Whilst battleships were most recognisable for their large, main armament they also had effective batteries of secondary guns. These were equivalent in power to those used as the main guns on destroyers or even light cruisers and were designed to protect the ship from attacking craft such as destroyers and torpedo boats. As such they fired a shell that could disable or destroy a small lightly armed craft, and weapons that could be fired quickly enough to deal with a fast-moving target. This week’s postcard depicts one of these secondary armament turrets being test fired aboard a British battleship at the time of the Great War:
The gun itself has an armoured shield over the front face, but is open at the rear to allow ease of loading and command in a way that a completely enclosed turret would have made difficult:
The crew can be seen, dressed in a variety of shorts and canvas duck trousers:
Firing of any guns from a ship, even small calibre weapons such as this, could damage fixings such as the handrails that normally surround the deck of a warship. Therefore, in this case, the railings have been folded down to keep them out of the way of the blast from the guns’ firing:
Sadly we do not know exactly which warship this photograph was taken on, nor its location although the land in the background indicates that this practice was being undertaken whilst the ship was at anchor rather than whilst underway.