Battleship Shell Size Comparison

Quote of the Day

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.

Louisa May Alcott (the author of Little Women). I feel the same way about data science. I am always looking for tough problems to test the skills I am acquiring.

Figure 1: Sailors on the 14-inch guns of the USS Texas, the last remaining dreadnaught. (Wikipedia)

Figure 1: Sailors on the 14-inch guns of the USS Texas, the last remaining dreadnought. (Wikipedia)

During some routine research on battleships, I encountered some photos on the web that I thought were worth sharing here. My hope with these photos is to give readers a feel for the size of these guns and their projectiles.

Figure 1 shows the 14-inch guns of the USS Texas, which is the last remaining dreadnought. She is a great example of a WW1-era warship. Unfortunately, salt-water is slowly eating away at her and her long-term fate is probably as a land-based museum exhibit.  I find it remarkable that they have kept it afloat this long. I do plan to travel in the next few years to the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site where she currently resides.

Figure 2 shows a "photoshopped" collection of different battleship shells with a person standing next to them to give a sense of scale. A heavy cruiser 8-inch shell is included in the photo (far right) to show that battleship shells are in a different category of size from that of a cruiser.

Figure 2: Battleship Shell Size Comparions. (Source)

Figure 2: Battleship Shell Size Comparison. (Source)

The Yamato-class battleships used the 18.1-inch shells. I can find only one, albeit disputed, mention of the effectiveness of these shells in combat because the Yamato-class ships saw so little combat.  According to Japanese sources, the USS Gambier Bay was apparently heavily damaged by a near-miss from one of these shells.

Figure 3 shows the selection of shells available to an Iowa-class battleship. Most sources only mention the 1900 lb HC and 2700 lb armor-piercing variants, but you can see there were a number of other options.

Figure 3: USS Iowa Shell Selection. (Source)

Figure 3: USS Iowa Shell Selection. (Source)

Figure 4 is a photo that I saw on Quora that does a good job of comparing the sizes of the battleships (link).

Figure 4: Battleship Size Comparison.

Figure 4: Battleship Size Comparison.

This entry was posted in Ballistics, Naval History. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Battleship Shell Size Comparison

  1. Rascal01 says:

    As a fan of battleships I much enjoyed this presentation, especially the excellent and descriptive photographs. I have toured several battleships and cruisers turning a boy’s dreams into adult reality.

    An old battleship sailor serving as host on BB Wisconsin commented the BBs were past their prime for modern warfare. Perhaps so, but I still have a lot of respect for them, and would prefer to see them afloat rather then moored to a pier.

    Nice job. Thank you.

Comments are closed.