January 5, 2008

Visit to the USS New Jersey: Part 1 of X (Boarding and Above Deck Items)

The visit to the USS New Jersey sure was thrilling- once you head into Camden via the Ben Franklin Bridge you will get a site like no other if you have not seen an Iowa Class Battleship in person- the first comment I made about the ship was how mean the 16" turrets made her! I will be splitting the visit up into about 4 (maybe more) posts labeling everything we saw on the trip. Lolly forbid we didn't get to see the entire ship, albeit we saw a large chunk of it and then some. Unfortunatly we arrived late so we did not get to take the guided weapons system tour, but that was alright.

To start off the tour you will want to head into the giftshop area to buy your tickets- specify there whether you want a docent (tour guide) or not- we didn't ask so we were left to tour the ship ourselves- which was a blast and came highly recommended by crewman we spoke to. We got a nice greeting when boarding the ship and the fun starts there. We took the red tour route, and the entire tour lasted for us about 2 hours and 30 minutes given time to sit down for 10 minutes to have a quick drink. You will be walking the length of 3 football fields and you will be climbing roughly 20 or more ladders, but it is so worth the journey. Let me get started- this post will be long and I did my best to reduce image sizes without botching quality.

I started out with a video here- although I took this at the end this can give you an idea in a panoramic sense of what the ship looked like. I only took one or two more short videos because I was going wild with the pictures. I am suprised my batteries held up. This is a starboard side panoramic video.

Here is what the ship looks like coming into the Maritime area- this is precisely where I said "those guns make her look mean!" I also said that the ship wasn't as large as I imagined- hah I would put that to the test when we got even closer.

Across the Harbor you can spot a few more ships- one appeared to be a small fuel tanker but it didn't quite look like a destroyer- maybe a HCAC? The photo is of the USS Olympia over in Philadelphia waters- all I know about the ship is I think it was a World War I battleship. I would have to do my research on it to verify.

This is a closer shot of BB-62. The boarding ramp is joined with the starboard side of the ship close to the end of turret #2. We got a nice greeting on board and began looking at 16" gun statistics along with looking at 1:1 replica shells. They were about as big as we were!
Here is a shot facing the bow from the starboard side of turret #2- right at the boarding ramp. Note the teak deck- I believe they kept the original teak deck. Also note on the right side of turret #2 that they painted the parascopes over- probably to protect them from the elements.

A VERY scary image from the front of turret 1 displaying turret 1, turret 2 and much of the bridge and superstructure. I found that the blast bags were made out of a hard rubber (canvas?) and that the retractable parts of the barrels were painted- in wartime I think they were left bare metal as to not cause friction. Note 2 5" guns on starboard side and port side.

A closer look at turret #2. The tan part I believe was bare metal in warfare because it needed to retract into the blast bags as it fired the shell approx 25-30 miles.

Turret #1 for size comparison: compared with a 5'11" male. Those are some big guns!

There are literally hundreds of images- so I will probably be breaking up all of the sections so I can report on all of the major stuff. Be patient with me! there is a lot to sort, organize and refine.

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