The Ordnance QF 15 pounder gun
, commonly referred to as the Ehrhardt
, was a modern German field gun purchased by Britain in 1900 as a stopgap measure to upgrade its field artillery to modern QF
standards, while it developed its own alternative. It bore no relation to the British BL 15 pounder other than a common shell.
The gun as originally designed and supplied to Britain had a sprung telescoping trail to assist with recoil control, all-steel wheels, axle-tree seats and no shield. The British found the trail unsatisfactory in service, so they permanently pinned it in the closed position. The British also immediately replaced the original all-steel wheels with standard British wooden spoked wheels.
It replaced the obsolete BL 12 pounder 6 cwt gun in Royal Horse Artillery service until the QF 13 pounder became available from 1904.
When the Territorial Force was formed in 1908 the guns were assigned to its cavalry units, known as Yeomanry. The axle-tree seats were removed as unnecessary because the gunners rode horses, and gun-shields were added. The modified carriage was designated Mk I+.
This gun is the "15 pounder" to which writers are referring in World War I if they are referring to RHA (attached to cavalry units) batteries of the Territorial Force, or Yeomanry. The other "15 pounder", the BLC 15 pounder, was used by RFA (attached to infantry units) Territorial Force, and is an unrelated gun.
The first guns were rushed out to South Africa in June 1901 to provide the British field artillery with modern guns to supplement the existing BL 15 pounder and BL 12 pounder, which were being outclassed by the Boers' modern German and French artillery.
The gun was used by Royal Horse Artillery batteries of Territorial Force cavalry units (Yeomanry) early in World War I, most notably in the campaign in Egypt against the Senussi by A Battery Honourable Artillery Company and Nottinghamshire Battery RHA.
B Battery of Honourable Artillery Company and Berkshire Battery, RHA were in action with these guns in the recapture of Sheik Othman (key to the water supply to Aden) from the Turks on 20 July 1915, part of the Aden campaign.
From 1916 the QF 15 pounder was replaced by the modern 13 pounder and 18 pounder.
54,000 complete rounds (i.e. shell, fuze, cartridge) of German design and manufacture were originally supplied with the guns. These were replaced by British manufactures when used up. The following diagrams show British-made ammunition available in 1914.
|Mk III Cartridge and case
||Mk VI Shrapnel shell (1 inch G.S. fuze)
||Mk VII Shrapnel shell (2 inch fuze)
||No. 65A Fuze (1 inch G.S. gauge)
||Mk V Case shot
||Mk I high-explosive shell with No. 101 fuze. Photo courtesy of Patrick Rushmere |