14in Gun on Railway Mount Model E

The 14in Gun on Railway Mount Model E was a coastal defence weapon that was being designed before the US entry into the First World War, and that could be used either as a sliding type gun or from a fixed firing emplacement.

The design was almost finished before the US entry into the war in 1917, but despite that it wasn’t chosen to go into production. A single example was produced for trials, using a wire bound 14in 40 calibre long Model 1919 gun. It had a hydro-spring recoil system, with one hydraulic recoil cylinder below the barrel and six spring recuperator cylinders around the cylinders.

The gun could be used as a simple sliding type mount. A car traversing system was installed to allow for a limited amount of fine tuning when fired in this way. The main gun carriage could only be moved through a total of 1 degree using this system, using a system of four separate gears, two at each end of the car, each of which provided 0.25 degrees of movement. The gun carriage itself was fixed to the railway body, with no traversing mechanism of its own. Cast steel sliding shoes were carried under the side girders at the front and back. An extra pair of rails was installed on the ties outside the normal railway rails, and the sliding shoes sat on these to avoid damaging the track. When this system was used the carriage slid back between 11 and 17 feet, and elevation was limited to 22 degrees.

The gun could also be fired from a fixed firing position. This required a heavy crane and a full day to install, but increased the range of traverse to 360 degrees and the maximum elevation to 30 degrees. A pit had to be dug, into which a heavy metal platform, made up of two semi-circular halves that met in the middle to form a circle, had to be lowered. This base plate had a strong central mounting, teeth for the traversing system at the edge of the roller path, and a section of railway track across it to allow the gun to be moved into position. The gun carriage was then moved across the base plate, the wheels removed, and the main section lowered into place, with a mounting under the centre of the carriage matching up with the mount in the centre of the base plate. Four conical rollers connected the roller path to the carriage. A curved support beam was placed under the rear of the carriage.

The fixed firing platform needed a 160 ton locomotive crane to install and took about a day to set up. This compares quite well to the US 14in Gun on Naval Railway Mount, which needed longer to install and was less flexible when in place, although the need for the crane would have limited its use. However the L/40 gun used with this design had a shorter range than the L/50 guns used in the Army’s later 14in Gun on Sliding Type Railway Mount Model 1918 or Model 1919 or the Navy guns, and the type didn’t enter production.  


14in Gun on Railway Mount Model E



Barrel Length


Gun Length

14.76m (581.25in)

Weight in action

198,218kg (436,700lb)


0 to 30 degrees


5 to 360 degrees

Shell Weight

753.47kg (1,660lb) AP naval shell, 38.58kg explosives
544.68kg (1,200lb) HE, 69.90kg explosives

Muzzle Velocity

883m/ sec (2,900 ft/ sec)

Maximum Range

29.25km (32,000 yards)

Rate of Fire

30 rounds/ hour

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (21 March 2019), 14in Gun on Railway Mount Model E , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_14in_gun_railway_mount_E.html

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us - Privacy