At the start of World War Two the USN was at a grave disadvantage in night combat with the warships of the Japanese Navy. Japan had developed superb optics and
intensively trained lookouts to excel at night combat. Their superiority was demonstrated in early battles around Java and Guadalcanal. The USN turned the tables
through development of radar directed fire. For the USN battleships this came in the form of the Mk. 38 gun director. The Mk. 38 had two major components, an
optical range finder and radar. The results were sent to the plotting room, which used an early form of analog computer to develop a firing solution. In November
1942 the
USS Washington demonstrated the new capability of the Mk. 38 by pounding the battleship Kirishima in a night action off Guadalcanal at ranges of up to
ten miles.
Model Monkey has produced a set of eight Mk. 38 directors in 1:700 scale, so multiple models can be fitted from one set. Take a look at the photographs,
which contrast the
Model Monkey product against the Trumpeter director found in their 1:700 scale kit of USS North Carolina. The difference in detail is striking.
The radar array component will still needed to be added from another source.
Steve Backer
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