Tangent sights

Three patterns of RML (Rifled Muzzle Loading) Guns were produced at the Royal Arsenal Woolwich and the Elswick Works in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The 64-Pounders were first put into service with the Royal Navy in 1864. They were used as broadside or pivot guns.

The gun was made with a calibre of 6·3 inches (160mm) in order to make use of 32-Pounder smoothbore ammunition in an emergency situation.

64-Pounder gun
RML 64-Pounder Gun at Mount Palmer, Singapore

The RML 64-Pounder Guns mounted in Singapore would seem to have been Mark IIIs. There were two at Mount Palmer, two at Fort Teregah, two at Fort Blakang Mati East (later renamed as Fort Connaught), and two at Fort Siloso.

The RML 64-Pounder 64 Cwt was a rifled muzzle loading cannon which weighed 64 cwt (3251 kg). It fired a projectile weighing approximately 64 lbs (29 kg). The weight of the projectile varied on the type, common or shrapnel shell usually.

The gun barrel

The barrel is of of four sections; A toughened mild steel 'A' Tube with an inner diameter of 6·3 inches, The wrought iron 'B' Tube is shrunk onto the muzzle end of the 'A' Tube, The Breech Coil made of coils of wrought iron is shrunk on the rear of the 'A' Tube, overlapping the 'B' Tube a little, finally the wrought Iron Cascable screw. The trunnions for mounting the gun on its carriage were shrunk onto the Breech Coil.

The gun had three rifling grooves with a twist of 1 turn in 40 calibres (252 inches/6·4 metres)

64-Pounder Gun
RML 64-Pounder 64 cwt on display at Fort Siloso.
The replica carriage on which the gun sits is not as used in Singapore

Gun and carriageThere were a couple of variations of gun carriages for the RML 64-Pounder 64 cwt, however the most likely one used in Singapore would have been the Carriage No. 8, or the Carriage No.9. Both being very similar. The drawing to the right shows a Carriage, Medium No.8.

The standard ammunition was 'Common Shell', weighing 64½ lbs (29.25 kg). Shrapnel Shells of 75·6 lbs were also available. The firing charge was a 10 lb (4·5 kg) charge of R.L.G. Powder giving a muzzle velocity of 1390 feet per second (420 metres p/s). The gun had a range of 5,000 yards (4,572 metres).

The gun crew would normally consist of eight men:-

The Gun Commander
No.1 The Gun Layer, controlling aiming and firing.
No.2 Handling swabbing the gun barrel between shots.
No.3 Handspike and hauling down tackle.
No.4 Helping No. 2, operating the truck lever and elevating the gun.
No.5 Truck lever and assisting the No.7.
No.6 Handling cartridge cases.
No.7 Handling fuses, shells and running back the gun.

If need be, the gun could be operated with a team of four men.

Page from a manual
Treatise on Construction and Manufacture of Service Ordnance, 1879

The Guns of Singapore