Fort Flagler, Puget Sound

#1
Visited Fort Flagler recently and thought I would share some photos.

Flagler was an Endicott Period coastal fort established in 1897 and was one of three built to defend Seattle and the Bremerton Naval Shipyard from attack.

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Flagler is the red arrow, and Forts Worden and Casey are in blue. They were situated to create a crossfire across the mouth of the entrance to the sound.

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Layout of the fort. Battery Bankhead was built for 8 12" mortars (stubby breech loading howitzers); Battery Calwell with 4 6" guns on disappearing mounts; and Battery Rawlings with 6 10" guns on barbette mounts. There were also smaller batteries with 3" QF guns and several searchlight positions.

View from the battery. The two other forts are situated on the two points of land in the distance.

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#2
10" gun positions.

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Magazines were underground

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Powder (left) and shell hoist on upper level. Shells and powder were loaded on to carts and wheeled to the guns.

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#3
12" mortar position. Originally built with 4 weapons per pit but this proved to be too crowded so reduced to two.

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6" battery. Guns were on disappearing mounts

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#4
Searchlight position. Lights were 60" in diameter and were remotely controlled.

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#8
Who was the perceived enemy navy? RN, France or Spanish!
In 1897 probably the British?
The RN was at that time the dominant military force on the planet
Nah... we won the San Juan Boundary Dispute and Pig War almost 40 years before. And we sent most of the big guns to France and Canada not too long after they were emplaced for WWI. Your lot building BFO ships for Japan helping to stir up that trouble between them and Russia was a wee bit worrisome however.
 
#9
Who was the perceived enemy navy? RN, France or Spanish!
The main British naval base for the north-east Pacific is at the top left corner of the map in the first post. The RN were the dominant naval force on the world's oceans at the time, so of course they were seen as the most serious threat.

The US navy at that time were primarily a coastal defence force. Naval bases and major ports were defended with a system of fortifications, although the system as envisioned was never really completed and the pace of construction was so slow many forts became technologically obsolete before they were completed and many were abandoned without being completed.

I have a book on US coastal defences covering the 19th and early 20th century titled "Fortress America" which covers the topic. The primary focus of the book though is on the main US naval base on the east coast and I don't see a mention of Fort Flagler in the index. I was interested in the technology of the coastal defences of that era, which is why I bought the book. I found it rather disappointing however, so I can't recommend it unless you have a specific interest in the history of the few forts it focuses on.

The types of guns and heavy mortars in the photos in this thread though were typical of US fortifications. The same is true of the reduction of mortars per pit as noted in one of the posts above. This was repeated at other US coastal fortifications elsewhere.
 
#11
I was thinking more of pacific squadrons/fleets that would interfere with the gold rush. Which isn't actually that far fetched honest :).
There was no major US gold rush in the vicinity of these forts. These were simply to defend major US ports as part of the overall US defence plans. Planning would have started well before the end of the 19th century. The opening post in this thread mentions "Flagler was an Endicott Period coastal fort". Endicott was the US official responsible for managing the coastal defence plans which this fort would have come under.

The nearest major gold rush to this region would have been the one in the BC interior, but that of course was British territory. As you mentioned 1897, you are perhaps thinking of the Klondike gold rush, but that was in the Yukon Territory, which of course was also British territory. Klondike Creek was near the town of Dawson, about 300km north west of the present day territorial capital of Whitehorse.
 
#16
Was there ever a genuine ship/shore engagement with these types of defences involved?
The forts in Manila Bay fought the Japanese in WWII, although I'm not sure if they engaged any ships.
 
#17
If you believe it taking out British owned tobacco plantations safeguarded American production
U.K. was deemed at the time as the biggest threat to the US. Not just tobacco but commerce in general .( by that time the US was on the rise and knee that we had a habit of getting rid of threats before they became too strong.) that’s why an awful
Lot of American army bases in the states are along the uS/Canada border.

Remember, the back drop of this as the U.K. was perceived in the Washington as to have supported the confederacy to weaken the US. Not just because we’d sell anything to anybody.
 
