Help support TMP


"3", 17 lb and 90mm " Topic


49 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.


Back to the Interwar (WWI to WWII) Message Board

Back to the WWII Naval Discussion Message Board

Back to the Early 20th Century Discussion Message Board

Back to the 19th Century Discussion Message Board

Back to the WWII Discussion Message Board


1,806 hits since 15 Oct 2012
©1994-2014 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

BullDog69 Inactive Member15 Oct 2012 11:39 p.m. PST

Quick one:

Why are some guns referred to by their calibre (whether using Imperial or metric units – eg. 3" or 120mm) and some by their weight of shell – eg. 12-lber, 17-lber etc.

This does not seem to be a national thing – I have seen a Royal Navy pre-Dreadnought described as having some 10" guns and some 12-lb guns etc. The smaller Naval guns landed in the Boer War to support the army are referred to as 12-lbers and the larger ones as 4.7" guns (which were a 45-lber), so it seems that someone decided to use one measurement for one, and another for the other.

Similarly, it is not a Naval thing vs an Army thing – some tanks had 45mm guns, others had 17-lb guns.

Any ideas?

Patrick R16 Oct 2012 1:43 a.m. PST

Early guns were sorted by "weight of shot" this tradition continued for centuries. When they had guns of the same "weight" they would sometimes use a calibre to differentiate between the two weapons.

A good example is the 17 pounder gun. The calibre is 76.2mm in metric. The 77mm was derived from the 17 pounder gun and had the same calibre but was named 77mm to avoid confusion between the 17 pounder and the American 76mm.

BullDog69 Inactive Member16 Oct 2012 2:20 a.m. PST

Interestingly, the 12-lber I mention in the OP was a 3" gun, and was therefore not going to be confused with the 4.7" gun I also mentioned. Apparently, the 12-lber was referred to as the '12 cwt' (12 hundredweight) to avoid confusion with other 12-pound guns … so there's another factor thrown into the mix!

Hornswoggler16 Oct 2012 4:20 a.m. PST

In British nomenclature guns were originally designated by the weight (in pounds) of their standard projectile while howitzer names used the calibre (in inches). After WWI this system got rather confused when the strict dichotomy between gun and howitzer became blurred. You already have the explanation behind the use of metric for the 77mm.

US guns were designated by their calibre, usually metric but could be imperial depending on age (eg 8in howitzer M1, 4.5in gun M1, 8in gun M1, 3in gun M5, etc).

I don't know anything about naval guns… ;o)

Personal logo Texas Jack Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2012 5:32 a.m. PST

I´ve also seen in old naval annuals guns referred to by the weight of the gun itself, e.g. 55 tonner. Rather difficult to figure out just what it is supposed to be.

StormforceX16 Oct 2012 5:45 a.m. PST

Using weight of shot to designate guns goes back to the very earliest cannon. Calibre measured in inches or mm is a modern idea and in the first half of the 20th century both systems were common, hence the two sets of names.

Personal logo Tango 2 3 Ditto Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2012 5:59 a.m. PST

For WWII, at least (and I know Bulldog has posted to other boards too) I can only recall the British having weight of shot as the designation. Or have I missed any others?
--
Tim

Maddaz111 Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Oct 2012 6:05 a.m. PST

Guns in second world war were in British weight of shot, Howitzers were calibre in inches.

25 pounder gun
5.5 inch howitzer.

some gun howitzers had strange designations, since they fit into neither and both categories at the same time!

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2012 6:07 a.m. PST

Because artillery is an esoteric art, and not a sceince. Or vice versa.

troopwo Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2012 6:59 a.m. PST

Depends on the country, service traditions and standard of measure at the time.

US was inches unless they adopted someone else's artillery.
Hence the 3" gun.
Or the 'soixante-quainze' despite it being a french munition in a britsh artillery piece???

Later the US adopted the metric nomenclature for the 90mm, since the 3.54" would have been a bit long of a description.

In the UK, lighter hand loaded naval guns were described by weight of shot. Hence, six pounder, twelve pounder et cetera. The tanks adopted ex-naval guns and many of those traditions just carried through. 2, 6, 17 and 20 pounder.

