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  9.2" Coastal Defense Battery    
New Zealand Army

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Michael Claringbould 2005

Location
Located on Wrights Hill at Karori west of Wellington in New Zealand.

Construction
In March 1942 the authority was given for construction of this gun battery for a 9.2" (23.4cm) coastal defense gun at this location. Engineering reports and cost estimates were submitted to Army HQ in July 42, and preliminary site work including roads was started in October. The gun pits were completed during December 1943.

Turret No. 1
The first gun was installed during June 1944.

Turret No. 2
The second gun was also installed during June 1944. Today, the center portion is planted with grass.

Turret No. 3
Construction of a third gun was canceled, even though a gun pit and underground works were already built.

Post War
The only time the guns were fired was when they proofed them to ensure that they worked properly The proofing consisted of 3 shots fired - each shot at a different elevation and bearing. The No.1 gun was proofed on June 28, 1946 and the No. 2 gun was proofed on March 26, 1947. The only damage caused by the proofing was some broken windows at the fortress and in Karori.

About 1950 the Fortress Battery was put into care and maintenance with crews from Fort Dorset visiting weekly or biweekly to service and maintain the guns and equipment. In August 1957 the Army decided to decommission the Battery. In 1960/61 the guns were cut up for scrap and the Battery was stripped of nearly all of its equipment. The scrap dealer was from Sydney, also responsible for the scrapping of guns at Palmer Heads and Fort Dorset as well as those emplaced in Auckland and Christchurch. Ironically the scrap metal salvaged from the batteries was sold to Japan after the war.

Today
The extensive fortifications with 2,000' of tunnels linking magazines, gun pits, engine room, and plotting rooms remain to this day.

References
Britain 9.2"/31.5 (23.4 cm) Marks III to VII

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

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