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PRINCIPLE ARMAMENT - RAILWAY BATTERIES



Pictured here is one of two 8 inch guns currently on display at Fort Miles.  We have located the correct flat-bed railway car to mount the piece on, and expect it to arrive soon.
Photo Credit: Mike Rogers

 

Related Documents

Battery 20 operated by:  Battery C, 52nd Railway Artillery
Battery 21 operated by:  Battery D, 52nd Railway Artillery

Before the outbreak of WWII, Cape Henlopen was a barren landscape of sand and dunes.  The Lewes Sand Company operated railway spurs in the dunes of the cape and provided sand for industrial uses to companies in the area.  The 52nd Railway Artillery from Fort Hancock, NJ frequently used Cape Henlopen as a training range.  It was perfectly suited for the job, since there were very few residents within several miles of the area and the rails were already in place on site.  When the Army decided to place their new state-of-the-art coastal fortification at Cape Henlopen, temporary batteries were required to provide harbor protection while the long range gun batteries were being constructed.  The 52nd was called to action, and established the first heavy artillery batteries at what would become Fort Miles.

FM 4-49 SOP 8" Gun on Railway
Report of Completed Works Battery 20

Report of Completed Works Battery 21
Configuration

Armament
The table to the right gives statistical data for the 8 inch gun and the ordnance fired.
Information source: Fort Miles Archives

The 52nd Railway Artillery fires its 8 inch gun during target practice at Fort Miles, 25 MAY 1938.
Photo Credit: Fort Miles Archives

8 Inch Gun MK6 MOD3A2 LR on Railway Carriage M1

Number Produced 24

Ordnance Data

Caliber 8 inch Projectile Weight HE - 240 lbs
AP - 260 lbs
Practice - 260 lbs
Weight 158,000 lbs Projectile Length 36.23 inches
Powder Charge 108 lbs Stored at Battery N/A
Powder Bags Weight - 104 lbs
Length - 36 inches
Width - 8.375 inches
Central Storage
(Not at battery)
N/A
Muzzle Velocity 2840 fps Battery Allowance N/A
Maximum Range 35,200 yds War Reserve N/A
Elevation -5 deg to +45 deg

Table Legend

HE - High Explosive
AP - Armor Piercing
N/A - Information Not Available.

Traverse 360 degrees
Crew 25
Barrel Life N/A
Report of Completed Works

General

Utilities (cont'd)

Battery Commenced Battery 20 - March 1942
Battery 21 - September 1942
Electrical Source NONE
Battery Completed Battery 20 - June 1942
Battery 21 - December 1942
Installed by N/A
Date of Transfer Battery 20 - 14 APR 1944
Battery 21 - 14 APR 1944
Electrical Characteristics N/A
Cost to Date Battery 20 - $47,000
Battery 21 - $50,000
No of Units and Capacity N/A
Construction Material Railroad Track and Earth Max KW req'd for utils. N/A
Battery New or Modernized N/A Max KW req'd for non battle conditions N/A
Trunnion Elevation in Battery N/A Commercial power provided NO

Utilities

Auxiliary power unit NO
Water Source NONE Type of Lighting Fixtures N/A
Alternate Water Source NONE Dehumidifying Unit NONE
Size of Main N/A How Ventilated N/A
Connected to Sewer N/A How Heated N/A
Type of Disposal N/A

Table Legend

N/A - Not Applicable

Type of Latrine N/A
Support Structures
Plotting Room: Temporary Battery - Plotting was self-contained
Fire Control Towers: Temporary Battery - No FCTs assigned.
Radars (SCR-296A): None Assigned
Additional Photos
 
Pictured here is a concealed 8 inch gun emplacement.  It is nearly impossible to see the weapon itself under the crossed sections of snow fence.  The scheme was tested by firing the guns with super charges.  Very little damage resulted.
Photo Credit: Fort Miles Archives
  Battery E of the 52nd Coast Artillery poses for a group photograph during training exercises at Cape Henlopen in May 1938.  Less than 5 years later, they would find themselves at the cape again under war conditions.
Photo Credit: Fort Miles Archives

 

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