16″/50 Main Battery Gun Shoots, USS Missouri (BB-63)

USS Missouri (BB-63) firing the center guns of Turrets 1 & 2 during WWII. The 16″ guns on the Iowa class battleships could be elevated and fired independently, as this photograph illustrates.  The propellant charge required to fire each projectile was 660 pounds.
Another photograph from WWII, this time a salvo from Turret 1. The effect of the heat and the blast on the water has lead to the myth that the recoil of the guns firing would push the ship sideways through the water.
A firepower demonstration conducted for the Australian press while off Sydney in October 1986. This was actually a fifteen-gun broadside, nine 16″/50 guns and six 5″/38s, although the firing of the 5″ guns is not noticeable in the photograph.
A detail of the photograph above, showing two 16″ projectiles in flight. The initial velocity of a 1,900 pound high capacity round was 2,690 feet per second, or Mach 2.45.  While elusive, they could be seen and photographed if one knew where to look and the timing was right.
Another view of the Sydney broadside, this time from the fo’c’sle. This proved a popular vantage point for photographers as the heat and overpressure from the gun firings was tolerable there.
More projectiles in flight, this time fired from Turret 3 with the photographer on the fantail.  Double hearing protection was required for those observing a main battery firing topside.
An overhead view of a broadside. The blast effect on the water is clearly distinguishable, note that there is no lateral “wake” at the bow or stern, only under the fireballs.  The four Iowa class battleships all carried different patterns of non-skid and teak on their fantails, Missouri had the largest area of non-skid of the four sisters.
Another projectile in flight, this picture was taken during the RIMPAC exercise in 1990.
A black and white picture of Missouri firing NGFS off Korea. During gun shoots the bridge windows were rolled down to prevent the blast from breaking the glass.  Bridge watchstanders quickly learned to duck upon hearing the salvo alarm!