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Fort Barry: Battery Mendell
 
 One of Battery Mendell's 12-inch rifles, circa 1938. Photograph courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library
 
Battery Mendell was the first of the batteries built at Fort Barry. Construction was started in July 1901 and was completed in 1902.
 
On 22 November 1902, War Department General Order 120 named the battery after Colonel George H. Mendell, Corps of Engineers. After his graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1852, Colonel Mendell began a long career in planning and designing military structures. During the late 19th century he had supervised a majority of the post-Civil War and early Endicott-type fortifications that protected San Francisco Bay. In 1902 Colonel Mendell died in San Francisco.
 
In 1905, two M1895A4 12-inch breech loading rifles (numbers 4 and 6) made by the Bethlehem Steel Company arrived on site. They were mounted on disappearing carriages (Model 1897, numbers 30 and 31) fabricated by the Midvale Steel Company. These guns fired a 1,100 pound projectile over eight miles.
 
These guns remained emplaced until 1943, when the threat of imminent invasion was over and more modern Battery Elmer J. Wallace was reactivated following that battery being casemated. The guns were removed and scrapped that same year.
 
For decades, the battery fell into disrepair and was a target for vandals. But today, thanks to the National Park Service, portions of the battery are being repaired and restored.
 
For more information concerning this battery, CLICK HERE
 
 

 

 One of Battery Medell's two 12-inch rifles firing, 30 April 1941. Photograph courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library

How does a Disappearing Gun Disappear?
When a lever is pulled, a lead counterweight drops and the aimed barrel rises to the firing position. After the gun is fired, its recoil drops the gun below the parapet. This feature made the gun invisible to enemy ships and protected the crew during loading. But, while it was an effective weapon against ships, it had no protection from what its designer could not have foreseen, the airplane. Batteries designed after World War I were casemated, providing their crews a large degree of overhead protection. Below are some rare color photographs showing the battery's gun in action.
 

 

 Photographs provided courtesy of Brian B. Chin
 

 
Layout of Battery Mendell

 

 

 

 

. Drawing courtesy of Mark Bernow, Coast Defense Study Group

Battery Mendell, circa 1910
Images courtesy of Mr. Bob Ebbeskotte
 
 

 
Battery Mendell Today

 

An aerial view of Battery Mendell, April 2000. Photo by Kite Aerial Photography

 

A view of Battery Mendell from the more modern Battery Wallace, October 2000

 

Gun emplacements, October 2000 

 

 A rear view of Battery Mendell. Note the scaffolding and other evidence of the National Parks Service's restoration efforts. October 2000
 
 
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