14″ Naval Gun

During modernization in the 1930s, old 14″/45 (35.6 cm) guns were constructional upgraded and the chamber volume enlarged to allow larger charges to increase the muzzle velocity. Marks 1, 3 and 5 became Marks 8, 9 and 10, respectively. The Mark 12 was a further conversion, with chromium plating to increase barrel life. These guns were interchangeable and most battleships had a combination of Mark numbers. The Nevada and Pennsylvania classes were further upgraded to increase their maximum elevations to 30 degrees.

Two turrets were salvaged from USS Arizona for use as coastal artillery, but these were not completed until nearly the end of the war.

Type Bag
Projectile Types and Weights AP – 1,500 lbs. (680 kg)
HC – 1,275 lbs. (578 kg)
Bursting Charge N/A
Projectile Length N/A
Propellant Charge 420 lbs. (190.5 kg)
Muzzle Velocity AP – 2,600 fps (792 mps)
HE – 2,735 fps (834 mps)
Working Pressure 18.0 tons/in2 (2,835 kg/cm2)
Approximate Barrel Life Marks 8, 9 and 10:  175 – 200 Rounds
Mark 12:  250 Rounds
Note:  The propellant charge was in four bags.

Range

Elevation With 1,500 lbs. (680.40 kg) Mark 16 AP With 1,275 lbs. (578 kg) HC
Range @ 15 degrees
(max elevation of
unmodernized turrets)
23,000 yards (21,030 m) (approx. 13 miles) 23,500 yards (21,490 m)

Armor Penetration with 1,500 lbs. (680.40 kg) Mark 16 AP Shell

Range Side Armor Deck Armor
11,500 yards (10,520 m) 18″ (457 mm) N/A
13,500 yards (12,350 m) N/A 2″ (51 mm)
14,800 yards (13,530 m) 16″ (406 mm) N/A
18,800 yards (17,190 m) 14″ (356 mm) N/A
23,400 yards (21,400 m) 12″ (305 mm) N/A
These figures are taken from armor penetration curves published in 1942.

Mount/Turret Data

Designation 3-gun turret, BB-37 and BB-38 Classes
2-gun turret, BB-34 and BB-37 Classes
Weight 2-gun turret
New York Class:  532 tons (541 mt)
Oklahoma Class:  618 tons (628 mt)3-gun turret
Oklahoma Class:  748 tons (760 mt)
Pennsylvania Class:  714 – 724 tons (725 – 736 mt)
Elevation The New York Class was not modernized and retained their original -5 / +15 degree elevation.Oklahoma and Pennsylvania Classes:  -5 / +30 degrees
Rate of Elevation about 4 degrees per second
Train about -150 / +150 degrees
Rate of Train about 2 degrees per second
Gun Recoil 40 in (102 cm)
Loading Angle +1 degree

Data from
“Battleships:  United States Battleships 1935-1992” by W. H. Garzke and R. O. Dulin
“Naval Weapons of World War II” by John Campbell
“US Battleships:  A Design History,” “Battleship Design and Development 1905-1945” and “US Naval Weapons” all by Norman Friedman

14″/45 TURRET CREW OPERATIONS

About 25 men manned each turret:

Junior officers assigned to booths in the rear of each turret controlled turret operations. To load, they directed gun pointers, who controlled gun elevation and were seated beneath the guns with the trainers, to level the guns so they would line up with the loading trays. Gun captains, standing on the outboard side of each gun carriage, then pulled levers which rotated interrupted screw type breeches open and swung the breech block outboard, exposing the chambers.

Compressed “gas ejection” air was blown into the chamber to expel smoldering remnants of a preceding round’s propellant charge bag out the muzzle. The 1st loader, positioned inboard of the breech on the gun pan, tilted the upper hoist car, spilling a projectile onto the transfer tray, where it was rolled onto the loading tray. He inspected the bore to ensure it was clear and then, assisted by the 2nd loader on the opposite side of the breech, extended the loading tray into the breech. (The High Capacity rounds weighted approx. 1275-lbs. The Armor Piercing rounds weighted approx. 1500-lbs.)

If ordered, the 1st and 2nd loaders replaced the nose plugs on high capacity projectiles with mechanical time fuzzes then set the fuzzes so that the round would burst over their targets after a predetermined time of flight. Each gun’s electric rammer operator depressed a lever pushing the projectile forward until its brass rotating band engaged the lands of the gun’s rifling the forward end of the chamber.

Two powder men in the gun pit beneath the breech muscled the 105-lb propellant charge bags up to the gun pan in pairs. The 1st and 2nd loader hoisted them onto the loading tray. Two rammer men then pushed each pair of bags, red ignition pad facing to the rear, into the chamber using a 10 ft. wooden pole. The pole had a leather pad on one end designed to prevent accidental sparks ignition of the propellant (total of four powder bags for each projectile). The gun captain then closed the breech and inserted a .44 Caliber primer cartridge into the firing lock. This lock could fire the gun locally by percussion, or from remote stations by electricity. When loading was completed, the gun was matched up with remote fire control data from gun plot, or laid on target optically in local control by the turret crew. Turret crewmen braced where gun recoil would not jar or crush them. The recoil of the 14″/45 was 40″. Turret personnel conveyed ready status via light indicators. A salvo-warning bell was rung and the turret was fired. Firing rate depended on crew stamina and training, equipment status, sea state location of ammunition, and whether or not fuzzes were required.

Normally, it took about 45 seconds between rounds. Turrets Two and Four were equipped with 21′ optical range finders and could serve as fire control directors against targets visible from the ship in emergencies.

Although guns, hoist, and rammer drive functions were normally accomplished by electric motors; chain falls in a compartment forward of and below the trunnions could be rigged to drive gun equipment.

First through the Fifth Divisions manned turrets with corresponding numbers, for example, 5th Division was responsible for Turret Five. The 3rd Division had the additional responsibility of maintaining the catapult atop their turret and assisting the aviation detachment with aircraft functions.

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