Re: Flatcar Load: Conning Tower Tube
Daniel A. Mitchell
Since we don’t know exactly what it is, it’s hard to guess what it may have contained … probably pipes, cables, and a ladder.toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
The shell and powder hoists for the big guns were contained within the gun’s barbettes. What most people call a “turret” is actually a Barbette It is a HUGE assembly with the gun-house on the top. It is several decks deep, surrounded by a heavily armored wall, and the whole interior rotates as a unit. The rotating part contains the shell and powder handling rooms and hoists. A considerable amount of “ready” ammunition (shells) are stored inside, a couple decks below the guns. The gun’s magazines surround the base of the barbette, deep down inside the ship, inside the armored “citadel” that surrounds the ships vitals. Since the hoists are already inside the barbette, they are not themselves armored.
What most do not understand is that the visible surface of a battleship is almost totally un-armored. It’s just sheet metal. The main turret gun-houses and the conning tower are about all the heavy armor that is exposed. The rest is deep within the ship. The core of the ship is protected with heavy armor (12”-plus thick) … a sort of box called the "citadel”, that begins two or three decks down from the “weather” deck . This box contains the magazines, the bases of the barbettes, the engine and boiler rooms, and the ship’s command center. It typically extends about half the length of the ship. It’s sides, more or less, form the ship’s “armor belt” which extends a few feet above and below the waterline.
Things of lesser importance (gun-directors, boiler uptakes, and such) may have some lighter armor. Aside from the armor belt, most of the hull is un-armored and protected by layers of water-tight compartments (many containing fuel, some filled with water, and some just voids).