There are varying accounts as to how many and what type of guns were installed on the USS Inaugural at the time she was in WWII.  Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS) documents that it had one 3"/50 & four 40mm guns.  One personal recollection claims she also had six 20mm guns.  Some dispute this, saying there were no 20mm guns.  In my photos of the Inaugural in 1988, to my untrained eye, I see six 40mm (two double 40mm, two single), two 20mm & one 3"/50 guns.  It is very likely that guns were added or removed after the war, and when the ship became a museum.  Until I see official documentation on the exact type and number of guns that were on board in WWII, I will not claim to know how many of each there were.



3-inch, 50 Caliber, Dual Purpose Gun


The 3"/50 is a minor caliber gun.  It is a defensive weapon and called dual purpose because it is designed for defense against aircraft while the aircraft are still far away or very high up, and for work against light surface craft and submarines on the surface.  The new destroyer escorts carry four 3"/50 guns, two forward and two aft on the center line; submarines are armed with one 3"/50 aft of the conning tower; and the older classes of destroyers have varying numbers.  The 3"/50 is supported by a pedestal type mount.  Its maximum range is at least five miles and its ceiling around 21,500 feet.  It fires a 13 pound projectile.  The gun elevates 85 and depresses 10.  Fixed ammunition is used and the projectiles may be common antiaircraft, high explosive, shrapnel or illuminating.  Cartridges are packed four to a box, the weight of a full box being about 125 pounds.  Each cartridge weighs approximately 25 pounds.



40 MM. Antiaircraft Gun


This is an automatic gun mounted on destroyers and larger ships and is designed for use against aircraft.  It operates in both single and automatic fire.  It is water cooled, and comes in single, twin and quadruple mounts.  The barrel of the 40 mm. gun is 60 calibers long.  It can be elevated from -15 to 90.  The gun has a muzzle velocity of 2790 feet per second.  It has a horizontal range of 5420 yards, and a vertical range of 5400 yards.  Usually it is not fired until the target is within 2000 yards.  Shells are fed into the gun from clips of four, two of which are tracers.  The shell explodes on contact, but also contains a self-destructive fuse.  This is set to explode the shell after 11.5 seconds if it does not strike a target.



20 MM. Antiaircraft Gun


The 20 mm antiaircraft gun is used for close range, high angle fire as an antiaircraft defense.  Each is singly mounted on a pedestal and can be trained through 360 and elevated from minus 5 to plus 87.  The gun fires in automatic only.  This means that the gun will fire as long as the trigger is pressed and there is ammunition in the magazine.  The rate of fire is approximately 450 rounds per minute.  The magazine has a capacity of sixty rounds.  At 36 of elevation, the maximum range is approximately 5,500 yards.




USS Inaugural AM242  Copyright 2001 Jared Johnson  All rights reserved.

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