Help: Q on Mounting of .50 cal on submarine

Dear followers, I received the following email from Richard Pekelney, one of the crew restoring USS Pampanito (SS-383), a WW II submarine museum and memorial in San Francisco.

Pampanito in more modern times, which they are trying to restore to her late WWII condition and appearance– hence the 50 cal questions

I pose it to the larger community here for their expertise:

During the summer of 1945 (our target restoration date), Pampanito had x4 .50 cal. Browning machine guns. Until a few weeks ago we never thought too much about them, and we really do not know anything about small arms. It turns out their mounting and configuration are interesting and different than surface ship installations we have seen from the war (aircraft gun, no recoiling slide group or side slide, aircraft recoil absorbing mount). I am writing you today to ask you to take a look at the photos of other submarines using their .50 cal. to see if we have correctly identified the possible configurations of mount and guns in the photos. Or any other suggestions/corrections.

The work notes with photos and links to videos are at:

I replied with the following:

While Perch reportedly had .50 cals still mounted in Vietnam– and became the last U.S. submarine to conduct a surface gunfire action in 1966, I don’t have any images of her from the period using said 50s.

The only .50 cal images I can find are mostly water-cooled guns on earlier fleet subs:

See USS Trout

See USS Silversides

While the photo of Batfish’s .50 cal flex mount is probably the best known as far as air-cooled guns, it doesn’t show much of the mount itself.


So, if any of you guys have more details (or items) that can help Rich and the Pampanito folks out, please send it, or drop it.

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