Living History at Fort Hancock, October 25-26, 2003
An M1904 three-inch Telescopic sight was mounted on the gun in the sight cradle to interpret the "gun pointer" aspect of Case II pointing.
There were two functioning EE-91 fire control telephones installed in the existing boxes on the #2 gun deck, including the gun-pointers phone. On the #1 gun platform we established a fire control station with two M1910A1 azimuth instruments, electric panel, Time-Interval bell and four EE-91 fire control telephones.
The fire control setup was "non-standard", however, we were able to adequately demonstrate the techniques involved in a two-instrument base-end station. In the photo above 1SG Murray is observing a base-end station crew in action (SGT Andy Bennett, CPL Steve Turner and PVT Larry Winchell). It is the Park Service's intent to install the stairs to the Battery Commander's station so it can be used for fire control station interpretation.
The magazines contained ammunition, uniform and fire control displays. The original shell hoist was also interpreted as a 105-pound Armor Piercing projectile was placed on the hoist, as it would have been to serve the guns.
Within the plotting room there were three focus displays. When entering the room, a BD-95 fire control switchboard, powered and connected to all fourteen EE-91 fire control telephones in the battery was on a table in its original location.
As can be seen from the photo, the National Park Service has electrified the Battery. AGFA members have re-installed all telephone cables, complete with a functioning cable terminal box in the plotting room. A time interval system was also installed and functioning within the battery, to include a bell on the ceiling of the plotting room set to a 20 second interval.
A field office display was also present in the battery and included three vintage WWII field desks, typewriter, a BD-71 six-line switchboard and EE-8 field telephones. The BD-71 was connected to the BD-95 fire control switchboard and demonstrated the versatility of the field and common battery systems.
Though a plotting board has not yet been completed, a chart display of the fire control process was spread between the three EE-91 fire control telephones that would have supported the plotting board stations. The EE-91's were connected to the BD-95 switchboard and functioning. The head and chest sets were installed and wired as they were in 1943, to include the terminal blocks on the ceilings along with the Time-Interval bell. Also prominent in the plotting room is the gas overpressure ventilation system.
The most telling feature of the battery restoration is the reactivation of the internal telephone system of the battery. Terminal boxes, which remained installed in the battery, were used along with other terminal boxes obtained from other coast artillery battery structures. All required conduits were found usable, and 25 pair cables were pulled between the terminal boxes in the gun emplacement phone booths to the main terminal box inside the plotting room. Within the plotting room, all phone lines were re-installed, and mounting boards were installed in their original positions to support the seven EE-91 fire control telephones installed in the plotting room. This was a significant undertaking. We were rewarded by all lines operating and full communications throughout the battery.
As the membership of AGFA continues in its restoration project at Battery Gunnison/New Peck, further restorations will be completed. Each will be "unveiled to the public" at future events as the work is completed with our next Fort Hancock event taking place in the spring.
Clearly, the hard work of AGFA is more than matched by the gracious hospitality and equally hard work by the staff at Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area. Without Lou Venuto, Mary Rasa, Tom Hoffman, Mike Thomas, and all members of the park maintenance staff, this and future events at Ft. Hancock would not be possible. We owe them all our sincere gratitude.
Future planned events at other locations include Fort Mott, NJ on 13 December 2003 and at Fort Pickens, Florida 3 April of 2004.