Battery Randolph

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Battery Randolph (1913-1944) - Battery Randolph was a reinforced concrete, Taft Period 14 inch coastal gun battery on Fort De Russy, Honolulu County, Hawaii. The battery was named in G.O. 15, 1909, after Major Benjamin H. Randolph (Cullum 2332). Battery construction started in December 1908, was completed in September 1913 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 31 Oct 1913 at a cost of $ 428,893.89. Deactivated in 1944.

Taft Period (1890-1910)

Part of the Harbor Defense of Honolulu.

Originally built as a Taft Period concrete coastal gun battery with two 14" M1907 guns mounted on M1907 Disappearing carriages. One gun tube was an M1907 type while the second gun tube had an M1907M1 designation. This was a two story battery with the guns located on the upper level and the magazines below. Shells and gun powder bags were moved from the magazine level to the gun loading platform by separate shell and powder hoists. Electrical power was furnished by the emplacement power plant in emplacement #1 and commercial power.

The first of the 14" guns (M1907 SN# 1) arrived at Fort De Russy in early August 1913 and was deposited on the beach in front of the battery. The gun was dragged to emplacement #1 and mounted during September and October 1913. On 31 Oct 1913 it was transferred to the CAC. The first test firing did not take place until 25 Nov 1914. That test successfully fired four rounds but in the process the concussions destroyed the quarters of Lt. Manning M. Kimmel Jr..

The second 14" gun, (M1907M1 SN# 3), was shipped to Hawaii from Watervliet in 1915 and mounted in emplacement #2. This gun was not the same as the first gun and carried the designation M1907M1. It was first test fired 16 Aug 1916. The test was successful but each shot destroyed the cross hairs in the telescopic sights and the gun was fired far less than the M1907 in emplacement #1.


Battery Randolph Armament (edit list)
Empl
No
Caliber
Type
Barrel
Length
Model Serial
No
Manufacturer Carriage Service
Dates
Notes
1 14" Rifle 172" M1907 1 Watervliet Disappearing, M1907, #5, Watertown 1913-1923 See note 1, 2
1 14" Rifle 172" M1907M1 1 Watervliet Disappearing, M1907, #5, Watertown 1923-1944 See note 1, 2
2 14" Rifle 172" M1907M1 3 Watervliet Disappearing, M1907, #2, Watertown 1913-1944 See note 1
Source: RCW Form 1, 3 Oct 1929, CDSG, Berhow, Mark A. ed, American Seacoast Defenses: A Reference Guide, 2nd Edition, CDSG Press, McLean, VA, 2004, ISBN 0-9748167-0-1, pages 158-159
Note 1: CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Note 2: Not the same gun tube
Battery Randolph Plan


World War I (1917-1918)

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. The guns of Battery Randolph were not affected by the World War I redistribution or the following 1920 disarmament program.

By 1923 the M1907 gun in emplacement #1 had been fired 174 times and required relining. A new gun tube (M1907M1 SN# 1) was sent from Watervliet to replace the original gun (M1907 SN# 1) which was returned to Watervliet. It is about this time that the decision was taken to suspend full service firings of the 14" guns although sub-caliber firings continued.

World War II (1941-1945)

The buildup for World War II began in late 1939 and early 1940 when it became increasingly probable that a war was coming. When the war began on 7 Dec 1941 Fort De Russy escaped direct attack from Japanese aircraft but suffered several impacts from 5 inch naval anti-aircraft shells. Battery Randolph and Battery Dudley were manned and prepared for a possible invasion.

The 14" guns of Battery Randolph were test fired with full service charges on 13 Dec 1941 for the first time since the 1920s. Additional test firings at Battery Randolph took place on 29 Jan 1942 (1 round per gun), 6 Feb 1942 (1 round per gun) and 18 Feb 1942 (10 rounds gun #1, gun #2 malfunctioned and did not fire).

In 1943 Battery Randolph was placed on standby status, in 1944 the battery was declared surplus and the guns and carriages were ordered salvaged on 12 Aug 1944.

Current Status

Battery Randolph now houses the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii and the Army Corps of Engineers visitor center. No period guns or mounts in place.


Location: Fort De Russy, Honolulu County, Hawaii.

Maps & Images

Lat: 21.278921 Long: -157.833812

Sources:

  • Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 241-242
  • Dorance, William H., Fort DeRussy, The Coast Defense Study Group Journal, Vol 12, Issue 1, February 1998, page 16-29
  • Gaines, Willian C., A History of Fort De Russy, The Coast Defense Study Group Journal, Vol 24, Issue 4, November 2010, page 47-95

Links:

Visited: No



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