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  1. #16
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_NJ View Post
    Very interesting information as usual!!! So there could be shells from the 40's still in storage at Earl NWS or another facility. Don't think 1-3 were really answered though. Did I miss something?
    Topic - BB shells
    1)When was the last time that 16 inch shells and powder charges for the Iowa class manufactured?
    Powder was re-manufactured in the 1980's according to sources aboard BB64 in 1991, new projectile types were introduced in this time frame as well, including the cargo projectiles with multiple bomblets
    2)Where were they manufactured?
    Not sure, that would take more digging - I remember seeing some good documentation on Eugene Slover's page about the equipment that pressed the copper bands on the projectiles.
    3)Since the Iowa's have been stricken from the naval register and there is no chance they will see service again, is the navy still storing surplus shells?
    Not sure, the Navy doesn't publish details of ammunition storage that I am aware of, it is possible that they have some. Since the projectiles themselves are very stable - there would probably not be any hurry to get rid of them
    4)Could any existing shells be dated as far back as the 40's?
    Yes, it is possible, WWII vintage shells were used in the first Gulf war - though they were re-certified and probably had new fuses. As I understood existing stocks of projectiles were not depleted

    http://www.eugeneleeslover.com/USN-G...D-TESTING.html
    http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_16-50_mk7.htm
    http://www.eugeneleeslover.com/USN-G...SN-POWDER.html
    http://www.eugeneleeslover.com/USNAV...II-PAGE-1.html
    Last edited by USSWisconsin; 11 Jan 11, at 18:24.
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  2. #17
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Crane Indiana among other ordinace facilities inspected them prior to re-issue into the surplus for the 1980's reactivation. When tested, they would have extra dye packs added to them if they were not considered up to the weight specifications the USN sets. There are actually a few different ordinace installations. You have them on the East Coast to service Norfolk, and ofcoarse Dahlgrens needs for testing. The West Coast to service facilities there such as Long Beach and in the Mid West as a precaution against anything ever happeneing to the other installations. There are several contractors that are capable of inspection and re-issue once past USN inspection and testing.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 13 Jan 11, at 16:23.
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    Couple questions I've been meaning to ask for a while:
    1) Are the 16" (or any) guns rifled or not, and if you know the answer, why?
    2) If you'll look at the barrel of a modern tank gun or of many modern artillery tubes, you'll see a segment of the barrel that is thicker than the rest of the barrel. This thickened part of the barrel is a gas extraction system, to remove the poisonous gases from the tank and the crew that are created by the propellants after firing. Why don't any of the Naval guns I've seen have one of these systems, or is it just located somewhere else?
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  4. #19
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigross86 View Post
    Couple questions I've been meaning to ask for a while:
    1) Are the 16" (or any) guns rifled or not, and if you know the answer, why?
    2) If you'll look at the barrel of a modern tank gun or of many modern artillery tubes, you'll see a segment of the barrel that is thicker than the rest of the barrel. This thickened part of the barrel is a gas extraction system, to remove the poisonous gases from the tank and the crew that are created by the propellants after firing. Why don't any of the Naval guns I've seen have one of these systems, or is it just located somewhere else?
    The 16" BB guns are all rifled, they refer to them as naval rifles.
    They have compressed air to purge the bore, the big ships have room for compressors, and they were all designed in the 1930's when modern bore evacuators hadn't been invented. The modern guns have bore evacuators too, some do have tank like systems, the 3" OTO SRF gun, with the big knob like thing on the barrel, is an example.
    Last edited by USSWisconsin; 13 Jan 11, at 18:55.
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  5. #20
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigross86 View Post
    Couple questions I've been meaning to ask for a while:
    1) Are the 16" (or any) guns rifled or not, and if you know the answer, why?
    2) If you'll look at the barrel of a modern tank gun or of many modern artillery tubes, you'll see a segment of the barrel that is thicker than the rest of the barrel. This thickened part of the barrel is a gas extraction system, to remove the poisonous gases from the tank and the crew that are created by the propellants after firing. Why don't any of the Naval guns I've seen have one of these systems, or is it just located somewhere else?
    Hi BigRoss, an answer to your questions:

