5-inch/25-caliber gun

Anti-aircraft gun

The 5"/25 caliber gun (spoken "five-inch-twenty-five-caliber") entered service as the standard heavy anti-aircraft (AA) gun for United States Washington Naval Treaty cruisers commissioned in the 1920s and 1930s. The goal of the 5"/25 design was to produce a heavy AA gun that was light enough to be rapidly trained manually. The gun was also mounted on pre-World War II battleships and aircraft carriers until replaced by the standard dual-purpose 5"/38 caliber gun, which was derived from the 5"/25 and was similar except for the barrel length. Guns removed from battleships were probably converted for submarine use by late 1943, while a purpose-built variant for submarines was available in mid-1944, and was widely used by them. United States naval gun terminology indicates the gun fired a projectile 5:inches (127:mm) in diameter, and the barrel was 25 calibers long (that is, for a 5" bore and a barrel length of 25 calibers, 5" x 25 = 125", or about 3.2 meters).

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History

Battleship USS:New Mexico's 5"/25 battery prepares to fire during the bombardment of Saipan, 15 June 1944

The gun weighed about 2 metric tons and used fixed ammunition (case and projectile handled as a single assembled unit) with a 9.6-pound (4.4:kg) charge of smokeless powder to give a 54-pound (24:kg) projectile a velocity of 2100 feet per second (640:m/s). The ceiling was 27,400 feet (8,400:m) at the maximum elevation of 85 degrees. Useful life expectancy was 4260 effective full charges (EFC) per barrel. The short barrel of the 5"/25 made it much easier to train manually against fast-moving targets. These guns were manually controlled so the short barrel and light weight made it an early favorite as an anti-aircraft gun. Another key feature was power loading, allowing rapid fire at high elevation angles. The 5"/38 caliber gun replaced the 5"/25 as the anti-aircraft weapon of choice on new construction by the mid-1930s due to its better range, velocity against surface targets, and higher vertical ceiling.

5"/25 guns removed from pre-war battleships (especially those rebuilt after Pearl Harbor) had their barrel linings chromed. These guns were remounted for submarine use beginning in late 1943 for extra firepower against small boats and ...read more

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