"The US 5inch 38 calibre DP gun was probably the single most successful medium-calibre naval weapon of World War II." The American 5 inch/38 dual purpose gun by Norman Friedman, Warship Volume II. While most navies used heavy shell, flat trajectory weapons for the main armament, the United States Navy adopted a weapon that would prove extraordinarily effective and flexible.

As it turned out, the USN had the luxury of being the last major naval power to build destroyers after World War One. This virtue was a necessity at the time because of the huge numbers of flush deck destroyers built at the conclusion of World War One. Congress would not approve funding for new destroyers until the vast number of flush-deckers had some age on them. In the 1920s other powers started building new destroyers and the weapons of choice were single purpose, surface action guns that featured a heavy shell weight and flat trajectory.

The USN had such a weapon with the 5-Inch/51 calibre guns mounted in casemates on their battleships. The weapon had a very flat trajectory with a maximum range of 20,000 yards. Since it used powder in bags, it had a fairly slow rate of fire. The USN had developed a second type of 5-inch gun in the early 1920s. This model was the 5-inch/25 calibre gun. This ordnance was specifically designed as a high angle anti-aircraft gun to give the battleline defensive weapons against level bombing. The theory was to lay down a barrage ahead of a formation of level bombers. The gun was placed in open mounts on battleships and was chosen as secondary armament for the new "Treaty Cruisers". This weapon was far from perfect. It had an arching trajectory and a maximum range of 14,000 yards. However, since the powder was in shell cases it had a much greater rate of fire than the 51 calibre model. Although, initially designed as solely a high gun, it was soon used in surface gunnery practice.

By 1930 the USN was considering new destroyer construction and the 5-inch/51, 5-inch/25 and 4-inch/50 were being considered as the weapons systems for the new designs. Although the 5-inch/25 was the leading candidate, the General Board did not care for the low velocity of that weapon and asked for a compromise. That was exactly what they received. A five-inch/51 gun was modified by having its barrel reduced in length. The new barrel was exactly halfway between the 51 calibre and 25 calibre, the 5-inch/38. It amounted to a scaled up version of the 5-inch/25 and as with the smaller piece, used shell cases for the powder. More accurate than its smaller brother in AA gunnery and yet a much better surface weapon, the 5-inch/38 was an instant success.

This gun appeared in three variants. The initial version was a pedestal mount. Ammunition came through a fixed deck scuttle and ammunition transfer could be hampered by the train of the weapon. The version used a ring mount that allowed ammunition transfer with power hoists at any angle of train. This version first appeared in 1937 with the USS Craven DD-380 and was the single mount used thereafter. The third version was found in the twin 5-inch mounts. Interestingly, the twin mounts of the large destroyer leaders of the prewar Porter and Somer Class destroyers were single purpose anti-surface weapons only and were the only USN destroyers with this limitation.


Gun Houses & Ring Mounts
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CA5in4649top.JPG (67126 bytes) CA5in4647pside.JPG (63844 bytes) CA5in4652bottom.JPG (50777 bytes)
CA5in4653rings.JPG (54298 bytes) CA5in4654ringdet.JPG (48336 bytes) CA5in4655rings.JPG (61310 bytes)

The five-inch/38 proved so practical and effective that it not only appeared on destroyers but also on cruisers, battleships and aircraft carriers of the USN. Another tribute to its effectiveness as an AA weapon was that the Royal Navy converted the light cruiser HMS Delhi to an anti-aircraft cruiser by mounting five 5-inch/38 single mounts in lieu of its original armament in a refit in the US in 1942.

Corsair Armada 5-Inch/38 Ring Mount DP Guns
When I heard that Corsair Armada had produced an 1:350 scale 5-inch/38 single gun detail replacement set, I had to wonder why. After all two firms had already produced this same gun in 1:350 scale and they were excellent resin detail sets. When I opened the Corsair Armada box and saw the parts, my questions evaporated. The reason why Mike Czibovic of Corsair Armada went ahead with his project was blindingly clear. It is an excellent super-detail set.

With this set you get a lot for your money. First off quantity, as there are eight gun assemblies in the set. Depending upon which ship you are modeling, it may be possible to equip two destroyer models with one set of Corsair Armada parts. As nice as is the fact that you receive eight mounts it is second place in merit to quality. The quality of the parts to this set is exceptional.


Gun Barrels
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Resin Parts
The gun house castings are extraordinarily clean and well delineated. Take a look at the photographs, especially that of the turret face and you will see the detail and crispness of the castings. There are doors and vision slits all over the place. Even the underside of each mount is completely detailed with support braces.

This model is of the 1937 ring mount 5-inch/38 and Mike provides separate ring mount castings for each piece. This also adds definition to the finished piece. Corsair Armada provides 18 barrels in a total of five different styles. These styles include; double knuckle level barrels (4 pieces), single knuckle level barrels (3 pieces), double knuckle elevated barrels (3 pieces), single knuckle elevated barrels (3 pieces), and barrels with no blast bags (5 pieces).

Brass Photo-Etch Parts
This set includes a full brass photo-etched fret, which makes these little models pop with detail. This fret has 106 brass parts! That is 12 brass parts per gun, amazing! Parts include vertical ladders, doors, ventilation louvers, foot rungs, gas tubing, vision ports, front brackets and ring brackets. The brass is of excellent quality and combined with the excellent resin parts will create gun mounts with a huge amount of detail.


Photo-Etch and Instructions
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Verdict
Corsair Armada has produced an accessory set that commands attention. By providing eight gun mounts, rather than four or five and by providing 140 parts (34 resin and 106 brass) in this set, Corsair Armada creates flexibility, coupled with head turning detail. This set can be obtained from major retailers as well as Corsair Armada at mike713@hotmail.com.

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