Guns
aboard USS Tuscaloosa
and USS Wichita

Tuscaloosa and Wichita shared most of the same guns.  As originally constructed, Tuscaloosa had the following armament: 9 - 8" guns; 8 - 5" guns; 8 - .50 caliber machine guns.

USS Tuscaloosa's Guns

Prior to and during the war, Tuscaloosa was subject to many refits and overhauls.  She was eventually outfitted with 16 - 40mm and 19 - 20mm antiaircraft guns, replacing the machine guns.

Although the Tuscaloosa did not always have all of the following guns, here are some of the details on and pictures of her guns:

8" Main Artillery5" Secondary Artillery40mm Antiaircraft Artillery20mm Antiaircraft Artillery.50 Caliber Machine Gun
Number9816198
Description8" 55 Caliber Surface-Fire Artillery5" 25 Caliber Dual-Purpose ArtilleryBofors 40 mm (>1.5 inch) 56 Caliber Multi-Purpose ArtilleryOerlikon 20 mm (0.79 inch) 70 Caliber Anti-Air Artillery.50 Caliber (1/2 inch) Browning M2 Machine Gun
How MountedIn three turrets of three guns eachSingle turretsIn four quadruple mountsSingle mountsSingle mounts
Location2 triple turrets fore, 1 aft4 on each side of the ship2 quadruple mounts aft and 2 quadruple mounts on the conning towerVariousFore and aft
Weight of Gun17 tons4,270 lbs.1,150 lbs.150 lbs.100 lbs.
Length of Bore440"
(< 37 feet)
125"
(10+ feet)
88+"
(7+ feet)
55"
(4.5+ feet)
45"
(< 4 feet)
Maximum Elevation41°85°90°90°90°
Maximum Range30,050 yards
(17+ land miles)
14,500 yards
(8+ land miles)
11,000 yards
(6+ land miles)
4,800 yards
(2.7 land miles)
7,400 yards
(4.2 land miles) [effective = 2,600 yards (1.5 miles)]
Rate of Fire per barrel3-4 rounds per minute 15-20 rounds per minute160 rounds per minute (120 rpm when barrel elevated)450 rounds per minute500 rounds per minute
Weight of Projectile335 lbs.54 lbs.2 lbs.0.27 lbs.
(4.3 oz.)
0.1 lbs.
(1.6 oz.)
Ceilingn/a27,400 feet at 85°22,800 feet at 90°10,000 feet at 90°15,000 feet at 90° [effective = 5,000 feet]

Notes
A 1930's refinement of a 1920's design.  Not a particularly fast rate of fire, but the heavier shells (compared to the 260-pound shells used by earlier heavy treaty cruisers) were quite effective.  Only some of the ships in the New Orleans class (but all of the next three classes of heavy cruisers) had this variation of the 8" gun, capable of firing the super-heavy 335-pound shell.Developed in the 1920s.  Its "dual-purpose" was antiaircraft (good for this purpose with its relatively short bore providing maneuverability) and also surface fire (adequate).Swedish design introduced in USN in 1942.  Although a heavy antiaircraft gun found only on cruisers or heavier ships, it was very effective because it was firing a substantial two-pound projectile and, in a quadruple mount, its rate of fire was 480 rounds per minute.Swiss design introduced in USN in 1940.  A reasonably good free-swinging antiaircraft gun, it was a great improvement over the .50 caliber machine gun.Developed in the 1920s.  Not very effective in an antiaircraft role (note the small size of projectiles).


See the Glossary for a discussion of the word "caliber".

It would not be possible for guns to be used this way (nor would it make sense to try), but if every gun on board were fired at its theoretical maximum rate for one minute, the primary (8") and secondary (5") guns would fire a total of more than 10 tons of projectiles, and the antiaircraft guns would fire a total of more than 3 tons of projectiles.


PICTURES

 Below are pictures of the guns.  These pictures are not from the Tuscaloosa or Wichita, but show the same guns.

8" Main Artillery5" Secondary Artillery40mm Antiaircraft Artillery20mm Antiaircraft Artillery.50 Caliber Machine Gun
8" 55 Caliber Surface-Fire Artillery5" 25 Caliber Dual-Purpose ArtilleryBofors 40 mm (>1.5 inch) 56 Caliber Multi-Purpose ArtilleryOerlikon 20 mm (0.79 inch) 70 Caliber Anti-Air Artillery.50 Caliber (1/2 inch) Browning M2 Machine Gun
USS Helena (CA-75) firing 8
USS Helena (CA-75) (of the later Baltimore class) shown firing her 8" guns during the Korean War.
5
A 5"/25 gun aboard USS New Mexico (BB-40) in 1944.
40mm gun in quad mount
Overhead view of a quad-mount 40mm gun from an unidentified ship.
20mm gun (front view) Front view of a 20mm gun from an unidentified ship. Browning M2 machine gun
View of the Browning M2 machine gun from an unidentified Navy training class.
USS Rochester (CA-124)
USS Rochester (CA-124) (of the later Oregon City class) shown in 1954 with VIPs walking past her 8" guns.
  The muzzles are protected from sea spray by the inserted plugs (tampions).

Gun crews of an unidentified cruiser scan the skies on 15 Dec. 1944.
  Note the 5" guns (left), 40mm guns (top) and 20mm guns (right). 
40mm guns in action
View of a quad-mount 40mm gun in action on carrier USS Hornet on 16 Feb. 1945.
20mm gun (overhead view) Overhead view of a 20mm gun from an unidentified ship.   Note the advanced sight which replaced the simple ring sight.

View looking aft at 8" guns aboard USS Toledo (CA-133) (of the later Baltimore class) in 1950.

View of 5"/25 guns aboard USS New Mexico (BB-40) on 15 June 1944.

View of 2 quad 40mm guns aboard USS California (BB-44) on 29 July 1945. Note the Mk 51 fire director in the lower left.

View of 20mm gun during practice aboard USS Iowa (BB-61) in May 1943.
Also, see Detail Pictures for other views of the 8" guns.Also, see Detail Pictures for other views of the 5" guns.Sketch of 40mm gun in quad mount
Annotated sketch of a quad-mount 40mm gun.
Sketch of 20mm gun
Annotated sketch of a 20mm gun
(without the splinter shield).


USS Wichita's Guns

Wichita's main guns were the same 9 - 8" 55 Caliber Surface Fire Artillery as in Tuscaloosa.  They were arranged similarly in three turrets of three guns each:  two turrets located fore in a superfiring position and one located aft.

Her secondary guns were 8 - 5" 38 Caliber Dual-Purpose Artillery, which were the successor to the earlier 25 Caliber 5" guns used aboard Tuscaloosa.  This later version possessed much more power and range than the earlier.

As with Tuscaloosa, Wichita was originally outfitted with .50 Caliber Machine guns for antiaircraft purposes.  Similarly, these ineffective guns were later replaced by 40mm and 20mm antiaircraft artillery.

Here are some of the basic statistics for Wichita's 5" guns:

5" Secondary Artillery
Description:  5" 38 Caliber Dual-Purpose Artillery
Weight of gun:  3,200 lbs.
Maximum elevation:  85 degrees
Maximum range:  18,200 yards (10+ land miles)
Rate of fire per barrel:  15-20 rounds per minute
Weight of projectile:  55 lbs.
Ceiling:  32,700 feet at 85 degrees.


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