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USS North Carolina

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The Turrets

So, ever wonder what those "ears" are, on the big turrets? Turns out, they're optics for the turret officer. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00104.jpg

This is the view of inside turret 3, as you come up the ladder through the hatch. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00121.jpg

The two doors with the clear cutouts are for the left-most gun; the silver, bolted device in the upper right of the photo is the ramming gear for the middle gun.

Control circuitry panel. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00105.jpg

The silver box that is in the center of the picture would tell the turret officer when it would be safe to fire the gun. The wall (bulkhead) of the left-hand side of the turret can be seen, also.

Here's a look at the breech, the breech block, and a projectile. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00106.jpg

The projectile loading tray is the part that is folded-up against the projectile. To load, the loading tray is expanded down and towards the breech, and then the ramming mechanism rams the projectile into the breech.

Here's a close-up of the breech. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00107.jpg

The brass tubing, at about the one o'clock position on the breech face, blows compressed air into the breech & barrel, to blow out gases and any remaining residue from the previous firing. This is why, when you see video of large naval guns firing, you see a small puff of smoke emitted from the barrel after the shell has been fired. You can also see the interlocking lugs for the breech block.

This is the breech block, close-up. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00108.jpg

While the block is in this lowered position, and the gun is being loaded/re-loaded, a sailor is down on the next level, called the gun pit, and he installs the primer charge into the breech block.

A close-up of the hydraulic gear that operates the rammer. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00109.jpg

The casing for the rammer. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00110.jpg

The motor that is attached to the hydraulic pump to operate the rammer. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00111.jpg

At first, I thought this was a void in the turret, but it's actually part of the power hoist gear. I believe the steel cable is what actually lifts the powder car into the turret. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00112.jpg

This is the powder hoist for the left-most gun. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00113.jpg

Another powder hoist, but this is for the center gun. In watching a Navy training film on firing 16" guns, I learned that the powder hoists for the left and center guns are side-by-side; the right-most gun has its powder hoist to the left of the gun. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00114.jpg

Another view of a powder hoist. The glare is from the camera flash; at the bottom right, you can see 3 or 4 white "fingers" - these are fingers of a foam core silhouette of sailors in the gun, and where they would stand during firing.

This is the center gun, with the second set of three powder bags getting reading to be rammed into the breech. It took 6 powder bags to fire the projectile, and each bag weighed 90 pounds. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00115.jpg

The powder bags came up the elevator in sets of three bags. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00116.jpg

Same gun, different angle. You can see the cut-out of the powder hoist operate sitting in his chair, to the left. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00117.jpg

The powder bags being rammed into the breech.

This is a control room on the outer edge of the turret. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00118.jpg

Remember those optical sights I showed you earlier, that are in the "ears" of the outside turret? This is the tube that ran the width of the turret, and terminates into those optical sights. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00119.jpg http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00120.jpg

This is on the back side of that tube (the guns are, from the point of view of the camera, about 90 degrees to the left). This picture is facing to the right of the turret, where the ladder from the deck goes up into the turret.

Here's a picture of a brass plate showing that this is frame 65. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00156.jpg

This frame butts up against the upper projectile handling room of turret #2. The doorway leading into the projectile room is not the original; a placard said the opening was made to facilitate visitors' entry into the projectile room. The thickness of the wall surrounding the projectile room was probably about 18 inches (I didn't measure!) What was interesting in the projectile room, was that there is an outer ring, which is used to store projectiles, a middle ring that moves with the turret, and an inner ring that holds more projectiles. The middle ring is the ring that holds the projectile hoist, which leads up into each respective gun room. I didn't take any pictures here, as I really didn't see any good shots to take, plus there was a family in there with me.

A very narrow circular staircase took me down to the next deck/level, which for turret 2, is called the mezzanine. Only turret 2 has this space, as it is the extra height given to the turret, so that it can shoot over/rotate over turret 1. The mezzanine level has more projectile storage on its outer rim (making it the lower projectile handling room), and it also overlooks the powder elevators for the guns. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00157.jpg

This picture is a look at the upper part of the elevators, or about eye-level when you stand on the mezzanine. http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00158.jpg

Like the projectile hoist ring, the powder elevators also rotate in unison with the turret. At the bottom of the powder elevator equipment, is where the powder scuttles are located (the scuttles accept the powder from the magazine). From the scuttle, the powder charge was manually loaded into the powder elevator cars.

Another doorway from the powder elevator room lead into 3 of the 8 powder magazines. (I don't recall if there were 8 magazines per gun, or if it was 8 magazines for turrets 1 & 2). I didn't take any pictures in the magazines (even though it was well-lit, and quite airy), I just felt a little weird in there, knowing how a Japanese bomb blew up in the magazine of the USS Arizona, at Pearl Harbor. So I was in a bit of a hurry to exit. But there are good explanations of how the powder bags were moved out of their canisters, and onto a conveyor system, so that the powder could be pushed into the powder scuttle.

Leaving the magazine, there was a placard that explained how the projectiles were brought down through a hatch from the main deck, to be placed into storage. The hatch wasn't all that big; I'd guess that a lot of care was taken to lower a projectile down into storage.

After passing through this hatch area, the tour brought me back around to the powder elevators. I'd say at this point, I was down on the 7th or 8th deck. Inside the powder elevator room, on the circular wall (or bulkhead), surrounding the elevator, were painted numbers, 0 - 350. These numbers would give the powder handlers an idea of which way the turret was pointed. Additionally, "fore", "aft", "port", and "starboard" were painted on the wall, that helped orient the powder handlers to the ship itself.

Here's the description of turret II that was posted on prior to entering the projectile stowage room: http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00155.jpg http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/photos/feature/6730/dsc00154.jpg

About the Author

About Timothy E Parker (timmyp)


If you want to get an idea of Battleship action during WWII read about the BB battles around Guadalcanal during 1942 and 1943. the North Carolina was deep into you.
OCT 19, 2017 - 07:47 PM
This is a great reference, thanks! If you have any more exterior shots, they would be most welcome...
JAN 16, 2018 - 01:49 AM
Tim, I think most of the exterior shots were posted. I spent most of my time below decks; it was a hot day, and I was pretty wrung out when I finally got topside. Didn't have much energy at that point to go up into the superstructure and look around.
JAN 16, 2018 - 12:36 PM
Fascinating pictures Timmy of a most interesting ship! Thank you for sharing! ... if only the RN had been allowed to keep a KGV as a museum piece
MAR 04, 2018 - 08:13 AM
Glad you liked the photos, Russell. Always willing to share that kind of stuff! Hopefully, my next walkaround will be for the USS Constitution.
MAR 04, 2018 - 11:23 PM