Strangely enough the UK also adopted inch terms for odd weapons such as the 3" close support gun from the then artillery piece.

The 77mm, on the Comet, was an amalgam from the breech of the 75mm adopted on to the barrel of the 17 pounder. To avoid confusing the ammo, it was referred to as the 77mm.

Confusing, yes.

Better to have multiple names than to have the confusion and the wrong ammo delivered. Imagine you are the Red Infantry commander who receives a five ton truck loaded down with 7.62mm pistol and 7.62mm Mosin-Nagant ammo for their 7.62mm AKs.

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2012 7:46 a.m. PST

"Guns in second world war were in British weight of shot, Howitzers were calibre in inches."

Apart from AA guns like the 3.7":)

donlowry16 Oct 2012 9:54 a.m. PST

Strangely enough the UK also adopted inch terms for odd weapons …

Not so strange, since the UK did not adopt the metric system until after the war.

John D Salt16 Oct 2012 10:23 a.m. PST

I've said it before, and I have no doubt that I shall be forced to say it again, but no weapons are ever correctly referred to as "12-lb" or "17-lber". Acceptable abbreviations are "-pr" or "-pdr".

All the best,

John.

Maddaz111 Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Oct 2012 10:45 a.m. PST

my dad fired bofor guns – they were 40mm.

yes – AA guns might not fit either rule.

Griefbringer16 Oct 2012 12:01 p.m. PST

Don't forget that in WWII, US adopted the British 6 pdr ATG design, and named it as 57 mm ATG.

John D Salt16 Oct 2012 3:53 p.m. PST

Maddaz111 wrote:


my dad fired bofor guns – they were 40mm.

Your Dad? I fired Bofors gus when I was a kid!

Bofors guns were Swedish, so the AA gun was the 40/60 and the ATk gun was the Bofors 37mm.

I'm still waiting for an explanation of the 95mm howitzer.

All the best,

John.

Hornswoggler16 Oct 2012 6:37 p.m. PST

I've said it before, and I have no doubt that I shall be forced to say it again, but no weapons are ever correctly referred to as "12-lb" or "17-lber". Acceptable abbreviations are "-pr" or "-pdr".

Amen to that. And yes I am sure you will be saying it again !

Leadgend16 Oct 2012 10:39 p.m. PST

Presumably the 95mm Howitzer (used on later CS tanks) was named that to avoid confusion with the existing 3.7" mountain howitzer and 3.7" CS howitzer fitted to earlier CS tanks. All 3 weapons were the same calibre (3.7" = 94mm).

Leadgend16 Oct 2012 10:50 p.m. PST

When guns were first standardised in the 18th century the only type of ammo fired from Cannon was solid balls. This meant that there was a direct relationship between the bore size of the gun and the weight of the ammo. Therefore referring to a gun by the weight of it's shot also specified the bore size.

Howitzers and mortars could also fire hollow balls with powder filler so there wasn't necessarily a direct relationship therefore it would be necessary to specify the bore size of a weapon separately to the weight of the ammo.

When more modern shell shapes appeared in the mid 19th century the relationship between the weight of the ammo and bore size of all guns became disconnected but the tradition of naming guns by the nominal weight of the ammo they fired continued for a long time after that.

Sometimes similar guns were distinguished be referring to the weight of the gun or the carriage as well.

jowady17 Oct 2012 4:05 a.m. PST

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that there were so many exceptions to the rule because there really was no rule. During the American Civil War for example you had tow guns, the 3 inch ordnance rifle and the 10 pdr Parrot. Bothe rifled guns firing the same ammunition. In the US during WW2 you had the 90mm AA gun as well as the 3 inch AA gun. There are just too many exceptions to say that there was a hard and fast rule.

BullDog69 Inactive Member17 Oct 2012 4:19 a.m. PST

"Guns in second world war were in British weight of shot, Howitzers were calibre in inches."

Apart from AA guns like the 3.7":)


And also naval main guns which were (as far as I am aware) always referred to by their calibre in inches – 6" / 14" / 16" or whatever.
And, to complicate things still further, I imagine some of HM ships had the 'Grand Slam' / 'Holy Trinity' of (eg) 14" main armanent, 40mm Bofors and 2-pdr pom-poms.

