Battery Walbach

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Battery Walbach (1908-1936) - Battery Walbach was a reinforced concrete, Endicott Period 10 inch coastal gun battery on Fort Wetherill, Newport County, Rhode Island. The battery was named in G.O. 78, 25 May 1903, after Colonel John Baptiste DeBarth Walbach, 4th U.S. Artillery, Bvt. Brigadier General, U.S. Army, who served with distinction in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Mexican-American War, and who died 10 Jun 1857, at Baltimore, Maryland. Battery construction started in May 1901, was completed in June 1904 and transferred to the Coast Artillery for use 7 May 1908 at a cost of $ 119,170.70. Deactivated in 1936.

Fort Wetherill, Battery Walbach

Endicott Period

Part of the Harbor Defense of Narragansett Bay.

Originally built as an Endicott Period concrete coastal gun battery with three 10" M1888MII guns mounted on two M1896 Disappearing carriages and one M1901 Disappearing carriage. This was a two story battery with the guns mounted on the upper level and three magazines on the lower level. Shells were moved from the magazine level to the gun loading platform originally by three back delivery Hodges shell hoists. The Hodges hoists were later upgraded to back delivery Taylor-Raymond electric shell hoists that were accepted for service on 17 Jul 1916. Electrical power was furnished by an emplacement power plant.

Battery Wheaton, Battery Walbach, Battery Dickenson, Battery Zook, and Battery Crittenden were all accepted for service on the same day, 7 May 1908.


Battery Walbach Armament (edit list)
Empl
No
Caliber
Type
Barrel
Length
Model Serial
No
Manufacturer Carriage Service
Dates
Notes
1 10" Rifle 367.25" M1888MII 41 Bethlehem Disappearing, M1896, #3, Niles 1908-1936 See note 1
2 10" Rifle 367.25" M1888MII 45 Bethlehem Disappearing, M1896, #2, Niles 1908-1936 See note 1
3 10" Rifle 367.25" M1888MII 50 Bethlehem Disappearing, M1901, #1, Watertown 1908-1918 See note 2
Source: RCW Form 1, 15 Jun 1925, RCB, 31 Dec 1909, 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 194-195, 205
Note 1: Guns transferred to Fort H.G. Wright 2 Dec 1936. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Note 2: Gun transferred to Fort Greble (2) 13 Dec 1918. CDSG Gun Card Collection from NARA
Battery Walbach 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. All three of Battery Walbach's guns were ordered dismounted for use abroad on 24 Jul 1917. Two of the guns were later ordered retained and remounted. The third gun was shipped to Fort Greble (2) on 13 Dec 1918.

On 2 Dec 1936 the two remaining 10" guns were transferred to Fort H.G. Wright and the battery was disarmed.

World War II

The remaining two M1896 disappearing carriages were ordered scrapped on 4 Nov 1942 as a part of the first large scale scrap drive of World War II.

Current Status

Part of Fort Wetherill State Park, Jamestown, Conanicut Island, Newport County, Rhode Island. No period guns or mounts in place.


Location: Fort Wetherill State Park, Jamestown, Conanicut Island, Newport County, Rhode Island.

Maps & Images

Lat: 41.478546 Long: -71.36826

See Also:

Sources:

  • U.S.Army, Supplement to the Harbor Defense Project of Narragansett Bay, (HDNARB-AP-45), 1 Feb 1945, CDSG

Links: CDSG

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