The USN 5-Inch/38 Dual Purpose open mount gun can be found on many 1:350 scale kits. Many modelers will find replacing the kit parts with super-detail replacement parts of the 5-Inch/38 Open Mount from L’Arsenal to be very attractive.
By 1930 the USN was considering new destroyer construction and the 5-inch/51, 5-inch/25 and 4-inch/50 were being considered as the weapons systems for the new designs. Although the 5-inch/25 was the leading candidate, the General Board did not care for the low velocity of that weapon and asked for a compromise. That was exactly what they received. A five-inch/51 gun was modified by having its barrel reduced in length. The new barrel was exactly halfway between the 51 calibre and 25 calibre, the 5-inch/38. It amounted to a scaled up version of the 5-inch/25 and as with the smaller piece, used shell cases for the powder. More accurate than its smaller brother in AA gunnery and yet a much better surface weapon, the 5-inch/38 was an instant success.
This gun appeared in three variants. The initial version was a pedestal mount. Ammunition came through a fixed deck scuttle and ammunition transfer could be hampered by the train of the weapon. L’Arsenal now makes a 5-Inch/38 open mount detail set in 1:350 scale.
OK, what ships carried the open mount 38 calibre guns? First and foremost are the carriers. The USS Ranger was fitted with 5-Inch/25 guns, as were the treaty cruisers and pre-1930 battleships. However, Yorktown, Enterprise, Hornet, Wasp, all units of the Essex Class and most CVEs mounted the 5-Inch/38 DP open mount. No battleships carried this piece and only one cruiser, USS Witchita. For destroyers this ordnance was found on the Farragut, Mahan, Dunlap, Gridley and Bagley Classes. Clearly the largest body of modelers who presently will want this set are the purchasers of the Trumpeter Hornet, Essex, Yorktown (II), and Franklin. If you are one of the purchasers of these carrier kits, you may seriously consider getting this set from L’Arsenal as they are infinitely superior to those guns included in the Trumpeter kits. The resin and brass photo-etch USN 5-Inch/38 Dual Purpose open mount guns from L’Arsenal come four guns per pack.