BullDog69 Inactive Member17 Oct 2012 4:33 a.m. PST

Why is (eg) 12-lber (rather than 12-pdr) 'unacceptable', rather than just 'another way to say it'?

It seems to be in widespread usage:

link

link

Jemima Fawr17 Oct 2012 8:17 a.m. PST

Yes, the designation of 95mm and 77mm came directly from a desire to avoid the utter chaos caused in the supply chain by the adoption of umpteen different types of 75mm round.

John D Salt17 Oct 2012 10:25 a.m. PST

BullDog69 wrote:


Why is (eg) 12-lber (rather than 12-pdr) 'unacceptable', rather than just 'another way to say it'?

Because it's wrong, in the same way that apostrophe abuse is wrong.


It seems to be in widespread usage:

So it's a widespread mistake. Which is why I confidently expect to have to correct people's mistaken usage for some time to come.

All the best,

John.

John the Confused17 Oct 2012 4:52 p.m. PST

Another version – the 100 ton gun

BullDog69 Inactive Member17 Oct 2012 10:49 p.m. PST

John D Salt

OK – but WHY is it wrong and who declared this? Do you mean (eg) it was wrong in WW2 British army usage – which, if so, is not necessarily the same as it being wrong for all usage.

I can find evidence to support correct apostrophe usage, but cannot find anything that says 'lber' is wrong and 'pdr' / 'pr' is right? Why do some use 'pdr' and some 'pr'? Do those who prefer 'pr' think that 'pdr' is incorrect?

You may well be correct but please can you post something to support your assertion? I am sure you will agree that simply unilaterally declaring something is wrong – and that you are right – is not really presenting a convincing argument.

John D Salt17 Oct 2012 11:36 p.m. PST

BullDog69 wrote:


WHY is it wrong and who declared this?

Nobody "declared" it, we don't have an Academie Francaise.

To support of my assertion I call upon the whole corpus of military literature prior to, ooh, let's say 1970, but certainly up to the time '-pdr' designations stopped being applied to current gun designs.

Find a solitary instance of the '-lber' usage in an official document prior to 1970, and I might possibly reconsider, but otherwise it seems fairly clear that it is a recent back-formation by people ignorant of ordnance. As I hardly ever saw the mistake made before internet use became widespread, I assume that the internet accounts for a good deal of the spread of it.

All the best,

John.

BullDog69 Inactive Member17 Oct 2012 11:51 p.m. PST

John D Salt

Very interesting – but still not sure if that makes it 'wrong' as such – as you say, we do not have a Academie Francaise and 'lb' is an accepted abbreviation for 'pound'.

However, I think it is an interesting point that 'modern' / revised parlance can get 'projected' back into history and the power of the internet to do such things is worrying.

I shall have to check my books when I get home and see if I can find that solitary instance for you.

BullDog69 Inactive Member18 Oct 2012 1:30 a.m. PST

Not home yet, but just been reading General Maurice's Official History of the War in South Africa. He doesn't use 'lber' and uses 9-pr / 9-pounder. In contrast, Conan-Doyle's account of the War writes the weight in long-hand: 'seven-pounder' and 'fifteen-pounder'. Stalker's history of the Natal Carbineers refers to guns as being '6 inch' while Maurice always uses 6-in but not 6". Boer General Ben Viljoen doesn't use any sort of suffix and merely refers to the RN guns as 4.7s. Interestingly, Maurice also doesn't use 'mm' to define the calibre of Boer guns – he uses 'm/m'.
Maurice does however describe the Long-Toms as flinging shells of '96 lbs. weight' and Colonel Frank Johnson refers to '24 lb Naval Rockets' in his account of the Rhodesian Pioneer Column. I Googled rockets and I see that the RP-3 (from Rocket Projectile 3 inch), a British air-to-ground rocket (later used in other roles too) used in the Second World, was referred to as the "60 lb rocket"; the 25 lb (11.3 kg) solid-shot armour piercing variant was referred to as the "25 lb rocket". (wiki)

So it would seem that there was far from a uniform way of referring to calibres and weights and I can't really see that any are especially wrong or right.

