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US Coastal Artillery and the disappearing gun


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The disappearing gun was often used in the early days of breech loading coastal artillery as the best way to engage enemy warships while still protecting the gun from return fire.  Aviation was still in it's infancy and the main batteries of warships lacked enough elevation to get "plunging fire" so overhead protection for coastal artillery was not needed.

 

 

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I did a lot of military work back in the 80's and 90's. We were designing some new training buildings at San Diego Naval Base. Our Navy manger took us around the base showing us some history. We came to the old shore batteries that used a similar idea as this. But the cannons were behind berms and did not come up and over the berms to fire. They stayed below and fired over the berms. The other cool thing was the front platform was on rial wheels sitting on a curved track with a pivot point at the rear. They could rotate the gun to match the target position rather than hoping the target would come into the line of fire.

Like the clip said with the advent of aerial bombardment the hidden cannons were no longer hidden. 

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1 hour ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

I did a lot of military work back in the 80's and 90's. We were designing some new training buildings at San Diego Naval Base. Our Navy manger took us around the base showing us some history. We came to the old shore batteries that used a similar idea as this. But the cannons were behind berms and did not come up and over the berms to fire. They stayed below and fired over the berms. The other cool thing was the front platform was on rial wheels sitting on a curved track with a pivot point at the rear. They could rotate the gun to match the target position rather than hoping the target would come into the line of fire.

Like the clip said with the advent of aerial bombardment the hidden cannons were no longer hidden. 

 

The disappearing gun would have the ability to traverse, probably 30-45 degrees to each side depending on the fortification and what it was intended to cover.  

 

If one goes on Google Earth you can see the firing pits, it is just to the north of all the barracks with the red/orange roofs and the just southeast of that weird man made lake with the structure in the middle of it.  Sadly at least one of the pits seems to be used as a junkyard for cars.  The two pits were for 12" Model 1890 M1 breech loading mortars and there would have been four of them, two in each firing pit and would have had almost 360 degree coverage.

 

The first link is a history of the guns at Fort Rosecrans, San Diego: https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=131892

 

The second link is a somewhat blurry clip of the firing procedures for the 12" mortars taken at Battery Howe, San Francisco before the battery was removed: 

 

 

 

Edited by Chantry
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I think there were several of that type at Fort Morgan at the southern end of Mobile Bay. The emplacements are the two deep pits at the top of the fort.

AMMS_643929e3801be3de91dbafd995680c06.jpeg

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There is one at Pensacola Beach down by Fort Pickens if you are ever down there.

6-inch disappearing gun at Battery Cooper, Fort Pickens National Park

6-inch_disappearing_gun_at_Battery_Cooper,_Fort_Pickens_National_Park.jpg

DSC02712.jpg

Edited by Cholla Bob
nonya
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