Battery Gunnison

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Battery Gunnison (1905-1946) - Battery John Gunnison was a reinforced concrete, Endicott Period, 6 inch coastal gun battery on Fort Hancock (2), New Jersey. The battery was named in G.O. 194, 27 Dec 1904, after Capt. John W. Gunnison (Cullum 892), U.S. Topographical Engineers, who was killed by Mormons and Indians near Sevier Lake, 26 Oct 1853. Modernized in 1943 and renamed New Battery Peck. Battery construction started in 1903, was completed in 1905 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 5 Dec 1905 at a cost of $ 45,000. Deactivated in 1946, guns removed from carriages and stored on blocks next to battery. Gun tubes from Battery Livingston mounted sometime before 1948 when the last service practice was fired. Guns and carriages removed in 1964, then returned in 1975.

Fort Hancock Battery Gunnison Gun Emplacement #2
Fort Hancock Battery Gunnison Gun #1 Breech
Fort Hancock Battery Gunnison Gun #1

Endicott Period

Fort Hancock, Battery Gunnison Shell Hoist

Part of the Harbor Defense of Southern New York.

Originally built as an Endicott Period concrete coastal gun battery with two 6" M1903 guns mounted on M1903 disappearing carriages. This was a two story gun battery with the guns located on the upper level and the central magazine (separate shell and powder rooms) located on the lower level. Manual Hodges shell hoists were provided to move the ammunition from the lower level to the gun loading platform. Gun #2 shell hoist is shown in photograph and was restored to operational condition for interpretation by the Army Ground Forces Association in 2005.

Battery Gunnison Armament (edit list)
Empl
No
Caliber
Type
Barrel
Length
Model Serial
No
Manufacturer Carriage Service
Dates
Notes
1 6" Rifle 309.5" M1903 5 Watervliet Disappearing, M1903, #52, Detrick & Harvey 1905-1943 See note 1
2 6" Rifle 309.5" M1903 34 Watervliet Disappearing, M1903, #57, Detrick & Harvey 1905-1943 See note 1
Source: RCW Form 1, 1 Mar 1922, Coast Defense Study Group, Berhow, Mark A. ed, American Seacoast Defenses: A Reference Guide, 2nd Edition, CDSG Press, McLean, VA, 2004, ISBN 0-9748167-0-1, pages 98-99, 207
Note 1: Guns transferred to Watervliet 10 May 1943, carriages salvaged 19 Apr 1943. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Battery Gunnison Plan


World War I

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 Gunnison were not affected by the World War I redistribution or the following 1920 disarmament program.

World War II

Fort Hancock, Battery Gunnison Plotting Board

The gun tubes were removed and transferred back to Watervliet on 10 may 1943 and the carriages were salvaged on 19 Apr 1943. The empty battery was then modified by filling in and raising the gun platforms to accommodate the two M1900 6" guns and Barbette carriages from Battery Peck. A new plotting room was built into the back of the central magazine replacing two utility rooms. The modifications to the battery cost an additional $ 28,747.64.

The modernized battery was designated as New Battery Peck and functioned as an examination battery for ships entering New York Harbor. The examination battery fired warning shots over ships that failed to respond to challenges by the Harbor Entrance Command Post (HECP) atop Battery Potter. If an errant ship failed to respond to the warning shots, Battery Gunnison was capable of destructive fire on those ships. Sand filled warning shots were fired on 12 occasions. Destructive fire was authorized on two occasions but the ships halted as soon as it started. Battery Gunnison maintained this role through the end of World War II.

Battery New Peck Armament (edit list)
Empl
No
Caliber
Type
Barrel
Length
Model Serial
No
Manufacturer Carriage Service
Dates
Notes
1 6" Rifle 310.4" M1900 27 Watervliet Barbette, M1900, #12, Rock Island 1943-1946 See note 1, 2
2 6" Rifle 310.4" M1900 28 Watervliet Barbette, M1900, #17, Watervliet 1943-1946 See note 1, 2
Source: RCW Form 1, 10 Nov 1943, Coast Defense Study Group, Berhow, Mark A. ed, American Seacoast Defenses: A Reference Guide, 2nd Edition, CDSG Press, McLean, VA, 2004, ISBN 0-9748167-0-1, pages 96-97, 207
Note 1: Guns and carriages salvaged 21 Jun 1948. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA

Note 2: Gun tubes #22 and #23 are currently in place and were mounted sometime after 1946. These tubes were mounted originally in Battery Livingston and had very low barrel wear when moved to Battery New Peck.


Current Status

Part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook - The Fort Hancock Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historic Landmark, New Jersey. Two 6" M1900 guns on M1900 carriages in place. Gun #1 and Gun #2 have operating breech blocks and elevation. Gun #1 has operating traverse. The plotting room has been fitted out to recreate the look and the equipment of the World War II plotting room with much of the equipment operational. This restoration work was performed in partnership with the National Park Service by the Army Ground Forces Association (AGFA). Restoration work and interpretive programming continues. See "http://www.arnygroundforces.org/" for additional information and articles on restoration/interpretation progress.


Location: Fort Hancock, Monmouth County, New Jersey

Maps & Images

Lat: 40.459944 Long: -73.9950389

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Visited: 14 Aug 2010

Battery Gunnison Picture Gallery

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