The 3"/23 caliber gun (spoken "three-inch-twenty-three-caliber") was the standard anti-aircraft gun for United States destroyers through World War I and the 1920s. United States naval gun terminology indicates the gun fired a projectile 3 inches (76 mm) in diameter, and the barrel was 23 calibers long (barrel length is 3" x 23 = 69" or 1.75 meters.)
|3"/23 caliber gun|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Used by||US Navy|
|Wars||World War I|
World War II
|Variants||Mark 9, 13, and 14|
|Shell||16.5 lb (7.5 kg)|
|Caliber||3-inch (76 mm)|
|Elevation||-15° to +65° or +75°|
|Rate of fire||8 – 9 rounds per minute|
|Muzzle velocity||1,650 feet per second (500 m/s)|
|Effective firing range||
The built-up gun with vertical sliding breech block weighed about 531 pounds (241 kg) and used fixed ammunition (case and projectile handled as a single assembled unit) with a 13-pound (6 kg) projectile at a velocity of 1650 feet per second (500 m/s). Range was 10100 yards (9235 meters) at 45 degrees elevation. Ceiling was 18000 feet (5500 meters) at the maximum elevation of 75 degrees.
The 3"/23 caliber cannon was the first purposely-designed anti-aircraft cannon to reach operational service in the US military, and was a further development of a 1 pounder cannon concept designed by Admiral Twining to meet the possible threat from airships being built by various navies.
When World War II began, the 3"/23 caliber gun was outdated, and surviving United States destroyers built during the World War I era that were armed with the 3"/23 caliber were rearmed with dual-purpose 3"/50 caliber guns. Where there was no air threat during World War II, the 3"/23 caliber gun was employed in the surface to surface role for use against submarines, and was mounted on submarine chasers, armed yachts, and various auxiliaries. Some major warships carried 3"/23 caliber guns temporarily while awaiting installation of quad 1.1"/75 caliber guns.
The 3"/23 caliber gun was mounted on:
- AA-1-class submarines
- Active-class patrol boats
- Aylwin-class destroyers
- Caldwell-class destroyers
- Colorado-class battleships
- Clemson-class destroyers
- Dubuque-class gunboats
- Florida-class battleships
- Klondike-class destroyer tenders
- L-class submarines
- USS M-1 (SS-47)
- O-class submarines
- SC-1-class submarine chasers
- SC-497-class submarine chasers
- Wickes-class destroyers
- Fairfield 1921 p.156
- Campbell 1985 p.146
- "New American Aerial Weapons" Popular Mechanics, December 1911, p. 776.
- Fahey 1939 p.14
- Campbell, John (1985). Naval Weapons of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-459-4.
- Fahey, James C. (1939). The Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet, War Edition. Ships and Aircraft.
- Fairfield, A.P. (1921). Naval Ordnance. The Lord Baltimore Press.
- Lenton, H.T.; Colledge, J.J. (1968). British and Dominion Warships of World War II. Doubleday and Company.
- DiGiulian, Tony Navweaps.com 3"/23 caliber gun
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