Category:Harbor Defense of Grays Harbor

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World War II

Almost immediately after the 7 Dec 1841 Japanese attack on Pear Harbor, field artillery units from Fort Lewis were deployed to Willapa Harbor and Grays Harbor with field mounted 155mm and 75mm guns. During World War II the two harbor defenses were considered as one under the Grays Harbor name. The THD Grays Harbor was activated in December 1941.

World War II Initial Deployments - Western Washington
Pseudo Battery Name No. Armament Place Unit GPS
Battery 155 - Westport 4 155mm Howitzers Westport Battery A, 114th FA 46.89403,
-124.10887
Battery 155 - Markham 4 155mm Howitzers Markham Battery B, 144th FA 46.9101,
-123.99756
Battery 75 - North Cove 4 75mm Guns North Cove between the lighthouse
and the Coast Guard Station
Battery C, 144th FA 46.73651,
-124.07876
Battery 155 - Copalis Beach 4 155mm Howitzers Copalis Beach Battery E, 218th FA

Following these initial deployments, two 60" searchlights were deployed from the Columbia River HD, one for each harbor. Two more portable searchlights were deployed from the Puget Sound HD with one emplaced at Westport Wye and the other held in reserve.

In January 1942 four 12" Railway Mortars were deployed from the Columbia River HD to Point Brown where they were emplaced and activated.

The defense of both harbors continued under the field artillery units until 31 July 1942 when the Coast Artillery assumed command of the defenses and by 27 Sep 1942 the field artillery units were relieved by Coast Artillery units with 155mm M1A1 guns.

Two fixed Coast Artillery batteries were established, one 6" Navy gun battery (2 guns) at Westport and one 6" DC gun battery (2 guns) at Point Brown in December 1942. The railway mortar battery at Point Brown was deactivated and replaced by the 6" DC battery.

World War II Final Configuration - Western Washington
Pseudo Battery Name Tac No. Armament Place Unit GPS
Railway Battery - Point Brown 1 4 12" BL Mortars Point Brown Battery C, 249th Coast Artillery
Battery 6" Army - Point Brown 1 2 6" BC Army Guns Point Brown Battery C, 249th Coast Artillery? 46.94779,
-124.133
Battery 6" Navy - Westport 2 2 6" Navy Guns Westport Batterry A, 249th Coast Artillery 46.89623,
-124.10687
Battery 155 - Westport 3 2 155mm M1A1 Westport Battery C, 56th Coast Artillery. 46.89403,
-124.10887
Battery 155 - North Cove 4 2 155mm M1A1 North Cove Battery C, 56th Coast Artillery. 46.73651,
-124.07876

Eight portable 60" searchlights were also part of the defense.

On 1 Nov 1943 the Temporary Harbor Defenses of Grays Harbor was reorganized as a separate group under the Harbor Defenses of the Columbia and on 8 Jan 1944 the units at Grays Harbor and Willapa Harbor were deactivated.

Sources:

  • The History of the Western Defense Command, Appendix No. 4 - Chronological History of The Harbor Defenses of Gray’s Harbor, Washington, typescript reprinted by the CDSG Press.
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