Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Photo: Five Inch Twenty-Five

"There are only two kinds of ships," the volunteer told me on the gently rolling deck, motioning toward the container ship sailing past Alcatraz. "Submarines and targets, and that's a nice big target."

USS Pampanito is one of the nine surviving Second World War Balao-class submarines, now spending its time at San Francisco's Maritime National Historic Park. During the height of the Pacific war, dozens of submarines just like her prowled the deeps - many didn't come back.

Pictured here is Pampanito's main gun, a 5"/25 caliber anti-aircraft weapon. Though I don't know how well something like that would do to sink a modern container ship. Probably not very; there was, after all, a very good reason that subs were given torpedoes.

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