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Vintage Boom: Testing the Navy’s WWII Big Guns in Kodachrome

The Naval Proving Ground in Dahlgren, Virginia was established in 1918 and has been testing ordnance for the fleet ever since. We found a great series of original color photos taken at Dahlgren during World War II showing the big guns at work.80-G-K-13602 Dahlgren 14 - inch gun fires a test round down range, during World War II. Gun crewmen are covering their ears with their hands for noise and shock protection.

“14-inch gun fires a test round down range, during World War II. Gun crewmen are covering their ears with their hands for noise and shock protection.” (All Photos/Quoted Captions: Naval History and Heritage Command)80-G-K-13601 Dahlgren Five-inch gun makes a hit on an armor plate target, during World War II ordnance testing.

“Five-inch gun makes a hit on an armor plate target, during World War II ordnance testing. This test does two jobs in one, checking gun and armor in the same operation. Note flashes made by gunfire, and by the projectile striking the armor plate.”80-G-K-13599 Dahlgren Firing an eight-inch, 55-cal. Gun, during tests in World War II. This is a triple, single sleeve gun mount, with the right barrel removed

“Firing an eight-inch, 55-cal. Gun, during tests in World War II. This is a triple, single sleeve gun mount, with the right barrel removed. Shells on the stand in the foreground are of about 16″ size, possibly for the 16″ gun at right.”

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2 thoughts on “Vintage Boom: Testing the Navy’s WWII Big Guns in Kodachrome”

  1. The other thing of interest are the radio antennas and towers in the first picture.

    Offhand, I see several Zepp-fed dipoles, some with matching/tuning stubs coming off of them. Zepp-fed antennas were common back then, because coax cable cost big money and high pretty high losses, as well as being sensitive to wicking up moisture from weather.

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