July 28, 2021

Pictures - Iowa Turret One

Earlier in the month, I hosted a meetup aboard Iowa and John Schilling, CatCube and Randy M came to visit. One of the highlights was a chance to visit Turret 1, which was opened up since my last visit to the ship two years ago. We got in through the hatch on the back of the turret, although I didn't think to take pictures.

The inside of Turret 1

The first thing I noticed was how spacious the inside of the turret was. This is the result of the rangefinder that was originally inside the turret being removed in the 1950s. This made it much more spacious than the previous turrets I've been in, most notably one aboard Massachusetts.

A similar view to the one above, but with a rangefinder and Sister Bean

Another general view, looking the other way

On both Iowa and Massachusetts, only the aft portion of the gunhouse was open, and you couldn't get right up around the gun breeches. (Massachusetts also had a magazine open, but I'll cover that separately.) But enough was open to give a reasonable view of the loading mechanism.

Powder comes up the powder hoist, seen here from the powder hoist operator's position

Shells come up the shell hoist...

And are brought alongside the spanning tray, which then extends to align them with the breech for ramming

Powder comes out of the powder hoist through this hatch

Falls onto the spanning tray (here aboard Massachusetts) and is rammed in behind the shell

The motors that ram the shells into the guns are under the turret floor

Normally, the guns are fired by the central fire-control system, but in case of battle damage, the turret is capable of fighting on its own.

On each side of the turret, two scopes are fitted

They exclusively provide elevation and train data in case of loss of a connection with the director

This data is fed to the turret computer, a smaller and simpler version of the main fire-control computer down in the plotting room

The turret captain (here portrayed by CatCube) will then fire the guns

He sets what system controls the turret using this switchboard

And can see the status of the various parts of the main armament using this indicator board


  1. July 28, 2021cassander said...

    I have to say, sister bean looks like she's very bored with you guys...

  2. July 28, 2021Jack said...

    I'm glad they've finally opened one of the turrets up to the public. I've been in the turrets in the North Carolina and Alabama, and being 6'4" I can tell you they are super cramped.

  3. July 28, 2021bean said...


    I think we had finished the “looking around” bit and I had moved on to taking photos. She was bored during that, but she got a very good tour of Massachusetts, and doesn’t seem to hold it against me today.


    I'm about 5'9", and just the right height. John and Randy are both significantly taller, and they were quite cramped throughout the ship.

  4. July 29, 2021Blackshoe said...

    Surprised there's not more digital computers in the turret.

    Not sure why I am surprised, just surprised.

  5. July 29, 2021Blackshoe said...

    Also, so much white paint! Since I am pretty familiar with Mighty Mamie (as shown in the pictures), it must feel nice for it to look not...grungy.

  6. August 18, 2021muddywaters said...

    If you'd like pictures of the lower levels / with more labels, Slover's has the official manual (OP-769) and several videos.

    The motors at gunhouse floor level are the rammer motors; the elevating motors are 2 levels down. And at least on 1968 New Jersey, the in-charge position is called "Turret Officer" and doesn't have a firing trigger - the item on a cord that vaguely looks like one sounds the salvo signal horn.

    I guess the reason for not letting visitors right up to the guns is that it would be too easy to fall down the pit?

  7. August 18, 2021bean said...

    These posts are always my pictures, although I may drop a link to that. Thanks for catching me on the floor motors. I was guessing on the day, because it's been a while since I studied those diagrams. As for the pits, absolutely. This is one of the places where the 1940s Navy's lax attitude to safety is most clearly displayed.

  8. August 18, 2021muddywaters said...

    Not specific to the wartime-built ships - the one actual instance I know of happened on USS New York.

  9. August 18, 2021bean said...

    Didn't think it was. Attitudes to safety have changed a lot in the last 80 years, war or peace.

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