    1) The 16"/50 cal Mk 7's are rifled. There are 96 grooves to her rifling. If you used a particular equasion you would be able to figure out the "lands" percentage to the rifling grooves. It will be a percentage mulitplication to put you into the ballpark.
    They are officialy rifled at 1 in 25 RH (Naval Standard) twist. Which means for the 50 cal rifle, the projectile is rotated exactly two times before exiting the barrel. The reason for the rifling is to spin the projectile at about 4,000 rpm with high velocity to impart anti roll stability to the projectile in flight. In flight, the projectile for how fast its moving has many physical forces acting upon it that attempt to make it roll over in flight. These must be taken into consideration along with your solution to improve accuracy.

    This is a two part answer:

    2a) The Obturator Unit.
    The Obturator unit is assembled in the breech plug and carrier. It consists of the Mushroom head (which your powder bags back up to and where your primer feeds into the gun tube for ignition) Gas check pad, (which prevents the backflow of gases from the breech when the gun is fired). I have posted a pic of this assembly and the Firing lock mechanism on the Battleships thread (Barrel Wear I believe). It is only visable from the open breech position. Air also feeds the breeching system for allowing the breech to be opened, then locking into position and then must be released by a foot lever to allow closing the breech of the gun. Without air assist it would be pretty much impossible for one man to cycle the breech on his own as it has considerable weight. This is the protection again the realease of gases into the gun pits and therefore your crew protection.

    2b) Gas ejectors- automatic low pressure air porting system contains, airline, valves and an automatic acting valve that opens internally from orifices inside the Screw Box once the breech is cycled for opening. This expels any reminants left in the bore from the previous round or powder bags. The valve is mechanically held open to purge the gun until manually closed and released by your Gun Captain. After he trips a manual safety switch, the gun will fall in elevation back to the 5 degree loading position for reloading.

    The location of these air lines is piped from the Right side Trunion of the gun down to the Projectile handling flats where it is fed from five different tanks at about 150-200 psi.

    In the 1980's reactivation onward it was also offered to split the sytem and demonstrate how nitrogen purge could be used for its instant cooling effects reducing elongation of the of the barrel liner and completely smothering and burning remnants immediately.

    These systems and their back ups support not only the Gas Ejector system but also the air assist for cycling the breech.

    Hope this answers your questions.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 13 Jan 11, at 20:38.
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  6. #21
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    Here is a picture showing the fume extractor on the OTO-Melara 3" naval gun

    Dreadnought: thanks, your answer was much more detailed and interesting than mine.

    I might add the Japanese, British and earlier US 16" battleship guns were also rifled, as were the Russian and German 16" guns that never made it onto a battleship.

    ATG's went back to smooth bore guns for armor penetration and to facilitate the use of hollow charge projectiles. The long dart like sabo kinetic penetrators used in tank rounds work better in a fin stabilized configuration, the ideal length for a rifled projectile is shorter than these darts - which can focus more energy on a smaller area due to the weight of longer projectile. By the time of these developments in armor piercing ammuntion, the days of the armored batttleship had passed.
    Last edited by USSWisconsin; 13 Jan 11, at 23:57.
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  7. #22
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    The only SMOOTH BORE Naval guns I ever had an involvment in was the 8-inch MCLW gun. We installed only one for test purposes on the Destroyer USS Hull (DD-945). A photo of Hull firing the gun is on page 282 of my book.
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  8. #23
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    Where there ever nuclear battleship shells?

  9. #24
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Where there ever nuclear battleship shells?
    Yes - this was an un boosted fission type, 15 - 20 KT uranium gun assembly warhead, very similar in principle to the Hiroshima "Little Boy" bomb. It used the same design as the W-19 warhead for the 280mm "Atomic Annie" US Army projectile in a 16" projectile body. and had about 262,000 times more explosive energy than a conventional HE projectile. While the British and French could have developed similar projectiles, there is no information that I have seen indicating they did.

