Sitka is located on the western edge of Baranof Island and the southern half of Chichagof Island in the Alexander Archipelago (Alaska Panhandle) in Alaska in the United States. Borders the North Pacific Ocean to the west.
In Sitka, the U. S. Army emplaced three 6"
gun batteries, two 90mm Anti Motor-Torpedo Boat batteries, one twin 155mm GPF battery, numerous fire control stations, a big searchlight
system, radar stations, and other smaller AA defense. It would take
the Army a few years to construct all the necessary defenses, some
were never completed, most were never used.
In 1942, the U. S. Army construction around Sitka began to speed up when
in 1942 the United States learned that Japan was planning to attack Alaska. The
construction costs in Sitka exceeded 30 million dollars. There were
at one time 10,000 people stationed at Sitka.
The current population of Sitka is roughly 8,000. Many wartime fortifications and sites remain and
have been well documented in an excellent websites specifically related
to Sitka, Alaska: Sitka's
WWII page by Mathew Hunter with photos of many of the sites described
Fort Babcock / Battery 290
At Shoals Point, Under Mount Edgecombe, On Kruzof Island. Abandoned
when construction was 88% complete. Had many fire control stations
and large support camps abandoned with them. These guns became operational
in March/April 1942
Fort Peirce / Battery 291
On Biorka Island. Had 6-inch batteries and was 98% completed when
abandoned, as well as fire control stations and support camps.
Located at Ataku Island. It has a large fortified tower for Battery 291 and
several other buildings in lesser condition.
Fort Rousseau / Battery 292
On Makhnati Island. Construction was completed by late 1944 and included
a 6-inch Battery.
Sitka Seaplane Base (NAS Sitka)
Built 1937 used by the U. S. Navy during the Pacific War.
Support Facilities For The Defense Of The Sitka Naval Air Station
Anti Motor Torpedo-Boat Battery
Located at Watson Point, located at the spot where the Sea Mart Parking
Lot is currently.
Whale Island, and at Watson Point
Makhnati Island's 155mm batteries
both are heavily overgrown. These guns were 155mm GPF (Grande Puissance
Filloux) guns, old WWI French artillery pieces modified and put into
production in the US. After WWI, these guns were modified to fit "Panama
Mounts" (This emplacement was developed in the Canal Zone and
so called the Panama Mount.)
These guns did not have the range of their
six-inch counterparts but before the completion of the 6-inch gun
batteries, they were the front line of defense for Sitka. Later in
the war, the GPF guns were slowly replaced by 155mm "Long Toms"
with 50% more range, but this never occurred in Sitka
WWII Era construction
There are foundations and concrete bunkers scattered around
the town and surrounding islands.
Fire Control Station
On Kayak Island
Fire Control Station and Radar Site
On Abalone Island.
The Army then constructed a two-mile-long causeway connecting eight
islands to Japonski Island and worked on the other defenses. Japonski
Island was also connected to two smaller islands: Alice and Charcoal.
These islands and the causeway are where Fort Ray was established.
Fort Ray was the support camp for all the Army service men and batteries
used in the Harbor Defenses. The remains on the causeway and surrounding
islands are virtually all there. There has been erosion and some vandalism
but the structures are standing.
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
September 1, 2018