East Point Military Reservation
|East Point Military Reservation|
|Controlled by||United States Army|
|Built by||United States Army|
|Battles/wars||World War I
World War II
East Point Military Reservation was a coastal defense site located in Nahant, Massachusetts.
The East Point Military Reservation was built on state land. It consisted of an early radar and an observation post. The site was planned to be named Fort Henry Cabot Lodge for the prominent family whose land the facility was built partly upon, but it was never acted upon.
The site today
The site today consists of the foundations of buildings and guns.
East Point Batteries
The East Point Batteries, located in Nahant, Massachusetts, were part of the defenses of Boston Harbor in Massachusetts during WW2. Three separate gun batteries were involved: Battery Murphy (2 16-inch guns), Battery 206 (2 6-inch guns), and a temporary 2-gun battery of 155mm artillery. Along with these guns were three related fire control towers: two on Swallow Cave Rd. and one on Nahant Rd., plus a large underground plotting room behind Btty Murphy that served that battery's two big guns. Also, the northern series of magnetic loop cables, emplaced to detect enemy vessels approaching Boston Harbor, terminated on the shore just southeast of the two 155mm gun positions. All of these facilities were located in the area called East Point, at the extreme southeast end of the Nahant peninsula, as shown in the map at left. After 1943, these guns, together with the two 12-inch guns of Battery Gardner at Fort Ruckman, made Nahant the most heavily armed portion of Boston's coast defenses.
Battery Murphy was one of a series of 16-inch gun emplacements that were installed near U.S. harbors just before and right after the start of WW2. Construction on this battery commenced on 23 January 1942 and was completed just under two years later, on 18 December 1943. The guns were Mark II tubes on M4 barbette carriages
The battery of two 155mm howitzers was made up of mobile field guns M1918 emplaced on so-called "Panama mounts" (10-foot diameter concrete pads surrounded by circular steel rails 40 ft. in diameter that carried the trails of the guns).
This battery was a stopgap measure, put in place quickly between March and May 1942, as an emergency defense against enemy ships and submarines (while the batteries of larger guns and their related fire control towers were being built). From the extreme southeast end of East Point, these guns, with their 12-mile maximum range, could command the entire ocean front of Boston Harbor and could reach all the way south to Hingham, MA.
The guns, which could be fired rapidly, were mounted roughly 250 ft. apart, and a small, wooden Battery Commander's station, containing a depression position finder and a coincidence range finder was built between them. (See the image gallery below for plans and dimensions of this battery.) This 155mm gun battery is believed to have been the only one of its type in the Boston Harbor defenses, and the surviving platform of Gun 1 is thought to be relatively rare in New England.
Fire Control Structures
In addition to having the largest concentration of Coast Artillery in New England, East Point featured the largest concentration of fire control towers, used to direct and correct the fire of these guns.
Gallery of Additional Images
- This gun had been a stalwart of WW1 as the Canon de 155 mm Grande Puissance Filloux , designed for the French Army, but also exported to the United States for use with the U.S. Army and Marine Corps under the designations of M1917 and M1918. With the American forces, they were mounted on M12 Gun Motor Carriages and were the standard heavy artillery guns until 1942 when the 155-mm M1A1 "Long Tom" field guns replaced them. See the World War II Database.