Since my last post on the Tank Museum seemed to get some attention, I thought I’d mention some of the kind of in-depth research we’re doing for World of Warships. In this case, I traveled to the USS Texas, a battleship permanently docked in Houston as a floating museum. Along with a few developers from another studio, I went on a “hard hat” tour belowdecks to some of the areas too unfinished or inaccessible to be part of the public tour. The volunteers also filled us in on the ship’s history for a total of over 5 hours inside the hull!
The USS Texas served with distinction in both World War I and World War II. In between the wars, she even served as the flagship of the US Navy for a time! In the Second World War, she escorted convoys and supported amphibious landings in North Africa (Operation TORCH), Normandy (Operation OVERLORD), and Southern France (Operation DRAGOON). In 1945, she transferred to the Pacific and supported the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa by the US Marine Corps. For more information on the history of this fine vessel, see this Wikipedia article or visit the museum website.
Once again, I must warn you, there are lots of pics below!
What's a warship without weapons? The USS Texas was at various times outfitted with different weapons than she is now (including torpedoes!). At the moment, and presumably for posterity, she sits with her ten14" guns in five turrets, six 5" guns in barbettes, ten 3" AA guns on pedestals, ten quadruple-40mm AA guns on pedestals, and 44 pintle-mounted 20mm AA guns.
20mm AA Gun on pedestal mount - note how hard it would be to fire from this position (the shoulder rests are practically laying on the deck!)
Quad 40mm Bofors AA gun - although it can be manually operated, the crew mostly just loaded it and it was fired remotely from a panel on the deck above it
14" shells are stowed belowdecks point-down (one of only two ships to store shells this way, the other was her sister ship, the USS New York), and hoisted up to the turrets as needed
Two powder charges are rammed into the breech behind each shell with a rigid chain rammer - each barrel was only good for around 250 shots!
Most of the crew works belowdecks in support of the operations of maintenance, navigation, fire control, power generation and distribution, crew services, supply, ammunition handling, and other functions not directly related to firing the guns.
This is one of the furnaces used to run the steam generators - originally fired by coal, it was later fueled by oil instead
Gunpowder charges for the main guns were stored belowdecks in tubes of two. Each charge weighed 105 lb and was manhandled to the hoist to lift to the turrets
Powder charges were passed through this safety barrier in the bulkhead on their way to the turret to prevent fires from spreading via explosion to the powder magazines
Some more radios; encrypted messages were passed to the Commo Chief for decoding, then he would bring them to the Captain
Yeah, you may not be old enough to recognize these.
Yes, it's a water fountain - called a "scuttle" on board, leading to the term "scuttlebutt", which meant rumors overheard at the water fountain
A really simple old intercom phone - pick it up and talk, it's powered by the vibrations of your voice!
And a final shot of the starboard bow, showing the majestic silhouette of this Great Texan Lady of the Seas at berth...