B2 High-Intermediate US 479 Folder Collection
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They were designed to be the best…
they met enemies face to face,
endured tragedies and enjoyed victories…
they went down in history due to the bravery of their crews…
they are the ships that deserve to be called
“Naval Legends!”
In this episode:
Battleship New Jersey—the most decorated ship of the U.S. Navy.
Naval battles in the beginning of the 20th century defined the evolution
of warships for decades to come.
The country that had the most battleships in its Navy
could be considered an invincible master of the seas.
After World War I the U.S. and Japan started a true competition
to build the most powerful fleet.
By the end of the 1930s U.S. engineers designed a ship
that was destined to end the era of battleships by becoming the best of them.
The necessity of building new ships was caused by
the Japanese assault on China in 1937.
All the leading countries of the world realized that war would break out sooner or later.
During these combat actions, the Americans somehow learned that the
Japanese had heavy cruisers with powerful artillery armament.
How could they oppose these ships?
A decision was made to build battleships with specific armament and speed.
In 1939 the General Council of the U.S. Navy approved the project for a new battleship
that was able to reach a speed of 33 knots.
The main ship of a new class named USS Iowa was laid down in June 1940.
A powerful ship with powerful armament, which had quite a high maximum speed.
It would reach 33 knots according to the project.
Some destroyers are this quick, too.
USS New Jersey became the second ship of its class.
Her construction started at a Philadelphia shipyard and progressed at an unprecedented rate,
but after the attack on Pearl Harbor it was accelerated tenfold.
The battleship was launched on December 7, 1942—the first anniversary of this tragic event.
Total displacement: 57 and a half thousands tons
Length: about 887 feet
Beam: 108 feet 3 inches
Draft: 36 feet 1 inch
Primary armament: Nine Mark 7 guns in three triple turrets
Caliber: 16 inches
Dual-purpose artillery: Twenty Mark 12 guns in ten coaxial Mark 28 turret mounts
Caliber: 5 inches
Anti-aircraft artillery:
Twenty quadruple Bofors gun mounts
Forty-nine 0.8-inch Mark 2/3/4 Oerlikon autocannons
Air group: Three Vought OS2U Kingfisher float planes
Armor: Main belt: 12.1 inches
Primary armament turrets: up to 18.7 inches
Conning tower: up to 17.3 inches
Maximum speed: up to 32 knots
Range: 20,150 nautical miles
The 16-inch rifles on the Iowas were pretty much the epitome of naval gunnery.
Beneath me, where I'm standing, there are several decks of ammunition handling,
powder handling, and just motors to keep the entire turret running around.
This is a 1700-ton turret mechanism that I'm standing on.
A powder magazine with 110-pound
powder charges in silk bags was located in the lowest compartments,
adjacent to the stationary part of a turret.
They were transported to the loading compartment through a system of conveyors and elevators.
This arrow goes to red to let me know there is a bag in here.
I'm gonna open this, the bag will come out,
and then I'm gonna roll the bag into here.
And then I'm gonna let them know, on the other side, that there is a bag in that scuttle.
The sailors here would stay in here and the sailors in there would stay in there.
Let me show you how all this works.
So, once the powder bag is in the scuttle, we know that the arrow is on red,
they've put it there.
Then we have to open this one.
That brings out the 110-pound powder bag, and then the sailors would have
to lift it and then put it right in here, onto this tray.
And there'll be three bags here, three bags here. This is the elevator car right in here.
When the elevator car came down, they would push in all six bags into the elevator car and then the car
would bring the bags up to the gun house,
so that they could be put into the rifle.
The munitions themselves can vary in design, usually, depending on the size of the ammunition.
So, 16-inch shells, similar to these, you could not have a single cartridge of that size.
It would be just too heavy, too unwieldy.
As it is, these things are pretty much a ton in weight, so you have to load
projectiles separately from the propellants.
First of all, a shell should have been inserted in the gun barrel.
Shells were stored in a two-storied annular magazine inside the turret's barbette.
A separate hoist was used to feed them.
Normally it would be slid over to the hoist, once it's placed in there, a hoist operator
would use this handle, pushing it all the way over, causing the projectile to go up.
The loading process takes about 30 seconds and when the gun is ready to fire,
all that's left to do is pull the trigger.
First, we have to let everyone know we're about to fire.
So we sound the salvo alarm.
Around a ship it sounds like... Down here it's a bell.
Then we're ready to fire.
This is the manual trigger right here, once it's pulled, the guns are fired.
Ultimately though, the design comes down simply to a really-really big version of the
7.62 rifle you have at home.
There is a driving band usually copper, which meshes with the rifling,
the grooves inside the cannon.
Then it goes bang, the blast sends the projectile down range,
recoil comes back, open the breech, clear out the fumes with usually a jet
of compressed air, put another in, pointy end first, pour propellant, close the breech, re-engage.
Mark 7 guns installed on New Jersey were considerably more powerful than the previous model—Mark 6.
They had the same diameter of 16 inches
but the barrel of Mark 7 guns was longer, which increased the muzzle velocity of shells
and, accordingly, its destructive potential.
If we take a look at the biggest Japanese Yamato-class battleships,
they had a caliber of 18.1 inches.
