Battery Byrne - West Point

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Battery Byrne - West Point (1911-1931) - Battery Byrne - West Point was a reinforced concrete, Endicott Period 12 inch coastal mortar battery at West Point, Orange County, New York. The battery was named after West Point Cadet Eugene A. Byrne who died 30 Oct 1909 from injuries sustained in a West Point vs Harvard football game. Battery construction started and was completed and transferred to the United States Military Academy in 1911 with an appropriated cost of $6,800. Deactivated in 1931.

Battery Byrne, note Battle Monument in the background

Endicott Period

Originally built as an Endicott Period concrete coastal mortar battery with two 12" M1890MI mortars mounted on M1896MI mortar carriages in one one mortar pit.

This battery was built to provide a training platform for USMA cadets and was somewhat a skeleton of a real mortar battery. All the components of a full sized mortar pit were provided including a gallery for ammunition service and two magazines, one on each side. The difference from a war ready mortar battery is one of scale, the magazines are the correct width but only 16' long, the roof and walls were reduced to withstand only earth pressure not exploding shells. The gun platform thickness was reduced to support the reduced pressures of sub-caliber firing. The earthworks surrounding the battery were also reduced to the level of the surrounding plain.

With the drastic reduction in requirements for Coast Artillery officers the 1930s the battery was abandoned as an instructional platform. An attempt was made to disassemble the battery but it was decided to bury it in place, mortars and carriages included.

Recent attempts using ground penetrating radar to confirm that the mortars and carriages are still there were inconclusive. They may have been salvaged during the quota driven scrap drives of World War II.


Battery Byrne - West Point Armament (edit list)
Empl
No
Caliber
Type
Barrel
Length
Model Serial
No
Manufacturer Carriage Service
Dates
Notes
1 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 176 Watervliet Mortar, M1896MI, #38, Robert Poole 1911-1931 See note 1
2 12" Mortar 141.125" M1890MI 44 Bethlehem Mortar, M1896MI, #43, Robert Poole 1911-1931 See note 1
Source: Berhow, Mark A. ed, American Seacoast Defenses: A Reference Guide, 2nd Edition, CDSG Press, McLean, VA, 2004, ISBN 0-9748167-0-1, pages 140-142
Note 1: serial numbers may not be correct for the emplacements. Mortars carriages from Fort Preble 18 Jan 1911, CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA


Current Status

No remains and no markers.


Location: United States Military Academy, Orange County, New York. Map point is approximate.

Maps & Images

Lat: 41.39402 Long: -73.95732

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Sources:

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