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.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # 80-G-K-14162

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.

The U.S. Navy battleship USS New Mexico (BB-40) anchored in the Tokyo Bay area, circa late August 1945, at the end of World War II. Mount Fuji is in the background. NH 50232

The U.S. Navy battleship USS New Mexico (BB-40) anchored in the Tokyo Bay area, circa late August 1945, at the end of World War II. Mount Fuji is in the background. NH 50232

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.


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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, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, 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 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 U.S. 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.

2 responses to “Nothing says ‘good morning’ like 5″ batteries, 75 years ago today”

  1. tony acabono says :

    I served on a 3inch 50 cal gun crew. I was the “hot shellman”. The fuze setter operates a machine that rotates the projectile in the case which sets the fuse. Various rounds have different purposes, some need the fuse set for altitude or time. The other positions are captain, pointer, trainer, 1st and 2nd loaders, sight setter plus a phone talker and ammo passers.some more complicated guns have even larger crews

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