Tag Archives: 3 pounder Hotchkiss

Learning all about the Anti-submarine …guns

Official caption: A blue jacket aboard Pennsylvania telling two feminine visitors all about the mechanism of the anti-submarine guns, December 1918.

Photo by Underwood & Underwood via the National Archives 165-WW-332D-42

The gun looks to be a low-angle 3-pounders (47mm), common on earlier battleships of the 1900s for use not only against oncoming torpedo boats but also submarines who, more often than not, were encountered awash or surfaced except during their final attacks. By 1918, they were more or less just used as saluting guns, which would jive for how the two above guns are mounted (i.e. side-by-side so that one crew could work both guns to keep up an easy cadence while the close mounting made it next to impossible to traverse or elevate).  

USS Pennsylvania (BB-38), commissioned 12 June 1916, was originally completed with four 3-inch high angle guns for use as “balloon busters” and anti-aircraft artillery, her smallest “usable” guns. 


RADM Henry T. Mayo’s flagship in 1917, the battleship cooled her heels off the Atlantic coast during the Great War, only heading to France in early December 1918 to escort Mr. Wilson to Paris. She then escorted the coal-fired dreadnoughts of Battleship Divisions Nine and Six back to New York, which had served with the British, arriving back home on Christmas night to a big celebration.

Her Second World War would be much more exciting.

Echoes of Victoria in the Falklands

The Falklands, of course, have a key page in naval history due to the events of 1914 surrounding Graf Spee’s Squadron and an entire chapter involving the events of 1982. However, there is also another, older facet of the Royal Navy that endures in Port Stanley.

From the Falkland Islands Defense Force:

The FIDF, a volunteer Territorial force in the islands, operates two saluting guns on Victory Green marking key ceremonial occasions and acts of remembrance.

The guns are Hotchkiss 3-Pounder [47mm] Quick Firing guns manufactured in 1896 and marked with Queen Victoria’s Royal Seal on the breech. The guns reportedly arrived in the late 1990s from Gibraltar to “replace the previous guns that were in poor condition.”

Now that’s a beautiful mount

The guns were originally used as torpedo boat busters in the Royal Navy and a number endure around the Commonwealth as saluting guns and gate guards. The saluting cases are reloaded and restamped war shots, with the FIDF having some cases with manufacture dates going back to the 1920s.

During public events, each gun is normally crewed by two FIDF members, and the guns are commanded by the FIDF Company Quartermaster Sergeant(CQMS) who is also responsible for maintenance.