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The 12"/50 caliber gun Mark 8 was a US naval gun mounted on the s.

Initial designs

The gun was designed in 1939, and a prototype was tested in 1942. Unlike previous guns, such as the 45_caliber_Mark_6_gun" href="/16"/45_caliber_Mark_6_gun">16"/45 caliber gun used on the , which were completely made and assembled at the Naval Gun Factorymarker in Washington D.C.marker, the forgings for the Mark 8 were manufactured at the Midvalemarker and Bethlehem Steel Corporation. They were then sent to the Factory for processing, which was followed by a trip to Watervliet Arsenalmarker until they were 65% complete. Finally, the guns were sent back to the Factory to be finished. The gun was first deployed in 1944 on the first member of the Alaska class, . The two Alaska class ships each had nine Mark 8 guns mounted in three triple (3-gun) turrets, with two turrets forward and one aft, a configuration known as "2-A-1".


The Mark 8 weighed including the breech and was capable of an average rate of fire of 2.4–3 rounds a minute. It could throw a 1,140 lb. (517.093 kg) Mark 18 armor piercing shell 38,573 yards (35,271 meters) at an elevation of 45°, while the "barrel life" of the guns was 344 shots;when compared to the 50_caliber_Mark_7_gun" href="/16"/50_caliber_Mark_7_gun">16"/50 caliber Mark 7 gun found in the , Alaska-cruisers could fire about 54 more shots.

As a result of the decision to fire "super heavy" armor piercing projectiles, the Mark 8's deck plate penetration was better and the side belt armor penetration equal to the older (but bigger) 50_caliber_gun" href="/14"/50_caliber_gun">14"/50 caliber gun.

The previous 12" gun manufactured for the U.S. Navy was the Mark 7 version, which had been designed and installed in the 1912 era s. The Mark 8 was of considerably higher quality; in fact, it "was by far the most powerful weapon of its caliber ever placed in service."

See also

  • 50_caliber_gun" href="/14"/50_caliber_gun">14"/50 caliber gun


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