Battery 155 - Fort Schwatka

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Battery 155 - Fort Schwatka (1941-1943) - Battery 155 - Fort Schwatka was a temporary, World War II, 155mm coastal gun battery on Panama mounts. Located on Fort Schwatka, Amaknak Island, Aleutians West Census Area, Alaska. Battery construction started in the summer of 1941, was completed in 1943. Deactivated and partially overbuilt by Battery 402 in 1943.

155mm GPF Gun & Partial Crew at Battery 155 - Fort Schwatka.

World War II

Part of the Harbor Defense of Dutch Harbor.

Originally built as a temporary World War II coastal gun battery with four 155mm M-1918A1 rapid fire guns mounted on M-1918 mobile carriages. These guns were originally emplaced in field artillery positions while concrete Panama mounts were constructed. The chosen battery site on Ulakta Head did not have road access so the 13-ton guns and carriages were pulled up the steep hillside on wooden sleds by a "donkey" engine. A road was constructed to the battery site later in the summer of 1941. The guns remained in field positions until the concrete Panama mounts were completed and accepted for service in 1943. The Battery was constructed at Ulaknak Head on the Fort Schwatka reservation. The Battery was constructed at Ulaknak Head on the Fort Schwatka reservation.

The battery was carried on the Harbor Defense Plan Annex as Battery Tactical No. 3 - 155mm at Location 8, on Ulaknak Head. The 712-acre site was procured on 14 Jun 1942 for the 155mm Battery and associated Garrison. The Battery was not formally named.

The maximum elevation range for the battery at this location was 19,100 yards or 10.85 miles, with the 360-degree coverage, this battery could cover almost all of Unalaska Bay out to the mouth where other batteries were positioned to cover the approaches. The barrel of the gun was 18 feet long and it weighed nearly 13-tons. Each of the four guns required an 18 man crew who were quartered nearby.

By August 1944 battery had been replaced in the HD Annex with the 8" Battery 402 and the guns and ordinance were reported in storage at Fort Mears and all 155mm ammunition was ordered shipped away from Harbor Defense. The Panama mounts were partially overbuilt with the 8" Battery 402 construction. Only one Panama mount was still visible.

Remaining Panama Mount at Battery 155 - Fort Schwatka.

Elements of the National Guard 250th Coast Artillery served at Fort Schwatka until May 1943.


Current Status

No period guns or carriages in place. Of the four Panama Mounts, two remain exposed, one is buried in earth and rubble, and one was destroyed by the construction of Battery 402.


Location: Fort Schwatka on Amaknak Island, Aleutians West Census Area, Alaska

Maps & Images

Lat: 53.92379 Long: -166.51614


GPS Locations:

See Also:

Sources:

  • U.S.Army, Supplement to the Harbor Defense Project Harbor Defenses of Dutch Harbor, (SRHDDH), 1944, CDSG
  • Denfield, Colt, Dutch Harbor Coastal Defenses, Coast Defense Study Group Journal, Volume 7, Number 1, February, 1993, page 30-36.
  • Willford, Glen M., Visitation to Alaskan WWII Coast Defense Sites, August 1997, The CDSG Newsletter, The Coast Defense Study Group, Inc., November 1997, page 2-3.
  • NPS - Fort Schwatka Self Guided Tour (large pdf) Excellent source

Links:

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