That said, I do prefer 'pdr' – though should it be 12-pdr or 12 pdr? Which is 'correct'?

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2012 4:27 a.m. PST

US guns were fairly consistent with a few exceptions.

Naval guns were in inches with smaller AA in mm.

Army weapons were usually mm with a few notable exceptions.

The 3" was developed from the 3" naval AA gun and retained the inch designation vice being called 76mm.

The 4.5 inch was developed during the war and retained the inch designation apparently to differentiate it from the 105 with which it shared many components.

The 8" howitzer a bit more obscure. The best explanation I could find was that it owed at least some of its design characteristics to the Britis 8".

In support weapons you have the 4.2 inch mortar which was developed from the British model and retained the name.

John D Salt18 Oct 2012 11:05 a.m. PST

BullDog69 wrote:


Maurice does however describe the Long-Toms as flinging shells of '96 lbs. weight' and Colonel Frank Johnson refers to '24 lb Naval Rockets' in his account of the Rhodesian Pioneer Column. I Googled rockets and I see that the RP-3 (from Rocket Projectile 3 inch), a British air-to-ground rocket (later used in other roles too) used in the Second World, was referred to as the "60 lb rocket"; the 25 lb (11.3 kg) solid-shot armour piercing variant was referred to as the "25 lb rocket". (wiki)

So it would seem that there was far from a uniform way of referring to calibres and weights and I can't really see that any are especially wrong or right.

Notice that all the examples you give refer to the projectile, not to the gun. I am talking about guns. So were you, when the thread started.


though should it be 12-pdr or 12 pdr? Which is 'correct'?

I prefer 12-pdr or 12-pr, but hyphenation is a matter of taste. "-lber" isn't a matter of taste, it's a mistake. I am entirely confident that it occurs nowhere in, for example, Pemberton's compendious "The Development of Artillery Tactics and Equipment", nor any of the works of Shelford Bidwell or Master Gunner Ian Hogg, nor Gudmundsson's "On Artillery", nor any offcial document to be had from the National Archives.

All the best,

John.

Timbo W18 Oct 2012 11:56 a.m. PST

pdr for 'pounder' as in "Hard pounding this, gentlemen; let's see who will pound longest"
lber can only be 'lobber', far too common a term for the Duke

:-)

Leadgend18 Oct 2012 9:51 p.m. PST

Marc33594 wrote:[q]
The 4.5 inch was developed during the war and retained the inch designation apparently to differentiate it from the 105 with which it shared many components.
[/q]
The M1 4.5" gun was developed to use the British 4.5" gun ammo to provide a long range medium gun for Counterbattery fire. It shared most components with the M1 155mm Howitzer.
[q]
In support weapons you have the 4.2 inch mortar which was developed from the British model and retained the name.
[/q]
The British and US weapons are entirely different. The British weapon is a conventional Stokes/Brandt type mortar while the US weapon is an unusual rifled design.

BullDog69 Inactive Member19 Oct 2012 1:44 a.m. PST

John D Salt

The part of my post which you chose not to quote referred to guns, and showed that there were many different ways to describe them, rather than a single over-riding standard. That was the point I was making. I remain a little bemused that you can say that 'pr', 'pdr', '-pr' and '-pdr' are all equally correct, and one can simply chose which one you like the most – this rather suggests to me there isn't a single accepted way to write it, and therefore it is difficult to say others are 'wrong'.

Language changes all the time: writing 'to-day' (instead of 'today') is now unusual, but that does not make it 'wrong' or anything to get upset about. Similarly, British accounts from the late 1800s tend to use a 'z' where we use today would use an 's' – again, neither is right or wrong as such – just 'old fashioned' perhaps. Apparently, what we now consider 'American' ways of spelling today were standard in the UK at the time. As you yourself admitted, the English language does not have an equivalent to the Academie Francaise, so no one is in a position to declare if something is right or wrong. If a word / abbreviation becomes – for whatever reason – accepted / widespread, then it becomes just another way to say it. Which is the point I was making. I am sure you are absolutely correct that 'lber' was not used at the time, but (as I showed in an earlier post) it has entered the modern lexicon (rightly or wrongly) and I would suggest there's little point worrying about it. I imagine we all refer to countless things from the ancient / medieval periods by names which would have confused people at the time.

