Shell fired miles high before hitting target

Firemen battle with the blaze at Havant Thicket

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I know there are many ex-naval gunners who read Remember When and love it when I find facts like the one below.

I discovered this diagram showing how high a shell reached after being fired from a battleship’s 16in gun on its 20-mile journey to its target.

To arrive at their destination, shells would reach up to five miles high. As seen, the shell could be fired over Mont Blanc at 15,782 feet (just under three miles high).

These guns were mounted on the battleships HMS Nelson and Rodney, both launched in 1925 but sent to be made into razor blades in the late 1940s.

Although the range of these guns was 20 miles, they were usually fired at ranges of 15 down to 10 miles as it was a waste to fire them until the target could be seen.

Bad weather and a moving target often meant that many shells missed their targets – only one in 10 actually hit.