Japanese 5"/50 Dual-Purpose Gun

Photograph of 5"/50 gun turrets on Japanese destroyer

Naval Historical Center #NH 74173
Cropped by author


Bore diameter
Ammunition type
Bagged nose-fused HE rounds.
Incendiary shrapnel, illuminating, and antisubmarine rounds were also available.

Projectile weight

50.7 lbs
23 kg


3002 feet per second
915 meters per second

Maximum elevation   

55 degrees


20,100 yards
18,400 meters

Firing cycle

6-12 seconds

The 5"/50 dual-purpose gun was the standard Japanese destroyer armament throughout the war.  It was a powerful surface weapon, outranging the U.S. 5"/38 dual-purpose gun by 4000 yards, but its rate of traverse was so slow that, while it was equipped with antiaircraft shells and directors, it was almost useless against modern aircraft.

An updated model with genuine antiaircraft capability never got beyond the prototype stage.


Campbell (1985)

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