That said I think you have made some excellent points and I shall use '-pdr' in future – it certainly looks a lot better than 'lber' and, as you rightly say, would seem to be more 'historically correct'.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP19 Oct 2012 5:26 a.m. PST

To clarify

The US 4.2 inch (107mm)mortar began life as a development of the British 4 inch (102mm) Mk I mortar. Rifling was added and that changed it from 4 to 4.2 inch. It was decided to keep the inch designation after the weapons original developmental model.

Hauptmann6 Inactive Member19 Oct 2012 1:41 p.m. PST

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that there were so many exceptions to the rule because there really was no rule. During the American Civil War for example you had tow guns, the 3 inch ordnance rifle and the 10 pdr Parrot. Bothe rifled guns firing the same ammunition. In the US during WW2 you had the 90mm AA gun as well as the 3 inch AA gun. There are just too many exceptions to say that there was a hard and fast rule.

The 3 inch rifle and the 10 pound Parrot did not originally have the same bore diameter. The Parrot was originally 2.9" but it was changed in later production to use the same ammo as the 3".

Hauptmann6 Inactive Member19 Oct 2012 1:49 p.m. PST

US guns were fairly consistent with a few exceptions.

Naval guns were in inches with smaller AA in mm.

The reason is the smaller AA guns were of foreign design. The 40mm was the Swedish Bofors, and the 20mm was the Swiss Oerlikon. We did have a 1.1 AA gun used early in the war that wasn't that good of a design and was replaced quickly.

number419 Oct 2012 9:22 p.m. PST

Guns were originally designated by the weight of shot they fired (either a solid ball or an equivalent weight in grape or canister)which was constant; Howitzers were referred to by caliber as the weight of projectile varied according to composition. The advent of dual purpose weapons at the end of the 19th century blurred the distinction (eg the 25 pdr is a gun/howitzer)

This is also true of naval guns – AP and semi-AP are different weights to HE rounds.

Foreign made guns are known by their manufacturer's designation e.g. 40mm Bofors.

The correct terminology for guns in the RA and RHA is "Pdr" as "pr" could mean "pair" and "lber" could be confused "limber" when used in communicating reports and returns.

(It's a gunner thing – the Battery Captain is 'BK' not 'BC')

"Lb" is correct for the weight of a projectile though.

BullDog69 Inactive Member19 Oct 2012 10:59 p.m. PST

number4

Very interesting. Is that a 'recent' change? On checking again, the books that I study (Boer War period mainly) tend to use 'pr' rather than 'pdr', so I'm assuming 'pdr' was adopted as a standard thereafter – maybe WW2?
The leading artillery expert on the Boer War, the late Major Darren Hall (ex South African artillery), also uses 'pr' throughout the books he wrote on the subject in the 60s / 70s / 80s.
Might perhaps 'pdr' be 'wrong' for that period?

Gary Kennedy20 Oct 2012 12:44 p.m. PST

Just scanning through a WW2 Canadian report, and they use, for example, both 6-pr and 6-pdr in the same document. WEs tend to refer to pdr, but I think I've seen some variants.

I tend to use pr myself, and usually hyphenate calibres, be they imperial or metric. I've yet to receive a summons so assume some latitude is still allowed.

Gary

number421 Oct 2012 4:26 p.m. PST

I'm assuming 'pdr' was adopted as a standard thereafter – maybe WW2?

More likely to have been WWI or the interim period with the advent of standardized wireless communication procedures. Basically signaler's shorthand on a message pad which was (still is) taught at Larkhill. This is only for the RA and RHA; officers and non-British gunners may have been taught differently.

Someone writing about historic weapons would naturally use the terminology of the subject period

John D Salt24 Oct 2012 11:21 a.m. PST

Bulldog69 wrote:


The part of my post which you chose not to quote referred to guns, and showed that there were many different ways to describe them, rather than a single over-riding standard.

Yes, but as none of those examples included a '-lber' or similar, I disregarded them as not bearing on that particular question.

