Historic World War II Gun From The "Might Mo" Comes To Delaware - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Historic World War II Gun From The "Might Mo" Comes To Delaware

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The barrel is 66-feet-long and 116 tons (Source: DNREC) The barrel is 66-feet-long and 116 tons (Source: DNREC)
The gun was assembled using a 500-ton crane (Source: WBOC) The gun was assembled using a 500-ton crane (Source: WBOC)

LEWES, Del. - A piece of history came alive Friday, after one of the largest weapons ever made, which was used in World War II, was brought to the Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes. The historic "16-inch gun," which weighs more than 300 tons, was mounted on the USS Missouri, known as "Mighty Mo," during World War II. 

"This puts us in the World War II record book," said Gary Wray, the president of the Fort Miles Historical Association

The weapon, which was one of nine on the historic ship, was assembled in Fort Miles on Friday in front of a large crowd. The barrel, which is 66-feet-long and weighs 116 tons, was set to be cut into scrap metal just days before it was purchased by the FMHA. Wray said that the group had been searching for this gun since 1998. 

"We found the barrel in 2011," he said. "My group, the Fort MIles Historical Association raised $155,000 in private money to bring it to Delaware."

The weapon was moved by barge and rail from a naval yard in Norfolk to Fort Miles. The process was paid for not only through private donations, but also through grants from the G.M. Foundation, the Sussex County Council, and The Delaware Department of Economic Development's Division of Tourism.

Ray Bivens, the director for the Delaware State Parks, said that this will be a boost to tourism in the area, since it is a historical landmark. 

"This probably will be the last time a full 16-inch gun (is built)," he said. " Because the parts needed - the breach, the slide - there doesn't appear to be any more out there. So this will be the last of it's kind type of exhibit."

Lockwood Company, the subcontractor for Kent Construction Company, assembled the massive weapon using a 500-ton crane. The structure includes a 90,000-pound concrete base, a 70,000-pound slide, and a 38,500-pound yoke, with a total weight of more than 300 tons. 

A brand new artillery park is set to open this summer at Fort Miles, which will include more big guns, and a "central pathway" that will display exhibits about each gun. The park will also include commemorations, recognizing the fort's importance during World War Two. 

According the DNREC, the fort was a "major operational center" for the U.S. during the war, helping to defend the Delaware River, which was a priority for defense, due to the large trade centers in Wilmington and Philadelphia. The fort was equipped with heavy guns, mine fields, and searchlights.

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