The American 'twin barrel' 5 inch naval gun is regarded as 'one of the most successful naval guns' of all time:
Part of its success, comes from the fact that the US Navy standardised the 5 inch gun, for use on both battleships and smaller warships (such as cruisers and destroyers). This made shell logistics 'so much simpler'. On a battleship, the twin 5 inch was only ever a secondary armament (for use against aircraft and surface targets). Whilst on cruisers and destroyers, the 5 inch 'was usually' the primary armament - with up to eight turrets being installed (for example) on the 'light cruiser' USS Atlanta (which featured six centreline turrets 'for stability reasons' and two wing turrets 'for maximising' anti-aircraft firepower). The 5 inch gun was heavily used throughout World War Two, to defend the American warship fleets 'in the Pacific'. When used to defend against enemy aircraft, several turrets would operate together, using barrage fire (the idea being: not to target the enemy aircraft directly, but rather 'target the area' that the enemy aircraft was in) and destroy the aircraft with shrapnel 'exploding outwards' from the 5 inch shells (which were equipped with proximity fuses). As an anti-aircraft gun, the twin 5 inch 'more than proved its worth', and it was a gun turret that would not be easily mothballed - even after World War Two had finished (in 1945) ... When the Iowa class battleships were reactivated (in the 1980s'), the venerable twin 5 inch dual purpose gun, was retained as part of their armament - although with only six turrets (as opposed to ten turrets) to make room for newer 'more modern' missiles.
The early World War Two modifications of HMS Hood, resulted in Hood's 'boat deck' (also called her 'shelter deck') being outfitted with seven 4 inch 'twin barrelled' anti-aircraft guns:
This was something of an 'austere makeover' that aimed to increase Hood's anti-aircraft capabilities. To 'make space' for installing these guns, all of Hood's single barrelled 4 inch anti-aircraft and 5.5 inch naval guns 'were removed' - although facilities (such as their magazines and 'shell supply lines') were enhanced to support her new guns. These modifications were carried out 'more for speed' than for robustness reasons - as the entire 'boat deck' could really be considered as a target for incoming shells! This issue was further compounded, by the fact that 'ready use' ammunition lockers were installed 'next to and near' each anti-aircraft gun mount. During the Battle of the Denmark Strait, a boat deck fire 'wreaked havoc' amongst the ammunition that was stored in these.
HMS Hood was an Empire Ship that sailed the world. As such, her upper decks were an interesting mix, of both peacetime and wartime:
For me, the peacetime is represented by the variety of smaller boats that she carried on-board. I believe that these were used when she was in port, or when she had anchored off some tropical island, for some rest and relaxation (for her sailors). Yet, she was still a warship, with the armament to match! Here we can see: a 5.5 inch naval gun (lower left), a 4 inch high angle anti-aircraft gun (middle-bottom), and a quadruple 0.5 inch anti-aircraft gun (middle-bottom right). Now, I've heard it said, that sailors don't have a fear of heights! Hood's main mast, would appear to test this theory - with the mast's ladders being used to gain access, to both lookout posts, and wireless radio equipment. The long horizontal boom, that stems from the base of the main mast, is the main derrick, which was 65 feet long! I believe this was used, to lift both the smaller boats, and other heavy equipment (such as ammunition crates).
Here we can see, what I regard as HMS Hood's front conning tower:
Though technically the term conning tower, only applies to the elliptical structure on the front (with the rest being superstructure). The conning tower itself, was concerned with the aiming of the primary armament 15 inch naval guns. It was protected by armour of up to 11 inches thick: to ensure that Hood's 15 inch naval guns, could be aimed and fired, even in the heaviest action. The superstructure itself, was concerned with both the manoeuvrability of HMS Hood (such as steering and navigation), and further fire control (for both the secondary armament, and anti-aircraft guns). The superstructure was soft (aka thinly protected), to save armour weight. It included such equipment as: search lights, 3 pounder saluting guns, quadruple 0.5 inch anti-aircraft guns, eight barrelled two pounder anti-aircraft pom-poms directors, 5.5 inch secondary armament directors, evershed transmitters and air defence platform equipment (e.g. binoculars).
Here we can see the details of the midships area of HMS Hood:
Of particular interest are: i) The eight barrelled 2 pounder anti-aircraft pom poms gun. ii) The 4 inch high angle anti-aircraft gun. iii) One of the secondary armament 5.5 inch naval guns (with it's protective shield). iv) The smaller crane derricks, which were helpful for lifting both ammunition, and smaller boats. v) The torpedo look out control towers. Which I believe, would issue just one command: take evasive action! vi) Venting for the boiler rooms (located at the base of the funnels, just under various life rafts). vii) The smokestacks themselves, which vented waste gases and heat, from Hood's boiler rooms. There's an unproven theory, that the shell that sunk HMS Hood, may very well have penetrated one of these, and detonated the oil fuel (inside her boiler rooms).
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HMS Hood 1937 - Front Conning Tower - Lower Levels
Here we can see the first, second and third decks of HMS Hood's front Conning Tower Superstructure:
Of particular interest are: i) The quadruple 0.5 inch anti-aircraft guns. These were designed to put up a wall of fire, that it was believed, would help disintegrate enemy aircraft (that were targeting the bridge). ii) The 3 pounder saluting guns. These were a peace time addition, mainly used when conducting ceremonies - that were removed in times of war. iii) The secondary armament (twelve 5.5 inch naval guns) fire control directors - the rotatable cylinder with a view slit in the front. iv) The various signal search lights, which were used to communicate visually, with other warships.
Here we can see the look out posts for the various crew members of HMS Hood, that were tasked with looking out for enemy aircraft:
Most of these involved some sort of optical sight (such as binoculars), whereby it's operator would locate enemy aircraft, then obtain various measurements (such as bearing and elevation), which in-turn, was fed into several (analogue) fire control computers, which in-turn was relayed to the gun operators (who opened fire). Hood's anti-aircraft guns, were also capable of local control, when (for example) such bridge tower directors had been knocked out.
From left to right we have: the aft-most eight barrelled 2 pounder anti-aircraft pom poms gun, two 4 inch high angle anti-aircraft guns, and one of the fifteen inch naval gun turrets (with it's local control range finder on-top). The anti-aircraft guns, were situated atop the Admiral's Day Cabin, and much pomp and ceremony, is often associated with the wooden handrail ladders, that lead to this area (bottom left). This was particularly true, of Hood's Empire Cruise, where she entertained VIPs (such as Royalty), from around the World.
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Battleship Artwork - Warship Artwork - Digital Commission
3D Modellers, with a passion for preserving the past, particularly pertaining to Battleships :) The Pride of the Royal Navy herself, HMS Hood (as she appeared in 1937):
Battleships were the Greatest Warships of their time, and to the Men that served on them, they lived a way of life, that now no longer exists ... Our Military Artwork, aims to help preserve these bygone times, and it is hoped, that it shall be of interest to Military Museums, and to other such areas of public interest (e.g. education) - together with private collectors.