    USA 16"/50 (40.6 cm) Mark 7 Pictures
    List of All U.S. Nuclear Weapons

    A total of fifty Mark 23 "Katie" nuclear projectiles were produced during the 1950s with development starting in 1952 and the first service projectile being delivered in October 1956. It is possible that the W23 nuclear warhead used for this projectile may have been installed inside of an otherwise unaltered HC Mark 13 shell body, although one of the sources listed below says that the projectile was slightly smaller than the Mark 13. USS Iowa, USS New Jersey and USS Wisconsin had an alteration made to Turret II magazine to incorporate a secure storage area for these projectiles. USS Missouri was not so altered as she had been placed in reserve in 1955. This secure storage area could contain ten nuclear shells plus nine Mark 24 practice shells. These nuclear projectiles were all withdrawn from service by October 1962 with none ever having been fired from a gun. One projectile was expended as part of Operation Plowshare (the peaceful use of nuclear explosive devices) and the rest were deactivated. USS Wisconsin did fire one of the practice shells during a test in 1957. It is not clear whether or not any of the battleships ever actually carried a nuclear device onboard, as the US Navy routinely refuses to confirm or deny which ships carry nuclear weapons.

    At least one Mark 23 shell body still exists at the National Atomic Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico, shown here:

    A picture of Upshot Grable, which was a 280mm W-9 cannon shot with essentialy the same device (an earlier version but effects wise it was the same, the differences were manufacture and safety related), the actual W-23 test was underground:
    Last edited by USSWisconsin; 14 Jan 11, at 05:18.
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  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by RustyBattleship View Post
    The only SMOOTH BORE Naval guns I ever had an involvment in was the 8-inch MCLW gun. We installed only one for test purposes on the Destroyer USS Hull (DD-945). A photo of Hull firing the gun is on page 282 of my book.
    Or, while you're waiting for USPS or UPS to deliver the book..

    http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/0594528.jpg

    http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/0594521.jpg

    http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/0594522.jpg

    http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/0594523.jpg

  11. #26
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RustyBattleship View Post
    The only SMOOTH BORE Naval guns I ever had an involvment in was the 8-inch MCLW gun. We installed only one for test purposes on the Destroyer USS Hull (DD-945). A photo of Hull firing the gun is on page 282 of my book.
    The new 6.1" (155mm) AGS gun planned for the Zumwalt is a smoothbore as well, this is to allow fin guided extra long projectiles, the Hull's MCLW gun used a smoothbore for the same reason, longer projectiles - which could deliver a larger payload and use fin controled terminal guidence.
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  12. #27
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    Those new 155mm shells are very long up to about 88 inches long! As I understand the if the Navy ever issues ERGM 5" shells that those shells have fins and would be coming out of rifled tubes (and those shells are about five feet long).
    Last edited by surfgun; 14 Jan 11, at 04:24.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by surfgun View Post
    Those new 155mm shells are very long up to about 88 inches long! As I understand the if the Navy ever issues ERGM 5" shells that those shells have fins and would be coming out of rifled tubes (and those shells are about five feet long).
    they would probably use slip bands to keep them from spinning
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  14. #29
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    Fellow Badger: "this was an un boosted fission type, 15 - 20 KT uranium gun assembly warhead, very similar in principle to the Hiroshima "Little Boy" bomb. It used the same design as the W-19 warhead for the 280mm "Atomic Annie" US Army projectile in a 16" projectile body. and had about 262,000 times more explosive energy than a conventional HE projectile. While the British and French could have developed similar projectiles, there is no information that I have seen indicating they did."

    What actually killed the project was that the Atomic Energy Commission wrote up some almost impossible requirements for nuclear warhead HANDLING aboard ships.

    No nuclear warhead (including special 16" shells or saboted Army 11" "Atomic Cannon" shells) was allowed to be transfered and struck down to the magazine on any suspension system such as wire rope that was used on all conventional 16" projectiles and their powder cannisters. All handling systems had to be "positive capture" in racks and guided down to their magazines on double rails. To modify a BB with that type of space consuming system through the 1 1/2" thick Main Deck, 6" thick 2nd Deck. 3/4" thick Splinter Deck and into the shell magazines inside the turret foundation of 1 1/2" thick steel would have not only have taken too long to design and build but also WAAAY over any budgets planned for retaining the ships and using them for such a purpose.

