Talk:Seacoast defense in the United States

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Would Like to Move Mine-Related Information[edit]

I came over here to find/create a good section on the Coast Artillery Corps. I think the existing section here is a good one, and would like to flesh it out some, but I would also like to move its mine-related portions (plus perhaps the earlier section on torpedos) to its own subsection. Anyone care to comment? Pgrig (talk) 15:17, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

  • yah I'm thinking the corps needs its own page, so it can be expanded with a unit list. I can start it by cliping the article to the redirect page. Brian in denver (talk) 17:52, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
  • This article is certainly long enough to be divided into sections, but I suggest consensus on the overall structure and naming of articles, presumable including one or more focal articles with main article references to subordinate subjects including U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps, United States Army Corps of Engineers, and others as appropriate. The naval mine article is a good candidate for subdivision because of its size, but I anticipate resistance if we broach the subject without a well reasoned structure. What would the naval mine component of this article have that would give the required notability, and what information from the existing naval mine article would appropriately be shifted into the new article? The present naval mine article seems mostly focused on hardware (the mines themselves, their munition deployment platforms, and methods of mine sweeping). The present naval mine article also seems fairly heavily weighted to offensive mining rather than defensive mining traditionally falling within the responsibilities of the Army. Would expansion of the present controlled mines article be appropriate to include the overall subject of USCOE defensive mining? Does the Army also use automated mines defensively (perhaps with a series fuzing mechanism to disable the mines except during periods of high threat) and are U.S.Army procedures different enough from international practice to warrant separate coverage? Could these activities be reasonably covered under the controlled mines title, or would renaming be appropriate?Thewellman (talk) 22:39, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
  • oops there it is Brian in denver (talk) 22:32, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

Railroad guns[edit]

How can the pamanma canal radar post in the picture be pre war if radar was invented during the war? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 14.202.4.118 (talk) 12:10, 11 July 2014 (UTC)


As I understand it, the US had railroad gun in the post-war era. The idea is the expensive guns could be rused to preplanned firing points along whichever coast might be threatened in wartime. Should this be mentioned? Paul, in Saudi (talk) 09:31, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

By post-war, I assume you mean the period between the 1st and 2nd World Wars. These are mentioned in the Railway gun article, but the only actual implementation appears to be the guns used to defend both ends of the Panama Canal. Like Fort Drum, that was a unique situation; and, unlike Fort Drum, those guns never saw combat. Railway guns were transported at very slow speeds because their weight and dimensions taxed structural integrity and load gauge of most rail lines. Concept implementation was impractical over typical distances between harbor facilities within anticipated warning intervals.Thewellman (talk) 19:19, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
At the museuem in Fortress Monroe, a display indicates railroad guns were part of the defenses of the Chesapeake Bay (at some time or another). But I am certainly no expert. Paul, in Saudi (talk) 04:27, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
A number of 14 inch railway guns were moved as needed between certain forts that had sidings designated as firing tracks. Each of the selected forts had between three and five sidings located within the fort complex. These guns seldom moved coast-to-coast. Oahu Hawaii had a railroad with quite a number of firing positions almost all the way along it's coast. Buster40004 Talk 18:13, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
This, from United States Army In World War II—Guarding The United States And Its Outposts, may help at page 49-50]:

But railway artillery had such limited tactical mobility and such extreme vulnerability to air attack that it had been all but discarded as a coastal defense weapon before the United States entered the war. (14: Memo, WPD for CofS, 8 Apr 39, WPD 3617-39; Rpt of Harbor Def Bd, 27 Jul 40, AG 602 (4-30-40), sec. I.) After Pearl Harbor, railway guns were used at a few east and west coast locations but were replaced as soon as other weapons became available.

