Big battleship guns


#1

These pictures were taken at Meridian Naval Air Station, Meridian, Mississippi in 1976. They are fading fast. Number 60 may be USS Alabama. I think the main guns are loaded with bags of propellant instead of a shell. Are there 3 separate loading teams in a turret, or there is 1 team moving from gun to gun?





#2

Hey Vlad

Here’s a good link that will answer questions you didn’t even know to ask: fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/weaps/mk-7.htm

And Ray probably knows the details off the top of his head.

A shame these are all museum pieces now.

Here’s some info on the guns specific to the Alabama: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/16%22/45_c … Mark_6_gun


#3

Vlad

The USS Alabama BB60 was a South Dakota Class battleship. The guns were 16"/45, a little smaller than those on the later Iowa Class. The three guns were seperated by bulkheads so each had its own gun crew.

Ray


#4

The NAVWEAPS site has loads of really great info on all types of naval weapons, all countries, all periods.

Here is the section for the 16"/45
http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_16-45_mk6.htm

Don’t miss the “additional photos” link which has lots more, including the Alabama in winter, turrets under constructions, interior of magazines, etc.
http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_16-45_mk6_pics.htm


#5

They are loaded with both: a “shell” is a projectile. The term you meant was “cartridge case”.

The main armament of the final generation of battleships used bag charges, with few exceptions. Gemany used at least a stub cartridge case with every calibre they designed (including the 80 cm gun), I assume because they preferred sliding breechblocks rather than screw-breeches, and they needed the case to provide obturation.


#6

But you wrote the following in Falcon’s topic “Conversation I had at work today”:

Even among those interested in ammo there are some oddities. Cartridge cases can be called “shells”, projectiles called “heads”. There is also one self-inflicted confusion: these days we refer to the “base” of a cartridge case but still to the “headstamp” - that should surely be a “base stamp”.


#7

Correction: the photos above are from Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. My wife’s memory is fading like the photos themselves. I looked up Meridian, it is a landlocked airstrip.


#8

Vlad,

I would not count the quoted passage as perfect. To me, the base of the cartridge is the part that forms the web of the case, through which the flash hole(s) is punched or drilled, and basically stopping at the extractor groove, when there is one, while the head is the back end of the cartridge. “Headstamp” is a perfectly correct term, although due to some markings now found on cartridges used in Italy, loaded by one firm in another’s cases, that are stamped around the base of the cartridge, we may develop a new word, “basestamp.”

Pivi knows what I am talking about!

That is my take on it anyway. If I am wrong, let me know.

John Moss


#9

To clarify even further, maybe baseRIMstamp.


#10

The term “head” originated in the early days of metallic cartridges. It was basically the rim since most of the cases were folded or balloon head at best and there wasn’t much copper or brass inside the case. “Headstamp” and “headspace” both came from those beginnings.

Things have changed, of course, and the words today often have different meanings than they did 150 years ago. TV, movies, and newspapers don’t help the situation.

Ray


#11

sksvlad,
I grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi, on the Gulf coast. My family loved to travel 120 miles over to Pensacola to camp at Fort Pickens State Park on Santa Rosa Island. About halfway to Pensacola, in Mobile, Alabama, I always remember looking over to see the USS Alabama Battleship over in the Mobile bay. Like you said, Meridian NAS is in mid state not near any water that would hold a battleship. By it’s very name, you can bet it would be in Alabama. Just like the USS New Jersey came home to Camden.

ussalabama.com/about.php

The ship I remember most in Pensacola, FL was the air craft carrier Lexington. Even the Lexington is now retired from service and is an exhibit in Texas.
usslexington.com/

Thanks for telling me about the forum Vlad.
Munitionguy


#12

Most all films and photos that you see of those big guns being fired, center on the Gun Captain. But the real action is off screen. It takes anywhere from 75 to more than 100 sailors to make them work. The unsung heroes. And don’t forget the Gunners Mate back at the Gun Shack keeping the coffee hot for when the shootin’s done. ;)

Ray


#13

Thanks, Munitionguy, I guess one more correction, the battleship has moved from “The one who has 4 “eyes” and can’t see”, to Florida and now to Alabama in a matter of hours. So it is now in Mobile, Alabama, finally. Hey, I told you this forum is fun.


#14

[quote=“sksvlad”]But you wrote the following in Falcon’s topic “Conversation I had at work today”:

Even among those interested in ammo there are some oddities. Cartridge cases can be called “shells”, projectiles called “heads”. There is also one self-inflicted confusion: these days we refer to the “base” of a cartridge case but still to the “headstamp” - that should surely be a “base stamp”.[/quote]
Sorry, on reflection my wording was unclear. The examples I gave of “shells” for cases and “heads” for projectiles are of incorrect use. As others have pointed out, “head” and “base” of the case are more debatable.


#15

I just saw a great artillery special on “The Military Channel”, I saw Iowa class turrets from inside, wth crews loading gun powder barrels, magazine in action etc. Now I even know why the barrels lower themselves after disgorging a projectile.