Armament Aboard S.S. JOHN W. BROWN

L ike all U.S. and Allied merchant ships during World War II, JOHN W. BROWN was armed with defensive weapons.

The armament carried aboard the JOHN W. BROWN in World War II included:

The number and power of the defensive weapons aboard JOHN W. BROWN are greater than that found on most Liberty ships. Because the BROWN carried troops as well as cargo, she was equipped with additional weapons compared with merchant ships that carried cargo only. A cargo-carrying Liberty ship would typically have had one 5-inch/38 caliber gun in the stern, one 3-inch/50 caliber gun in the bow, and eight 20mm guns positioned at several places around the ship.

The guns on the JOHN W. BROWN, and on other U.S. and Allied merchant ships during World War II, were manned by a detachment of men of the U.S. Navy Armed Guard. In some cases members of the merchant marine crews assisted the Armed Guard gun crews. A typical Armed Guard detachment on most merchant ships would have included one officer and about 26 enlisted men, most of whom served as gunners. (Others would have been radio operators and signalmen.) The Armed Guard detachment on JOHN W. BROWN was somewhat larger due to the additional weaponry on the vessel due to its service as a troop transport.

The guns on JOHN W. BROWN are not original to the ship. Project Liberty Ship obtained the guns as surplus from the Navy during the restoration of the ship beginning in 1988. Several of the guns can be mock-fired using propane during Living History Cruises.

 

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