Advertisements

Archive for November 5th, 2017

Battleship Wiring

A view from behind one of the switch panels in the 16 inch gun control compartment, deep inside USS Massachusetts BB-59:

USS Massachusetts BB-59 - Gun Laying Control Cables

USS Massachusetts BB-59 – Gun Laying Control Cables

Although the doc isn’t contemporaneous with Big Mamie, the Navy can still teach you to lace your cables like your life depends on it (starting on page 2-94, 157 of 1412).

We explored the interior for several hours, all the way to the lower Turret 2 barbette:

USS Massachusetts BB-59 - Turret 2 Lower Barbette 16 inch Shell Storage

USS Massachusetts BB-59 – Turret 2 Lower Barbette 16 inch Shell Storage

Each 16 inch projectile weighs 2700 pounds, with 800 shells distributed around three turrets. Looking at the drawings doesn’t make up for seeing the machinery.

The Massachusetts did shore bombardment during the Solomon Island campaign, where my father was assigned to guard a forward observer targeting Japanese redoubts and caves. He said the first rounds went over the far horizon, the second group landed short in the valley, and, from then on, the observer called out coordinates, walked the impact points down the valley, and wiped out each target in succession. BB-59 may not have been on the other end of those trajectories, but he said the Navy saved them plenty of trouble and inconvenience …

Capital ships became obsolete during the Battle of Midway, but battleships remain impressive hunks of engineering.

Advertisements

10 Comments