WW2 Iowa Class Battleship 16" Gun Barrel Slice


That is amazing, Ray! I just noticed that he was on the USS Missouri on his signature tag. WOWWWW! Now he is a real, “EXPERT!” I

I just spent an hour on that Navy Gun sight learning so much and confirmed that the MARK 7 16"/50 Cal was only used on the Iowa Class ships and was planned to be used on the Montana Class which never got built. I am now super excited to show, Roundsworth my display when its done for his thumbs up or down rating :-) The base I designed is at the machine shop now. Once it is done I am going to brass plate it and clad it in teak adding each ships crest. :-) Its gonna weigh a ton!



Roundsworth - I hope I didn’t get you in a bunch of trouble by bringing you out of the closet. I probably should have asked first. But, we former Gunners Mates have to watch out for each other because there are so few of us left, and those of us that are still here can’t remember s**t.



While reading one of my newly acquired, IOWA CLASS BATTLESHIP books, I learned some interesting 16" Ammunition facts. The book mentioned that each of the four, Iowa Class ships had their own TP projectiles, each filled with a different color dye.





I also, learned that during the Vietnam War, that it was not uncommon for these Battleships to fire their 16" HC projectiles into the dense forests to create instant landing areas for helicopters within the shells impact craters. Does this make these projectiles, “Special Purpose?” :-)



No worries, Ray!

My turret fired a handful of 2700 pound APs, 9 if I remember correctly, at Iraqi concrete bunkers. The remainder of the 700+ rounds from Missouri were 1900 pound HCs. The APs were identified with red dots. RPVs provided a lot of coverage for us. We were able to watch the results on our CCTV afterward. Toward the end, the Iraqis were waving white flags before the shooting even started. They must have figured out what was coming a minute or two after the little planes went buzzing overhead! The last two Iowa class ships were the Illinois and Kentucky(?). The Detroit was a very large auxiliary ship, AOE(?), that used lots of the propulsion gear from the last two BBs.


I cannot imagine the sense of pride it must be to be able to say, “MY TURRET FIRED,” and be talking about a turret on the USS Missouri during a wartime event. I will never be able to put into words how much I respect and admire all who Serve our great Country. I am so looking forward to showing you my display when I am done building it for your opinion.

Question, what it the typical time of flight a 16" projectile takes to impact its target at its maximum effective distance?



At maximum range, 41,000 yards or so, time of flight was about 1-1/2 minutes. Thank you for the kind words, Jason! I was certainly blessed with a fine crew. They made my job as Turret Captain a real breeze.


1.5 minutes! Wow! That is amazing! I wonder if that is the world record time of flight for a gun fired projectile?



This photo has been making the rounds ever since Al Gore invented the Internet. Shows the projectiles in flight. I don’t remember which ship this is - North Carolina or South Dakota Class?

For some reason, there is a general misconception about the muzzle velocity of all of the big guns. It is actually very modest, usually on the order of 2500 to 2600 fet per second. At elevation for maximum range, the horizontal velocity is less than 2000 fps. Even Major King Kong could ride one at that speed. ;-)



To those younger than 60: Ray is referring to the movie Dr. Strangelove by Stanley Kubrick, not one of the King Kong movies. If you ever come across a DVD, view it.



That is indeed a neat barrel slice and will certainly display well.

I was recently a visitor at the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum. There were a couple of similar 16" gun barrel slices on display there, although I neglected to take a pic of them.

Perhaps they came from one of the many 16" gun tubes that had been stored at Hawthorne back when it was still a Naval Ordnance facility before the Army took over. The pic below that I found on the web shows these 14 spare barrels back in 2009 when they were being offered for disposal.

More of the same barrels.

BTW, I recommend the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum to all here. I could have spent all day there rather than just a couple of hours.


What an awesome photo, Ray! Thank you for posting it. 6 projectiles in flight! So I guess that the ship fired 6 guns from 2 turrets at the same time?

Charlie, WOWWWWWW those are great pictures of the Mark 7, 16"/50Cal barrels at Hawthorne! Now I want an entire barrel, LOL! It turns out, that my barrel slice came from one of those Hawthorne barrels. The guy that I got it from purchased a few 6 foot sections from a few of those barrels at that facility a few years ago to make the slice. It is awesome, getting to see your pictures and I am going to save each one you posted. I really appreciate you sharing them. I noticed that in one of your pictures there is a tape measure at the breach end of the gun. I would love to know that measurement. My slice is from the muzzle end and is about 24 inches wide and 100 pounds. I bet a 1.5 inch slice from the breach end would be double or triple the weight and much wider.



The Watervliet Arsenal has closed its museum and moved out all or most of the big gun tubes that used to be on display. There were dozens of large bore Naval tubes. You could see them from the State Route 787 that runs in front of one of the big machine shop buildings. No one seems to know what has happened to them. Scrapped? The contents of the museum have apparently been crated and stored. The Benet Laboratories are still open (not to the public) and I understand that the Library/research material section of the museum has been brought into the Benet Labs. They are producing barrels there but no longer any public access. The photo from Hawthorne is similar to the array of barrels that were at Watervliet, only fewer. The one tube pictured with the barrel markings is from the H2o’vliet facility. Maybe they will show up as souvenir slices.


As a Marine in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm, I personally appreciated the awesome firepower of those 16" guns covering our advance. Thank you Navy! The story of Iraqi soldiers surrendering to the RPVs was well known to us… Very few Iraqi soldiers stood and fought, most were happy to surrender in the wake of our awesome firepower. They were worn down by the air campaign… Thank you Air Force and that beautiful A-10 and it’s 30mm gun! And even our 1960s vintage M-60 tanks with their 105mm main guns bested everything they had. Our tankers quickly learned that they could shoot THROUGH the sand berms the Iraqi tanks and AFVs were hidden behind and still score a kill with the 105 and 120mm APFSDS rounds…



Major respect for you, AKMS!

Curious what, “RPV’s” are? It sucks that someone made the decision to get rid of the A-10’s! Seems like they were amazing in every way for the rolls that they were designed for with that amazing 30mm gun and specialized ammunition. I have a great photo of a US 120mm M829A1 APFSDS-T round fired in Desert Storm at a T-72 Tank buried in a sand berm, that went threw the berm, threw the tank and out the other side. I was hoping to show that photo in my IAA article but I could not find a way to get permission for its use.



RPVs are ‘Remote-controlled Pilotless Vehicles’. I think I have the nomenclature right! They were little airplanes with cameras mounted on them. They were launched by a small rocket that dropped off when the engine and propeller took over.


Thanks Bud! It was driving me crazy trying to guess :-) Turns out I was not even close.



Roundsworth, if possible, can you please give me your opinion on which of these two battleship crest patches is the most accurate representative of the, USS Missouri BB-63 emblem?

PS: Thank you so much!


The one on the left is like the ones we had in the ship’s store, Jason.


Thank you so much for your help, Roundsworth! Much appreciated :-)



One of the biggest misconceptions is, the ship moves sideways through the water due to gun recoil. I remember standing on the fo’csle when Turret 3 fired all 3 guns off the beam. All I felt was a little ‘wiggle’ under my feet! With a full service charge, the gun recoils 4 feet. There is a large hydraulic recoil cylinder beneath the gun, which contains 100 gallons of very expensive glycerin/water fluid. Two cylinders on top of the gun are charged with 1550 pounds of compressed air to push the gun back into battery. Recoil and counter-recoil are controlled quite well, actually!