Palmeira (talk) 00:09, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

America's enemies by land[edit]

Is it just me, or is the following clause distracting because it is untrue: "Before airplanes, America's enemies could only reach her from the sea ..." It appears very early (in the second sentence of the article), and so may dispel any initial expectations of quality. To be clear, America's enemies (whoever they are, wherever they start from), could (and can still) reach America from land, by way of Mexico or Canada. This is not to suggest that they ARE Mexico or Canada. I further dislike the phrase, because even a full-on attack by airplanes would still most likely come from the direction of the sea (as it did in 1941). Furthermore, the clear implication of combining the first two sentences is that America had a lesser need for seacoast defense when World War II started. I am "not an expert" on the topic, but I'd say the defensive need and deterrent benefit for seacoast defenses increased with the onset of a war. This was demonstrated by Japan's Navy on December 7, 1941. Separately, I am intrigued by the word "seacoast", as this is a contrived tautology in my native form of English. This is not a complaint or suggestion, as I am not familiar with any American military implication gained by using "seacoast" instead of the more obvious and equivalent word "coast". Is "seacoast" usually used instead of "coast" in a military context when speaking American English? With thanks, from a clearly grumpy ... ChrisJBenson (talk) 10:33, 9 March 2013 (UTC)

Not too far into WW II there seems to be fairly general consensus that static defenses such as the coastal forts were obsolescent if not downright obsolete. As the U.S. shipbuilding program began to build entire fleets centered of aircraft carriers the idea of a fort being a realistic line of defense was pretty well gone and it is then that we see the U.S. Coast Artillery Corps begin to shift to AA and be deployed overseas. Thus, in a sort of last ditch effort, the Coast Artillery Journal was renamed the Antiaircraft Journal a few years after the war . . . and then came Department of Defense and all sorts of mission reallocation along with the spawn of the Army, the USAF that also declared mobile forces superior to static installations. Palmeira (talk) 00:27, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

Fort McHenry battery picture and caption[edit]

The picture and caption at the top of the page is misleading. The picture shows the Third System battery - note the large-bore Rodman cannon - that was constructed in advance of the fort as a suppliment to Fort Carroll, the Third System fort now standing beneath the Key Bridge. The caption indicates this is indicative of a Second System masonry-revetted earthwork fort. While external batteries existed in that location, they were of a more primitive design and mounted much smaller cannon. Either the picture or the caption should be changed to prevent misinterpretation by visitors. Sorry if this seems nit-picky, but I'm concerned about the first impressions of the visitors.````OldfortJRW

Fixed this by noting differences between 2nd and 3rd systems. RobDuch (talk) 20:33, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

WWII harbor defenses list wrong[edit]

Pensacola, Florida is listed under East coast when it is really a part of the Gulf coast. I tried to change this but couldn't figure out how (I'm new to editing Wikipedia). Also, I think it would make more sense to list the Gulf coast harbors under either the Atlantic harbors or their own category. Coastal12 (talk) 08:24, 2 January 2016 (UTC)

Fixed. Although debatable, I also moved Key West to the Gulf coast. RobDuch (talk) 20:33, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

Pearl harbour[edit]

The attack on Pearl Harbor did not demonstrate "the obsolescence of coastal artillery". There were no surface ships involved, so anti-shipping coast artillery was irrelevant to the attack. It is unjustified to say it demonstrated obsolescence.Royalcourtier (talk) 07:01, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

Unprotected coastal artillery was, in fact, shown to be obsolete because a method of attack had been developed that removed it from the equation. Its function of preventing a surface fleet from entering the harbor no longer precluded destruction of the ships, port facilities, and potentially the port city. Indeed, the Japanese could have destroyed virtually all of the coastal artillery facilities in Hawaii due to their lack of protection from air attack. The casemated batteries built during the war would have been protected, but on their own offered no protection against a carrier-based air attack on ports. I've added that pre-war antiaircraft defenses were also shown to be inadequate. I could add the Philippines as another example of coast artillery's limited usefulness in WWII. The Japanese took Corregidor despite it being one of the most heavily fortified sites on earth against attacking ships, and the participation of a number of coast artillery weapons in the defense. RobDuch (talk) 20:31, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
I think another point for this: despite the common misuse of the word, obsolescent isn't obsolete. The writing was on the wall at this point, though, even if took nukes and precision guidance to change the equation from "no longer feasible" to "no longer workable". As RobDuch pointed out, coastal defense alone could only deny the use of ports, not protect them, from this point out. Anmccaff (talk) 19:32, 3 May 2017 (UTC)