A (literal) blast from the past

Here’s a film from 1952 describing the activity of the US Naval Gun Factory, which had produced many of the cannon for US Navy ships during World War II and was then the main development center for more modern cannon.

Interesting to see heavy weapons manufacture in days before computers and CNC machinery.



  1. Gotta love naval guns but I think tank guns are even more interesting. Massive hi-powered rifles. Back when I did such things, our 105s had a sabot pretty much a solid mile downrange 1 second out of the muzzle. That's downright brisk. And it would ring your bell if you were dumbass enough to stick your noggin' out a hatch as it went off.

    Back when I visited The Mighty Mo I noticed the big guns were labeled as 16"/50 caliber. I didn't know what the 50 caliber meant and the guide didn't either. So I researched it. I suspect the answer is common knowledge here.

    I was able to answer the guide's question about what the bulbous things on each side at the front of the turret was.

  2. Yep, quality construction and 'care' for what you were building… Those guns are probably more accurate than the ones today, given the same aiming mechanisms.

  3. The "50" caliber refers to the length of the barrel being 50 times the diameter of the bore.

    That means the barrel is 50×16" long, or 800", a little under 67 feet.

    I'm on the crew on the Battleship Iowa, and I see those big bad dudes every time I go in to "work".

  4. Interesting to note that as you proceed down the Potomac River from the Washington Navy Yard (where, these days, the only type of shooting is criminal in nature), you pass the now-defunct Torpedo factory in Alexandria, the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Indian Head, Md, the Marine Corps Base at Quantico, VA, and finally, the NSWC facility at Dahlgren, VA. All within 35 miles of Washington.

  5. Not too long ago, they scrapped the remaining 16"/50 Naval barrels. IIRC, the comment was made that we no longer have the ability to even make them again. Idiots in .gov.

  6. We can't even make the special steel plate used for the armor belt anymore.

    I seriously doubt we could win a major war at this time. We've gone too far in the "high tech" arena, and lack the boots and tank treads "on the ground" to do much more than fight for a few months.

    It would take YEARS to rebuild the kind of large manufacturing capability need to fight a prolonged war, and by the time we had the infrastructure in place, we'd all be speaking Chinese or Russian!

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