5"/51 caliber gun

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5"/51 Caliber Gun
5 inch gun closeup USS Texas 1914 LOC 16025.jpg
Gun on starboard forecastle of USS Texas (BB-35), March 1914
Type Deck Gun
Place of origin  United States
Service history
Used by  United States Navy
United States United States Coast Guard
 Royal Navy
Wars World War I, World War II
Production history
Variants Mk 7, 8, 9, 14, 15
Specifications
Weight 5 metric tons (5 long tons, 5.5 short tons)
Length 21 ft 9 in (6.63 m)
Barrel length

21 ft 1 in (6.43 m) bore (51 calibres)

17 ft 8 in (5.38 m) rifling

Shell 50 to 55 pounds (22.7 to 24.9 kg)[1]
Caliber 5 inches (127 mm)
Elevation to +20°
Muzzle velocity 3,150 feet per second (960 m/s) average

5"/51 caliber guns (spoken "five-inch-fifty-one-caliber") formed the main battery of the first United States Navy light cruisers and the secondary batteries of United States Navy battleships built from 1907 through the 1920s. United States naval gun terminology indicates the gun fired a projectile 5 inches (127 mm) in diameter, and the barrel was 51 calibers long (barrel length is 5" × 51 = 255" or 6.4 meters).[2]

Description[edit]

The built-up gun consisted of a tube, full-length jacket, and single hoop with side swing Welin breech block and Smith-Asbury mechanism for a total weight of about 5 metric tons. Some Marks included a tapered liner. A 24.5-pound (11 kg) charge of smokeless powder gave a 50-pound (23 kg) projectile a velocity of 3,150 feet per second (960 m/s). Range was 15,850 yards (9 statute miles) (15 km) at the maximum elevation of 20 degrees.[1] Useful life expectancy was 900 effective full charges (EFC) per liner.[3]

US service[edit]

On a US Navy transport ship circa. mid 1942

Increased awareness of the need for anti-aircraft protection (especially following the attack on Pearl Harbor) encouraged mounting of dual-purpose 5"/38 caliber guns in later battleships and most of the World War 1-era battleships were rearmed with 5"/38 caliber guns or 5"/25 caliber guns during World War 2. Surplus guns from scrapped or re-armed battleships were mounted in United States Coast Guard cutters, auxiliaries, small aircraft carriers, coast defense batteries, fleet submarines, and Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships.[3] 5"/51 shore batteries were used with great effectiveness by the Marines during the Battle of Wake Island in December 1941.

The 5"/51 caliber gun was mounted on:

British service[edit]

During World War I three of these guns formed part of the coastal defences of Scapa Flow.[1] In World War II a small number of these guns entered British service on board ships transferred under the Lend-lease arrangement. Some of these guns were then transferred to New Zealand and deployed ashore for coast defense.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Tony DiGiulian, "United States of America 5"/51 (12.7 cm) Marks 7, 8, 9, 14 and 15. British 5"/51 (12.7 cm) BL Marks VI and VII
  2. ^ Fairfield 1921 p. 156
  3. ^ a b Campbell 1985 p.136
  4. ^ a b c Preston 1980 p. 60
  5. ^ a b Breyer 1973 p. 201
  6. ^ a b Breyer 1973 p. 202
  7. ^ a b Breyer 1973 p. 205
  8. ^ a b Breyer 1973 p. 210
  9. ^ a b Breyer 1973 p. 214
  10. ^ a b c Breyer 1973 p. 219
  11. ^ a b Breyer 1973 p. 226
  12. ^ a b c Breyer 1973 p. 230
  13. ^ a b Fahey 1939 p. 18
  14. ^ Fahey 1939 p. 7
  15. ^ Friedman 1983 p. 162
  16. ^ a b c d Friedman 1983 p. 407
  17. ^ Friedman 1983 p. 164
  18. ^ Friedman 1983 p. 170
  19. ^ a b c d Fahey 1941 p. 42

References[edit]

  • Breyer, Siegfried (1973). Battleships and Battle Cruisers 1905–1970. Doubleday and Company. ISBN 0-385-07247-3. 
  • Campbell, John (1985). Naval Weapons of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-459-4. 
  • Fahey, James C. (1939). The Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet. Ships and Aircraft. 
  • Fahey, James C. (1941). The Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet, Two-Ocean Fleet Edition. Ships and Aircraft. 
  • Fairfield, A.P. (1921). Naval Ordnance. The Lord Baltimore Press. 
  • Friedman, Norman (1983). U.S. Aircraft Carriers. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-739-9. 
  • Preston, Anthony (1980). Cruisers. Prentice Hall. p. 60. ISBN 0-13-194902-0. 

External links[edit]