“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Atlantic Beach in Carteret County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)

World War II Defenses

Fort Macon Goes To War Again, 1941-44

World War II Defenses Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, August 16, 2014
1. World War II Defenses Marker
Inscription.  When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, US Coast Artillery troops occupied Fort Macon State Park for the defense of strategic points in the Beaufort Inlet-Cape Lookout area.

In the sand dunes southwest of the fort, artillery positions were established to control the approaches to Beaufort Inlet. Initially, a battery of four 155 mm guns was placed here, along with machine gun nests, searchlights, base end station observation towers, and a battery commander station for fire control. In late 1942 the 155 mm guns were replaced by a battery of two 6-inch guns on concrete mounts. Also added was a concrete battery commander station, barracks, and support facilities.

Although enemy submarines were active just offshore, the troops in the Fort Macon harbor defenses never had the opportunity to engage them during the war. In November, 1944, the troops were withdrawn and the fort’s defenses were deactivated as the war neared an end.

After the war ended, the Army’s weapons, equipment and buildings were removed. Only the concreted gun mounts and battery commander station were left behind when the park
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reopened to the public in 1946. They remained for many years as a reminder of Fort Macon’s final wartime use. Time and the elements have not been kind to them and only the broken remains of the battery commander station can still be seen today.

(lower left) The crews of a 155 mm gun practices during a firing drill at their battery emplacement behind the beach southwest of Fort Macon in 1942.
(lower center-left) In late 1942, the battery of 155 mm guns was replaced by two six-inch navy guns on concrete emplacements similar to this one.
(lower center-right) Sixty-foot base and station towers were erected to sight enemy vessels and determine their bearing and course.
(upper center-left) The interior of a battery commander station, which had optical instruments to plot the course and range of an enemy vessel offshore.
(lower center-left) Sixty-inch searchlights were placed in the park to illuminate enemy vessels and aircraft during a night attack.
(upper center-right) The remains of Fort Macon’s battery commander station are the only reminders of Fort Macon’s World War II defenses today. Storms and erosion have caused its concrete walls to collapse into ruins.
(lower center-right) By 1956, storms and shore erosion had washed the two 30-foot diameter concrete gun mounts into the surf. They are currently buried today.
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Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts and CastlesWar, World II. A significant historical month for this entry is November 1944.
Location. 34° 41.846′ N, 76° 40.718′ W. Marker is in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, in Carteret County. Marker can be reached from East Fort Macon Road (County Route 1190) 3.6 miles east of Atlantic Beach Causeway (County Route 1182). The marker is on the grounds of Fort Macon State Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2303 East Fort Macon Road, Atlantic Beach NC 28512, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fort Macon Coast Guard Station (here, next to this marker); Fort Macon in the 1920s and 1930s (here, next to this marker); The Military Post of Fort Macon in the Nineteenth Century (a few steps from this marker); World War II Barracks Area (a few steps from this marker); Officers Quarters at Fort Macon (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Macon (within shouting distance of this marker); 30-Pounder Parrott Rifle (within shouting distance of this marker); Bogue Banks Lighthouse (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Atlantic Beach.
Also see . . .  Fort Macon State Park. N.C. Division of Parks & Recreation (Submitted on September 15, 2014.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 12, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 429 times since then and 39 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on September 12, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Oct. 2, 2023