Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

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World War 1

With the outbreak of World War I in Europe, the first 16”/45 gun was produced and successfully tested in September 1914 for the Navy’s battleships.   In 1916, the first wind tunnel building for aircraft engine was built.    Following United States’ entry into World War I in April 1917, the Yard began construction of mines for the North Sea Barrage.   In November, the Yard began to build 14” guns for use with naval railway guns for use in France.    As the war progressed, expansion in product developed guns up to 5”, which were lighter but a stronger gun barrel made from a single piece of metal.    Following Armistice and the Washington Naval Treaties, production decreased at the Yard.    Between the two world wars, the Yard was the focal point for tests and innovation with weapons, including the first 16”/45 three-gun turret in 1937, which would prove to be vital in the Pacific during World War II.    

Image:   LC-DIG-HEC-10054:   U.S. Naval Gun Factory, Washington Navy Yard, 1917.   Packing and handling cartridge cases.   Harris & Ewing Photograph.   Courtesy of the Library of Congress.