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Servicing the big guns

Discussion in 'World war II at Sea' started by Moscow, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. Moscow

    Moscow Member

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    Trying to find out how the barrels of the big guns on the battleships were swapped out. As I have read, after a few hundred firings, the barrels of the guns would need to be replaced, but the guns could not be field disassembled. Did the ships have to get to a port to get new barrels, or maybe a supply ship with new barrels could be called upon? If the latter is the case, how were the barrels installed if they could not be field stripped? If the ship had to be in port, was the whole section that was above the deck replaced or could they just replace the barrels?

    Also, was watching some Bismarck documentaries over the weekend, and one gentleman had a framed picture on his wall. It was the famous picture of the Bismarck seen in the glow of an explosion. The picture was maybe 12" x 18". I did a quick look on the web (quick look because I am at work), but could not find any company reproducing this picture for sale. If anyone can direct me to a site that sells reproductions of naval photos (not paintings), I would be much obliged.

    Thx
     
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  2. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    It had to be done in port. Individual guns could be taken out of turrets; a ship that had a long career might have a large number of individual guns at various times. Or a gun might serve on multiple ships. I'm no expert, but the barrel includes a liner which is the part which is replaced. Liners would usually be changed after 200-300 rounds.

    I work for a state department of transportation, and we operate a couple of short line railroads. A few years ago a 16" gun which was on the battleship Missouri at the time of the Japanese surrender in 1945 was shipped by rail to a local park, but of course the Missouri still has a full complement of nine guns.
     
  3. rprice

    rprice Member

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  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    They could do this in the floating drydocks, yes?
     
  5. Moscow

    Moscow Member

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  6. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Don't have any pre-knowledge to help you, but love the question.
    One of those 'hang on a minute, how the hell?' thoughts.

    Nice footage of Iowa barrels on the move:


    A chap on ww2 aircraft shared this shot of a US ship having barrels lifted at Bremerton:
    RN going with 15' or 16' for KGV BB - pros cons?
    Replacing 14-inch guns with guns with new lining at the Navy Yard in Bremerton WA.jpg

    Might be worth further digging into Naval Station Bremerton as a WW2 facility.
     
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  7. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    Bottom picture is a Pennsylvania-class BB, I think. The gun is going into #4 turret. The give-away is the stack in the picture. If this were the bow you wouldn't see the stacks at that angle.
     
  8. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    The crane is still there at Bremerton. I see it about every other day. Here is a good shot of it:

    Load Test on Hammerhead Crane 1933
     
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  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    USS New Mexico undergoing refit in 1944.

    Not the USS Pennsylvania.
    -No tripod mast visible.
    -The main battery turrets had all three guns on the same gun slide, so it was impossible to elevate guns individually, as is shown in the photo.
     
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  10. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    Yeah, I shoulda peeked. Trucked stacks and the bridge dead forward of that. One of my favorite shots of her:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Moscow

    Moscow Member

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    WOW, the first pic that comes up for me is a load test of 7-8 guns with two men standing on the guns at the highest elevation! Crazy, absolutely crazy. Thank you for the link.
     
  12. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Also the antiaircraft director on the centerline - Mark 28 or 33? Pennsy's AA directors were on either side of the tripod foremast; the original ones were replaced by Mark 37s when she got her 5"/38 secondary armament.

    It's a bit fuzzy, but we can also make out the Mark 31 surface fire control system below the AA director. Mark 31 had most of its equipment housed in an armored fire control station, with the optics in the small cylinder on top, with the stubby range finder arms. On the New Mexicos there was also a lower level to control the 5"/51 secondary armament; this was wider and had a director on either side. There was a similar arrangement on the forward superstructure.

    Mark 31 was state of the art when the New Mexicos were modernized in 1931-34 and would presumably have gone on the "Big Five" if the Depression had not cancelled their modernizations. The only other ships to mount Mark 31 were the New Orleans class cruisers; it was in the preliminary design for the Brooklyns but they were ultimately built with the Mark 34.

    This photo shows the Mark 31 array, with a larger armored range finder on the centerline; there was also one aft.


    [​IMG]
     
  13. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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  14. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Prince Eugen having a gun lifted out at Philadelphia: 8127c7b3d0b7a71923d17b4259ff9381.jpg
     
  15. Takao

    Takao Ace

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  16. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    Sit next to me in class, please.
     
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  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I'll confess, this time I did cheat, and looked at the New Mexico's Navsouce photo page...that photo has a pretty long and thorough write up.
     
  18. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    I knew it would something like that. I downloaded the entire Online Library of Photographs from NHHC a few years ago*, those pictures almost always had a caption.

    *A few million pictures with no index. :rolleyes:
     

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