
76 mm  3 inch 12pdr 12 cwt QF Mk.V · 3 inch/70 Mark 6 · 76 mm/45 QF 3in 20cwt HA Mark I · 76 mm/50 12pdr 18cwt QF Mark I · OQF 3in 20cwt
102 mm  4 inch/40 QF mark III · 4 in QF Mark V · 4 inch/45 Mark XVI · 4 inch/50 BL Mark VII · BL Mark IX
114 mm  4.5 inch/45 QF Mark IV · 4.5 inch/45 QF Mark V · 8cwt QF Mk I
120 mm  4.7 inch/45 Mk.XII
133 mm  5.25 inch/50 QF Mark I
152 mm  6 inch/45 BL Mark VII · 6 inch/45 BL Mark XII · 6 inch/50 BL Mark XXIII · 6 inch/50 QF Mark N5
190 mm  7.5 inch/45 BL Mk.VI
203 mm  8 inch/50 Mark VIII
305 mm  305 mm/45 Mark X · 12 inch/50 Mark XI
343 mm  13.5 inch/45 Mark 5(H) · 13.5 inch/45 Mark 5(L)
381 mm  15 inch/42 BL Mark I
20 mm  Rh202 (Germany)
40 mm  Bofors L/60 Mark 2 (USA) · Bofors L/60 Mark 3 (USA)
76 mm  3 inch Mk.33 (USA) · 76 mm/62 OTO-Melara Compact (Italy)