Re: PRR Gun Flats on the West Coast
Hello Marty, Garth, and group,
I was born and raised in Hawthorne, NV and worked at the base for while before moving to Oregon.
The base did in fact store quite a number of 16" gun barrels mostly from the Iowa class of battle ships. They were just inside of the main base fence line and very visible from the highway. At least 9 of them were in new condition with plugged ends and new paint others were in different used and heavily weathered condition. Sometime in the early 1980s 9 of them were shipped to Bremerton, WA and fitted to the newly reactivated Missouri battle ship (sitting decommissioned since 1956) which seen action during Desert Storm firing 28 Tomahawk missiles and 759 16" shells.
The remaining barrels were eventually sold for scrap and cut up into "manageable" pieces and hauled off. There's a really nice little Ordnance Museum in Hawthorne with a couple pieces of the barrels on display. They were offered a complete barrel but unfortunately there wasn't any place to put it that could hold the weight of a full barrel. The museum is a former car dealership on the north end of town and I'd highly recommend stopping by if anyone's driving through Hawthorne.
I have a few photos of the barrels being loaded and moved to Bremerton and the only complete road number that I can see from the series of cars used is DODX 40027. There were 10 flat cars and 9 of them carried one barrel each in a special cradle and the 10th car was a trailing car as a buffer for the bit of overhang of the last barrel.
I'll bring these photos to Naperville and if you're really nice to me I'll show them to you.
Kadee Quality Products
From: mjmcguirk@... [STMFC]
Sent: Tuesday, October 06, 2015 6:07 AM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: PRR Gun Flats on the West Coast
Garth, the facility in Nevada must be the former Naval Ammunition Depot, Hawthorne. Which since sometime in the 1980ss has been an Army base.
It was during WWII the largest facility of its kind in the world.
Ordnance, and weapons, though (obviously!) very closely related are not the same thing in military parlance. In the Navy's pre-WWII organizational structure BuOrd and BuWeaps were two different entities - weapons - barrels and the like - were the bailiwick of BuWeaps and refurbished at the Washington Navy Yard, tested at Dahlgren, and then shipped to the shipyard for installation on the ships.
Weapons stations and depots are used either for long term storage and assembly of ordnance, or short term storage near naval bases.
Which brings up back to Hawthorne. It was a huge facility - employed more than 5,000 people in 1945. It was larger than the Weapons Depot at Crane, Indiana.
That said, I've never been able to find any reference to it being used to "store" naval rifles enroute to West Coast shipyards. I'm not saying it never happened, but it would have been the exception. The only time Hawthorne was used for large scale storage of naval rifles was immediately after WWII when the facility was used to store barrels from decommissioned or converted ships. Many of barrels were eventually sold for scrap.
Out of curiosity I checked to see they had a shore-mount installation at Hawthorne for live-fire ammo tests. Can't find anything that confirms they did and until I do I assume they did not.
Again, I wouldn't say they never had barrels shipped there from the East Coast for that purpose and/or "stored" there until it was shipped to the West Coast. But I can't find any proof of that.