San Jacinto Battleground State Park
Battleship Texas Hard Hat Tour
La Porte (Houston), Texas
January 18, 2003
Lower Handling Room, Powder Magazines, Shell Magazines, Upper Handling Room
Once again returning to the 3rd deck, the tour went aft and through a locked gate. We passed through one compartment and entered another, encountering a large square hatch in the deck with an extension ladder leading down. We had noted the presence of the ladder on the previous day's exploration of the public spaces while we looked down through the matching hatch from the 2nd deck. It turned out that the ladder was placed in a loading hatch for the magazines serving turrets 4 and 5.
At the bottom of the ladder we found ourselves in a small space with hatches and powder scuttles, leading to powder magazines, shell magazines and the lower handling rooms for turrets 4 and 5. The lower handling room contained a basic shell hoist that carried shells up to the upper handling space (where we found the bottom of the hoist seen in the turret gun house) and a powder hoist leading much farther up the barbette. From there the powder was passed by hand up through the gun pit into the gun house. The Texas' guns could fire every 45 seconds with four bags of powder for each shell. One can only imagine the level of activity in these spaces when the main battery was firing.
We were also permitted to climb up the ladder inside the rotating mechanism to the upper handling space, where there was additional storage for the shells. Also present (as noted above) were the lower ends of the shell hoists seen in the turret gun houses. As in the lower room, the crew moved the shells by an overhead rail system between their storage spaces and the hoists.
(click on thumbnails to open the photo in a new window)
Lower Handling Room And Magazines
Upper Handling Room
For More Information:
San Jacinto Battleground State Historical Park
USS Texas Volunteers Hard Hat Tour Information
USS Texas History and Information
A Photo Tour of USS Texas
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