Battery Kessler

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Battery Kessler (1923-1947) - Battery Kessler was a reinforced concrete, World War I 6 inch coastal gun battery on Fort Tilden, Queens County, New York. The battery was originally named West Battery but as renamed on 1 Dec 1939, after Col. Percy M. Kessler, U.S. Army. Battery construction started 8 Feb 1917, was completed in March 1917 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 14 may 1923. Deactivated in 1947.

World War I

Part of the Harbor Defense of Southern New York.

Originally built as a World War I concrete coastal gun battery with two 6" M1900 guns mounted on M1900 Barbette carriages. The carriages were mounted on concrete gun blocks with two magazines for each position set back from the gun blocks. Each gun had a wooden "takedown" shelter over that could be quickly removed for firing.

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 and carriages that ended up in Battery Kessler were supplied from Battery Burke, Fort Hamilton (1), in March 1917 as a part of the World War I redistribution. On 19 Dec 1917 both sets of guns and carriages were abruptly transferred directly to France. This was a bit unusual because normally the carriages would remain and the guns would be sent to an arsenal for conversion to wheeled or railroad configurations. Even more unusual, the same guns and carriages were returned to Fort Tilden in 1919 after the conclusion of the war.

The guns were proof fired on 14 May 1923.

Battery Kessler Armament (edit list)
Model Serial
Manufacturer Carriage Service
1 6" Rifle 310.4" M1900 24 Watervliet Barbette, M1900, #20, Watervliet 1923-1947 See note 1
2 6" Rifle 310.4" M1900 25 Watervliet Barbette, M1900, #21, Watervliet 1923-1947 See note 1
Source: RCW Form 1, 22 mar 1944, 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 transferred from Fort Hamilton March 1917. Guns and carriages transferred to France 19 Dec 1917. Guns and carriages transferred back from France 19 Feb 1919. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Battery Kessler Gun and Shelter Plan

World War II

Battery Kessler Gun and Bombproof Magazine Plan

Fort Tilden, Battery Kessler CRF Plan

The battery was modernized with a bombproof ammunition magazine that was accepted for service on 27 Mar 1942. A modern plotting room and C.R.F. was accepted for service on 9 Jul 1943. The combined C.R.F./plotting room was an eight sided structure that housed a 22 foot wide M1916 coincident range finder on the upper level and the plotting room on the lower level with an M1904 Whistler & Hearn plotting board. Telephones were used to relay firing instructions to the gun crews. Additional fire control stations and spotting stations used telephones to relay target information to the plotting room. Later in the war, SCR-296 fire control RADAR sets were added to provide targeting during inclement weather. Deactivated in 1947.

Current Status

Part of Gateway National Recreation Area. No period guns or mounts in place.

Location: Fort Tilden, Queens County, New York

Maps & Images

Lat: 40.558025 Long: -73.896623


  • U.S.Army, Supplement to the Harbor Defense Project of New York, (HDNY-AN-44), 1 Sep 1944, CDSG


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