Nothing says ‘good morning’ like 5″ batteries, 75 years ago today
This beautiful originial Kodachrome shows the 5″/25cal (127 mm) Mark 10 battery aboard the U.S. Navy battleship USS New Mexico (BB-40) preparing to fire during the bombardment of Saipan, 15 June 1944.
Note the time-fuze setters on the left side of each gun mount, each holding three fixed shells; the barrels of 20 mm cannon at the extreme right; and triple the 14″/50 (34.5 cm) Mark 4 main guns in the background. On the two nearest weapons, note the “Hot Case Man” standing behind the breech and equipped with asbestos catcher’s mitts. Their job was to catch the ejected casing and then toss it out of the way of the gun crew as best they could.
The lead ship of a class of three battleships, and the first ship to be named for the state of New Mexico, Battleship No. 40 was a Great War baby, commissioning 20 May 1918, and famously escorted the ship that carried President Wilson to Brest to sign the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Missing Pearl Harbor as she was at the time on neutrality patrols in the Atlantic, she came through the Panama Canal on 17 January 1942 and earned six battlestars in the Pacific War.
She was in Tokyo Harbor for the end of the war.
Decommissioned in 1946 after 28 years of faithful service, she was paid off the next year and sold for $381,600, her value as scrap metal.