The Hotchkiss Gun
The Hotchkiss 3 pdr gun fitted to Pinnace 199 was built in 1887 and still carries a readable proof plate from 1898. From its markings it is known that it was reproofed in 1945 and fitted on an armed yacht which was sunk later in that year.
The gun was salvaged by a trawler in its nets in about 1980. It was taken to the Maritime Heritage Workshop in Gosport for cleaning and restoration. Although the inside of the barrel is seriously corroded, the external condition of the gun is excellent.
When armed with a Hotchkiss gun, pinnaces were often referred to as picket boats as a result of their activities as a picket patrolling the capital ship anchorage. The combination of speed and quick firing ability made the steam picket boat a formidable defence against to the torpedo boat threat of the late 1800s and early 1900s. In addition to the Hotchkiss gun, the picket boat would have carried a light Maxim machine gun on the cabin roof and a number of rifles stowed in the aft cockpit.
Steam picket boats were also, on occasions, fitted with two torpedoes carried in racks on either side of the hull.