Navy Gun Turret Weapons
How A Naval Gun Turret Works...
A gun turret is as armored rotating platform that protects the crew or weapon, from incoming fire.
Gun turrets are often mounted on buildings, anti-naval land batteries, armored vehicles, naval ships or military aircraft, and can be armed with one or more machine guns, automatic cannons, large-caliber guns, or missile launchers.
A turret that carries no weapons, only sighting devices, is known as a cupola. The term also refers to a smaller or sub-turret mounted upon a larger one.
One of the earliest warships to sport gun turrets was the USS Monitor. This ironclad battleship was armed with two muzzle loading cannons housed in a fully armored rotating drum.
In naval terms, a ‘turret’ specifically refers to an armored gun mount where the entire mass rotates as one, and has a trunk that is sunk into the deck.
The armored part of the turret that sits above the deck is called the gunhouse. This serves to protect the crew as well as the firing and loading mechanisms of the weapon.
The gunhouse is not fixed to the ship, instead it is mounted on a bed of larger rollers. If the ship were to capsize or sink, the turret would fall out.
Underneath the gunhouse there may be a working chamber where ammunition is handled, and/or the main trunk which accommodates the shell and propellant hoists that transport ammunition up from the magazines below.
Bellow is a wartime instructional video from the British Navy. The clip shows that wartime gun turrets worked in much the same way as modern turrets.
The handling equipment and hoists consist of a complex array of machinery that transport the shells and charges from the magazine into the base of the turret
There may be a combined hoist (the animated British turret – above) or separate hoists (the American turret cutaway – below).
Because shells weight around a ton a piece, the hoists must be powerful and rapid. A 15 inch British turret is expected to perform a complete loading and firing cycle in just on minute.
Generally, with large-caliber guns, powered or assisted ramming is required to force the heavy shell and charge into the breech.
This power assisted technology alleviates the need for humans to work inside the turret, instead only a small team are needed to pass ammunition into the system.
The working chamber and trunk rotate with the gunhouse, and all this sits inside a protective armoured barbette which extends down into the deck.
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