07 February 2016

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

I have visited Gun Battery Townsley several times. The underground rooms of the gun battery were always closed and off-limits. 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 began 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 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 area's residents 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.

Click on an image to view the full-size photograph.
A view of Battery Townsley as seen from the location of the SF-88C radar site located on Wolf Ridge.

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. 

This is the starting point of the Marincello Trail. It was initially constructed as a two-lane paved asphalt road for the Marincello development, which was never built. 
Here is 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. 
Tiburon and the Tiburon Peninsula are straight ahead across Richardson Bay. The tiny 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 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.
Federal Aviation Administration antenna site is located adjacent to the Miwok Trail and is at a 1,029-foot summit. 
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. 
This guardhouse is located at the Nike Missile SF-88C radar acquisition site entrance. 
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. 
SF-88C. I believe this building was a rest and recreation area for off-duty soldiers. 
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.
Gun emplacement #2.
Test firing Gun #2 during July 1940. Battery Townsley became operational in 1940 and was closed down in 1948. 
Ready for action. 

Gun #386 was manufactured in 1943 and it was initially installed on the USS Missouri, a battleship. 
Gun #386 as seen on the Battleship USS Missouri during the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945. 
Battery Townsley is located within the site of Fort Cronkhite. This is the entrance to the firing position of Gun #2.
The top-secret battery was camouflaged and off-limits to unauthorized personnel during the war. Here is a wartime picture of the above Battery Townsley gun entrance covered with a material that gave the illusion that it was a rock outcropping. 
This photo was taken inside the underground quarters of Battery Townsley. 
These are armor-piercing shells that were used by the 16-inch guns. Each shell weighs approximately 2,100 pounds

The armor-piercing shells were brought to the guns via the tracks attached to the ceiling. 
This is the location of the diesel-powered electric generators which were used if and when conventional electric power was unavailable. 
The diesel-powered electric generators are installed and ready for operation. 
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. This is a view from Battery Townsley looking south. 
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 easy; I do not recommend taking this route. 
"A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera." Dorothea Lange 

"Photography has not changed since its origin except in its technical aspects, which for me are not important." Henri Carter-Bresson

"There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer." Ansel Adams
"The important thing is not the camera but the eye." Alfred Eisenstaedt

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Question or comment? I may be reached at neil@mishalov.com