16"/50 caliber Mark 2 gun

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16"/50 caliber Mark 2 Gun
Model of the South Dakota-class battleship, including 12 16"/50 Mark 2 guns
Type Naval Artillery
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service Never Used
Used by United States Navy
Production history
Designed 1916
Variants Mod 0-1
Weight 284,000 pounds (129,000 kg)
Length 816 inches (20.7 m)
Barrel length 800 inches (20 m) bore (50 calibers)

Shell AP
Caliber 16-inch (410 mm)
Recoil 49-inch (120 cm)
Elevation -4 to 40 degrees
Traverse -145 to 145 degrees
Rate of fire 2
Muzzle velocity 2,800 feet per second (850 m/s)
Effective range 44,680 yards (40,860 m)

The 16"/50 caliber Mark 2 - United States Naval Gun was a gun originally designed and built as the main armament for the South Dakota-class battleships and Lexington-class battlecruisers, neither of which was completed. At the time, they were among the heaviest guns built for use as naval artillery, though none of the ships designed for them were ever completed.


The first example of a US Navy 16-inch gun was approved for construction in 1895[1], and completed in 1902.[2] The second design, the Mark II, was developed intended as armament for the planned South Dakota-class battleships, and also selected for the modified design of the Lexington-class battlecruisers, replacing the 14"/50 caliber gun that was originally used for the design.

With the United States entering into the Washington Naval Treaty, the terms limited the United States to a maximum displacement of 35,000 long tons (36,000 t). As both the South Dakota-class battleships and Lexington-class battlecruisers exceeded this limit, the Navy was required to cancel their construction. While two of the Lexington class were re-ordered as Lexington-class aircraft carriers, none of them were completed with the barbette necessary to mount these guns. The existing guns were transferred to the Army and installed in coastal defence batteries in place of the Army's more massive and much more expensive M1919 16 inch Coast Gun.

In 1938, with the signing of the Second London Naval Treaty, the tonnage limits for battleships was relaxed, to 45,000 tons. After this, the U.S. Navy began design of a ship that would fit these higher tonnage limits, eventually resulting in the Iowa-class battleship. The larger size would allow for guns with a 16-inch caliber and a 50-caliber length, larger than the 16"/45 guns used on preceding classes of battleship. While the Iowa-class battleships were under construction, the Bureau of Ordnance assumed that the guns to be used would be the existing Mark 2 design, and through miscommunication, the Bureau of Construction and Repair assumed the ships would use a lighter design. As a result, the Mark 2 guns were not used for these, and the 16"/50 caliber Mark 7 gun was designed instead. The Mark 2 guns were never placed on any ship.


These built-up guns were 67 feet (20 m) long—50 times their 16-inch (406 mm) bore, or 50 calibers from breechface to muzzle. With a full powder charge of 648 pounds (294 kg), the guns were capable of firing a 2,240-pound (1,020 kg) armor-piercing shell with a muzzle velocity of 2,650 feet per second (810 m/s) firing out to an effective range of 44,680 yards (40,860 m).

See also


  1. "16-inch Gun Technical Data". Archived from the original on 2009-05-06. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  2. "Watervliet Arsenal Museum". Retrieved 2009-04-04.