USS Iowa (BB-61) Battleship
- Published on Feb 3, 2016
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Battleship Main Gun Operation and Firing
U.S. Navy Training Film on loading and firing the Iowa Class 16"/50 caliber Mark 7 Guns.
The USS Iowa guns are 66.6 feet (20 m) long-50 times their 16-inch (406 mm) bore, or 50 calibers, from breechface to muzzle. Each gun weighed about 239,000 pounds (108,000 kg) without the breech, or 267,900 pounds (121,517 kg) with the breech. They fired projectiles weighing from 1,900 to 2,700 pounds (850 to 1,200 kg) at a maximum speed of 2,690 feet per second (820 m/s) with a range of up to 24 miles (39 km). At maximum range the projectile spent almost 1½ minutes in flight. Each turret required a crew of 79 men to operate. The turrets themselves cost US$1.4 million each. The D839 propellant (smokeless powder) grain used for full charges issued for this gun was 2 inches long (5.08 cm), 1 inch in diameter (2.54 cm) and had seven perforations, each 0.060 inches in diameter (0.152 cm) with a web thickness range of 0.193 to 0.197 inches (0.490 to 0.500 cm) between the perforations and the grain diameter. A maximum charge consists of six silk bags (thence the term bag gun), each filled with 110 pounds of propellant.
USS Iowa (BB-61) is the lead ship of her class of battleship and the fourth in the United States Navy to be named in honor of the 29th state. Owing to the cancellation of the Montana-class battleships, Iowa is the last lead ship of any class of United States battleships and was the only ship of her class to have served in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II.
During World War II, she carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt across the Atlantic to Mers El Kébir, Algeria, en route to a crucial 1943 meeting in Tehran with Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Britain and Josef Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union. She has a bathtub-an amenity installed for Roosevelt, along with an elevator to shuttle him between decks. When transferred to the Pacific Fleet in 1944, Iowa shelled beachheads at Kwajalein and Eniwetok in advance of Allied amphibious landings and screened aircraft carriers operating in the Marshall Islands. She also served as the Third Fleet flagship, flying Adm. William F. Halsey's flag at the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay. During the Korean War, Iowa was involved in raids on the North Korean coast, after which she was decommissioned into the United States Navy reserve fleets, better known as the "mothball fleet." She was reactivated in 1984 as part of the 600-ship Navy plan and operated in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets to counter the recently expanded Soviet Navy. In April 1989, an explosion of undetermined origin wrecked her No. 2 gun turret, killing 47 sailors.
Iowa was decommissioned for the last time in the year 1990, and was initially stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1995. She was reinstated from 1999 to 2006 to comply with federal laws that required retention and maintenance of two Iowa-class battleships. In 2011 USS Iowa was donated to the Los Angeles-based non-profit Pacific Battleship Center and was permanently moved to Berth 87 at the Port of Los Angeles in 2012, where she was opened to the public as the USS Iowa Museum.
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