#18
The forts in Manila Bay fought the Japanese in WWII, although I'm not sure if they engaged any ships.
ISTR that the Japanese did the same in the Philippines as Singapore. They chose to be very unsporting and not bother to do a naval frontal attack against the large naval guns positioned to defend the bases against large frontal naval attacks.

As a result armour learning rounds, when the guns could be brought to bare had to be used which weren’t very effective.

Old equipment, designed in the last trying to fight a modern day war.

Corregidor - Wikipedia
 
#19
U.K. was deemed at the time as the biggest threat to the US. Not just tobacco but commerce in general .( by that time the US was on the rise and knee that we had a habit of getting rid of threats before they became too strong.) that’s why an awful
Lot of American army bases in the states are along the uS/Canada border.

Remember, the back drop of this as the U.K. was perceived in the Washington as to have supported the confederacy to weaken the US. Not just because we’d sell anything to anybody.
Let's take a look at the global political and colonial landscape as it existed at that time to put things into context. In the late 19th century the US was an aggressive and expansionist lesser power. Attacks on Canada had gone badly for them, but war with Mexico was more successful and they annexed large chunks of Mexican territory. However, like Germany or Italy by the time they got into the overseas colony game most of the good ones had already been snapped up by someone else. They then conducted a war with Spain to take Cuba, Puerto Rico, and The Philippines off them. Minor wars in Central America produced a string of minor colonial dependencies, but aside from Panama they weren't of much value.

Further expansion required either war with another one of the weaker European colonial powers (risky, especially given the alliances in Europe), trying to take over one of the mainland South American countries (a nightmare, given the size, terrain, and the volatile and well armed populace), or taking a bite out of China (not on, as the UK had its hooks too deep into China to be willing to allow this).

So in general, conflict with any of the other powers was possible, particularly over colonial rivalries. The UK presented the biggest threat to the US however, both because the RN dominated the seas, and because of geography. The UK had naval bases which controlled trade routes to the US, including Halifax, Bermuda, and Esquimalt (the latter already mentioned as near the forts being discussed in this thread) which could be used to blockade the US or conduct attacks on US ports or naval bases. These further added to the capabilities of the RN as they allowed them to maintain forces in the region to conduct a continuing naval campaign.

As to coastal defences in general, these were normal at that time. There are a number of them on the English Channel ports which were built to protect the bases there. Those bases were positioned to be able to support a blockade of French ports in time of war. Blockades would be conducted by smaller ships, with larger ships waiting in protected ports to come out in support of them if the French navy tried to break the blockade. These forts are still there and some can be visited today. English Heritage published a book titled "Channel Defences" by Andrew Saunders which I can recommend as worth buying if you are interested in the subject. It covers from Henry VIII to WWII, with a particular emphasis on the 19th century.

There are a number of examples of battles between naval vessels and 19th century coastal defence forts. Some of the best examples are those of the Crimean War in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea. In the Black Sea the necessity to shell Russian forts caused the French to develop iron clad floating batteries. After the war the French took this further to build the first modern iron clad ships (the Gloire being the first). Britain responded to this with the "Black Prince" and the "Warrior", the first iron built iron clad (the Gloire had a wooden hull with iron armour). The Warrior is still around, and has been restored as a museum ship and is on display somewhere in the UK. I have been told that it is well worth a visit. The point I am making here is that battles against coastal forts during the Crimean War led to a revolution in naval ship design and warfare immediately after.

Coastal artillery batteries to protect naval bases and major commercial ports were common until the end of WWII. Often new defences would be built on top of old ones, meaning that in many cases not much remains of the original forts. However, there are still quite a few of the older ones in existence, and make for an interesting visit.
 
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#20
Here's a couple from Fort Worden. 12" mortar positions circled in blue. Weapons mounted included: 8 12" mortars, 4 12" guns, 7 10" guns and 8 6" guns.

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Battery Kinzie - built in 1912 with two 12" M1895MI guns on M1901 disappearing carriages. The hill in the background is Artillery Hill, where the majority of the batteries were located.

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10" gun battery

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