Battery 281

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Battery 281 (1942-19??) - Battery 281 was a reinforced concrete, World War II 6 inch coastal gun battery near Fort McAndrew, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Battery construction started in January 1942, was completed October 1942 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 15 Jan 1943. Deactivated in 19??.

World War II

Part of the Harbor Defense of Argentia.

Originally built as a World War II concrete coastal gun battery with two 6" M1905A2 rapid fire guns mounted on M1 Shielded Barbette Carriages (SBC) placed on either side of an earth covered reinforced concrete magazine and support structure. Power was supplied by internal generators and post power.

Battery 281 and Battery 282 were constructed at Fort McAndrew, Newfoundland, in conjunction with the World War II Lend Lease agreement between the U.S. and Great Britain in which the U.S. received 99 year leases for bases in Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition to these two batteries the U.S. loaned Newfoundland coastal guns, carriages and ammunition for Cape Spear Battery (2-10" Guns) and Red Cliff Battery (2-8" Guns). These batteries were constructed quickly and armed quickly.

A board of officers was created 13 May 1941 in St. John's to manage the defenses of the Newfoundland Base Command. The board proceeded to Argentia at 6:00 AM, 14 May 1941 to "conduct extensive reconnaissance" and select sites for both batteries and for base end stations. The board returned at 1:30 AM with their recommendations. Several more trips were required to nail down the all the sites and the details associated with each. The plan was approved by the Secretary of War on 5 Dec 1941, just two days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. The approval indicated that the carriages would be available on 1 Apr 1942 and 1 May 1942 and indicated that the battery construction be expedited.

Both batteries were completed in October 1942 and transferred to the command on 15 Jan 1943.

6" Gun at Fort Columbia Originally at Fort McAndrew, Battery 281, Argentia, NL, Canada
These 6" World War II coastal gun batteries were designed to replace obsolete Endicott Period Batteries. Of the 87 planned only 45 were completed and many of those were not completed until late in the war (1944-1945).

The 6" guns fired a 105 pound armor-piercing projectile with a range of over 15 miles at a rate of up to 5 rounds per minute. The gun crews were protected by a thick shield around the gun. Only six of these guns remain in the world, two at Fort Columbia in Battery 246, two at Fort Pickens in Battery 234, and two at Fort McAndrew in Battery 282 in Argentia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

6" Gun Crew

Battery 281 Armament (edit list)
Model Serial
Manufacturer Carriage Service
- 6" Rifle 302.9" M1903 A2 30 Watervliet M1, Shielded Barbette (SBC), #9, Watertown 1942-19?? See note 1
- 6" Rifle 302.9" M1903 A2 61 Watervliet M1, Shielded Barbette (SBC), #10, Watertown 1942-19?? See note 1
Source: RCW Form 1, 1 Apr 1943, CDSG; Berhow, Mark A. ed, American Seacoast Defenses: A Reference Guide, 3rd Edition - PDF, CDSG ePress, McLean, VA, 2012, ISBN 0-9748167-0-1, pages 104-105, 225, 236
Note 1: CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA guns and carriages transferred from Aberdeen to Fort McAndrew 8 Mar 1943 (S.0. 129965). The assignment of particular guns and carriage to specific emplacements is not known.

Current Status

No period guns or mounts in place. The original 6" guns and carriages were sent to Fort Columbia in 1993 and are currently on display there.

Location: Argentia North, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Maps & Images

Lat: 47.29017 Long: -53.97954

  • Multi Maps from ACME
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  • Elevation: 121'

See Also:


  • U.S.Army, The Harbor Defense Project Harbor Defenses Newfoundland Base Command, (NBC-DP-44), 31 Dec 1944, CDSG


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