If you really want to be baffled by ordnance designation systems, try getting to grips with Soviet GAU/GRAU numbers…

I remain a little bemused that you can say that 'pr', 'pdr', '-pr' and '-pdr' are all equally correct, and one can simply chose which one you like the most – this rather suggests to me there isn't a single accepted way to write it, and therefore it is difficult to say others are 'wrong'.

You may have to explain the logic behind your bemusement before I can sympathise with it. The observation that there is more than one right answer does not imply that all answers are right.

Language changes all the time:

Yes, having studied mediaeval (or medieval) French as part of my first degree, I have been more than usually well aware of this for some time. It still isn't an argument for "do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" as a principle of English usage.

writing 'to-day' (instead of 'today') is now unusual, but that does not make it 'wrong' or anything to get upset about.
But it does not make writing it "2deigh" correct.

As you yourself admitted, the English language does not have an equivalent to the Academie Francaise, so no one is in a position to declare if something is right or wrong.

Au contraire, the lack of a single universally-acknowledged central authority means that everyone is in a position to declare if something is right or wrong.


If a word / abbreviation becomes – for whatever reason – accepted / widespread, then it becomes just another way to say it.

Which is why every true-born Englishman and son of a gunner has a patriotic duty to stamp on this sort of nonsense before everyone thinks it's all right (or alright).


Very interesting. Is that a 'recent' change? On checking again, the books that I study (Boer War period mainly) tend to use 'pr' rather than 'pdr', so I'm assuming 'pdr' was adopted as a standard thereafter – maybe WW2?

I've read numerous WW2-era OR reports which use the "-pr" form, and, without having the book to hand, I believe that Pemberton uses it, too.

All the best,

John.

BullDog69 Inactive Member25 Oct 2012 6:51 a.m. PST

I'm sorry you disregarded that part as it illustrated that there was no over-riding standard in expressing calibre, so it follows that there needn't be an over-riding standard in expressing shot weight.

I agree that '2deigh' is currently not an accepted way to write 'today', but there was a time when 'today' was not an accepted way to say 'to-day' – which was the point I was making. I am pretty sure that, with the rise of sms's etc, '2day' will one day become the accepted way to say 'today'. As I say, language changes.
Similarly, 'pr' would seem to be the 'old fashioned' way to abbreviate 'pounder'. 'pdr' seems to have replaced it in the 20th century – so I am sure there were people who said that 'pdr' was 'wrong' when it first started appearing. number4 suggests that, according to the RA, 'pr' became 'wrong' when 'pdr' was accepted. 'lber' is now widespread and in common use – I earlier provided links which show this, so it strikes me as being no more 'wrong' today than 'pdr' was when it first appeared instead of 'pr'. (or when people started writing 'today' instead of 'to-day')

As I have already said, I certainly agree that 'lber' was not in use back in the day, but neither, it would seem was 'pdr'. Just as 'pdr' seems to have joined 'pr' in the list of 'acceptable' ways to express this, so 'lber' seems to have recently joined it – certainly judging by its widespread use on the internet.

And as you say: 'the lack of a single universally-acknowledged central authority means that everyone is in a position to declare if something is right or wrong', so I take this opportunity to say that I am right and you are wrong. :-p

John D Salt27 Oct 2012 6:52 a.m. PST

Bulldog69 wrote:


I'm sorry you disregarded that part as it illustrated that there was no over-riding standard in expressing calibre, so it follows that there needn't be an over-riding standard in expressing shot weight.

You seem as firmly wedded to non-sequiturs as ever. I am minded to put you up for honorary membership of the NSPF (The Non-Sequitur Society of the UK).
That there isn't a standard for one thing does not imply that ther is not a standard for another; and the existence of a standard is not required for something to be clearly a mistake.


so 'lber' seems to have recently joined it – certainly judging by its widespread use on the internet.

That there's a lot of it on the internet is not my idea of a convincing argument in favour of anything. But even if we take the internet as the supreme authority, above all that tedious printed paper in which '-lber' occurs as far as we can tell not at all, then a few minutes with Google seem to show that hits for "6-pdr", "25-pdr", "17-pdr" outnumber their "-lber" equivalents by about ten to one. The ratio is smaller for "9-lber", but it is clear that a lot of the "lber" hits refer to babies, or fish.