    When LBNSY installed such a rack and rail system for the USS Chicago (CG-11) for stowage of Talos nukes, the complexity and test requirements drove more than one yardbird nuts. While the installation was going on, areas between decks that included the passing route were closed off with heavy tarpaulins with armed Marines at each deck level.

    However all that work was also for nought when Navy Carrier based planes were developing higher speeds, manueverability and altitude by leaps and bounds. Nuclear bombs with a very streamlined shape to them could be carried under the belly of a Carrier-based plane that could deliver a "Silver Fish" by either the "Lob" or "Over the Shoulder" technique.
    Last edited by RustyBattleship; 14 Jan 11, at 06:58.
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  15. #30
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RustyBattleship View Post
    Fellow Badger: "this was an un boosted fission type, 15 - 20 KT uranium gun assembly warhead, very similar in principle to the Hiroshima "Little Boy" bomb. It used the same design as the W-19 warhead for the 280mm "Atomic Annie" US Army projectile in a 16" projectile body. and had about 262,000 times more explosive energy than a conventional HE projectile. While the British and French could have developed similar projectiles, there is no information that I have seen indicating they did."

    What actually killed the project was that the Atomic Energy Commission wrote up some almost impossible requirements for nuclear warhead HANDLING aboard ships.

    No nuclear warhead (including special 16" shells or saboted Army 11" "Atomic Cannon" shells) was allowed to be transfered and struck down to the magazine on any suspension system such as wire rope that was used on all conventional 16" projectiles and their powder cannisters. All handling systems had to be "positive capture" in racks and guided down to their magazines on double rails. To modify a BB with that type of space consuming system through the 1 1/2" thick Main Deck, 6" thick 2nd Deck. 3/4" thick Splinter Deck and into the shell magazines inside the turret foundation of 1 1/2" thick steel would have not only have taken too long to design and build but also WAAAY over any budgets planned for retaining the ships and using them for such a purpose.

    When LBNSY installed such a rack and rail system for the USS Chicago (CG-11) for stowage of Talos nukes, the complexity and test requirements drove more than one yardbird nuts. While the installation was going on, areas between decks that included the passing route were closed off with heavy tarpaulins with armed Marines at each deck level.

    However all that work was also for nought when Navy Carrier based planes were developing higher speeds, manueverability and altitude by leaps and bounds. Nuclear bombs with a very streamlined shape to them could be carried under the belly of a Carrier-based plane that could deliver a "Silver Fish" by either the "Lob" or "Over the Shoulder" technique.
    Rusty, that is sad, they spent all that money creating a powerful weapon for the battleship and then the AEC refused to let them load it ... our tax money in action. I wonder how they got the nuclear Tomahawks loaded without a suspension system? Maybe they didn't? They aren't going to tell us, since that is policy, not confirming there are nukes aboard. When I was aboard the BB64 in 1991 I walked toward the aft launchers and was met by a Marine with his hand on his gun, he told me to turn around and go back the way I came, I was duly impressed and did just that. He had a big lanyard on that Berretta in case he dropped it, he could reel it back and keep shooting. I wondered if that didn't indicate they had "specials" in the launchers, they let me inspect the midships launchers, which had missiles in them.

    As always, your insights into these topics is wonderful, Thank you for explaining this to me, I love to learn about battleships and you are a great teacher. Your experience with and understanding of these ships is inspiring. I am so glad to be here, learning from you.

    Those nuclear projectiles were quite impressive, but with the range they had, it is really no surprise they replaced them with longer range weapons. Interesting thing about that design, it was more destructive than other types with similar yields. They compared two similar yield devices of the implosion and gun type at the Nevada Proving Grounds, and the gun type was far more destructive, smashing the vehicles to bits while the implosion type just flipped them over and left them relatively intact.
    Last edited by USSWisconsin; 14 Jan 11, at 15:14. Reason: added thank you note
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