The Virginia War Museum has acquired a set of World War II anti-aircraft guns that once were on the battleship USS Missouri. The quad-barreled 40mm Bofors from the USS Missouri was currently part of the Pearl Harbor memorial in Hawaii. They been out of public view at the Navy’s Training Support Center Hampton Roads at Dam Neck in Virginia Beach for years, and were restored by volunteers from the museum’s foundation, The Daily Press reported. “These guns will serve as a fitting monument to the end of World War II and as a bookend to the existing Pearl Harbor Survivors Association monument, which is located across the street from the guns’ future home in historic Huntington Park,” said Dick Hoffeditz, curator at the Virginia War Museum.
From Charleston, SC Back to Pearl Harbor in 2010: On the dock waiting to go back aboard the Missouri [Via www.eugeneleeslover.com]
From Charleston, SC Back to Pearl Harbor in 2010: At the entrance to Patriots Point. While this is not the exact Bofors that was shipped to Pearl Harbor, it is certainly representative [Via www.eugeneleeslover.com]
Christened at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on June 11, 1944, the Missouri was armed with about 80 Bofors guns mounted in dual and quad configurations. "Each was capable of firing more than 120 40mm shells per minute. And in sets of four, a single gun position and its 14-man crew could throw up nearly 500 rounds per minute at attacking Japanese planes, including the kamikaze that dived into the ship's side off the coast of Okinawa a few months before the war ended", said Dick Hoffeditz, curator at the Virginia War Museum.
The 12-ton set of Quad 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns from the battleship USS Missouri is one of fewer than 20 of the iconic weapons to survive from World War II. U.S. Navy ships mounted them by the thousands in an effort to shoot down attacking Japanese planes.
A 12-ton set of Quad 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns is delivered on Thursday afternoon to the Virginia War Museum. The guns were aboard the USS Missouri at the time of the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II.
Despite their importance during World War II, the guns lost their front-line defensive role during the jet age that followed, eventually giving way to faster and more-accurate anti-aircraft missiles. By the mid-1980s they were considered obsolete — and the Navy removed those that remained on the Missouri when it was reactivated for duty and modernized at the Long Beach Naval Yard beginning in 1984.
Two years later, two of the ship's Quad 40s were remounted as monuments in the center of the headquarters complex at Naval Air Station Oceana's Dam Neck Annex in Virginia Beach. There they stood as emblems of the past world war until about 18 months ago, when the War Museum Foundation learned through the friend of a board member that they were no longer wanted, The Daily Press reported.
James Michael of JRS Contracting Company Inc. removes chains around fire control equipment delivered with a 12-ton set of Quad 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns on Thursday at the Virginia War Museum.
A crane lowers a 12-ton set of Quad 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns on Thursday afternoon at the Virginia War Museum.
James Michael of JRS Contracting Company Inc. removes restraints during a delivery of a 12-ton set of Quad 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns on Thursday at the Virginia War Museum
A truck delivers a 12-ton set of Quad 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns on Thursday at the Virginia War Museum
An employee helps to position fire control equipment delivered with a 12-ton set of Quad 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns on Thursday at the Virginia War Museum [Photos: Kaitlin McKeown / Daily Press]
Arguably the best light anti-aircraft weapon of World War II, the Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft gun was used on almost every major warship in the US and UK fleet during World War II from about 1943 to 1945. When the Iowa-class battleships were launched in 1943 and 1944 they carried twenty quad Bofors 40 mm gun mounts, which they used for defense against enemy aircraft. These heavy guns were also employed in the protection of allied aircraft carriers operating in the Pacific Theater of World War II. These guns remained on the battleships Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsinfrom the time they were commissioned until they were reactivated for service in the 1980s.
History of the Americanization of the Bofors (2 meg pdf)
A 40mm barrel aboard the USS Missouri is seen impaled by a machine gun from the kamikaze hit at Okinawa on 11 April 1945 [Via www.navsource.org]