4"/50 caliber gun

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4"/50 caliber gun Marks 7, 8, 9, and 10
USS Ward 4 inch gun Minnesota Capitol.jpg
The gun from USS Ward which fired the first American shot of World War II at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941
Type Naval gun
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1898–1945
Used by
Wars
Production history
Designer Bureau of Ordnance
Designed
  • Mark 7: 1898
  • Mark 8: 1905
  • Mark 9: 1914
  • Mark 10: 1914 (Did not enter service)
Manufacturer
No. built
  • Mark 7: 89
  • Mark 8: 12
  • Mark 9: 2,988
  • Mark 10: 1
Variants Mark 7, 8, 9 and 10
Specifications
Weight
  • Mark 7: 5,808 lb (2,634 kg) (with breech)
  • Mark 8: 6,440 lb (2,920 kg) (with breech)
  • Mark 9: 5,900 lb (2,700 kg) (with breech)
  • Mark 10: 6,860 lb (3,110 kg) (with breech)
Length
  • Mark 7: 204.5 in (5,190 mm)
  • Mark 8 and 9: 206.53 in (5,246 mm)
  • Mark 10: 211 in (5,400 mm)
Barrel length All: 200 in (5,080 mm) bore (50 calibres)

Shell
  • 33 lb (15 kg) (projectile)[1]
  • 62.4–64.75 lb (28.30–29.37 kg) (complete round)
Calibre 4 in (102 mm)
Elevation -15° to +20°
Traverse -150° to 150°
Rate of fire 8-9 rounds per minute
Muzzle velocity
  • Mark 7: 2,500 ft/s (760 m/s)[1]
  • Mark 8: 2,800 ft/s (850 m/s)
  • Mark 9 and 10: 2,900 ft/s (880 m/s)
Effective firing range Mark 7: 9,000 yd (8,200 m) at 13° elevation
Maximum firing range Mark 9: 15,920 yd (14,560 m) at 20° elevation[1]

The 4"/50 caliber gun (spoken "four-inch-fifty-caliber") was the standard low-angle, quick-firing gun for United States, first appearing on the monitor Arkansas and then used on "Flush Deck" destroyers through World War I and the 1920s. It was also the standard deck gun on S-class submarines, and was used to rearm numerous submarines built with 3-inch (76 mm) guns early in World War II. United States naval gun terminology indicates the gun fired a projectile 4-inch (102 mm) in diameter, and the barrel was 50 calibers long.[2][3]

Design[edit]

The original 4-inch/50 caliber Mark 7 gun, M1898, serial nos. 213–254, 257–281, 316–338, was an entirely new high-power design built-up gun with a tube, jacket, hoop, locking ring and screw breech. Gun No. 213 had a liner. The gun was described as a 5-inch (127 mm) gun but with a 4-inch bore in the 1902 handbook, this indicated its higher power and also the fact the barrel was actually more the size of a 5-inch/40 caliber gun than a 4-inch gun. The ammunition was about 7 lb (3.2 kg) heavier than a 4-inch/40 caliber round. The Mod 1 was a Mod 0 that used a conical steel liner and the Mod 2 was either a Mod 0 or Mod 1 that was relined using a conical nickel-steel liner and a shoulder on the breech end.[3]

Gun No. 353 was the prototype of the Mark 8 and was test fired on 22 September 1910. This gun had been ordered 16 June 1907 and delivered in November 1907. The simplified design of the Mark 8 had just a gun tube and jacket. The jacket extended all the way to the muzzle and ended in a muzzle bell. The production run was small with only 12 guns built, Nos. 353–364.[3]

The Mark 9 was a design directly resulting from tests with gun No. 353. It was designed to be light in weight, and would go on to be the standard 4-inch gun used on destroyers and submarines during WW I. The gun would use an A tube, full-length jacket, a muzzle swell with a side swing Smith-Asbury breech mechanism and Welin breech block. The gun weighed about 2.725 short tons (2.472 t). Gun No. 365, the first Mark 9, was ordered from Midvale Steel on 18 October 1911. There were 390 Mark 9s built by four different manufacturers from 1911 until the US entered World War I in 1917. During the war another 1,885 guns were produced, with Root & VanDervoort, American Radiator Company and Poole Engineering joining the pre-war manufacturers. After the Armistice another 713 guns were produced, with orders for 3538 guns cancelled. It was decided after World War I that all destroyers would carry the 4-inch/50 caliber Mark 9 Mod 5 gun; the refits were completed in autumn 1921.[3]

The Mark 10, gun No. 365-A, was order in 1915 but does not appear to have been completed until after WW I. The initial drawings were for a 4-inch/50 caliber anti-aircraft gun dated January and February 1915. It was designed with a vertically sliding breech block on a built-up gun with a tube, jacket, chase hoop and locking ring, all constructed of nickel steel, but it does not appear that the Mark 10 was put into service.[3]

