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Gun Batteries On Gibraltar

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Gun Batteries On Gibraltar

Postby Mark McShane on 06 Jul 2008 16:56

Gents,

Can anyone tell me what gun batteries were on Gibraltar during the war, was there a gradual increase in the number of guns on the rock, or was it fairly static? Did they have any particular names for each battery? (Reference book for Gib during time of war would be nice).

Regards,

MA
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Re: Gun Batteries On Gibraltar

Postby Kingfish on 06 Jul 2008 19:59

The following is from 'After the battle magazine' issue #129, which devotes a section to the dismantling and preservation of the Spur battery, which according to the mag were deployed during the war.

There are numerous 4-inch barrels on various mountings, the magnificent 6-inch guns of the Devil's Gap Battery, but the crowning glory of the defenses of the Rock are the 9.2-inch guns. Five batteries still remain on the Rock: Levant, Spur, Breakneck, O'Hara's and Lord Airey's Batteries. Of these, only Levant Battery can easily be visited, the others being situated on military property behind locked gates. All of them are single-gun batteries each with a 9.2-inch gun, a type of weapon that was once one of the most important weapons in the British coastal artillery armoury

There were also several dual coastal /anti-aircraft batteries, such as the 5.25-inch armored mounts of Princess Anne's Battery.
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Re: Gun Batteries On Gibraltar

Postby Mark McShane on 06 Jul 2008 22:24

Many thanks, thats a great answer, just what I was looking for.

Regards,

Mark
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Re: Gun Batteries On Gibraltar

Postby Ironmachine on 07 Jul 2008 07:25

From http://www.avalanchepress.com/Gibraltar.php, at the start of the war the coast artillery was:
The seaward defenses of the fortress were quite varied but, while formidable, not quite the propaganda image of the Rock, bristling with guns. The primary batteries were a set of twin 9.2" naval guns guns at the southern end of the peninsula, which had sufficient range to interdict all surface naval traffic through the straits. Six more single-gun batteries of 9.2" naval guns were placed facing seaward to the east. Finally, a twin 9.2" howitzer battery faced the straits as well.
The secondary batteries were just as numerous, with eight 6" naval guns, although three of these faced northward, toward the border with Spain. A tertiary armament of four 4" guns in two batteries protected the eastward cliffs.
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Re: Gun Batteries On Gibraltar

Postby Ironmachine on 07 Jul 2008 10:25

The following information comes from http://www.areamilitar.net/analise/analise.aspx?NrMateria=38&p=, but as the original is in Portuguese, I will translate here the relevant information instead of quoting directly:

In 1941, Gibraltar was defended by several guns, mainly of 234mm and 152mm caliber [...] The 155mm batteries were intended to bomb the Spanish territory and the Algeciras Bay, and the heavier guns were intended to attack ships passing by the straits, though some of them could also fire to the Spanish territory.
The pieces of 234mm, Mk.10 model, [...] were placed mainly in the south and east side of the rock, pointing to the sea.
The names of the batteries of 234mm were, from north to south:
- Breakneck
- Lord Airey's
- O'Hara (this was the highest placed battery in Gibraltar)
- Spur
- Levant
- Buffadero
- West (a 2-gun battery, and the only 234mm battery that could fire to the Algeciras Bay)
There were also 2 x 233mm howitzers.
[...]
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Re: Gun Batteries On Gibraltar

Postby Ironmachine on 07 Jul 2008 10:28

From the same source.
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Re: Gun Batteries On Gibraltar

Postby sallyg on 07 Jul 2008 22:35

And for context, here is the view of O'Hara's Battery, looking north towards Spain.

Image

:idea:
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Re: Gun Batteries On Gibraltar

Postby Ironmachine on 08 Jul 2008 16:48

On page 51 of Osprey Fortress 52, The fortifications of Gibraltar 1068-1945, there is this good map showing the location of the known gun batteries during World War II.
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Re: Gun Batteries On Gibraltar

Postby sallyg on 08 Jul 2008 18:55

Given the projecting runway and the presence of 17 pounders I presume that this is late war.

???

:D
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Re: Gun Batteries On Gibraltar

Postby Ironmachine on 09 Jul 2008 07:15

As I stated before posting the map, the book says that it shows the location of the known gun batteries during World War II, so the data represents the batteries that existed during the war, even if they were not in existance at the start.
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Re: Gun Batteries On Gibraltar

Postby Andy H on 09 Jul 2008 13:31

sallyg wrote:Given the projecting runway and the presence of 17 pounders I presume that this is late war.

???

:D


The original landing field was completed by March 1936. However the decision was made in October 1941 to extend the runway by over 1600mtrs into the sea. By January 1942 over a 1000mtrs had been completed and by 1943 the full 1600mtrs was completed in time for the Allied invasion of North Africa.

According to Fortress Europe by Kaufmann & Jurga the following main arnaments were present during 1939-1940

8x234mm (9.2") guns
2x234mm (9.2") howitzers
8x152mm (6") guns

Also on page 185 there is a good outline plan showing the tunnel system and associated defences

Regards

Andy H
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Re: Gun Batteries On Gibraltar

Postby sallyg on 09 Jul 2008 14:21

So not necessarily late war but say, 1943+?

:)
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Re: Gun Batteries On Gibraltar

Postby hucks216 on 11 Aug 2008 12:46

Just thought that I would post these two photos which show one of the Gibraltar guns. It now resides at Duxford Imperial War Museum in Cambridgeshire after being dismantled and taken off the top of The Rock.
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Re: Gun Batteries On Gibraltar

Postby Mark McShane on 11 Aug 2008 19:00

Thanks to all who have contributed here, some very thorough information and it definitely answeres my original question.

Regards,

Mark
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Re: Gun Batteries On Gibraltar

Postby Gibeltarik on 28 Sep 2009 18:27

Brilliant information - thank you one and all - one question though -

When did the gun on Spur Battery come to the UK and which RFA ship brought her over please - almost certainly it was RFA Hebe or RFA Bacchus?

Also would anyone have an image of the ship with the gun onboard please?

Many thanks

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