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New Life For A 16" Battleship Gun Barrel

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  • New Life For A 16" Battleship Gun Barrel

    As I sometimes do here at work when it's a little slow, I attempt to "educate" myself about various things; this time, I got off on a tangent researching the old WWI & WWII shore batteries scattered along the Marin County and San Francisco coastline, and stumbled on an interesting story about one of the 16" gun barrels from the USS Missouri. Apparently, the National Park Service has responsibility for all of the old shore batteries left in existence in the San Francisco Bay Area and, as part of that responsibility, are attempting to restore one or two of the old batteries to semi-functioning status.

    In addition to possessing one of the few working 6" coastal guns on a disappearing carriage at Battery Chamberlin in San Francisco, the NPS also decided to "replace" the main gun at Battery Townsley on the Marin Headlands. Somehow, the NPS found out about a "spare" 16" gun barrel out in the middle of the Nevada desert (I'm assuming it was NAS Fallon, they never mentioned the name) that had originally been removed from the a turret on the USS Missouri in the '50's, and never returned to the battleship (I'm assuming they used one of the "new" barrels from the USS Kentucky; Rusty probably knows more about that than I do). This was 16" rifled gun #386, which was the right-hand barrel on turret #2 on the Missouri.

    In any case, the NPS managed to get the barrel moved all the way from Nevada, to the old shore battery in Marin County, where it is now on public display behind Casement #2 at Battery Townsley.

    Click image for larger version

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    "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge

  • #2
    They recently mounted a 16 inch barrel on Battery Lewis in Middletown NJ. Here are a few articles. Having trouble finding recent pics of the battery with the barrel in place, will post once I find something.


    • #3
      Found the pics, they were on Facebook on the 'Battery John Gunnison' Facebook page.


      • #4
        There are also Missouri barrels at Fort Miles, DE and Fort Custis on Virginia's Eastern Shore.


        • #5
          Attempted plans for for WWII artifacts including 3 barrels in storage in Virginia.

          From the NJ Facebook page...
          Help Save Important WWII and Korean War Artifacts

          The World’s Greatest Battleship is working to acquire four unique artifacts that helped America win World War II and stop North Korean aggression. If the ship does not obtain these artifacts soon, they may be lost forever. With your help, the Battleship can obtain three 16” gun barrels used on the ship in WWII and Korea. They were replaced in the 1950s and are in storage at a Navy yard in Virginia. The Navy plans to cut them up for scrap.

          The Battleship plans to put one of the barrels on display at the ship for visitors to see up close. Under the proposed plan, the second barrel would be donated to PIDC for display at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and in return, PIDC would donate to the Battleship a Quadruple 40mm Bofors Gun Mount, used aboard the Battleship in WWII, that is currently on display at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. This is the last Quad 40 in existence from the Battleship New Jersey!

          Transporting, restoring, and displaying these artifacts is estimated to cost $200,000 and the clock is ticking. As part of the “40 For The 40” campaign, the Battleship is looking for 40 individuals and/or organizations to donate $5,000 or more towards this project, but any size donation helps! The names of the 40 largest donors will be engraved on a plaque near the Quad 40.

          Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to 62 Battleship Pl., Camden, NJ 08103, or can be made with a credit card over the phone by calling (856) 966-1652 Ext. 127, or online at


          • #6
            Originally posted by Stitch View Post
            (I'm assuming it was NAS Fallon, they never mentioned the name)

            The 16" guns and shells stored in Nevada where at the Navy's weapon depot in Hawthorn.

            Here is a GAO report about the 16" guns.

            Here is a pic of the Iowa's 16" barrel muzzle section. The barrel is #287 and was the center gun on the #2 turret.

            Click image for larger version

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            Last edited by Battleship IOWA; 03 Feb 17,, 06:19.
            Craig Johnson