It's an enormous barrel, two skinny men could easily fit in there.
However, they used heavy shells, which created problems.
It didn't matter how long the Japanese made the barrels on Yamato,
their shells had a lower muzzle velocity.
So, the primary armament of Iowas,
New Jersey in particular, had a caliber of 16 inches
but was on par with the power of 18.1-inch shells of Yamato.
The diameter is smaller, but the power is almost the same as on Yamato-class battleships.
And that was unique.
However, all the ship's engineering advantages and powerful weaponry
would be nothing without her crew.
It's the crew that makes her a formidable combat unit.
At the moment of launch the battleship's complement consisted of almost 2,000 men.
Later, when the Pacific campaign was in full swing, the crew of New Jersey was extended to 3,000.
It's really difficult to understand how all these people worked and interacted on this ship.
Of course, the battleship was very big, but still 3,000 men in a closed space—
it's quite hard.
Imagine: nighttime, the ship is sailing forward, everyone is asleep.
And all of a sudden...
General quarters. Airborne threat detected. People wake up and they don't even understand
what's happening.
They run reflexively without needing to think about where they're going.
And it's all very simple. On the starboard side you run to the bow, and on the port side you run to the aft.
And there are many airlocks on the way, and sailors are running one after another,
going up and down the stairs, and the first few minutes looks like complete chaos.
However, in just two or three minutes everything is calm, the ship is in complete order.
Nobody is running, all men are at their battle stations.
Everyone is already at their post and ready to carry out their duties.
And then comes the battle, the shooting starts.
You have to stay at your battle station until you receive the order to leave it.
If there is no such order, you have to fight, shoot, and hold your position.
And all 3,000 men know this drill. That's a battleship for you.
The battleship New Jersey, nicknamed \"Big J\" by her crew,
underwent her baptism by fire on February 17, 1944.
The objective of a U.S. operation was to capture a major Japanese fleet base on Truk island.
Nine aircraft carriers, seven battleships, ten submarines and about forty-five ships
of other types took part in the offensive.
When any major combat formations are on the move, an avant-garde is always assigned.
The advance guard. Screening, reconnaissance, and so on.
Two battleships were assigned to the avant-garde. Those were Iowa and New Jersey.
Two heavy cruisers and four destroyers, in addition.
This powerful force was acting as the avant-garde.
On this day, the Task Force encountered a Japanese unit,consisting of the training cruiser Katori,
two destroyers, and the armed trawler Shonan Maru
The balance of forces did not leave a single option for the Japanese.
Even without using her primary armament guns, New Jersey and her escorts
sank three enemy ships; only destroyer Nowaki was able to escape.
It's noteworthy that this 30-minute battle, however insignificant it was,
became the first and the last encounter of Iowa-class battleships with the enemy in the high seas.
In later service, ships of this class
used their armament only against shore targets and aircraft.
New Jersey demonstrated in her first battle
that battleships had started to play secondary roles.
Aircraft carriers and carrier aviation became the main striking force of naval warfare.
At the same time, we need to understand that an aircraft carrier
can't fight alone. It would be too vulnerable.
Battleships became reliable cover for aircraft carriers.
Thanks to their excellent sea-going capabilities
they formed an integral battle complex with aircraft carriers.
New Jersey had to use all of her anti-aircraft armament to fight off enemy planes multiple times
whilst protecting allied ships.
If you watch newsreels from that time, you'll see that the whole sky is covered with bursts.
Let's ask ourselves: where did these bursts come from?
Who was shooting?
It was battleships that provided the main protection against the airborne threat.
They took positions around carrier task forces or were assigned to separate
tactical groups in the main direction.
And that became their primary objective.
Up until the end of World War II, battleship New Jersey used her primary guns
to bombard positions of the Japanese army on the Mili, Saipan, and Okinawa islands.
The battleship took part in fighting off enemy air raids against U.S. aircraft carrier formations
in the Philippine Sea, and provided support for landing troops.
Thanks to the well-coordinated work of her crew and her captain,
New Jersey didn't receive any significant damage throughout her years of service.
She also performed brilliantly in U.S. military campaigns
in the second half of the 20th century.
Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, and the Persian Gulf.
“Big J” received 19 battle stars and is considered to be the most decorated ship of the U.S. Navy.
New Jersey showed her colors in almost every port where she visited.
With the arrival of missile technology, the battleship had a second life as a unique U.S.Navy
ship combining her incredibly powerful artillery with the new armament type.
The Iowa-class battleships have a unique fate.
They began service in 1944 and were officially decommissioned by the U.S. Navy
in only 2012.
Battleship New Jersey stands out a little in this respect.
For example, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri participated in approximately four wars,
while New Jersey managed to distinguish herself during the Vietnam War as well.
And she was the only ship from the legendary four that was on active service in the Persian Gulf.
Battleship New Jersey is a museum now and there are few ships as deserving as her, she is the pride
of the American people.
A sailor who served aboard USS New Jersey
is someone that can be proud of their ship, country, and themselves.
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[World of Warships] Naval Legends: USS New Jersey

479 Folder Collection
吳函庭 published on May 11, 2019
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