Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Fort Funston: Anti-Aircraft Battery
One of Fort Funston's three 3-Inch M1917MI anti-aircraft guns in action early in World War II (San Francisco Public Library)
by Sgt Maj (CA) Daniel M. Sebby, Military Historian, California Military Department
In 1920, the Corps of Engineers commenced building a two-gun antiaircraft battery mounting M1917MI 3-inch antiaircraft guns. The battery was completed in 1925 by installing two guns that were previously located at Fort Winfield Scott. The USACE Report of Completed Works-Seacoast Fortification (RCW) Form 1, dated 1 August 1929, indicated that the battery was initially powered by storage batteries.
In 1937, the battery was expanded to add a third 3-inch gun. At that time, the battery was redesignated as "Antiaircraft Battery No.5" The 27 August 1938 RCW Form 7 shows that the battery was reconfigured to include the additional 3-inch gun as well as an aboveground powerhouse, a gun director station, and utilities. A comment on the 1929 RCW Form 1 dated 17 July 1942 indicated that the battery had been connected to the post's electrical grid.
On 24 September 1943, the battery's exposed, above ground power house was replaced a new, larger underground power house as well as a new underground magazine for the batteries ammunition. The 1946 map of the Fort Funston Military Reservation shows that this battery was also supported by a type of "gun radar" located 200 feet east of the balloon hanger. The map does not specify what type of radar that was emplaced there.
For most of its history, the Site was named simply "Anti-Aircraft Battery". The battery was administratively designated as "No. 5" but at some time during World War II, it was redesignated as "Antiaircraft Battery No. 3", a designation that was used for the remainder of its operational history.
Today, erosion has taken its toll on the battery with shifting sand obscuring the three gun positions. However, the magazine and power house are clearly visible in the ravine south of the battery.
Report of Completed Works - Seacoast Fortifications
Reprort of Completed Works - Seacoast Fortifications
Additional Online Histories
Harbor Defenses of San Francisco - A Field Guide 1890 to 1950
Anti-Aircraft Weapons of the Coast Artillery
Search our Site!
Search the Web Search California Military History Online
View My Stats
Visitors since 8 December 1998
Questions and comments concerning this site should be directed to the Webmaster
Updated 20 June 2017