Thursday, April 9, 2009

Loading the Cannon at Kure

Here are pictures of the 350 ton steam crane at Kure, which put loaded the 18.1 inch cannon:

(From my webpage:)"Our last assignment was to lead a three-ship group back to the United States carrying large-bore Japanese cannon. The LSM-371 was to carry back the world's largest (18.1-inch) naval cannon; it was to be picked up from Kure, a naval base about 10 miles from Hiroshima. This certainly was a great final mission for us; besides, it meant a trip back to the USA! We went through the Bungo Straits (which had been heavily mined) to the Inland Sea, and then northeasterly to Kure where the cannon was waiting to be loaded. On arrival, I made a tour of the shipyard and noted that one of the drydocks held about a hundred two-man midget submarines.
The cannon was 90 feet long and weighed 180 tons. It was transferred by an enormous floating crane, then to the shipyard's overhead crane and finally loaded on to our ship. The Japanese told us that the cannon was originally intended for the world's largest battleship, a proposed sister ship to the Yamato which had been sunk back in April 1945. Seeing that they were losing the war, they decided instead to place the cannon at the entrance to the Inland Sea; of course the war ended before this could be achieved. "

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