SEARCH FINESCALE.COM

Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

Question About 3"/50 Deck Gun Crew

3175 views
15 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    March 2021
Question About 3"/50 Deck Gun Crew
Posted by Gregor on Monday, March 15, 2021 12:08 PM

I have assembled a 1/32-scale 3"/50 deck gun (World War II era) and have begun sculpting the crew.  Can anyone point me to a reliable photo or other reference that shows the number of crew members and their placement around the gun when it is in action?  I presume there are crew members seated in the two seats, perhaps two others who are standing on the platforms of the gun (what do these guys do?), and a man who shoves the shell into the breech.  I've seen photos of a man behind the gun wearing white asbestos gloves whose job was to catch spent shells as they were ejected from the breech.  So am I correct in assuming the gun had a six-man crew whose positions during action are as I surmised above?  Thanks in advance for any enlightenment. 

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Monday, March 15, 2021 4:32 PM

At maritime.org there is a manual for the 3"/50 single on 20, 21, 22 MOD mount

3-INCH MOUNT MARK 20, 21, 22 AND MODS (maritime.org)

See diagram page 8.  Lists the gun crew as:

Gun Captain, Pointer, Trainer, Sight Checker, Sight Setter, Hot Case Man, Plug Man, Loader #1, Loader #2, Fuze Setter #1, and Fuze Setter #2.  There may also be a talker (in Darth Vader Helmet) or the Gun Captain may fill that role.

 

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Monday, March 15, 2021 8:09 PM

Talker is almost always separate from Gun Captain (barring only submarines and similar small combatants).  The Talker may be shared between mounts if they are close enough together.  When short-handed the Hot Case man can be omitted.  And one of the Fuze setters 9sometiems).

Pointer (elevation) is typically in the left-hand seat; Trainer (horizontal track) in the right.  Usually both have a foot trigger; some Marks need both depressed to fire (to correct for the parallax).

Everyone under-estimates the numbers of Loaders, but the Ready Service lockers are just far enough away to warrant ammo passers.

 

Now, the Mk 32 Twin 3"/50 also had a 10 man crew per mount.  Most of those were tasked with keeping the rotary magazines filled.  If using time fuzes rather than VT, the two fuze setting positions have to be manned.  The Mount uses an external director, so Pointer and Trainer can be skipped.  A Talker per each is required, doubly so if on time fuzing.  It was pretty typical to have a Radarman/3 as part of the crew, usually as a loader, or as the Trainer, to keep the tracking radar up and running.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, March 15, 2021 10:03 PM

The big guns in the age of sail had anywhere from 10 to 15 crew each, and attrition was an important factor to take into account.

So how could a ship like Victory crew 100 guns? One side at a time mostly.

 

Bill

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 5:06 PM

Hi Bill;

     For sure, the gun crews on Sail ships usually had a short life expectancy in war. They could be standing near another gun about to fire and the other ship's cannonball penetrates the wood,even only part way. At least three were down with very grevious Splinter wounds!

 I pity in memory the barrel swabbers. Leaning near the gun port Opening when a shot hits near the sdge of the Gun-Port. Bye-Bye Fella! Remember too there were battles that reduced ships to splinters.That's when they didn't have explosive balls.

    That is one reason why the Royal Navy had red decks and bulkheads on the Gundeck and in their Army coats. If you couldn'r see the blood you wouldn't falter ( They Hoped)

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 7:22 AM

Back to the topic at hand ...

CapnMac82

Now, the Mk 32 Twin 3"/50 also had a 10 man crew per mount.  Most of those were tasked with keeping the rotary magazines filled.  If using time fuzes rather than VT, the two fuze setting positions have to be manned.  The Mount uses an external director, so Pointer and Trainer can be skipped.  A Talker per each is required, doubly so if on time fuzing.  It was pretty typical to have a Radarman/3 as part of the crew, usually as a loader, or as the Trainer, to keep the tracking radar up and running.

 

 
I count something like 15 or 16 helmet/life jacket combos serving this post-war 3"/50 MK 33 mount
 
 
Yes, a good half the crew are keeping the rotary magazines full.  Pointer/trainer seats are occupied.
 
For you CapnMac,  were the later 3" mounts like the 40mms, ejecting the spent shell casings forward through a chute?
 
 
  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Thursday, March 18, 2021 11:31 AM

EdGrune
For you CapnMac, were the later 3" mounts like the 40mms, ejecting the spent shell casings forward through a chute?

Yes, it's not as "half pipe" as the Bofors, but does pitch the cases forward.

Video:

They glossed over the fact that the VX fuze could only be made small enough to fit 3" shells, which was part of the change.  (The impact fuses on 40mm rounds would not fire on striking thin a/c aluminum, or only did after having passed through the a/c).

The Mk 37 Duals were menat to replace quad 40s, and had the same mount ring diameter.  But, by weight they were a 2 for 3 replacment. 

