12-Inch Naval Gun, Mark V, Model 8
Effective national defense policies often require that a new threat be met with a new response. Fort Hamilton entered service in 1831 to defend New York City against attack by wooden ships powered by sail. The fort’s seacoast batteries later received a major upgrade during the Civil War. But in the decades the followed, America’s system of masonry fortifications was rendered obsolete by major advances in naval and ordnance technology. By 1885 a new coastal defense board was convened that resulted in a modernization program remembered today as the Endicott period (1885-1905).
The signature innovation of the Endicott period was the disappearing gun. Hidden behind massive open concrete emplacements, that were concealed by the surrounding landscape, disappearing guns were resistant to direct fire. Their complex carriages employed huge lever arms, with the large gun mounted on one end and massive counterweights on the other. When the counterweights were engaged, the gun rose to its firing position. Conversely, when the gun was fired, its recoil overcame the resistance of the counterweights, moving it back and down into the safety of the
Insert, top – Loading 12-Inch Gun, Fort Hamilton: Regular Army and National Guard units jointly participated in live-fire exercises at Fort Hamilton in 1908. During these exercises companies from the New York National Guard manned Battery Brown’s 12-inch disappearing guns, and fired full service charges for the first time. (LOC)
Insert, center – Firing 12-Inch Gun, Battery Brown, Fort Hamilton, 1908: Surprisingly shipping traffic of the busy harbor was not halted during these exercises. And although no major accidents occurred, local newspapers detailed reports of the discharges causing significant collateral damage in nearby communities. (LOC)
Insert, bottom – 10th (k) Company, 13th Regiment, NYNG, Loading 10-Inch Gun, Fort Hamilton, 1908: In 1909 community complaints resulted in a moratorium on live fire exercises and the other Narrows’
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Forts and Castles.
Location. 40° 36.633′ N, 74° 1.902′ W. Marker is in Brooklyn, New York, in Kings County. Marker can be reached from Lee Avenue. Marker is on the grounds of the Fort Hamilton Army Base. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Brooklyn NY 11252, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. General Robert E. Lee (here, next to this marker); 12-Pounder “Napoleons”, Model of 1857 (Reproductions) (a few steps from this marker); M1857 12 Pounder Napoleon (within shouting distance of this marker); 13-inch Seacoast Mortar, Pattern 1861 (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); On July 4, 1776 (about 400 feet away); Spanish 24-Pounder (about 500 feet away); Fort Hamilton Officers’ Club (about 500 feet away); June 1975 (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brooklyn.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 13, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 20, 2017, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 331 times since then and 44 times this year. Last updated on March 12, 2021, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 20, 2017, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.