Battleship Spotting Top - Tripod and Lattice Masts
Spotting Tops were 'lookout platforms' that were used to both 'locate and sight' the enemy, whilst also obtaining feedback from the firing of a battleship's primary and secondary naval guns - such as 'off target' shell splashes. Such information, would then be used to help correct the aiming, of a battleship's naval guns. In the days before radar, crew members would have scoured the seas (using binoculars) looking for enemy battleships, battlecruisers or other warships. Spotting Tops were located at the highest points on a battleship's superstructure, usually 'way above' their armoured conning tower. The spotting tops themselves, had no armour - the 'price that was paid' for being located 'so far up' on a battleship's superstructure. In British battleships, they were located at the top of tripod masts. Whilst in earlier American battleships, they were located at the top of lattice masts, which was really a tubular 'cage mast' - an American idea that was initially believed to be better, until one fell down!
HMS Hood 1937 - Spotting Top
The highest observation point located on-board HMS Hood, was her spotting top:
It is here, that her look outs would have scowled the seas, looking for the tell tale glimpse, of an enemy vessel (in a time before radar). The tripod mast on the back, is where Hood's wireless rig was attached (the six horizontal lines coming in from the top left). Both structures, were supported by a single starfish - the black metallic structure, that's located underneath. One of HMS Hood's three survivors (from when she was sunk), was actually stationed in the spotting top - surviving because he was washed through a window, as everything else around him sunk!