Fixed ammunition (case and projectile handled as a single assembled unit) with a 14.5-pound (6.6 kg) charge of smokeless powder gave a 33-pound (15 kg) projectile a velocity of 2,900 ft/s (880 m/s). Range was 9 mi (14 km) at the maximum elevation of 20 degrees. Useful life expectancy was 400–500 effective full charges (EFC) for a non-chrome plated barrel, while a chrome plated barrel was listed at 600 rounds.[1][3]

Increasing awareness of the need for improved anti-aircraft protection resulted in the mounting of dual purpose guns on destroyers beginning in the 1930s. The dual-purpose 5-inch/38 caliber gun became standard for United States destroyers constructed from the 1930s through World War II. United States destroyers built with 4-inch/50 caliber low-angle guns were mostly rearmed with dual-purpose 3-inch/50 caliber guns during the war. The 4-inch/50 caliber guns removed from destroyers were mounted on Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships of the British Merchant Navy and United States Merchant Marine like SS Stephen Hopkins.[1] As S-boats were transferred from combat patrols to training duties from mid-1942 through 1943, their 4-inch guns were removed and used to re-equip front-line submarines built with 3-inch/50 caliber guns.

Manufacturer list Mark 9 gun[edit]

Manufactuer Date ordered Gun Nos. Total built Notes
Midvale Steel 18 October 1911 365–389 25
Bethlehem Steel 7 November 1911 390–414 25
British and American Mfg. Co. 4 February 1913 415–444 30 Mod 4 No. 432 on
Watervliet Arsenal 19 April 1913 445–478 34 Mod 4
British and American Mfg. Co. 28 November 1914 479–508 30 Mod 2, Mod 5 No. 502 on
Watervliet Arsenal 8 June 1915 509–538 30 Mod 2, Mod 5 No. 516 on
Bethlehem Steel 31 October 1916 539–605 67 Mod 5
British and American Mfg. Co. 18 November 1916 606–705 100 Mod 5
Watervliet Arsenal 17 October 1916 706–755 50 Mod 5
Bethlehem Steel 4 April 1917 756–855 100 Mod 5
Root & VanDervoort 25 May 1917 876–1875 1000 Nos. 856-875 were not assigned
American Radiator Corp. 7 June 1917 1876–2380 505 Nos. 2381-2875 were not assigned
Poole Engineering 29 August 1917 2876–2994 119 Nos. 2995-3375 were not assigned
American and British Co. 24 September 1917 3376–3506 131 Nos. 3507-3575 were not assigned
Watervliet Arsenal 11 July 1918 3576–3605 30

The unassigned numbers mostly corresponded to gun orders that were cancelled with the signing of the Armistice.[3]

US Navy service[edit]

The 4"/50 caliber gun was mounted on:

Coast defense use[edit]

Four 2-gun batteries of 4"/50 caliber ex-Navy guns were emplaced on the North Shore of Oahu in 1942. They seem to have been withdrawn in 1943 as other defenses were constructed. It is not clear who operated these guns; likely possibilities include the United States Army Coast Artillery Corps, Marine defense battalions, or naval personnel. The batteries were at Kaena, Kalihi (Mokuoeo Island), Battery Dillingham at Mokuleia, and Kaneohe Bay.[7]

UK service[edit]

Many Mark 9 guns were supplied to the United Kingdom during World War II as part of Lend-lease, both individually and on naval and merchant ships.[8] Caldwell, Wickes, and Clemson-class destroyers transferred under the Destroyers for Bases Agreement became British and Canadian Town-class destroyers.[9]

See also[edit]

Weapons of comparable role, performance and era[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Campbell 1985 p.143
  2. ^ Fairfield 1921 p.156
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Friedman, Norman (2011). Naval Weapons of World War One. Seaforth Publishing. pp. 188–191. ISBN 978 1 84832 100 7. 
  4. ^ a b c d Gardiner and Gray pp. 122-123
  5. ^ a b c Fahey 1939 p.14
  6. ^ a b Fahey 1939 p.18
  7. ^ Berhow, p. 221
  8. ^ Di Giulian
  9. ^ Lenton and Colledge 1968 pp.90-92

References[edit]

  • Berhow, Mark A., Ed. (2015). American Seacoast Defenses, A Reference Guide, Third Edition. McLean, Virginia: CDSG Press. ISBN 978-0-9748167-3-9. 
  • 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, War Edition. Ships and Aircraft. 
  • Fairfield, A.P. (1921). Naval Ordnance. The Lord Baltimore Press. 
  • Gardiner, Robert and Gray, Randal, Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921 Conway Maritime Press, 1985. ISBN 0-85177-245-5.
  • Lenton, H.T.; Colledge, J.J. (1968). British and Dominion Warships of World War II. Doubleday and Company. 

External links[edit]