And, in a hurr-hurr moment, I quoted the 10 man needed for "automatic" (director controlled) operations, and not the full-up 16 for manual (local control) firing.    These thing flexed over the life of the Mk 37 as various protocols came in and out of favor.

I'm looking, but that 8" mount on Salem was meant to recover the brass powder casing back to the turret bilges for potential reuse.

  • Member since
    January 2013
Posted by seastallion53 on Monday, March 22, 2021 8:48 AM
An LPD I was aboard had 1 of those guns mounted just forward of the flight deck. we were firing up the engines of our RH-53D Seastallion and without warning they fired that gun as we were starting the engines, the whole flight crew bailed out of our helo thinking the engine just exploded.
  • Member since
    December 2020
Posted by Thuntboss on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 2:16 PM

seastallion53
An LPD I was aboard had 1 of those guns mounted just forward of the flight deck. we were firing up the engines of our RH-53D Seastallion and without warning they fired that gun as we were starting the engines, the whole flight crew bailed out of our helo thinking the engine just exploded.
 

 

Which one and when ?   I ask because I was aboard USS Juneau LPD 10 from '87-'91...

"Do it as well as your experience and skill allow. Practice and persistence increase skill"

 

  • Member since
    January 2013
Posted by seastallion53 on Thursday, April 1, 2021 8:27 PM
USS Nashville 1981
  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Sunday, April 4, 2021 10:25 PM

In late January, 1966 my battalion — 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines — was transported from Camp Schwab in Okinawa to Naha, where we embarked on the attack transport U.S.S. Paul Revere (APA-248). We were headed for  Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam, to begin Operation Double Eagle against communist forces. On the way, we stopped for an overnight amphibious training operation on the island of Mindoro in the Philippines, and then re-embarked on Paul Revere. This is what happened next (excerpted from my memoir) about my Vietnam War experiences: 

Before we left the Philippine Archipelago, Paul Revere’s gunners engaged in some practice firing their 3”/50 caliber guns on a small island that the navy used as a firing range. The 3”/50 fires a projectile with a diameter or caliber of 3 inches (76 millimetres); its barrel is 150 inches (3.8 meters) long, 50 times the caliber of the shells it fires; hence, the word caliber refers to both the diameter of the 3”/50’s shells and tothe 50-caliber length of its barrel.

Although the 3”/50 caliber gun is a relative midget in the world of military artillery, it is is no small weapon. I wasn’t about to miss the excitement, so I found a spot near and right behind one of the guns. Though I was behind the gun, the pressure wave from each shot slammed hard against my chest. I was surprised that I could see the 3”/50 caliber shells in flight, much as I had once seen the .22 long rifle bullets I was firing from my own rifle into the large, dark entrance to an old manganese mine near my childhood home.  In both cases, the projectiles were flying directly away from me; I doubt that humans are capable of tracking a nearby, high-velocity projectile at right angles to their line of sight.

This incident would come back to haunt me. Back in 2001, I was diagnosed with both hyperacusis (extremely sensitive hearing) and tinnitus. My audiologist believes that the incident on Paul Revere, plus several exposures to the sounds of weapons in Vietnam (from 155mm Long Tom guns, an IED that exploded maybe 40 feet away from me, as well as rifles, machine guns, grenades, and rockets) are a direct cause of my hearing problems. She even wrote a letter for me to send to the VA to apply for disability compensation, but I was turned down.

Bob

   

On the bench: 1/500 Revell S.S. Hope, being built as the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose; Academy 1/72 F-86F Sabre, and a diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor). 

  • Member since
    August 2014
  • From: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posted by goldhammer on Monday, April 5, 2021 9:37 AM

Bob, you're not alone.  Of all of us that were in Thailand, VA only gives presumptive exposure to agent orange to security police, dog handlers and some POL people.  If you even put one toe in the dirt, and went right back up the boarding ladder and left in country 'nam, you're exposed.  Along with the Navy folks who were up to 12 miles offshore.

While I'm happy to see them get their due, there are a lot of us who have gotten screwed.

  • Member since
    December 2020
Posted by Thuntboss on Thursday, April 8, 2021 10:06 AM

seastallion53
USS Nashville 1981
 

 

Nice !

 

On the Juneau, the forward 3" mount was on the starboard side and the aft mount was on the port side. As originally built though, there were 2 mounts forward and 2 aft.

"Do it as well as your experience and skill allow. Practice and persistence increase skill"

 

  • Member since
    January 2013
Posted by seastallion53 on Thursday, April 8, 2021 10:37 AM
Yes, the 3" mount was just aft of the super structure on the port side.just forward of the flight deck.Our helo was parked just aft of that gun mount
  • Member since
    March 2021
Posted by Gregor on Friday, July 16, 2021 3:52 PM

Many thanks, Ed.  That answered my question. 

  • Member since
    March 2021
Posted by Gregor on Friday, July 16, 2021 3:55 PM

Thanks, CapnMac!  That's helpful. 

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

SEARCH FORUMS
FREE NEWSLETTER
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.