Based on internet hits, the spelling "accomodation" for "accommodation" is more correct that using "-lber" where "-pdr" is correct.

All the best,

John.

number427 Oct 2012 2:27 p.m. PST

'Pdr' was the customary term used by artillerists dating all the way back to the 18th century when the first formal tactics manuals were written. The text is always written longhand -'pounder', but in charts, appendices and tables, 'pdr' is universally used. I have reprints of books (scanned from the original text) from 1792 and 1809 showing this.

BullDog69 Inactive Member28 Oct 2012 10:39 p.m. PST

John D Salt

I look forward to my membership pack for the Non-Sequitur Society of the UK. I am now busily trying to find a society which caters for those who disregard things which you may be interested in joining?

The fact that less people use 'lber' than 'pdr' does not mean that it is 'wrong' or 'unacceptable'. I would suggest that these days less people say 'how do you do?' than 'hello' but that does not make 'how do you do?' unacceptable – or do you disagree? Also, less people seem to use 'gaol' (instead of 'jail') now than a hundred years ago, but that does not make either spelling 'wrong'. When telling the time, my grandfather used to say 'five-and-twenty past' instead of 'twenty-five past' – but again, I do not see how this makes either way of saying it 'wrong' or 'unacceptable'. I do not recall him ever 'correcting' me for not using his style.

We have all agreed that 'lber' was not used in official documents back in the day – something I was not aware of, so I am grateful that this was pointed out to me. However, I think we can all agree that – like it or not – 'lber' has entered modern day language as an abbreviated way to describe the weight of something in pounds: thus I cannot see that you have in any way proven that it is 'wrong'.
As you have failed to convince me, do intend to write to all the people on the internet who use it and inform them of their mistake?


number4

I wonder when the even more abbreviated 'pr' began to be seen, or do you think they always ran concurrently? 'pr' seems to have been predominant by the turn of the 20th Century (in British usage anyway), then to have fallen out of use somewhat by the Second World War?
I was interested in your theory that 'pdr' was favoured as the Royal Artillery standard because 'pr' could be confused with 'pair' and 'lber' could be confused with 'limber' – this suggests that 'lber' must have been in some sort of use back then too, or it would not have been considered a source of confusion?

John D Salt29 Oct 2012 3:09 p.m. PST

Bulldog69 wrote:


As you have failed to convince me, do intend to write to all the people on the internet who use it and inform them of their mistake?

Yes, eventually. If you could provide me with a list of all their addresses, that woud help. In the interim, all I can do is jump with both feet on every instance of this intolerable solecism that comes to my attention. I think my posting record to date will show a bit of effort on my part. It's our language -- let's fight for it!

Of course, things will become easier when we have an armed Grammar Police (the GraPo) with broad powers.

As to my membership of a society for disregarding things, I have already been sent several application forms, I just can't be bothered with them. More important things to occupy my time, d'you see. Like writing to my MP to see if we can have an act passed to outlaw the use of "lber" when referring to British artillery.

All the best,

John.

number429 Oct 2012 7:52 p.m. PST

All the 18th and early 19th century texts I've seen show Pounder abbreviated to 'pdr' when referring to Ordnance and 'lbs' or 'lb' when discussing weights and measures. I have not seen 'pr' anywhere up to that point, but have not studied much in the way of Victorian or Edwardian era material. It certainly seems by the mid 19th century that the two terms are interchangeable. If I had to guess, I would say it came in around the time the plethora of modern ammunition types (BL, QF etc) were introduced.

Never seen 'lber' on any military document myself; a layman's term – like calling a rifle a 'gun'- perhaps?

david alcock Inactive Member13 Nov 2012 7:40 a.m. PST

dont forget that historically there was no standardised spelling. william shakespere spelt his own name at LEAST 7 WAYS (Saw that on QI)
I THINK IT WAS STANDARD TO FIRE A 25LB SHELL FROM A 25PDR GUN

Sorry - only trusted members can post on the forums.