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Sitka's 155mm Battery

Due to the threat of war with Japan, on November 4th, 1940, the Army had decided to send the following to Sitka with the purpose of defending the only Naval Air Station in Alaska:

  • One company of the Fourth Infantry,

  • One Battery (4-guns), 250th Coast Artillery (155mm)

  • One Battery 37mm and .50 cal guns, 63rd CA (AA),

  • Medical Detachment of 3 officers and 25 enlisted men,

  • Signal Detachment of 1 officer and 15 men,

  • A Quartermaster Detachment,

  • And and Ordnance Detachment of 5 men

    The Army later decided on adding three 6-inch gun batteries, and two 90mm AMTB Batteries.


    There were only two 155mm guns placed in Sitka. Both on Makhnati Island. These guns were 155mm GPF (Grande Puissance Filloux) guns. They were old WWI French mobile artillery pieces modified and put into production in the United States as the model 1918. After WWI, these guns were modified to fit "Panama Mounts (Basically a segment of curved rail embedded in concrete on which, the guns could easily be moved. This emplacement was developed in the Canal Zone and so called the Panama Mount.) These guns did not have the range of their six-inch counterparts but before the completion of the 6-inch gun batteries, they were the front line of defense for Sitka.

    Later in the war, the GPF guns were slowly replaced by 155mm Long Toms with 50% more range, but this never occurred in Sitka


    SOURCE:
    Lewis, Emanuel R, Seacoast Fortifications of the United States.
    An Introductory History, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, 1970.
    Figure 53, Pg. 108

    A 155mm GPF gun on display at Fort Stevens in Oregon.

    A 155mm gun on Display at Fort Stevens. A 155mm gun on Display at Fort Stevens. A 155mm gun on Display at Fort Stevens.

    Photos of Sitka GPF Guns and and their emplacements today:

    Photos of the Guns in position: (also accessible from my WWII photos index)click for enlarged picture

    A 155mm gun on Makhnati Island. There is 6-inch gun#2 in the upper right. Preparing to fire one of the 155mm guns on Makhnati Island

    Preparing to fire one of two 155mm guns on Makhnati Island.


    Here Is a Photo I took a few months ago of the 155mm Panama Mount today. More of the photos I've taken are available in the My Photos Index. (Click for enlarged picture)

    Panama Mount for 155mm gun on Makhnati Island

    The southern Panama Mount on Makhnati Island. The same one in the photos above.

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