Originally Posted by CameraQuest
I was told that hatch was to load the nuclear shells into the # 2 magazine. Whatever loading/storage mechanism was once there might be long removed by now.
Without any description or photos of the location of the scuttle or hatch, we just can't know. The problem with adding this is that to get shells to the #2 turret, they have to go through the top of the citadel. That is the 6" thick armored deck of the 2nd deck. It would have been a very significant change and would have been all but impossible to remove. As it stands right now and as it has been since 1942, each turret has two scuttles for loading both shells and powder canisters. On the starboard side of the 2nd deck, the scuttle is actually a hatch with provision for a ladder. This was a dual purpose trunk as the ladder would be removed for loading shells and powder canisters.
As far as we can tell, there are only two trunks per turret that go down to the 5th deck where the shells are turned sideways, moved through the safety zone then up into the turret. In the case of the #2 turret, they are lifted up to the mezzanine then the lower shell flat then upper shell flat. We are going to scour the deck of the upper shell flat of #2 to see if there was actually a small mild steel compartment welded to the deck and overhead. Considering the logistics of how the guns work, this is the most likely scenario. I'm not disagreeing with the fact that there were some modifications to the ship for special purpose shell storage but cutting a new hole in the armored box citadel seems both unnecessary and far too troublesome just to get to a magazine for storage only to have those shells go through a common space to get to the rifle. In a nutshell, I think your source was mistaken and the scuttle you were shown was a shorter and narrower one that is actually a vent. We're still on the hunt for the magazine though since that would have actually existed and plenty of weld marks are everywhere showing bulkheads and fittings that used to exist.