Battery De Leon
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Battery De Leon (1904-1942) - Battery De Leon was a reinforced concrete, Endicott Period 10 inch coastal gun battery on Fort Taylor (2), Florida. The battery was named in G.O. 43, 4 Apr 1900 after Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon. Battery construction started May 1897, was completed Nov 1903 and formally transferred to the Coastal Artillery for use 30 Jun 1904 at a cost of $ 198,446.40. Deactivated in 1942.
Part of the Harbor Defense of Key West.
Originally built as an Endicott Period concrete coastal gun battery with four 10" M1888MII guns mounted on M1896 disappearing carriages. The guns and carriages were informally transferred to the care of the Coast Artillery in 1898 but the formal transfer did not take place until 30 Jun 1904 (per RCB). This was a two story battery with the guns located on the top level and the magazines and support rooms below. Shell hoists were required to move the heavy shells from the shell room to the gun level.
A new electric plant was installed and transferred for use 21 Dec 1911.
|1||10" Rifle||367.25"||M1888MII||46||Watervliet||Disappearing, M1896, #55, Bethlehem||1904-1942||See note 1|
|2||10" Rifle||367.25"||M1888MII||65||Watervliet||Disappearing, M1896, #42, Bethlehem||1904-1942||See note 1|
|3||10" Rifle||367.25"||M1888MII||64||Watervliet||Disappearing, M1896, #39, Bethlehem||1904-1942||See note 1|
|4||10" Rifle||367.25"||M1888MI||34||Watervliet||Disappearing, M1896, #40, Bethlehem||1904-1942||See note 1|
|Source: RCW Form 1, 30 Sep 1921, Coastal Defense Study Group, Berhow, Mark A. ed, American Seacoast Defenses: A Reference Guide, 2nd Edition, CDSG Press, McLean, VA, 2004, ISBN 0-9748167-0-1, pages 124-125, 211|
Note 1: Guns and carriages scrapped 4 Nov 1942. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
The U.S. entry into World War I resulted in a widespread removal of large caliber coastal defense gun tubes for service in Europe. Many of the gun and mortar tubes removed were sent to arsenals for modification and mounting on mobile carriages, both wheeled and railroad. Most of the removed gun tubes never made it to Europe and were either remounted or remained at the arsenals until needed elsewhere. Two 10" guns (#64 and #34) from Battery De Leon were ordered removed from emplacements #3 and #4 for shipment overseas in 1917 and the remaining two guns were listed for transfer overseas. As the war drew to a close all four guns were ordered remounted without leaving Fort Taylor (2).
In 1932 the plotting rooms of Battery De Leon were moved from Battery Gardiner to the former power house in Battery De Leon. Transferred for use 31 May 1932 at a cost of $ 231.51.
The four 10" guns of Battery De Leon were obsolete by the time World War II began and late in 1942 the guns and carriages were scrapped.
In 1943 Battery De Leon and Battery Covington were modified by placing two 155mm Panama mounts on each one as a temporary measure until the harbor defenses modernization could be completed. The Panama mounts were visible on the battery until it was destroyed about 1962. The Panama mounts were accepted for service 4 Mar 1943 at a cost of $ 8,750. Battery Covington and Battery De Leon were partially demolished to make way for Battery 231 and fully removed in 1962.
Battery destroyed about 1962. No period guns or mounts in place.
Location: Truman Annex, NAS Key West, Monroe County, Florida
Maps & Images Lat: 24.545941 Long: -81.804710
Visited: Area 2 Jan 2010
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