14 inch rifles from reserve USN stocks WW1



Almost Unknown 372k 14-Inch Naval Railway Gun, Mark I. View of the front of the gun car, while emplaced for firing. Probably taken during firing trials at Sandy Hook, New Jersey, in the Spring of 1918. Badge on car has serial number: 48473.
The Allies had a problem. Germany had better long range artillery than the British and the French. They were using that advantage to bombard Paris, to terrorize French civilians, and to attack the key French port of Dunkirk. The United States Navy decided to help redress this imbalance. On 2 November 1917, the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, Rear Admiral Ralph Earle ordered that the number of available 14 inch, 50 caliber guns to be used as armament on battleships now be turned into Naval Railway Guns. Mounted on railway cars, the cars could be moved where needed and with a range of almost 24 miles, neutralizing the German advantage. Once the order was cut, work on the railways began. The guns themselves were reserves, already on hand and used as replacements for those on commissioned ships and those under construction. With outstanding achievement in speed, Baldwin Locomotive works delivered the first such mount in 72 days following the award of the contract, and 120 days after the commencement of the first preliminary design. USN photo # NH 96262, courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, via

Phil, Bklyn