Sunday, February 7, 2016

Gun Battery Townsley, a World War II 16" gun emplacement located at Fort Cronkhite in the Marin Headlands: 7 February 2016

I have visited Gun Battery Townsley a number of times. The underground rooms of the gun battery were always closed and off-limits. I knew that eventually, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area authorities would open the underground area for viewing by the general public. About four months ago I learned that the underground rooms are now open on the first Sunday of every month. Sunday, 7 February was my first opportunity to explore the interior of Gun Battery Townsley.
I started this ramble at the Tennessee Valley Trailhead in Mill Valley. I started at Tennessee Valley because before visiting Battery Townsley I wanted to traverse over the proposed site of the city of MarincelloMarincello was to be a town of approximately 20,000 people complete with a landmark hotel atop the highest ridge-top, some 16 story apartment buildings, an industrial area and a full range of commercial businesses. The city was to cover 2,138 acres within the Marin Headlands. Initial infrastructure construction began on Marincello, but the residents of the area fought fiercely to retain the Marin Headlands as open, undeveloped land; they succeededConstruction of Marincello was eventually canceled
I visited Gun Battery Davis on 14 February 2016. It was constructed at Fort Funston in San Francisco, during the same time that Battery Townsley was built.


The approximate distance traveled was 8.4 miles. The approximate cumulative elevation gain was 1,864 feet. Mile markers are shown on the GPS generated track. Click on the image to see the full-size map.
The beginning of the Marincello Trail. It was originally constructed as a two-lane asphalt paved road for the Marincello development... which never happened. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
A view looking north from the upper portion of the Marincello Trail. The Tamalpais-Homestead Valley area of Mill Valley is closest to the camera. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
The city of Tiburon and the Tiburon Peninsula are straight ahead across Richardson Bay. The little peninsula in the center is Harbor Point. Marin City is on this side of Richardson Bay. During World War II Marin City had the honor to be the home to Marinship, a shipyard that was a component of the war effort. Founded in 1942, Marinship built 93 government owned cargo ships and oil tankers. It ceased operation in 1945. The shipyard site is just off of the right side of this picture.Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
Federal Aviation Administration antenna site is located adjacent to the Miwok Trail and is on top of a 1,029-foot summit. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
This picture was taken from Wolf Ridge Trail. Tennessee Valley is straight ahead. Fox Trail can be seen wending its way up to Coyote Ridge. Mount Tamalpais is in the background. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
This guard house is located at the entrance to the Nike Missile SF-88C radar acquisition site. Click on the image to see the full-size picture.
SF-88C. The platform on the right was for a target-tracking radar. The platform on the left was for an acquisition radar. Both radars were housed in geodesic domes. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
SF-88C. I believe this building was a rest and recreation area for soldiers who were off-duty. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
A view of Battery Townsley as seen from the location of the SF-88C radar site located on Wolf Ridge. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
The construction in 1938 of Battery Townsley gun emplacement #2. Battery Townsley was completed and ready for operation in 1940. The view is looking south. San Francisco is in the distance Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
Gun emplacement #2 Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
Test firing Gun #2 during July 1940. Battery Townsley became operational in 1940 and was closed down in 1948. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
Ready for action, if needed. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

Gun #386. It was manufactured in 1943 and was originally installed on the USS Missouri, a Battleship. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
Gun #386 as seen on the Battleship USS Missouri during the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
Battery Townsley is located within the site of Fort Cronkhite. The entrance to the firing position of Gun #2.Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
During the war, the top-secret battery was camouflaged and off limits to unauthorized personnel. A wartime picture of the above Battery Townsley gun entrance covered with a material which gave the illusion that it was a rock outcropping. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
Inside the underground quarters of Battery Townsley. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
These are armor piercing shells which were used by the 16-inch guns. Each shell weighs approximately 2,100 poundsClick on the image to see the full-size photograph.
Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
The armor piercing shells were brought to the guns via the tracks attached to the ceiling. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
The location of five diesel-powered electric generators which were used if and when conventional electric power was unavailable. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
The five diesel powered electric generators are installed and ready for operation if needed. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
Fort Cronkhite was an Army base established in the late 1930s. The enlisted men's barracks are visible as are Rodeo Lagoon and Rodeo BeachFort Barry is on the far side of the lagoon, and San Francisco is in the distance. A view from Battery Townsley looking south. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
Tennessee Cove. It was named after the "SS Tennessee," a steamship that ran aground near here in 1853. I had to get down this hill to reach the beach; it was not an easy task; I do not recommend taking this route. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

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