Saving the Maine’s Mark 3

Ordered 3 August 1886, the one of a kind armored cruiser USS Maine was fitted with two twin 10″/30 caliber Mark 2 guns as her main battery and another half dozen 6″/30 caliber Mark 3 singles equipped with gun shields as a secondary while her near-sister USS Texas was given 12-inchers and thicker armor among other improvements, but had the same Mark 3s.

The 6-inchers were mounted in casemates in the hull, two each at the bow and stern and the last two amidships.

Commissioned 17 September 1895, less than three years later the mighty Maine took 252 of her crew with her when more than 5 tons of powder charges for the cruiser’s 6 and 10-inch guns detonated, obliterating the forward third of the ship.

USS-Maine

As she was sitting in Havana harbor at the time, this soon led to war although most agree that her loss was a tragic accident.

Now, one of those Mark 3s that survived the blast and subsequent sinking, and has been on public display at the Washington Navy Yard for generations, is getting a makeover to preserve it for future generations. (It should be remembered that in August 1886 Secretary of the Navy William C. Whitney signed General Order 354, establishing the Naval Gun Factory at the Washington Navy Yard, and it was the heart of Navy gunnery until the early 1960s when the manufacturing of guns was phased out and the buildings turned into office spaces, making the Yard the perfect place to put Maine‘s gun.)

141104-N-CS953-001 WASHINGTON (Nov. 4, 2014) A 6-inch, 30 caliber gun from the battleship USS Maine is on display in Willard Park at the Washington Navy Yard. Naval History and Heritage Command has arranged for conservation of the gun because of deterioration due to exposure to the elements. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Comerford/Released)

141104-N-CS953-001 WASHINGTON (Nov. 4, 2014) A 6-inch, 30 caliber gun from the battleship USS Maine is on display in Willard Park at the Washington Navy Yard. Naval History and Heritage Command has arranged for conservation of the gun because of deterioration due to exposure to the elements. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Comerford/Released)

Conservators from the Warren Lash Conservation Center (WLCC) in Charleston, South Carolina, worked with the Naval History and Heritage Command to remove the gun for conservation.

160806-N-TH437-095 WASHINGTON (Aug. 6, 2016) After weathering the elements for more than 20 years, contractors clear away loose dirt around the base of the 6-inch, 30 caliber gun from the U.S. Navy battleship Maine at the Washington Navy Yard. The Maine attained infamy when it was sunk in Havana Harbor, Cuba, being the catalyst of the Spanish-American War in 1898. The Naval History and Heritage Command contracted WLCC to perform extensive conservation work on the gun to preserve it for future generations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Lockwood/Released)

160806-N-TH437-095 WASHINGTON (Aug. 6, 2016) After weathering the elements for more than 20 years, contractors clear away loose dirt around the base of the 6-inch, 30 caliber gun from the U.S. Navy battleship Maine at the Washington Navy Yard. The Maine attained infamy when it was sunk in Havana Harbor, Cuba, being the catalyst of the Spanish-American War in 1898. The Naval History and Heritage Command contracted WLCC to perform extensive conservation work on the gun to preserve it for future generations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Lockwood/Released)

“I think cultural heritage is like bringing history to the next generation,” said Stephanie Crette, director of WLCC in a statement, “and conserving it is kind of like bringing an object to life for the next generation. I hope this is a full success and we continue on with other conservation processes with the Navy.”

Now that it’s gone, the WLCC team will start arresting its condition issues. They’ll start off by removing existing paint, as much rust as is prudent, and inhibiting the extant corrosion.

The whole process is expected to take 4-6 months.

BZ, NHHC.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as GUNS.com, Univesity of Guns, Outdoor Hub, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the US federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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