Last 40mm Bofors of USS New Jersey on way back to ship (VIDEO)
By Chris Eger
Removed from the mighty WWII battleship when she was being overhauled for use in Vietnam, just one of the kamikaze-busting anti-aircraft artillery mounts remain.
When the USS New Jersey was built, the wounds of Pearl Harbor were still fresh in the minds of battleship sailors and the new series of capital ships were stacked deep with 40mm and 20mm cannons, designed to fill the sky around the ship with a hurricane of flak to break up Japanese air attacks. The battlewagon carried no less than 80 40mm/56 cal Bofors cannon, arranged in 20 quad mounts. The ship and her crew earned nine battle stars for her World War II service and four for her service in the Korean War before she was put into mothballs in 1957.
Sailors aboard USS New Jersey man the four barrels of a Quad 40mm Bofors inside a protective steel tub during WWII. She had 20 such tubs filled with 80 guns (Photo: Navy History Command)
The only battleship called in from “red lead row” for service in Vietnam, in 1968 she was stripped of her Bofors cannon– obsolete against jets– and all were destroyed except for one mount that was left as a display at Philadelphia Navy