Battery Calef-Wilkeson

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Battery Calef-Wilkeson (1897-1942) - A four gun Endicott Period Battery started in 1897 as a reinforced concrete coastal artillery battery on Fort Rosecrans, San Diego County, California. Initially named Battery Wilkeson for Bvt. Lt. Colonel Bayard Wilkeson a U.S. Civil War Artilleryman. In 1915 the battery was divided and guns 3 and 4 became Battery Calef named after Colonel John H. Calef, another artilleryman who fought in the U.S. Civil War. By 1925 the Battery was back in a four gun configuration as Battery Calef-Wilkeson. Construction began 21 Jan 1897 and was completed 31 Jun 1899. The Battery was turned over for service 15 Feb 1900 at a cost of $217,262. Listed for disposal 3 Nov 1942.

Battery Wilkeson 1900
Battery Wilkeson 1910, Gun #3 Firing
Battery Calef-Wilkeson Emplacement #2

Endicott Period (1890-1910)

Part of the Harbor Defense of San Diego. Established to protect the entrance to San Diego Harbor.

Battery Calef-Wilkeson Ammunition Hoist Mechanism

Battery Calef-Wilkeson was a battery of three, 10" M1888MI guns and one 10" M1895 gun all mounted on M1896 disappearing carriages. This was a two story battery with the guns located on the upper level and the magazines below. Shells were originally moved from the magazine level to the gun loading platform by two sets of balanced ammunition lifts in each of emplacements 2, 3 & 4. One back delivery Taylor-Raymond shell hoist was installed in each emplacement in 1905 and three of the balanced lifts remained. No powder hoists were provided. The disappearing carriages were equipped with eight horsepower electric retraction motors. Electrical power was furnished by the emplacement power plant in this battery.

In 1915 the battery and the hoists were modified to accept the newer long point shells.



Battery Calef-Wilkeson Armament (edit list)
Empl
No
Caliber
Type
Barrel
Length
Model Serial
No
Manufacturer Carriage Service
Dates
Notes
1 10" Rifle 30.76' M1895 8 Watervliet Disappearing M1896, #53, Watertown 1900-1942 See note 1
2 10" Rifle 30.6' M1888MI 10 Bethlehem Disappearing M1896, #7, Niles Tool 1898-1942 See note 1
3 10" Rifle 30.6' M1888MI 10 Watervliet Disappearing M1896, #5, Niles Tool 1898-1942 See note 1
4 10" Rifle 30.6' M1888MI 4 Watervliet Disappearing M1896, #6, Niles Tool 1898-1942 See note 1
Source: RCB 31 Dec 1909, RCW Form 1, 15 Sep 1925, CDSG, 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
Note 1: Guns and carriages ordered scrapped 5 Nov 1942. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Battery Calef-Wilkeson 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. One 10" gun from Battery Wilkerson and two 10" guns from Battery Calef were listed to be dismounted for service abroad but were ordered remounted and retained as the war came to a close.

World War II (1941-1945)

Battery Calef-Wilkeson was obsolete at the beginning of the war and the guns and carriages were ordered scrapped on 5 Nov 1942.

Current Status

Active Military installation, no public access. Repurposed by the Navy as a storage facility. No period guns or carriages in place.


Location: Fort Rosecrans, San Diego County, California

Maps & Images

Lat: 32.682911 Long: -117.237843

Sources:

  • U.S.Army, Supplement to the Harbor Defense Project of San Diego, (HDSD-AN-45), 1 Jul 1945, CDSG

Links:

Visited: 2 Oct 2014

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