HOME          INDEX
Chapter 5 Elements of Gun Mounts
A. Introduction
B. Features of modern naval guns and mounts
C. Conclusion
                                                       A. Introduction

5A1. Development of guns

As the Foreword to this course indicates, guns have been used in warfare ashore and afloat for several hundred years. The Foreword indicates, in broad outline, how its effectiveness as a weapon has increased over this period of development. But this development has not been a slow, steady growth. For the first 400 years the technology of gunnery changed so little that, as the Foreword points out, one of Drakeís men would have had to learn very little that was new to have served a gun at Trafalgar. Nearly all the basic features that have made the modern naval gun the effective weapon it is today have been developed within the past 130 years, and most of them began to become important only after the turn of the century.

Modern guns and mounts, with their associated sighting and fire control equipment, represent a highly developed technical level of achievement, not the less impressive because most of their features were initiated from 1 to 4 generations ago. Yet the guns and mounts aboard modern United States naval vessels, complex though they are in detail, are based on these relatively few fundamental features. Once they are grasped, the student will find it easier to master the details of structure and functioning of any gun mount or turret he encounters.

5A2. Scope of this chapter

This chapter is devoted principally to those significant features of modern naval guns that have been responsible for making of them the effective weapons they are today. Each of them is discussed individually in somewhat simplified form, with enough detail regarding its application to facilitate the studentís understanding of operating principles when he encounters them in actual guns and mounts aboard ship. These features include:

1. Improved metallurgy and barrel construction.

2. Rifling.

3. Breech-loading mechanisms.

4. Percussion and electrical firing systems.

5. Recoil and counterrecoil systems.

6. Power rammers and mechanical ammunition feed.

7. Power-driven ammunition hoists.

8. Safety features-salvo latch, safety link, gas ejection.

9. Sighting and fire control equipment.

10. Power drives for elevating and training.

The next section of this chapter will take up first the common or conventional structural features of naval guns and mounts, then will discuss individually the characteristic structural and functional elements of modern naval gun mounts, as listed above.

The final section of this chapter presents, in summary form, fundamental definitions relating to guns and mounts.